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Dog Training/White German Shepherd Aggression


A little background on my dog Chloe. She was a 8 month old stray when I found her. She then jumped from home to home for 3 months because of her high energy and neuroticism until my parents agreed to keep her. She did well in doggie daycare with other dogs until she repetitively had altercations with a smaller dog over a toy. It ended up with Chloe injuring the other dog. Since then she is very aggressive towards dogs smaller than her.

Chloe has an amazing personality and is very intelligent. She obsesses with shadows and rays of light. She gets very anxious when inside a car as well.

Its been three years that she has lived with us. Two weeks ago she got out of the house and attacked a small dog being walked down the street. The other dog ended up needing $1,500+ emergency surgery. This past week she's gotten exponentially more possessive of me against our other dog named Teal (chocolate lab). A couple days ago they were excited because my parents got home, Teal stepped on Chloe, and they got into a fight. Yesterday I was bringing Teal into my room to sleep and Chloe got aggressive. I tsked her and she responded but as soon as I turned away Chloe attacked Teal. It took me a good minute to pull them apart (because I'm not exactly a big girl) and by then they had both drawn blood.

I'm concerned that Chloe's aggression is getting worse and that I will miscorrect it and potentially make it worse. I don't have to money yet to hire a trainer so do you have any advice about how to respond to/train her?

Hi Caitlin,
I am sorry this happened. I understand you don't have the funds to work with a trainer right now, but you really need to find a private trainer that specializes in positive reinforcement. Work with someone that understands desensitization and counter conditioning. Stay away from choke chains, prong collars and shock collars.

In the meantime, you need to work on better management strategies to keep people and Teal safe.

Once again, I am not suggesting I can fix your problem remotely, but if you practice good management strategies and try the suggestion below, at least you can hopefully buy some time before you can hire a trainer.

I also recommend discussing medication options with your vet. Prozac is the option that I have had the best luck with with my clients.

Use her favorite treats or food such as roasted chicken, dried liver, or dried chicken.

Keep her on leash around people or other dogs and make sure everyone is completely safe.
Watch her head and when she notices the other dog or person, say, "Yes!" and give her a treat.
If she is stressed, even a little, move her away and work at a farther distance.
If she does't pay attention to you, or doesn't take the treat, move her away as well. Those are signs of stress.

It is also important to increase her physical and mental exercise to tire her out, as well as make sure she is not allowed to bark out of the window or behind doors at any point. Any anxiety that she exhibits, will just contribute to her overall anxiety.

Don't forget, if she reacts, move her away. Do not ask her to do anything, jerk her, poke her or anything else. Distance is the only thing that can calm her down at that point.

Good luck.  

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Jeff Millman


I studied with Jean Donaldson in San Francisco in 2002. She is one of the foremost dog trainers anywhere and I sought her out and traveled from Chicago to work with her. I am expert in all phases of dog development in regards to training. I can offer advice from young puppies through adult including aggression, separation anxiety and barking. While aggression is often handled best in person by a skilled positive reinforcement trainer, a lot of advice can be spread in this forum. I have written EBooks on separation anxiety and barking and am currently writing a book about dog aggression.


I have been working as a full-time professional dog trainer since 2002. I only use positive reinforcement techniques and am well-versed in using the clicker. My clients do not have to use a clicker to have success using my techniques. I started teaching 14 classes a week for the first two years while I was building up my private practice, Chicago Paws. Since 2004 I have worked exclusively as a private trainer in the Chicago area. On January 1, 2007 I launched an online version of my business that can be viewed at Watch and Train. At you will find streaming videos for purchase that play directly on your computer and cover a variety of specific topics including house training, jumping, come when called, counter surfing and leash walking.

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Dog training: I graduated with honors from Jean Donaldson's Academy for Dog Trainers in San Francisco, CA. I attended Karen Pryor;s Clicker Expo in Chicago, IL. I attended week-long APDT conferences in Portland Oregon, Orlando, Florida and Oakland, California. I attended a Pat Miller seminar in Chicago, IL. Previous education: Journalism and Fine Arts degree from Indiana University.

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