We have a 5.5 month old Lab/Shepard mix. We got him at 4 months from a 17 year old girl (who had a shepard) who couldn't take care of him.
He started off very sweet...... we can essentially touch him anywhere on his body, pick him up, bath him, no problem. The biggest issue we faced initially was separation anxiety and crate training. Now both of those are solved, but we've noticed some new aggressive behaviours surfacing that we're concerned about.
Essentially he's been getting protective over his food (which goes as far as growling and snapping when we even try and go near the empty dish), and once he chased me away for going near the counter that the food was on to prepare it (he's on a raw diet, so it's essentially a bag of raw meat). I left it on the counter to go get something, and when I came back he sat on the floor infront of it and growled at me for approaching, and lunged at me when I came any closer. I had to distract him with the doorbell to get him away, leash him, and then feed him.
Today, he attacked my dad for stepping over him while he was eating a bone. He didn't hurt him (luckily) but it startled him as it came out of nowhere.
I don't know where this aggression came from all of a sudden..... I've just started to notice it in the last week and a half.... he isn't neutered yet.... so maybe it's increasing testosterone? Or maybe he's pushing his limits in his new home, now that he feels comfortable enough? Either way I'm getting really worried He's growing fast, and will pretty soon be a really big boy. Any thoughts? I've been watching Caesar Milan videos and trying to do some reading, but he's already over 40 lbs, so it's not easy to just take something away from him, or go near him when he's growling. I've been trying to train him in other areas to show him I'm boss, like making him sit and stay before going outside, feeding him, etc, and walking him on a short training leash.
He gets outside on walks 2-3 times daily, and we play with him with his toys, and he gets socialization with other people/dogs at doggy training on Saturdays, and goes to the off-leash park to run free and play ball on Sundays. So I just don't know what I'm doing wrong.
Do you have any background on his life with the 17 year old girl before you got him? Maybe they had feeding issues between the Shepherd and your dog and that is why she gave him away? Unfortunately, I can't really offer any advice but it sounds like it isn't really a safe situation to be in if he attacks people for stepping over him and tried attacking you for going near the food you were preparing for him. I hope you don't have young kids in the house as this could be a real bad situation. Have you tried to calling your vet or trainer to see what they say about the behavior? Good luck.
if he is indeed showing true guardinf behaviour, please find a qualified trainer-behaviorist asap. he is young so with guidance if adressed properly now chanced are high for large improvements.
this is beyond what a pet dog forum can really help you eith. thr dog needs to be assessed and a solid program in place to rehabilitate. doing things wrong will make things worse.
meanwhile, no bones and remove anything he guards. feed in the crate and put him outside and remove the bowl onlt when he is outside/out of the room.
also please do NOT try anything you see on ceasars show or read in his books. his bullyinf methods are outdated and he has no education in dogs.
did you take his food away randomly in the month you had him to "show you are boss of food"?