Help. My dog is obsessed with my son

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Jonathan's- Guardian Angel
Barked: Thu Apr 23, '09 11:15am PST 
My 2 yr old germand Shepherd/Kacee is so obsessed with my 4 yr old son Jonathan she is also very protective of him. Kacee no longer sees me as the alpha female only my son. I need to know if anyone knows how to get me back to being the Alpha Female she only comes when I call her if my son cames first. She has gone thru my glass window and also broke a few screens that have been open b/c my son was outside and she could not longer see him. She will not let any kids around him I have to put her away to assure the kids will not get bite. She is good when my son is not around, but once he is around she no longer listen to me only my son. Please help me with some good training tips. thinking
Sirius Black

Always there to- guide the way.
Barked: Thu Apr 23, '09 3:05pm PST 
Since none of us are there we can only guess to what is going on. First and for-most you need to see a REAL trainer. Not Petco. Not someone you know who dabbles. This is a real problem and it's good that you realize that and are addressing it as soon as you can.

In my opinion it isn't that she sees your son as dominate, but that she doesn't see you as the care giver and is stepping in to protect your son. If your dog doesn't see you as taking the roll, they will step in if they have to, even if by nature they do not want the role of caregiver. The alpha does not need to be protected and it is their job of protecting the rest of the pack (based on what our trainer has said, and several books I've read only). Some additional socialization so she doesn't see everyone around as a threat might be a good idea too.

Who feeds your dog? Does she get enough exercise? A tired dog is typically a good dog. I DO NOT agree with the dog whisperer and if you attempt to do quick, aggressive maneuvers like an alpha roll on a GSD that is caught off guard there is a strong chance you'll end up nursing a bite wound. This CAN be accomplished without being overly aggressive. Bad trainers often say you have to show the dog "who's boss" which only means beat the dog 'til it's scared of you but this method doesn't actually accomplish ANYTHING.

I guess overall, contact a trainer for a consultation. This can be expensive (I'm a grad student so I know about money being tight and can understand that), but the road your dog is going down is going to end with a bite and even a potential euthanasia depending on where you live.

AKA Midnight- Bandit
Barked: Thu Apr 23, '09 7:25pm PST 
Hi, I think Sirius is right about Kacee thinks your son needs protecting. I think many female GSDs have very strong maternal instinct and they decide on their own that it's their job to "protect little human"

I too have a 4 year old son and Sasha (2 yo female GSD) is very protective of him. Sasha is normally very focused but she gets side-tracked easily whenever my son cries or screams.

The command that really helped us was "watch me". Whenever she gets side tracked, we use the command to redirect her focus to me.

To train, I held treats inches from my face and say "Watch me" . when she looked at me, I rewarded her with praise and treat. Once she mastered the command, I used the command without treat, but still holding my right hand up pointing my nose. Praise her when she looked at me.

Good luck!!!


AKA Baby Face
Barked: Fri Apr 24, '09 12:24pm PST 
I don't think you need to worry about you not being an alpha.
I think the dog simply adores him and is expressing the love through trying to be with him every sec.
I think if he goes outside it would be good to buy an extra large crate and put her in. It won't be a bad thing, he can toss a tiny tid bit of food in every time.
Then when he gets done playing with the kids she can come out.
Also, get her out and train her. Use food like diced chicken. Get her around good people and good dogs on leash get the socialization in right away and make sure she is getting the right amount of daily exercise. The son can also do some positive training since the dog is very attentive to him. Have him get the book by Sheila Booth, purely and positive training and work at the basic stuff slowly working on each thing for one week. Will be good for him to have a totally cool obedient dog by the end of summer. All the kids will be wanting to go with him/dog on walks and stuff. Buy the dog a back pack so they can take some pop with them.
My dog only listens to me. She is big mommy's dog. But, I raised her and provided every detail of fun. Sometimes this breed attaches to one person, it may be the person personality, their ora, their smell, it is hard to say, but this could be a very good thing. The son could enter the dog into 4-h or other programs and win some cool stuff. And when he gone try to bathe, feed, walk, train the dog, the dog can learn to be more liberal with you. I noticed Collies are like this to. They attach to one person and don't listen to anyone else, but are very sweet to entire household.
Sirius Black

Always there to- guide the way.
Barked: Fri Apr 24, '09 2:18pm PST 
Dieta's right, GSDs are known to attach to one person, though they maybe okay with others, that person is "theirs."