Well, honestly, I am not quite sure..... - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 12-22-2012, 09:30 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Well, honestly, I am not quite sure.....

Beau is a bit over 17 months and some recent observations......

First off, outside of house relaxed social, even fine with folks approaching the truck but since day one he has been in the truck and heavily socialized.

At home. Not too many folks other than family (and grown kids and grandkids) and my mother's live in caregiver around --- a few friends but not a steady stream. No real reaction until now other than friendly curiosity. In the past week or two we have seen some changes though.

Item 1 - Plumber comes to do a repair, steps on 2nd store deck to smoke, Beau is outside and barks pretty vigorously at him [there is no stairway from top deck to ground]. I tell him "good boy, quiet" and he stops.

Item 2 - Husband brings in two friends who come over regularly - normally Beau is either out back or crated when they come but he was loose with me. The woman, he is way cool with as he remembers her and she is a squeaky happy sillly person. He reacts differently to the man, he does not hackle, does not bark, does not growl, just stands there and stares at him like "WHO are you?" The man gets nervous, even I can see he is uncomfortable and feel some tension in the air, I do a little obedience and crate Beau. All is good. Honestly, I don't want to ask someone putting out fear energy to pet him.

Item 3 - Caregiver has her friend over and they go out side on 2nd story deck to smoke. Beau is typical "helloooo up there". Even with the new lady, but the lady poked my mother's caregiver on the shoulder in fun and the caregiver said Beau went ballistic. She told me she said "Beau, its ok" and he was fine again........

So far he has not shown any nerve issues -- and I have been told he is somewhat "dominant" for lack of a better word. Confident. Bold. I have not had a dog quite as cocky as beau before and not sure where to go. I am fine with having him bark at strangers but I don't want him to evolve into a liability. Any suggestions for the best preventive actions here so that he does not decide to take things under his own control instead of mine? Where we are it is hard to get a steady stream of people to come over. He is very well socialized outside the home.
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Waiting at the Bridge (italics=GSDs) (hemangiosarcoma=blue):Grim , Cyra, Toby, Rainbow, Linus, Oscar, Arlo & Waggles

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Old 12-22-2012, 09:42 PM   #2 (permalink)
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He sounds like a young GSD that needs a little maturity to figure out what is and what is not a good reason to carry on.
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Old 12-22-2012, 10:49 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jocoyn View Post
Any suggestions for the best preventive actions here so that he does not decide to take things under his own control instead of mine? Where we are it is hard to get a steady stream of people to come over.
I don't think you need a steady stream of people. I would simply focus on obedience, and things like the down, recall, and "leave it". Ensure that Beau trusts your judgment, and feels secure enough to look to you for cues on how to behave.

Sounds like Beau is a very nice dog... not fearful nor aggressive. He sounds like a confident young dog trying to get everything figured out, and he's mostly thinking rather than reacting. The incident with your mother's caretaker was perceived by the dog as a threatening gesture, and he became aggressive, but remained obedient enough to be called off. I think this is a really good sign. With continued training, socializing, and maturity, I think he will be able to learn discrimination; when in doubt, he may show aggression if he perceives a threat, but should respect you enough to defer to your judgment.

I wonder if PP training might be appropriate, just so he learns how to "out", and to cease aggression on command.
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Old 12-22-2012, 11:08 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Well, you know we can't do any bite work (as members of the SAR team), but I can chat with a former teammate who does that kind of training and see if he has some good advice/help for me. Also sounds like time to head back to weekly training with the police department - I have missed almost two months of that training as I have to take a half-day off of work and have had too many projects to miss that time.............it was the master trainer there who told me I would see a lot of maturing between 18 months and 2 years which is why having a solid handle on obedience was so important.

I almost feel like we need to work into some controlled situations where he feels a bit of pressure and learns to trust me (or my husband) to be the one "in charge" while he is young...but definitely with someone to help properly set things up. I can see the value of bite work more from a safety perspective.
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Old 12-22-2012, 11:59 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Your description of Beau reminds me a lot of one of my buddy's past GSD's, Shadow. Shadow is one of the reasons I fell in love with this breed, but she was not an easy dog to control. Awesome dog.

She wasn't a nervous dog at all. Actually, she was a very confident dog. A little too confident in herself at times. She had to constantly be managed and watched when on her own territory and around new people. It was just too much of a liability to risk anything given her personality.

She constantly fed the vibes that people were giving off. If you were nervous, she could smell it in the air from across the room. She would watch you like a hawk. Not attack or react, but would give a death stare that would make anyone nervous. This was only on her own property. When off of her property, she wasn't like this at all. Very happy go lucky.

A lot of the time, she had to be crated or put in other rooms when new people were over just to keep other people safe. It's just too intimidating for certain people to be around a dog like shadow. She had to be constantly managed around new people, so it never got to the point where she reacted and tore someone apart. You make a movement she didn't like and you'd know immediately.

Some dogs are just more protective than other dogs, especially on their property. It's just what comes natural to them. For whatever reason, they feel the need to control situations. Could be a major issue without the right training or in the wrong hands. I don't think it's necessarily a nerve issue, just the way a dog was built. Just be diligent with her. You're getting the warning signs from her, so take them and work with them. Just be aware.
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Old 12-23-2012, 10:27 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thinking some more that the people I would go to here keep their dog outside in a pen as opposed to in the house and it is not a situation they would encounter.

I will definitely put locks on my fence gates as a precaution (6 foot privacy fence, never go away from house with dog in yard) and consider what to do about socializing in the house. The last dog I had who would stare like this was Linus (b1985) and that was before I knew the little bit I know now . He would go out with the kids, pick a spot to lay down, and watch them the whole time they were playing. He was very good with children. Beau has been very good with my grandkids. His wild and crazy demeanor switches to one of calm gentleness. You know "is that MY dog?".

Generally if my dog friends come over we are outside anyway doing dog stuff and if my husband's friends come over the dogs are out of sight out of mind as they are not there to visit with the dogs. I generally even put them up when family come over.

Away from home, one of our requirements is the dog must be capable of being loaded and unloaded by any team member and let them take them with them...and that is currently no problem...but I think, as he matures, I need to continue doing that exercise perhaps more frequently as well as having others walk him.
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Beau -NAPWDA Certified Cadaver Dog
Waiting at the Bridge (italics=GSDs) (hemangiosarcoma=blue):Grim , Cyra, Toby, Rainbow, Linus, Oscar, Arlo & Waggles
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Old 12-23-2012, 10:41 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Actually I will follow up with the breeder and I know the owner of the stud as well as the owner of the stud's brother to see what insights they may have. All experienced working dog folks - 2 former K9 handlers for LE.
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Beau -NAPWDA Certified Cadaver Dog
Waiting at the Bridge (italics=GSDs) (hemangiosarcoma=blue):Grim , Cyra, Toby, Rainbow, Linus, Oscar, Arlo & Waggles
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