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2nd unprovoked attack in 2 wks(30 Posts)
I posted just over a week ago how my GSD was attacked by a Weimaraner off-lead (lasted over 2 mins as the owners preferred to shout at us instead). All we could do was hold my boy's front up and wait for it to be over. In the last post I how mentioned PERFECT he is-especially on walks. Dogs can bark right in his face/lunge at him without him so much as blinking.
He often gets compliments and our behaviourist (who we brought in for his barking at strangers when in our home) wrote the following in her report:
"X is a delightful dog"
"When outside of the house X behaves very well around people, in fact he largely ignores them"
"Overall X is a wonderfully balanced dog whose only real issue is around visitors to the house"
Not bragging just painting a picture
Well, yesterday my DP was walking him (on lead) at night when a labrador walking past him went for his neck. It only lasted for 20 secs but our entire is family is extremely upset/concerned. Walking him has gone from a being pure joy to an activity ridden with anxiety.
This can't be a coincidence. Do you think this may be due to the fact that he is entire? Any advice would be great as we are all very upset.
link to previous post:
I've put my heart and soul into this dog. He lacks confidence so we've forked out a small fortune to socialise and train him. All that good work being undone by irresponsible owners. 2nd owner (teen) was on the phone and just said "thanks" and walked on when dp grabbed her dog by the collar
I had a Tervuren Shepherd foster, many years ago, that had similar problems. He was well behaved around people and other dogs and yet a lot of strange dogs he encountered reacted to him with seeming unprovoked agression.
I think there is something in dog-language that is hard for us to see. I did get remarks from people about how his attitude was extremely dominant, without being pushy or aggressive, and that to some dogs this is like a red cape to a bull.
Unfortunately I don't have any advise, except to stay calm when it happens. Was your dog injured in either attack?
It could be because he is entire as I have read that some dogs react to that.
However, it could be something that is happening between the dogs that we just don't see. I was looking up a behaviour that I noticed one dog always doing to all the other dogs at my training group which I found annoying even though it looks like 'nothing' and actually it appears to be a 'rude' behaviour in dog terms which is probably why the more confident dogs tell it off.
If this is impacting your walks I would be very tempted to spend the money on a good dog behaviourist to come on a walk with you to observe how your dog and others react together as often it needs a third pair of eyes to see what is happening.
Sorry OP, I have no advice, just wanted to say how sorry I am that this is happening to your boy.
I also have an entire GSD, who I put my heart and soul into, so I understand the frustration when other people’s lack of care set you back 😞
We have got a behaviourist who we brought in to help with his barking at strangers who walk past our house. She observed us doing our typical walk routine and she said he was a pure joy to walk and did exactly what you would want (took instruction well, walked away when asked, mirrored other dogs energy levels etc). I included some of her comments (from her report) in my original post.
Our behaviourist has said he is on the timid side but ""overall X is a wonderfully balanced dog whose only real issue is around visitors to the house"
You may be missing some of his body language. Could he be challenging other dogs? Although your behaviourist shouldn’t have missed that. I know my dog challenges others that approach him then he runs round them because he’s scared 😂 they sort of keep eye contact with the approaching dog, ears forward, a small wrinkle on their head. It’s sort of goading I suppose. It’s hard because as humans we just aren’t as tuned in to body language!
Our dog seems to be really unpopular with other dogs too
We have been told it's his play style - basically getting up in other dogs' grills and having poor dog social skills. But to me it doesn't look like anything different from things other dogs do
How long ago did the behaviourist observe him? My dogs behaviour for lots of things changes over time so unless it's recent you might want to consider thinking about consulting them (or someone else).
He is on the cautious side and will approach dogs quite tentatively and gives plenty of dogs a wide berth (never goes bounding in). There have also been many times when he's in his own world sniffing along and won't even notice them or care.
The behaviourist observed for about 30-40 minutes and there were plenty of interactions with all sorts of dogs (this was about three weeks ago).
Up until 2 weeks ago we had nothing but positive experiences with him always acting like a gentleman- to the point where strangers would compliment him and us. It's very bizarre how quickly things seem to have deteriorated. For almost three years we thought we had this cracked.
All I can think of is either:-
1. His behaviour has changed
2. The behaviourist didn't spot the issue (I guess some are better than others)
3. It's because he is entire
4. Bad luck
We're still in the middle of trying to solve his issues at home.
Thanks Bitey for your input. Not sure which of those options I would prefer.
I will say though that with the first dog my boy had his head to the ground sniffing and didn't even spot him coming, so I'm not sure how he have instigated it.
The behaviourist is due to skype me soon.
Also both owners have been shocking in their responses. Oh and I didn't mention in my posts today but the first dog who attacked my dog was described as "evil" and a "menace" by a dog walker who saw the whole thing. The dog has a nasty reputation. The dog walker said the aggressive dog went for one of his, which makes me question if it was something to do with my boy's body language.
Are both attacks in roughly the same walking area? There is a park which I would love to use but it unfortunately has a few idiot dog owners so I avoid it and walk in forest areas where the owners tend to have control over their dogs.
BiteyShark No these areas are at opposite ends of town. We haven't returned to the first spot.
Just spoke to behaviourist as she's fairly confident it isn't to do with anything he gives off as he tends to keep himself to himself. She's speculated it may be due to his testosterone and the fact other dogs perceive German Shepherds (and similar breeds) as threatening.
She suggested we look into getting a device which lowers testosterone and mimics the effects of castration.
If the first dog has a habit of doing this, then there wasn't likely anything your dog did that the other dog responded to. The first dog sounds like it has been poorly socialised. Perhaps it's just bad luck that you encountered two such dogs in a short time.
I found this:
Point 5 may be of use to you. You can put an open umbrella between your dog and the dog who wants to attck you dog.
My parents dog got attacked 4 times in a few months. Other dogs would lunge for him, growl, snarl etc. It was very weird and frightening for us, I stopped walking him after I was there for one attack by an American bulldog I thought it was going to kill him! It was shaking him by the neck and nothing me or the owner did stopped it. Now he's castrated he gets a totally different reaction from other dogs.
This may sound harsh I don't mean it to.
It could be you that is the problem and not your dog. You need to be able to recognise the body language of other dogs and take action as required and before the attack. eg cross the road, turn around etc.
Is you behaviourist talking about chemical castration for your dog?
Some aggressive or reactive dogs do appear to pick on less confrontational dogs as the reactive dog aggression is due to fear, so it could be that with your dog but if your dog was sniffing the ground taking no notice of the other dog - I would suggest it was the other dogs issue.
Your poor dog is having a bad week
I suspect you have just been very unlucky but my entire dog ( still entire on vets and behaviourists advice) gets a lot of negative attention from other dogs. It's a bit of a vicious circle as it's now made him nervous as a result but castrating him and removing the testosterone is likely to make him more nervous and more reactive.
CaptSkippy Thanks for the link, really like the idea of the umbrella for peace of mind if nothing else.
The first dog gave us really no time to react, we saw him (about 10m's in front of us after turning a corner), held onto our dog and almost instantaneously this dog had charged at us.
And then on Thursday my husband was walking home on a gravel path between a row of houses (that have large drives and are gated) and a hedge so he was very much restricted.
But I think we will seek out places which are far more open and secluded- perhaps avoiding woods altogether. Yesterday's walk was almost a military operation with me keeping watch in front and reporting back to the boys behind!
The first attack it sounds like it was the other dogs issue and nothing at all to do with your dog.
The second could have been an unlucky coincidence (maybe that dog was fear aggressive of gsds due to a previous bad experience with one) or it could be that your dog was a little more nervy than normal after the first attack, which can actually cause other dogs to attack.
Personally I don't really believe being entire makes other dogs attack - I've known many entire males that were never attacked and I currently have 2 entire males, that have never been attacked (except the off lead black lab who charged into my oblivious on lead cavalier and sent him flying but that was the lab being out of control hyper rather than an aggressive attack).
You don't mention any injuries so it sounds more like a scuffle than an actual attack. I think you've been quite lucky that this has only happened twice. I have a lovely German shepherd who is similar to yours. He is frequency approached aggressively by small dogs like Chihuahuas and Jack russels.
It sounds funny but it's not. My dog is always on the lead and these dogs are always off lead with their irresponsible owners doing nothing. Both the incidents you describe involved useless owners. I don't think it's anything your dog is doing.