I agree with a little bit of what everyone's been saying. Now, I haven't actually read Anthony's other threads, with the exception of one I skimmed a few months ago, so I don't know Kira's history or much about her temperament at all. But here are my thoughts after reading this thread:
Anthony, you seem to expect more out of Kira than you should, especially at this point in her life and training. From your posts, it sounds like you have certain definitions of how a dog should react to certain stimuli and situations, and when Kira acts otherwise, you overanalyze and scramble to find an explanation and a "solution". Sure, sometimes you set your dog up for failure (happens to the best of us), but I think you wind up doing it more to yourself! In your recollection and your following responses/posts, you sound stunned, perplexed, resigned, disappointed, and a myriad of other emotions. Take a breath. You are making it too easy for yourself and others to blow it out of proportion. Stop scrambling to dissect your dog and start grabbing hold of situations like this.
There isn't always a solution, at least not the one you're looking for. Sometimes it's about proper management, whether it is because it's not something you can "fix", or because there's absolutely nothing
to be fixed. Don't expect anything of Kira right now, she's a young dog still growing in a brain. Just remove her from any situations that may trigger an undesirable response.
And for the record, I've had my dog tethered to me for two hours to three hours when guests were over. In between chores we practiced heeling, keeping focus, impulse control, and mind games.
I don't think Kira is fear aggressive, but may be a bit weak nerved. Anthony is very brave to weather the beatings he's recieved from folks who have never personally met his dog.
FWIW I do think most, if not all, dogs go through stages when they're young. This may or may not be something she grows out of, but I think Anthony is well aware that greater management is needed until then.
I agree with everything said in this post.
Easy enough. Put the dog up. Give her a special treat in her crate so that friends coming over are a good thing for her and be done with it.
My dog usually are put up unless it is "dog friends" .... and no issues, just do it out of habit.
This is me as well. People coming over? When he was young we would give him a raw knuckle bone or a bully stick and keep him in a room upstairs. Now the moment he sees who it is at the door, he will run up the stairs automatically, no cue needed (depending on who the guest is - he recognizes a few people who are okay with him).
With them, all he wants to do is squeeze into the couch with them and smother them with kisses. Couch time is snuggle time in his book, and he loves taking advantage of his favorite visitors. But out of habit and respect for the people in my house, I keep my dog out of the area. It is no inconvenience to me, and hardly any effort, and my dog is fine being out of sight. There is no reason for him to be hanging around, although we have quite a few friends who request it!
How many of 'our' (general our), dogs would have stopped Or would have continued on and bitten?
I think it's very easy for people to jump on the "you're not dealing with your dog's fear aggression properly" bandwagon - especially when they themselves have what they would consider a solid nerved dog and have a tendency to have a go at those who are brave enough to ask questions on a forum like this.
Mine would stop. My dog is
a dog with the potential to be "protective", the defensive drives are prevalent, and I would not put it past him to show aggression towards a perceived thread.
But I'm very sympathetic towards Anthony's situation. My dog's charged more people than I can count. He's rushed at my younger sister with hackles up, snarling and barking in a low rumble. He's shown my mother hard eyes and put himself in between me and her to bark in a very low and serious display. He has given a serious warning bark and growl to a few teens running at me in the middle of the night. But given both context and
the fact that I know my dog
, I found his reactions acceptable.
Why? He charges people who walk through the door unannounced. And promptly parks himself in front of them and stops. They try to move past him? He'll most likely just give a cursory sniff and bounce around saying "hello". He rushed at my younger sister twice in his adolescence, when he was all instinct and reflex and drive and absolutely no brain - the only two times I was truly upset. She threw the door open to a pitch black room, not knowing my dog was/we were there (first incident was just the dog in the room, second incident was both of us).
Next scenario - he stood between me and my mother because he perceived a threat when she shoved a large metal object at me and I backed away screaming. In reality, she was giving me a thermos to pack (I was in the process of moving), and I screamed because I was 90% sure there was year old caffeine lingering at the bottom and it grossed me out. But hey, my dog didn't know that. Last few incidents are self explanatory - it was late at night, we were in an area with no street lamps. A couple of teens/acquaintances thought it'd be fun to spook me. Dog responded appropriately. I know his thresholds and what is a warning, to what degree the warning is, and what triggers him.
He is not a fearful dog - he turns off quickly and calmly at my reassurance and is more than content to leave it to me. In fact, he understands that any perceived threat is not his to face. A warning is sufficient, and then it is mine to handle. Someone could kick me in the face or shove me off a cliff and he'd dance around in circles, tail wagging. Raise a stick over my head? Time to play catch! Tackle me to the ground? He loves rough housing! But he is almost four years old now...he sure went through a fear stage in his adolescence. At Kira's age, he may have reacted in the exact same way to a petulant, upset teen (...hey, that sounds like me!
) and a stranger reaching out.
Kira may have some nerve issues, or she may be going through a phase. As I've said, I haven't really read your other threads so I don't know the whole story. Outside the context of Kira's past issues, I wouldn't call her behavior surprising or inappropriate given her calm state immediately afterwards and the fact that she stopped herself. My own dog never did have any problems with strangers (he was people crazy, he loved them all too much) but the two times he ran at my sister was worse than anything Kira seems to have done. And he is my first dog
! Nevermind my first German Shepherd...
Difference in my case was that the second time (first time I figured it was a fluke and foolishly ignored it), I recognized myself as the problem and left it at that. My dog was surprised, reacted, and his crazy little instincts kicked in before his brain could. It was dangerous and my fault - I should not have been lazy and left the lights off + door closed with him in the room. My dog did what he did and it was unnecessary to diagnose his problem when all I had to do was prevent it. I knew what triggered him and I knew how to avoid it, and that was all I needed.
In addition to prevention, we worked on management and encouraging behaviors through a sort of self rewarding negative reinforcement: he offers a desired behavior (quiet focus, a sit, etc.) and the negative stimulus that was bothering him (perceived threat/trigger) is removed (by no longer being presented as a threat).
Is this something you've seen?
Is it common, or unique to my situation?
As everyone's already said, German Shepherds are fairly notorious play police. Big time party poopers and professional killjoys. My dog makes it his job to moderate other dogs and also to let me know when he thinks I've given another dog enough attention. He is still learning the "everything is my call so back off, please" rule. We end up practicing a lot of "down, stay"s around here.