Recently I had a lesson with a 12 month old German Shepherd who was presented by his owners as being extremely aggressive toward house guests. This was definitely confirmed on my first visit!
My evaluation from our initial phone call and first visit with this male, adolescent German Shepherd was territorial aggressive. The dog was extremely aggressive on the front porch and even more so in the home. The owner also told me that on walks, the dog was a rather pleasant dog and could be greeted by neighbors, even petted and that the dog liked other dogs. I determined that his territorial aggression issues were limited to the front porch and in the home which he considered his territory.
The owners got the dog as a puppy and they found out he was suffering from some kind of kidney disease. So, feeling sorry for the dog the owners doted on him a lot and pretty much spoiled him to the max. They left food out for him all day, he slept in the bed with them at night, the owners had not put much structure in the dog’s life at all. The dog has taken over the lead of all activities in the house over the last 6 months.
I am working with the owners to put structure into this dog’s life, to also teach the owners how to be strong but benevolent leaders and help the dog understand that they are running the show – not him. this may take a while for them to get him back under control where he will pleasantly greet people who come to “their home” not his.
Time, patience and consistently working on structure and leadership will help turn this dog around and these thing will eventually win in the end and this adolescent German Shepherd can relax because he will understand that his owners have everything under control.
Does this scenario sound familiar? Begin to take a serious look at your relationship with your dog. Provide more structure in the home and outside as well. Be consistent in every way to interact with your dog and above all, have patience.
Be as comfortable with the trainer of your dog as you are the teacher of your children. And remember, “Opportunity Barks!”