Dislike this behavior: Max growling at other dogs? Normal for his age? - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 01-08-2013, 08:24 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Dislike this behavior: Max growling at other dogs? Normal for his age?

Max is 11 months old. Max goes to class at least twice a week. He goes on socialization outings almost everyday. He is generally nuetral toward other dogs. He may "stare", but I always avert his attention to a command.."heel, sit, whatever " to get his attention off. He never barks at another dog.

So, this weekend I had him in a down stay at Uncle Bill's by the front door. People came and went, no problem. Dogs in and out , no problem. Then, I hear a low rumble and think.."what was that?", I hear it again and its Max growling at a dog about 20 feet from him. I gave him a quick collar pop and "quiet!" and it was over.

Last night we attended a new class. It is a open floor time to work on AKC Obedience. Poodles, goldens, schnauzers...we stuck out like a sore thumb. (I realized how gnarly Max looks..lol.) Anyway, he was on a down stay again and growls at another dog that popped its head out of another room and looked at Max. I gave a quick pop and "Quiet" and it was over.

I dont like it! Is this normal for his age ? Will it go away with consistency? I will def be talking to my trainer on Wednesday, but wanting to get some feedback from what others have experienced at this age. Thanks!
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:31 AM   #2 (permalink)
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could be age, but it also could be he is in a down position, (which is a vulnerable position) and dogs can get intimidated / don't like it when another dog (or person) stares at them. I know Masi does not appreciate other dogs giving her the 'stare' or 'stink eye'..

growling is a catch 22, I would rather have a growl as an alert to me that something is 'off', vs no growl and go in for an unexpected attack.

With that, again, a catch 22, you don't want them growling but you don't want them to not alert YOU that something is off, If mine does something like this, I tend to go with a "leave it"..and "leave it' to my dogs mean, stop, ignore, "I got it covered", mind your own business.
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:52 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Personally, I would not pop him for this. I would instead do a quick round of LAT and reward him for looking and looking away without a reaction. This has worked for me much better than a correction.
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:58 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Frank started at about 8 mos doing the same thing, especially with intact males that would stare at him, I used LAT at first, and then trained the "leave it" command.
Both have been very useful with new situations.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:08 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I use Leave It it initially and as soon as she does, I then start LAT. You have to break their concentration first and then work on the behavior.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:20 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I agree with Michelle, redirect for this instead of correct...some dogs see that correction as coming from what they are reacting to...backfiring and then ramping up the dog even more.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:27 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Correcting Jax with a prong definitely ramped her up, dramatically so.

If she's 100% into her reaction and I can't break the concentration there, I turn her and walk away until she's reached a distance that she is no longer behaving like a lunatic. Then I do LAT. If I can break her concentration with Leave It, I do LAT at that spot.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:37 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I will have to read up on the LAT. Max did not get amped up, and when corrected he just looked at me and said " Oops..sorry ,,my bad".

I would not categorize him as "reactive".. at least , he has not been, and I sure hope he does not become that way.

The growling only has occurred when he was laying down. So, I will watch that..and interestingly, both other dogs were intact males.

Just want to make sure I nip this in the bud.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:41 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Then what you did sounds fine, just stay proactive and if you see him start to zone in, redirect his attention to you.
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:04 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Why are you surprised? He is growing up....he has an extremely strong pedigree full of dogs known for aggression and strength....he is not a Lab or a Golden

If you are planning on neutering him, do so.....

Personally, I would not tolerate this behavior.....I believe in positive training, but also in consequences. This is behavior you do not want to tolerate....yes, a prong correction could ramp him up. But I am a firm believer that redirection and reward can backfire as we really do not know if the distinction between unwanted behavior and desired behavior is crystal clear to the dog. Even a verbal reprimand helps - but not a quick glance away and reward....I have seen it backfire on people.

Do not put him in a position to fail....only to win. Do some private set ups and corrections without being in a big AKC class - get control over him before letting this happen again.

Probably not the most popular answer here.....

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