CAVEAT Now HOWE, you have had your say. Just shut up and let these other people have a chance to say something themselves. Your name calling and insults are not necessary. I have all the information from you I need. I also have my OWN mind and I need to make up MY OWN MIND. I'm sorry but I am not one of your dogs, get it? CAVEAT

The question:
I have a four year old male GSD. He growls at me sometimes. When he growls at me he stares me in the face and lays his ears back. The New Skete books say that the dog should not be allowed to do that. They suggest shaking down the dog by grabing the dog on the sides of his neck and picking him off his front feet, then giving the dog the same sort of treatment the dog would give another if it were challenging him. Namely getting in the dogs face and letting the dog know you are the alpha dog. Well, my dog bit me clearly he felt that I was not convincing enough or he bit me out of fear.
Anyone got ideas on what to do with this dog that might help him to decide that he wants to follow and that he has nothing to fear from me?
CAVEAT Now HOWE, you have had your say. Just shut up and let these other people have a chance to say something themselves. Your name calling and insults are not necessary. I have all the information from you I need. I also have my OWN mind and I need to make up MY OWN MIND. I'm sorry but I am not one of your dogs, get it? CAVEAT
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CAVEAT Now HOWE, you have had your say. Just shut up and let these other people have a chance ... to make up MY OWN MIND. I'm sorry but I am not one of your dogs, get it? CAVEAT

I would try a gentler approach. Nothing in Life is Free. Make him work for everything.. to go out, to come in, to get attention, to eat. He gets NOTHING unless he performs a correct behavior. Soon enough, he will learn who wears the pants in the family. And it won't be HIM.
He lives in a conditional world. YOU, not HIM, make those conditions. GSD's are smart, he'll get the picture.
I have a four year old male GSD. He growls at me sometimes. When he growls at me he stares ... feet, then giving the dog the same sort of treatment the dog would give another if it were challenging him.

But that's not what dog's do. And we aren't dogs. And dog's don't think we are dogs.
Namely getting in the dogs face and letting the dog know you are the alpha dog.

Its really a shame that book is still available. The Monks of New Skete retracted that advice with their later books. It was very bad advice.
Well, my dog bit me clearly he felt that I was not convincing enough or he bit me out of fear.

Fear. You really left him no choice.
Anyone got ideas on what to do with this dog that might help him to decide that he wants to follow and that he has nothing to fear from me?

Change your relationship with him. A leader LEADS. No one likes nor easily follows a leader they fear. At this point you should get some outside help because both you and the dog have some unlearning to do. To get your dog working with you, you need to work with him. 99% of the learning should be fun for him. Being demanding does not mean being harsh. Commanding respect does not require conflict.

A really significant mistake that many people make is not believing that their dog does not understand something. So they take a dog's failure as a refusal and thus become harsh. A good class taught by a good experienced instructor can help you learn to pay better attention to your dog's body language, and in general to see more clearly the effect (good and bad) of what you are doing. An instructor who can see what you are doing can make you instantly aware if old unproductive habits creep in.

I don't believe that "all positive" is realistic or fair to the dog. However, you get further faster if both of you are doing things because it is rewarding and fun than because one of you is afraid not to. So learn to motivate your dog.
See http://dog-play.com/behavior.html for some resources

Diane Blackman
http://dog-play.com /
http://dogplay.com/Shop /
Fear. You really left him no choice.

I don't know, Diane. Had I done that with Shane much more before realizing my error he probably would have bitten me. The only thing that really saved me from that was that he's only 25lb. He was definitely not fearful of me. I upped the ante and he was willing to see my bluff.

We don't really know the whole story with this dog. I agree that training class is in order. Someone that knows how to deal with aggression, both fear and dominance.

-Andrea Stone
Saorsa Basenjis
http://home1.gte.net/res0s12z/
The Trolls Nest - greenmen, goblins & gargoyle wall art www.trollsnest.com
I have a four year old male GSD. He growls at me sometimes. When
he growls at me he stares me in the face and lays his ears back.

What situatons set this off? Is he afraid (say growls if you grab for his collar quickly) or dominating (growls when you want to take a toy)?

Namely getting in the dogs face and
letting the dog know you are the alpha dog. Well, my dog bit me clearly he felt that I was not convincing enough or he bit me out of fear.

You've found out exactly why I feel that approach is not only a poor way to build a relationship with your dog, but down right dangerous. It doesn't sound like your dog was afraid. It sounds like he took up your challenge. He growled, you escalated, he responded. I could be wrong on that though, because you haven't said in what situations your dog is growling at you.

If it's fear, by getting in his face you've only validated it.
Anyone got ideas on what to do with this dog that might help him to decide that he wants to follow and that he has nothing to fear from me?[/nq]If dominant, NILIF. You need to make it clear that you are in charge in a non-confrontational way. Your dog is probably more able and willing to hurt you than you are him. So, change your tactic. Don't meet him on his level, be smarter. If you know what situations set off his dominant behavior, avoid them. This doesnt mean wimping out. FX: If your dog has a favorite place to lay down and growls at you when you pass, or if he's not supposed to be on the couch and growls when you try to shoo him away, don't do those things.

Instead, when you see him there, call him to you. Make him sit. Reward him for complying. Make him obey commands before feeding him or petting him. /You/ decide when it's time for pets and play. If he gets stupid with you, isolate & ignore him. I used to tell Shane to go crate himself, or take him outside. Then I'd ignore him. He'd eventually start sucking up to me. I'd still ignore for a while before finally having him do a sit and petting him as a reward.
If it's fear, you need to figure out his triggers and work to desensitize him to them. Don't make him think you're scary and insane by getting all over him when he's just afraid to start.
It would probably be a Good Idea to consult a dog trainer experienced in aggression (both dominance and fear) who does NOT use the in-your-face method before you really go further. Training classes will help you with your dog no matter what his issue. It'll help build trust and respect. Make sure you know what you're dealing with because the "fixes" are totally different. Either way, you're not a dog. Your dog knows you're not a dog. Trying to "act like a dog" (and btw, the method described is not dog-like) is not really going to work. And besides, do you really want to be a bully?

Good luck

-Andrea Stone
Saorsa Basenjis
http://home1.gte.net/res0s12z/
The Trolls Nest - greenmen, goblins & gargoyle wall art www.trollsnest.com
Well, my dog bit me

I'm not surprised. That happens often enough that most (if not all) the trainers here cringe when we hear of people trying such techniques.

When a dog feels threatened, he can either (1) run away, or (2) attack. You threatened your dog. He chose to attack.
Now let's start out with the fact that your dog knows you're not a dog. :} So your job isn't to be alpha dog, it's to be human leader.
When he growls at me he stares me in the face and lays his ears back.

If he's stiff and unmoving, and staring at you, he is letting you know that he's a hair away from attacking you. This is not a position any dog should take with any human.
This situation is a bomb waiting to go off. I would suggest that you get in-person help as quickly as possible. Where do you live? Maybe somebody here can recommend a behaviorist for you.
Meanwhile, read the material at this site - though it's not enough to solve your problem, it's a very good start:
http://www.k9deb.com/nilif.htm
Canine Action Dog Trainer
http://www.canineaction.com
My Kids, My Students, My Life:
http://hometown.aol.com/dfrntdrums/myhomepage/index.html
Get yourself a copy of "Leader of the Pack" by Nancy Baer & Steve Duno.

Best Wishes!
Yours in GSDs and rescue,
Lea
www.shepherdrescue.org
Anyone got ideas on what to do with this dog that might help him to decide that he wants to follow and that he has nothing to fear from me?

Explanation, not confrontation. The Monks' books are particularly bad on the subject of pack dynamics and dominance. Remember that your dog has been selectively bred for generations to cooperate with humans. He will choose to do so, given the opportunity. Confrontation denies him that opportunity and is a pure threat. He has no choice to escalate his warnings under increasing pressure/confrontation.

When a GSD doesn't immediately cooperate, it is usually because he doesn't understand what is being asked of him. That's where training fits in. Not only does the dog understand more, he also gains trust and confidence through the training process. My recommendation is to get involved in training with this dog. While you are doing so, stop and think about how you've explained to him what you want if he is resistant.
Lynn K.
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If you did that to me I'd probably bite you too. Throw that book away, you are making things worse. You don't deal with aggression by using aggression yourself.
>
Start by being a fair leader yourself. Get into obedience classes with a good position trainer. You need someone in person to help you. In the meantime put your dog on NILIF so he learns to trust you. Right now there isn't any trust or respect. NILIF will help with both of those.
http://k9deb.com/nilif.htm
Lauralyn
My agility dogs:
Cheyenne MXJ MX, AAD
Shylo MXJ MX, AAD
Lakota - the crazy BC!
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