Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Central Virginia
Anne's comments linked protectiveness with social aggression. But I have had some dogs who were protective without having very high social aggression.
For example, my first GSD Thorn was very social and comfortable in public and he would show now aggression if I was walking him around or through a crowd. But if I went to a park and sat and read a book, he would go "on duty"--as long as people walked past me and didn't turn and watch me or approach, he would ignore them. But if someone turned to walk toward me, he'd growl, gradually increasing his reaction the more intently the person watched me and the closer the person approached. He started doing this on his own when he was maybe 18 months old, before I ever started doing bitework training with him. He showed similar guarding instincts all of his life. (This was my Am-bred GSD who went on to get his sch3.)
I knew Bodo v Tiekerhook after he came to the US as an older dog--he was a Fero son. I'd say he had social aggression, for sure--but he was also very, very stable (and independent!). It would have been interesting to see what he was like if he was with an owner who he had a strong bond with.
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