Guiding his protective intstincts
Huter will be getting into more advanced training in a month when we are settled back at home. But until then, I'd like to hear everyone's thoughts.
Huter is very well mannered for 4.5months old. We interact on a regular basis with older people, children, men, women and every kind of dog we can find. He has IMHO great manners with dogs for a puppy. He is submissive around older dogs. He is calm when approaching. He waits for an "invite" so to speak from the other dog. He always allows butt sniffing and he matches other dogs energy levels. If he's with a calm dog, he stays calm. If the dog bumps things up, he will play a little rougher. He LOVES attention and is pretty trusting of people very quickly. After an introduction from me, he will gladly roll on his back and let a stranger rub his belly..... Note I said AFTER an introduction from me.
I'm a little surprised by his very defined sense of boundaries and who is or is not a potential threat, considering he is still so young. I can predict (when I have time to predict) 100% of the time who he will decide to "guard" me from.
When we are out on hikes, he is off leash (where permitted.) He continues to build my trust as he has great recall, and will "leave it" whenever I tell him to, even with puppies, children, cow poop, you name it. If we are walking and a family is coming towards us in the opposite direction, huter will look excitedly, wag his tail and give them the "please pet me" look until a member of the family says "OOOOHHH HOW CUUUTE" and then he runs over, sits down and enjoys all the attention.
If a couple is walking towards us, he is less interested than if there are children, but he feels no threat, will continue frolicking about or even say hi to them if they call him over.
However, if it is a lone man walking towards us, he will slow his pace until he is right by my side and then he stares down the man until the man has passed us. Then he runs around playfully again. He doesnt bark, growl, or act aggressive....just watches and stays close to me. If I were to stop and talk to the man, Huter would immediately relax and try to get pets from the man.
In our front yard, Huter is a bit more gaurded. Regardless of who is approaching, I have seen Huter stop MID POOP, walk over to me, sit down and stare at whoever is approaching. He will remain directly in front of me, watching, until either he is introduced to the person, or the person leaves. Again no barking, though occassionally a very low growl. When I tell him quiet, he stops immediately.
If someone walks in the house without knocking, or in our backyard with no warning, they get an earful of growls and barks until Huter identifies who it is. He used to charge, but I began correcting that behavior and he's responded beautifully. He is allowed to sit by me and bark until we know who it is. Then I say "quiet" and he stops.
ONE time, on a hike, Huter growled at a man. We were sitting down, taking a rest and a man came up behind me and startled both Huter and I. Huter shot around, gave a quick growl and then looked at me. I told him quiet, he did. He never went towards the man, just a warning. TBH this man gave me the creeps. He smelled awful, had a gross smile on his face and seemed completely out of place. I have NO idea why he was behind us, based on our location, and NO idea why he wanted to approach. It did not feel right...you know...gut feeling?
How soon did your dogs get more protective?