Aggressive toward roommates in the middle of the night? - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 02-03-2013, 09:36 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Aggressive toward roommates in the middle of the night?

My 13 month old male GSD is very well socialized, tame and downright sweet to most everyone (dog, cat and human) most of the time. He has always loyal to me and, to a lesser degree my boyfriend but I was hoping for a little advice about a specific problem. We go to bed together at night and he sleeps on a dog bed beside me. I have roommates and they come home at different times during the night...sometimes very late and Clyde always reacts in a very protective manner. Even after we turn the lights on and I tell him its okay he sometimes continues growling. He knows these folks very well! They've taken care of him/slept next to him the few nights of his short life that I couldn't be with him. No eyesight or smelling problems AND its just around me. I never reacted in an anxious way either, just tell him calmly to quiet and go to his "blanket" but he's still on edge sometimes.

Just wondering if this was typical and why I guess?
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Old 02-03-2013, 09:39 PM   #2 (permalink)
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...Oh and my roommates are male btw, I'm female. Don't know if that matters at all!
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Old 02-03-2013, 09:54 PM   #3 (permalink)
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He's in your room, they are coming in the front or back door. He don't know who it is that is coming in and I personally would make sure they make sure he knows who it is before someone gets bit.
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Old 02-03-2013, 09:59 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I get that part I guess. He's just doing what comes naturally, wouldn't bite unless they were aggressive in some way...more curious I guess why he doesn't calm when he realizes who it is. I leave me bedroom door open for the cats and he can access these people/smell them/see them..maybe there's no easy answer. We'll work on it.
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Old 02-04-2013, 10:07 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Aggressive toward roommates in the middle of the night?

How long have you had him and roommates? If you've had him since he was a pup and the roommates for more than a couple weeks, I disagree that this is normal. My DH used to work nights and even back when we were earlier on in the relationship, my dogs learned fast his sounds/smells and routine. They knew it was him coming home and not a burglar.

Your dog should know by now and especially when lights are turned on. This sounds like fear aggression to me.

I would crate him or tether him to your bed so a bite doesn't occur.


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Old 02-04-2013, 10:43 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Agree with Rerun.

My husband works late and some nights I am in bed and dogs crated downstairs before he gets home. They used to bark when he got home when this schedule first started but now they know our car in the driveway, him unlocking the door and coming in and don't make a peep.

If this is the normal routine, he should be used to it by now. Find a way to keep him in your room either by baby gate or crate so that he doesn't hurt your roommates.

Is he fine with them during the day?
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Old 02-04-2013, 12:45 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I don't think it is typical either.

My 21 year old son has a lot of friends coming and going in our house, at all hours on the weekends. The friends don't live here, but she knows everyone of the them and does not bark at them when they approach the door. They can, can have walked right in and proceed to go to my son's room. Never has she barked at one of them. She is well aware of who is in the house.

Now, if someone she does not know approaches the door, she does give a bark.
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Old 02-04-2013, 01:05 PM   #8 (permalink)
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If you're up and about, he probably doesn't do it, right?
Dogs sense when you're "vulnerable" (lying in bed) vs. up, clothed, etc.

To dogs, the sleeping place is the "innermost sanctum", so your bedroom is the "must protect" zone. That's the den, and if you're sleeping they feel they must protect you at that point.

Don't set the dog up for failure to bite someone, as others mentioned, tether or crate him so he's not free to go bite anyone. Don't have your room mates coming into your room, either.

Our Dachshunds that sleep with the kids, would bite someone if they harassed one of my kids while that kid was lying down and/or sleeping in the bed. Any other time, they don't really care, but if the child is sleeping on the bed, you can't really get close to even shake said child awake, without removing the dog off the bed.
The GSD tends to be the same way. He doesn't mind us coming and going in the house but if his girl (my 17yr. old daughter) is in bed, he's much more protective of her.
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