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Old 04-10-2011, 10:32 PM   #21 (permalink)
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I'm not trying to hijack the thread. But where would trust issues come into play? Would that be labeled under fearful?

I mean a dog who is confident around people, and a person can run up and grab their owner and the dog will be fine. If anything gets excited. But if the person simply approaches with more assertive body language (head on, direct eye contact.) the dog becomes evasive.

I may be describing trust wrong, I have a clear picture in my head but can't quite put words to it.
To me, what you described in fear. There has to be a clear threat to be considered being protective.

If there's no threat, only an assertive person approaching, and your dog reacts than that's most likely fear or weak nerves related.
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Old 04-11-2011, 01:37 AM   #22 (permalink)
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There's more to it than this but very simplified:

A fearful dog is reacting to a non threatening situation or thing.

A protective dog reacts to an actual threat. (this can include a perceived threat by you if you are actually scared).
But wouldn't a fearful dog also react to a real threat?
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Old 04-11-2011, 01:44 AM   #23 (permalink)
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One other question - could a dog who just barks at something strange, i.e. a sudden appearence of a stranger for example and then calms down and ignores it as soon as the owner says "OK" or something like that - couldn't they just be "alerting" on the new strange thing as one would expect a pack member to do upon seeing a strange dog appear that is not part of the pack?

I.e. not 'fear" per se, just an alert.
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Old 04-11-2011, 01:47 AM   #24 (permalink)
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But wouldn't a fearful dog also react to a real threat?
A fearful dog will react to a real threat if that is their only option. Their first option will be to escape. An alert is not the same as fear.
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Old 04-11-2011, 01:56 AM   #25 (permalink)
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A fearful dog will react to a real threat if that is their only option. Their first option will be to escape. An alert is not the same as fear.
Wouldn't a fearful dog's reaction to a perceived (by them) threat be the same as to a real one? How would they know the difference? I.E. barking and lunging at a innocent stranger versus barking and lunging at a person really intending to do the owner or the dog harm?

Are you saying that the fearful dog knows the difference and would bark, etc. at the innocent person and run away (assuming that they are not on a leash of course) from the real bad person?

I can not understand how even a fearful dog would know the difference.

And also - are you saying that a non fearful dog CAN tell the difference? That is, without a LOT of experience of course - and with a higher threshhold.
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Old 04-11-2011, 02:14 AM   #26 (permalink)
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To me, what you described in fear. There has to be a clear threat to be considered being protective.

If there's no threat, only an assertive person approaching, and your dog reacts than that's most likely fear or weak nerves related.
Yeah, I reread that after I got home. I just can't get the words out. Sorry

But how would one describe trust issues?
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Old 04-11-2011, 04:42 AM   #27 (permalink)
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How is trust an issue? Not sure I understand what you are asking?
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Old 04-11-2011, 06:29 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Wouldn't a fearful dog's reaction to a perceived (by them) threat be the same as to a real one? How would they know the difference? I.E. barking and lunging at a innocent stranger versus barking and lunging at a person really intending to do the owner or the dog harm?

Are you saying that the fearful dog knows the difference and would bark, etc. at the innocent person and run away (assuming that they are not on a leash of course) from the real bad person?

I can not understand how even a fearful dog would know the difference.

And also - are you saying that a non fearful dog CAN tell the difference? That is, without a LOT of experience of course - and with a higher threshhold.
No I am saying a fearful dog may snap but will not go all the way and fight it out.If there is an out they will take it. . The problem with them is they perceive any threat as real.

Does not mean they can't do some serious damage in the process. The irony is many of these dogs people perceive as protective will back down if someone calls their bluff and fights back.

Most dogs that bark and lunge at everyone are fearful but some are just not right in the head and probably will fight and fight seriously.
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Last edited by jocoyn; 04-11-2011 at 06:38 AM.
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Old 04-11-2011, 11:53 AM   #29 (permalink)
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How is trust an issue? Not sure I understand what you are asking?
I'm sorry I just can't word it properly...I hate dyslexia, it makes for an awkward conversation, Lol!

Sorry to bring that up.
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Old 04-11-2011, 03:20 PM   #30 (permalink)
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No I am saying a fearful dog may snap but will not go all the way and fight it out.If there is an out they will take it. . The problem with them is they perceive any threat as real.

Does not mean they can't do some serious damage in the process. The irony is many of these dogs people perceive as protective will back down if someone calls their bluff and fights back.

Most dogs that bark and lunge at everyone are fearful but some are just not right in the head and probably will fight and fight seriously.
I am not sure why you would think that an aggressive dog is "not right in the head". Couldbe that they just perceive a threat or that they have had a bad experience in the past.

very true about some blustering dogs that bark will back down if challenged but some will not and it is VERY difficult for most folks to tell the difference until it may be too late.

We have such a person in our local obedience club - she likes to boast that when any unleashed dog runs at her when she is dog walking she jumps in front of her dog (a woosey standard poodle) and threatens the dog and it "ALWAYS" backs down. I tried telling her once that that may not be a good idea as there are some dogs that will not back down but will take the challenge and could do some serious harm (she is not a big person at all!). There was another idiot in a class one time that did the same thing to my friends GSD who was about 15 months old at the time. the dog wandered on a off leash recall and started in the direction of his wimpy fearful Dobe and he made a big act out of charging toward the GSD with his hand in a fist over his head and yelling. the GSD went back behind it's female owner and i guess the guy felt like a hero! I tried telling him that behavior could get him in a lot of trouble if he did it to the wrong dog but he didn't want to listen. If he had tried it to the other GSD in the class (mine!) he would have gotten either severly bitten or severly punched or both!

From what I have seen on this forum there are a few folks who feel like these two people did - they can threaten any dog away from their dogs! Not always true in all cases!
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