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Dog acting agressive towards my horses and cats

October 11th, 2008, 12:17 AM
Hi there, I'll give a brief version of the story. I have 3 German Shepherds. Two of which I raised from puppies, the other we acquired at 9 months. The first two are always with me, follow me everywhere, the 3rd is almost always off by himself. We live on a 10 acre horse farm, and I've had the 3rd dog for 2 years, the other 2 for 5 years. The 3rd dog has started being aggressive towards the horses, (charging the fence barking/stalking). He gets reprimanded repeatedly. Then he started chasing/stalking the cats (the cats have been there all along). Today he actually attacked one of my cats. I am at a loss, I don't know what to do. I love this dog, but I'm really scared he's going to kill my cats, or bite my horses. He does bark at people when they come on the property, but has never attempted to bite or harm a person or another dog. If anyone has any suggestions I'd gladly try them. This dog has been very hard to train from the beginning, and maybe I missed something, I just don't know.

October 11th, 2008, 02:08 AM
Do you know the dog's history from before you got him? Have you taken him to obedience school at all?

October 11th, 2008, 09:50 AM
Hi, yes we know his history. My husbands brother owned him. When he was a pup he was taken to obedience classes ( I won't say which one because I think it's a load of......) He knows how to sit, come, stay, no....he knows the commands, it's a matter of getting him to listen when he doesn't want to.

October 11th, 2008, 12:56 PM
This dog is an independent soul - this could be his nature or it could be how he was raised by your BIL. Your other 2 dogs learned to look to you for guidance and leadership - they are used to being connected to you at all times. He never learned to fully connect to anyone - dog or person - and his independence is shining through. He is trying to take charge of the horses and cats in his turf - he is trying to make that last ditch effort to be king. The horses and cats are easy to terrorize so he takes full advantage and he feels powerful doing it.

The best thing you can do is put him on the leash and attach it to you - this is inside the house as well as outside. This is going to take him out of 'recess' - time to do as he pleases - and call his own shots. It gets you to engage his mind and let him know that you are incharge. You need to ask a lot of him and start working on a big vocabulary - 30-40 words. Then you need to practice his vocabulary with distractions and at distances. How good can he be around squirrels, horses, cats, rabbits, chickens, and at what distances away from you - 5, 10, 40 feet? He could very well be brilliant and is craving a job to do.

If my teenager was causing trouble with the kids in town and being mean to his siblings I wouldn't give him more freedom to keep repeating bad behavior - I would keep him close to me and help him learn to make better choices. Same rules apply to your dog.

One very important word for him to learn is 'leave it' as this will apply to the horses and the cats. The leash will empower you so that you reach success quickly.

October 11th, 2008, 03:18 PM
Thank you! I was thinking very close to the same lines! I spent all day today constantly talking to him and keeping him close to me. I kept a leash with me, and used it to enforce my command when it was ignored. I haven't been doing it in the house. He generally lies down and relaxes inside. I will keep trying this, and hopefully it works. I cannot deal with him attacking or hurting my or others animals. I think you are totally right about him trying to be king of something. He certainly won't try it with humans or other dogs, and he is low in the pecking order with my other 2 dogs. Thanks so much again! I welcome any other suggestions too!

Edited to add: He seemed to enjoy being with me all day, and soaked up the praise I gave him everytime he listened! He is a smart dog!

October 11th, 2008, 08:49 PM
Sounds like you are on the right road to success - congratulations!

The wonderful thing is you are already noticing how happy he is to be connected to you and communicating with you. Praise is the best treat ever!

October 11th, 2008, 09:44 PM
Thanks again. Although it's a tough price to pay, and unfortunately my cat is still at the vets, and I don't know if she'll live. Hindsight is 20/20. I should've done something about it when he first started charging the fence at the horses. I just never thought he'd actually hurt something. I pray my kitty makes it through, and I hope I do right by the dog and continue to have the patience it takes. I do love my dogs, but I also love my kitties, and horses, and every animal here!! LOL Ok, I'm finished rambling...

October 11th, 2008, 10:35 PM
I am so sorry I didn't realized the cat was in such bad shape.

Just as some inspiration (but not to say the challenges will be easy) - we have a dog who went after our cat and at first, we had to separate them a fair amount for the cats sake. Now the dog lives with 6 cats and even sleeps with them.

October 12th, 2008, 12:04 AM
What confuses me is, we've had the barn cats for a year, and our house cat for 2 years. So it's not like we just acquired the cats. He's lived with them the whole time. Sigh...hopefully I can change things, and we can all live in harmony. I do really appreciate you're insight and suggestions. All I can do is keep trying. Here's to teaching an old dog new skills!! (he's only 3 LOL). As for my precious kitty, I'll find out in 2 days if I have to put her down or not. It appears he grabbed her and possibly injured her spinal cord. She has no use of her back legs. The vet is hoping that major anti-inflammatories will bring the swelling down. Crossing my fingers. However, I won't let her suffer. If it doesn't work, I will say my sad goodbyes.

October 12th, 2008, 12:16 AM
I am very sorry to hear about your cat :sad: ....I hope that she is able to pull through. :fingerscr :goodvibes:

Has your dog always been like this since you got him or is it a recently acquired behaviour? Has he been to the vet for blood and urine tests? Perhaps there is a medical issue that is causing him to react this way. :shrug:

October 12th, 2008, 10:02 AM
He has not always been this way. When we got him, he was actually terrified of women. Always hid behind my husband. It took me almost a year to fully win his trust. This charging/stalking thing started I guess about 10 months ago. I am going to visit kitty today, wish her luck!

October 12th, 2008, 01:41 PM
Sending lots of good luck for sure. I hope to hear that your kitty is on the road to recovery. :pray: :fingerscr :goodvibes:

October 13th, 2008, 12:07 PM
Oh this really strikes a chord with me as we also had a dog that was aggressive to our cat. Right from the start and only our cat. She was fine with other cats, as long as we did not pet them. We kept them separated, and alive, for 10 years till the dog died of old age.

I pray your cat is all right.

But your dog, hmmm. Have you had a Vet check your dog over? A similar case was in our paper years ago with a GR attacking a boarding kennel employee, seemingly out of the blue. It was put down, an autopsy conducted and it had a brain tumour. The conclusion was the poor dog was acting out of pain or changes effected in it's brain by the tumour. Something to think about?