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I am sure this can be fixed. Did you call a vet? The foam roller comment almost made me pee! I will see what I can find out too. It sounds like this was kind of a freak accident that happened quickly. She must have just "punched" just right. Maybe he learned his lesson!


I just sent you an article but is sounds like we both need to get Larry Lachman's book, Dogs on the Couch!


Our dog has some territorial/dominance issues too, we spent months in training and learned a lot about the doggie-psycho-babble...which really does work, it will take some effort on your part (the entire family really). Our dog is a 30lb mix so we kind of did everything halfway, and picked and choosed what we worked on with him. Since you have a large German Shepherd I would suggest working with a professional trainer. It is amazing how a little bit of training can go a long way! Good luck!

Catherine A.

I'm a fairly new follower to your blog so I apologize if you have already mentioned this. We had the same problem at our house. Do you take Shindand out for runs or multiple long walks? We had the same problem and were able to solve it by increasing our dog's exercise. Sound simple but it really worked. We thought our younger dog (a 10 month old puppy at the time), was getting enough exercise but apparently, he was bored and acting out. We did single dog runs, pack dog style hikes or walking twice a day. Our son even took a dog rollerblading where the dog pulled him. Good luck! I hope you can find something that brings peace back to your home!
Oh, by the way - When we were going through this, I thought there is NO way I can give more time to exercising the dogs. But a friend wisely pointed out the time is nothing compared to the time I put into separating the dog and stressing myself out. It was temporary too, we are now down to one good long walk a day.


Your foam roller may be the best tool that you have to fix this problem!!! When you acquired your second dog you instantly upset your house holds pack. You the ALPHA have responsible for figuring out a new one. Your BEATA Shelby is simply doing what she can to defend her place within her pack from a young upstart and you can do one of two things.
First you can let them figure this out on their own which I wouldn't recommend for you, your family or your pocketbook. The second is to establish dominance within your pack which comes in two parts. This is where your foam roller comes in when they start to fight bad you need to wade in between them and start swinging and swinging hard. I am not advocating beating your dogs as it may seem at first. What you are doing is showing who is in charge you and will get to the point where just raising your voice will make them think twice. The second part of this is giving you pup something to do with all of his energy. Think of him like a bad two year old when you can see in their eyes that the next twenty minuets are going to be hell. What I would recommend to expend all of this excess energy is ALOT of obedience training so much that when you think your done go 50% more (it's also something that your whole family should be involved in) don't stop when they start seeing results. Preferably with someone you have checked out as much as you would as someone who is coming into your home and doing some contracting.
Being the owner of a large bread has responsibilities. What you and your family see as an overactive puppy that is just playing can terrify someone walking down the street (especially a German Shepard) and all it takes is a honestly playful nip for your dog to be taken from family.
At least you have a pup that has been brought up in a loving home, my family got our last dog (some kind of terrier) from the shelter and suspect it was taken away from its mom way to early and didn't learn all of the social graces that you use to train your dog. I was such that the dog didn't even get the submit response (usually when you put a dog on their back with your hand in the chest so they can't move they go limp). Four years latter we just now got her to be what most people would call a good dog.


I am having the same issue with our 10 week old lab puppy (Penny) and our 12.5 year old 30 pound mixed breed (Kraemer). Penny wants to play and is constantly in Kraemer's face barking at him, nipping at him, just annoying the crap out of him. Kreamer has bit Penny a few times but luckily she has not been seriously hurt. Our first attempt at a solution will be taking Penny to puppy classes at our local Petsmart. I hope she becomes better behaived in all areas. Good luck!


Definitely intensive training, exercise, and when they fight your family needs to raise their voice at them. The dogs should be the last ones on the totem pole and they need to know that. I'm having my own issues with our beagle, but thankfully it is not anything aggressive, maybe just passive-aggressive. It takes time and patience and that can be difficult when you just want a peaceful home.


Yikes.....time to call Cesar Milan!


My best friend's husband is a professional dog trainer and I swear the man works miracles. Honest to goodness miracles. A bit of professional advice will go a long way, I'm sure of it. : ) Oh and get referneces before you write that check!!! : )


Wow! What a total bummer. I bet that was an expensive fight!! I’m no dog expert but I think the biggest problem might be that you’ve got one girl and one boy. I think dogs get along better when they’re both the same sex, or raised together at the same time. I don’t know… Vicious dog fights scare the hell out of me (We’ve gone camping before with friends and family and well over ten dogs and you can imagine how that goes. There’s always one jackass who has an aggressive dog and refuses to leash him. Ugh. My husband brings an extra chain now for just such an occasion. Chain up the problem and let the others enjoy themselves). Anyways, back to vicious dog fights, they scare me too much and with kids it’s even worse. I’m more scared of something going terribly crazy with the dogs fighting and getting after one of the kids than I am upset giving a dog away. That’s just me, but I say better safe than sorry. If those two are always agitated at each other it’s just going to continue to get worse and god forbid one of your kids or a neighbor gets caught in the middle. I’d be giving the german shepherd away. I’ve known so many non-aggressive labs (and a couple that were aggressive) but every one of the german shepherds I’ve known has had a problem playing with other dogs and that breed is just more intimidating to me. My gosh our neighbor has one, leaves it in the front yard (fenced, but only 3’ fence) and every time we walk or ride a bike near the fence that dog is scary crazy. More often than not the owners or one of their kids come out and have to hang onto his leash and tell him repeatedly to cool it. I’m just not crazy about that. We have a big lab too, but he plays in the back, not out in the front.

Last summer we had a friend who’s two year old daughter was attacked by a dog – her grandma’s dog. No warning, no signs, totally not expected and this little girl ended up getting a plate in her head, she almost lost her eye and has had to have numerous facial surgeries. They are lucky she survived. It’s just heartbreaking. Ever since that happened I am just more and more afraid of what ANY dog is capable of.

Our friends had an old blind shepherd like dog (it was white and fluffy) and a german shepherd. Both dogs were indoor dogs but they slept out in the garage. Well one day our friend was leaving for work at 6:00 AM, opened the garage and the german shepherd had apparently attacked the older white dog, dismembering it and there were pieces and stains all over the garage. They aren’t sure why it happened, the vet thought maybe the german shepherd could sense the other dog was getting sick (as it was an old dog already and blind). Who knows, but gruesome.

And I’m positive there are just as many stories out there about wonderful, kind, caring german shepherds too. I’m just sayin….


I don't know much about Shepherds, but I agree with the exercise thing and giving him something to do. Dogs in general seem to get into more mischief when they are bored or have a ton of energy. He is a puppy and has a lot of growing up to do still before he grows out of it. Obedience classes train you to train the dog, which they may help. Lot of those are them teaching you the basics - come, sit, stay, lay, how to walk on a leash. I don't think it has much to do with different gender dogs. When I was a kid, we had two male dogs and there was a dominance issue between them. The obvious alpha dog, who was pretty docile and big was chewed on by the other male, also quite a bit smaller (both the same breed). My parents ended up getting rid of the smaller snippy dog because he was the instigator. Cesar Milan, I have watched his show. He has a real good understanding of dogs and can break some pretty bad habits. He has books and videos as well. It is a tough decision to make. What does your vet say? I would do some digging around on the net and do some researching....


We're in a similar situation - 95 lb Anatolian Shepherd female puppy and older male golden retriever. Dogs of the same sex are definitely more likely to fight than opposite so you've got that going for you. The maintenance of alpha is not a bunch of psycho babble - definitely greet first, feed first, etc. Shepherds are very different than retrievers (we're learning that too) and they require a LOT of training - but the good news is they're super smart. Shindand appears to be playing and doing shepherd-y things and Shelby's letting him know what's okay and what's not (that's what dogs do!) - unfortunately she struck a nerve this time (or an artery). But like you said, this used to end quickly but as he's getting older, he's pushing back to try to create some dominance of his own. You definitely should find a trainer who can come to your home and see the two dogs (and all their people) in their environment. You have some work ahead of you, but I would be VERY surprised to hear you have to get rid of one of the dogs. And please don't automatically assume German Shepherd = bad/aggressive. You can find bad dogs in every breed. German shepherds are one of the most loyal, intelligent dogs out there and they are great family pets. Responsible pet owners will get them proper training (education on both parts will go a very long way!) and they will repay you by being your best friend for the rest of their lives. Good luck, have patience! Keep us updated!

Marsha LL

Oh - my heart goes out to you. I own a Rottweiler & a collie mix - the collie is our "older" dog. And, yes, we've dealt with similar situations, though none as scary as yours. I can only imagine how scary it was. We've had lots of experiences with dogs in our house & I can say that one of the things will help the most is for you to require Shindan to be respectful of the older dog. I remember watching at a shelter once --- a wild tiny puppy was meeting an older dog. The puppy was hyper, tail wagging like crazy & jumping all over the big dog. The big dog was clearly not pleased, and kept trying to turn his back - trying to walk away. The workers tried to get the big dog to tolerate it... finally a trainer came by and corrected everyone. He said: I see a grown dog trying to say "leave me alone" and no one is teaching that puppy to respect that dog. You are all sitting her about to watch a catastrophe happen." He worked with the puppy just for 15 minutes and corrected it - wouldn't let it jump on the dog, wouldn't let it bother him at all. When the puppy was quiet, the older dog became interested and initiated the relationship on his own terms. I will never forget observing that and I learned to think about the older dog's mindset and body language.

When a puppy comes into a house, it's easy to let them "play" with the older dog --- and that can be okay at the beginning. Lots of dogs (but not all) are patient with puppies, and grant them some grace... they discipline them progressively, getting firmer & firmer till the pup "gets it." The older dog has to assert itself more and more to hold its place in the pack. We've learned that we have to teach the puppy to respect the older dog from the very beginning -- that while all the people in the house are "above" the dogs in terms of status, the older dog ranks above the puppy. This is especially important if the puppy is going to end up being a big dog. Breed behaviors cannot be rationalized in terms of allowing the pup to irritate the older dog. Rather, breed behaviors should be leveraged to the dog's advantage - to find the things he loves to do to keep him busy & happy.

Like many of your other posters, I think a professional trainer is a necessity along with tons of exercise. My experience also has taught me that yes, make the pup defer to the older dog --- the older dog is greeted first, fed first --- each dog should get alone time with the people.... etc.

I know this is a tough situation and I think that if you get a good trainer, you may see amazing results.


I'm just a new dog owner as of 3 years ago...and Cesar Milan was my virtual trainer and he always says 'exercise, discipline then affection'.

Shindand might be the running partner you never knew you needed.......A tired dog is a good dog.

Everyone has given you good advice...keep us posted.


Major dog lover here saying it's time to rehome Shindad. If he's that persistent and aggressive, you don't want to take the chance of one of the kids getting in the middle of a fight. I volunteer for a rescue and say he needs to be rehomed to a home without other dogs.

Kim Hastie

OK. here is my 2 cents:

1. Caesar Milan knows his stuff. Go to the library and check out his books. However, it is easier to understand what he means by watching him, so I would also tape his tv shows so you can see him in action. He is correct when he says that Americans humanize dogs too much.

Exercise, discipline, affection in that order only!!!!!'

2. I'm with the above posters on exercise. I would turn Shindad into your new running partner. Dogs need more exercise than you think (some do) and letting them outside in the backyard to play doesn't count. As Caesar Milan says, their basic primal instinct is to get up with the pack and hunt for their food, which means perhaps hours and miles of travel before finding prey. Then the pack would kill and eat the prey, followed by a natural resting phase.

So in our modern world, I would get the kids off to school. Then I would run or walk the dog for a substantial time, followed by a meal. You should then notice that the dog will go into a resting period. You should also notice less mischief. A tired dog is a well behaved dog.

3. I think a good trainer would be a great idea. However, be carfeul who you hire. There are alot of bad trainers out there who could do more harm than good. I work at a Humane Society in Michigan and they have some good trainers there, perhaps you could contact an organization out by you .

4. I adopted a 6 month old hound mix 2 years ago from the humane society. She weighed 40 pounds at the time. I followed Caesar Milan advice quite a bit. Every day, no matter the weather, I take her for a 45 minute walk. She wears a backpack carrying a total of 4 pounds of weight, 2 pounds on each side of her back.(10% of her body weight) The extra weight tires her out more than a walk without it would. She is an incredibly wellbehaved and happy dog when she gets a regulkar walk. As long as I give her one walk a day, along with lots of outdoor time in the backyard, she is great. If I start skipping too many walks, she will get restless pretty quickly. If I know we will be leaving her home in her crate for a block of time, I will time her walk accordingly. For instance if we are leaving at 4pm, I will take her for a walk at 2pm. 1 hour after the walk, I will feed her, let her outside to relieve herself, and then she will be completely happy in her crate until I get back, meaning that she is happy to take a nice long nap. I firmly believe in the exercise ritual. It really does work. They need to drain off the physical energy they have.

4. It sounds like you have an active puppy and that he is restless. I think it will take some trial and error to figure out how many walks he needs per day and how long each should be. Try it for at least a couple of weeks before deciding how it is going. It has to become a regular thing in order for you to see if it is working. Also, routines work as well with dogs as they do with children. Dogs feels comforted when they know what to expect. Regular walks for dgos are like regular naptimes for babies:)

5. Yes, we do attract an undue amount of attention because of the backpack... we get stopped by people all the time...children want to pet her, moms smile at us from their cars, grandmas stop to ask me a million questions about what is in her backpack, men stare at us like we are from outer space, and teenage boys call us bad names as they drive by in their cars:( But I faithfully swear by the backpack....make him carry a couple of water bottles around in it.

6. Gradually, once you have him walking well, you could start taking pack walks with both dogs, which reinforces you as the alpha dog of the group.

Whew.....sorry so long winded. I am passionate about animals and just want to help!!
Trust me, the walks should help and running would be even better. The only reason I don't run with mine is because i loathe running, lol, and I'm afraid she would kill me if I tried to teach her to run alongside my bike.

Does your husband run? Maybe he caould run with him in the morning??

Good luck and please let us know how it turns out!!

Kim (by the way, how the heck did he get a skull fracture???)


Jen Spain

I grew up with two German Shepherds as our family pets. One of them had been purchased from a breeder, and the other was rescued from her previous owner who thought she was vicious when she was chained up and tried to attack a cat that was teasing her. She wasn't vicious, but she did need a lot of training and a lot of exercise and attention. They were great pets with our family (there were three of us kids, ranging in age from 4-newborn) and were with us for the rest of their natural lives with no problem. They were never aggressive with each other, maybe because they were the same breed and both female, but they were trained extensively. All of us knew the dog "commands" that we were supposed to use when they weren't behaving properly, and because of their training they listened. All of this is kind of a long-winded way of saying I'm on the side of those who say obedience training!


Hi Karen... I can only imagine how scary that must have been for you. We have 3 doberman pinscher dogs, and have always somewhat followed the CM philosophy of exercise, discipline then affection. With the addition of each dog to the family we have participated in at least 1 set of obedience classes with a trusted trainer, as I find that that gets us back into the mind set and keeps us treating things the same. I agree with the many others above that tired dogs are happy dogs & we take all 3 out each day for at least an hour in the morning and another hour + in the evening. In our home, my husband & I (no kids) are the alphas, followed next in order by our 12 year old male, Harley. When we introduced Milo, our second male, to our home he was 8 months old and had been an only dog chained out in someone's yard - we made sure he knew his place in the pack and we did everything we could to let Harley 'maintain' his higher status such as feeding him first etc. Milo adjusted mostly happily. Just a month ago (knowing Harley's time with our family is limited) we adopted Gigi, our 6 month old female, and she is pushing everyone's boundaries... we have started obedience with her, which is also reinforcing our daily training with the other 2... she has to realize she is at the bottom of the pack, if you will. We have daily struggles where she challenges her 'brothers', especially the eldest, Harley. For the most part we haven't had to intervene, as Harley flashes his teeth and snarls but will not bite. He will eventually get up and walk away. On the odd occasion that she has followed him once he has decided to leave, we have intervened to redirect Gigi to a more appropriate activity.

Anyhow, sorry that is somewhat long winded and maybe not all that helpful, but I thought I would share our life in the hope you might find it helpful.



As a kid my neighbour had a lab and shepard, Goldie and Shep, and they got along famously so it can work.
For me the number 1 question before you invest a lot of time and/or money in them...are you always going to feel 100% safe when the dogs are with the kids and your not close by?

I will also ask for permission to chuckle at the last sentence xxx


I think the first problem is, you have to understand that neither Shelby nor Shindad are the alpha dog. That's YOU! And you have to set limits. Clear and unambiguous? Do you have close to you a Dogtrainer, who trains on Cesar Milan's methods? Search someone like this. Cesar has more than 30 dogs and there is no fighting among them. They know he is the pack leader. Dogs need a pack leader they want him. Dogs do not think like we do. Do not give up, take over the pack, then it is doesn't matter of whether they are male or female. I started last year, the same exercise with my dog ​​and it's worth it. She is so happy and relaxed, since I cite the pack. Because she knows I protect her and I demand that they comply with the rules. And since a week, I've taken a 5 month old white shepherd in foster care. She makes the same things as your Shindad with my Labbi mix dog do. After a few days the little one has figured now that I do not want her to do so. Please excuse my terrible English. It is long since I have been writing such a long text on englsich ... Best wishes and you can do that, Kerstin

Jane La Pierre

I totally agree with Wendy, have a trainer come to your home. Training is always the right answer!


Oh my! I'm so sorry you have to go through this. I'm no help, as I really just prefer cats. I hope that you are able to fix your problem soon. I'll be praying for you and your family.


I'm with everyone that recommended Cesar. We have a mid-sized model mixed breed, 14 yrs. old, maybe 50 lbs. and a big dumb 5 yr. old, 80 lb. Golden Retriever. The little one will not put up with any crap from the big one. Unless she wants a soft place to sleep, then she will curl up between his legs and go to sleep, and he won't move a muscle because he's so scared. I am sadly not the alpha dog, I'm probably what ever comes at least 3 away from Alpha, and Beta.
Poor Shindad looks so sad.


Wow, I knew you were in for a lot of opinions on this one. It's like asking how to raise kids, so many perspectives! I don't the Shindad was being agressive, just persistant in his herding. I would agree with find a professional to work with so it doesn't continue to escalate. Shin is young for the amount of running reccomended, I would consult the vet on the amount that is safe before his growth plates are closed. The herding dogs need a "job" so training or finding an dog sport or activity for him would help with all of that energy.
Keep us posted!

Maureen F

I have had many rescue dogs and one of them was a German Shepard (great, smart & loyal breed). First question to ask if Shindad is fixed? Getting him fixed should help with some of that excitement/aggression. As others have mentioned exercising him to release some of that stored up enegry will work wonders. Ceaser Milan says an hour a day walk, run, treadmill, pulling a roller blader - I have seen and heard poeple running their dogs while riding a bike - training them very well to be able to do these without killing the rider of course. You might hav eto try and intervene before things escalate. If you know he gets super excited leaving the car, keep him leased. Oh that picture breaks my heart he looks so sad and cute at the same time - now just play the music from the Sara Mclaughlin commercials and I will start crying lol ! No need to think you have to find him a new home. He just needs to get rid of some of that energy and has been doing that on Shelby. Good luck.

Christine Edwards

My two female dogs (Australian Shepherds) will go at it from time-to-time. We spent Thanksgiving morning at the Emergency Vet one year because the one got nipped near her eye. Head wounds will bleed a lot, like you found out. Not wanting a repeat situation, we looked into a trainer and settled with Bark Busters ( They're not cheap (I think it was $1000 for the two dogs), but you get lifetime training. So as longs as it takes to fix the situation, or if new behaviors develop, they will come out and work with you. I only did minimal amount of training, and while they're not perfect, they are much better than before and we usually can squash any fights before they get out of hand. Your dogs need to realize you are the Alpha, not one of them. Little changes will affect bigger behaviors. My two cents. ;-)

Aimee B. in Oregon

Shelby IS THE NUMBER ONE DOG! Always give her attention, whatever it may be, first. Shinedad exercise, exercise, exercise and training. Did I mention exercise? Train him to fetch and he can exercise without you having to take him on a leash anywhere.

Good luck!

Aimee B. in Oregon

too add.. you are the pack leader so you must discipline Shin. for being mean to Shel.... this and what I posted before is what has worked for us with our 70lb pointer and 180lb mastiff. I use the words "shame on you" and a mean look and the guilty dog puts head down...

Diane Johnson


They are dogs, not people, they do not think like we is a constant all their lives and should be consisitant with every person in the family !! I am raising my second doberman and my Miss Tilly is about 1.9 years old and came from the streets of Davis California.

Nancy McPeak

I had this issue with two female golden retrievers. We also have a male who just looked baffled by the whole thing. Karen, do NOT get in the middle of a dog fight. They are crazed at the time and you could be seriously hurt. The agression just escalated. I wrote to Cesar and nothing! We had blood-letting fights in our house. We tried everything. We ended up sending our two females away with a trainer for two weeks. He brought them back all proud with his success and he didn't get out of the backyard and they were fighting. It was all about territory and dominance. It was my vet who suggested I find a home for the new female. She has a great home and peace was re established in my home. It was heart breaking for us! The vet asked me, "how would you like to live in a home with someone you really hated?". I think it is hard to have two dogs of the same sex. Good luck with this!! Hugs!

Lisa V.

I have 2 friends that each have has multiple large dogs and have experienced the same trouble. Both had G. Shepards as well as other breeds. They each did the same thing, hired a trainer. They had a trainer come to their house to work with them and their dogs in their own environment. Ask for recommendations from your vet and even check a couple of references. It's probably best to train when the kids aren't around to begin with, to avoid distractions. As said above - YOU are the Alpha. Your trainer can also teach you how to handle a fight, you need to take immediate disciplinary action. I had to go down to my friend's house a couple of times after a fight so that could go into training mode and had someone there to deal with the other dogs. It was a long time ago, I can't remember what all she had me do. But let me tell you - both of my friends had/have very well trained, happy dogs now. Exercising is also a big key, not only to tire the dog out, but as training opportunities. Those dogs never stopped to "go", they didn't pull on the leashes. Dogs want to please their owners more than anything, you are doing them a great service as well as your family by getting them trained.
OK, the irony to my story? Both of these friends/neighbors lived in the same house. One bought from the other, had never met. They had so much in common is was scary. One is now showing her dogs (all new since way back)and winning top awards.

Bernadette @b3hd

I am soooo happy you got a lot of great advice on this one. I only have one dog (we want two, almost got two puppies at once) and as we think of expanding our family and see the annoying (but totally trainable) things our lab/shep mix does (herding is a strong gene set, apparently), we've thought about "what if we can't train her and we have to rehome".

In the end, it comes down to how much we (the alphas) are willing and able to put in the work. My husband, 100% (and then some) devoted. Me, it's really easy for me to skip a walk and then be frustrated when I come home to the mess. Over and again.

So, hopefully you have the time to work with him and if not, I respect that rehoming is an option you're putting thought into.

Hope it works out in your family.


Hi Karen,
New to the blog and just read this post. I raise akitas and have trained dogs for years. Please look up akitas, they are not the easiest to train or handle. All dogs, small or big, need obediance training, right from the start. Your mantra should be, "Nothing in life is free". And remember, consistency is the key! Same rules apply for both dogs, I would not give one dog more attention than the other. I would be happy to give some more specific advice if needed, just email (For free, of course) Talk to you soon.


I began last season, the same work out with my dog ​​and it's value it. She is so satisfied and comfortable, since I report the load up. Because she knows I secure her and I need that they conform to the guidelines. And since per weeks time, I've taken a 5 30 days old bright shepherd in nurture health care.

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