Protective or fearful? - Page 5 - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #41 of 120 (permalink) Old 04-12-2011, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Scleropages View Post
K2 is about 5 months old. Maybe apprehensive was the wrong word. I was on my guard in case the guy was hostile or anything.
Truthfully, at 5 months old, he's too young to be protective. He's just a baby with a young brain that can't really conceive threats and protection yet. I do think he was reading you though and you need to make sure that even though you were on guard, that he knows you are in control and there's nothing to worry about. At 5 months old, all people (that aren't trying to hurt him) should be the greatest thing ever.

I would actually do more socialization and positive experiences with other people with my dog if they acted like that at 5 months old.

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Kaiser (GSD) - November 2009
Holly (GSD) - March 24, 2011

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post #42 of 120 (permalink) Old 04-12-2011, 09:25 AM
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If he was only 5 months old, it was definitely fear. True protectiveness comes out at maturity when the dog is around 18 to 24 months, and from a place of quiet confidence. Expecting your 5 month old to act protective is like expecting an 8 year old to protect you. Not gonna happen.

Except that the other person may be intimidated enough by the fact that a GSD snapped at them that they will back away, not understanding protection either. But think of the psychological burden put on a dog that young (or a child that young) who feel like the parents/pack leader is too weak to protect themselves AND them, and they feel forced to take action.

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post #43 of 120 (permalink) Old 04-12-2011, 09:25 AM
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This article has been around the block more than a few times
If I only read one thing about dogs it would be THIS one
It is on many many sites and I only picked this site because it has it as a handy PDF file

http://www.vanerp.net/ilse/GSDINFO/E...emperament.pdf

Nancy



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post #44 of 120 (permalink) Old 04-12-2011, 09:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gsdraven View Post
Truthfully, at 5 months old, he's too young to be protective. At 5 months old, all people (that aren't trying to hurt him) should be the greatest thing ever.

I would actually do more socialization and positive experiences with other people with my dog if they acted like that at 5 months old.
I agree, more socialization is needed.


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post #45 of 120 (permalink) Old 04-12-2011, 09:29 AM
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I think there is a cycle - or so it seems - that is maybe coming into play?

People who are "above average" apprehensive or fearful - of things that may happen to them - people who might break into their houses, people who might do something to them in their yards, people who might steal their cars, whatever, who purchase dogs for their visual deterrent and who activate the fear/anxiety in their dogs when these things happen (EEEK! A person! the person thinks), causing the dogs to react - EEEK! My person is scared, I should be too! - and going round and round.

I say this as a generally neurotic person who has developed much more confidence and assertiveness after having a fear aggressive, dominant dog who I had to protect because though he was afraid, he really did think giving someone the business would be fun.

After getting the fear aggression part taken care of, he became quite the pushy, ready to engage kind of dog, staring people down, having that Mendlebaum "It's Go Time" attitude. If I showed any kind of fear or nervousness, that dog was on and that just isn't good. So I controlled my dog by controlling myself. Then either one of us was ready to give someone the business.

Unfortunately I have not been able to cap fear this w/my dog reactive dog so he's a prisoner to my emotions - working on it!


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post #46 of 120 (permalink) Old 04-12-2011, 12:39 PM
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From what i have seen in the last few years, some trainers and even some behaviorists seem to think that 99% of a dogs reaction to things is fear based.

One trainer even told me once that my 18mo male GSD was sniffing the ground while we were doing a down stay because "he was anxious/fearful". Actually he just likes to sniff! We changed trainers not too long after that.
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post #47 of 120 (permalink) Old 04-12-2011, 12:42 PM
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Sniffing is a calming signal.

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post #48 of 120 (permalink) Old 04-12-2011, 01:00 PM
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Sniffing is a calming signal.
Sometimes it may certainly be.

And sometimes it is simply sniffing because the dog like to sniff!

Are you suggesting that my dog (or any dog) sniffs just before he pees because he wants to send calming signals? That is ridiculous! Many times he is all alone in the back yard, wonders along sniffing and then pees. Who might he be sending the calming signals to?

The whole idea of "calming signals" is very much open to interpretation as the author admits - the signals have to be looked at in light of the actual current environment.
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post #49 of 120 (permalink) Old 04-12-2011, 01:35 PM
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Just out of curiosity - where did you get this idea that a dog barks or growls out of fear almost all the time. What about all the times that a dog barks out of pure excitment or a simple alert action? Absolutely no fear involved there!

And now even a dominant dog is acting out of fear?

Fear of what?
I should have clarified. I meant whent it's obviously not a play/prey/excitement bark. I was speaking to te classic "is he protecting me" question

Dominant dogs are trying to establish their dominance bc they view the other as a threat. Being threatened is having fear. I'm not putting a negative slant on fear, which is important to note.

An MMA fighter has fear when he steps in the ring. If he doesn't, he is in the wrong class. That fear is what quickens the senses and sharpens the mind. The fear is justified... The other fighter intends on hurting him. That is appropriate fear

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post #50 of 120 (permalink) Old 04-12-2011, 01:44 PM
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I think what people aren't realizing is that fear can be a good reaction. A fearful GSD will scare away an intruder or a threat, it just won't know how to seperate the difference between friend and foe. This discussion also makes it sound a little bit like the GSD is a sissy when it reacts out of fear not protective nature. Which isn't the case at all, but I know I would feel that way.

I think a post at the beginning covered it well, a fearful dog is unpredictable, you don't know if it will back down or stand up and fight. If it fights and injures a person you have a liability on your hands, if it runs away, well you might not have the guard dog you were always hoping for.
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