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Old 12-09-2013, 12:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default holy what the heck!

My 3 year old gsd went after my toddler, one that he's been raised with and has NEVER shown any hostility toward ever. I had put food down for my dog which he refused, as my toddler asked for me in the other room. Maverick followed. As me, my toddler and the high chair with my infant in it, headed back into the kitchen, my gsd rushed toward the kitchen and redirected back at my son. Just nipping, yelping/barking. I'm not sure if he was protecting me or my daughter or trying to keep my obnoxious 2 year old away from his food in the kitchen.

I know the why isn't really the real question into fixing his behavior but here is my problem. The last several weeks I have been putting more and more effort into training my dog. Whenever I do, the kids are with me, not directly (on many occasions I do have my son do commands) as I train him. I've been showing a lot more affection toward my dog, more than usual I'd say. We also have been disciplining our son more because he's getting older and he "knows better". Regardless, I don't know if my dog sees my affection and my son's discipline as a power tool.

Like I said before, he's NEVER been this way toward any of us. The only reason I put the discipline of my son in the mix, because we are not really fond of my mother in law...and I honestly feel my dog feels our hostility toward her, and that is the one person he will nip at if she comes too close. We don't live near her anymore. But that being said, I don't know if my change in behavior is the fuel to the fire.
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Old 12-09-2013, 12:25 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Sounds like your dog was resource guarding the food, at 3 yrs old you may have been seeing warning signs without realizing it. This may happen with toys, bones anything of value including yourself.
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Old 12-09-2013, 12:55 PM   #3 (permalink)
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He really hasn't been like that though. I've always had a close eye on everything he's done and behaviors hes shown. They always play together and that's why I find it so shocking he'd lash out at him. I just am not sure if it's my change in behavior toward him has in turn made him to do it.
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Old 12-09-2013, 01:16 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Soundsl like your dog was guarding his food bowl from you/your son approaching. Doesn't matter if he's never done it before, it can develop at any time. I would crate him or close him off into an area while he eats ALONE, and play trading games where you/toddler walks near the room he's in while eating and you throw bits of hotdog at him so that he learns that people coming near him when he's eating = good, not bad.
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Old 12-09-2013, 01:25 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The behavior of your GSD reminds me of how my dogs corrects the other younger dogs she hangs out with. Maybe your dog thinks of your son as it's younger brother? Your son is also at the age of development when he wants to act more independently, but not mature enough to understand consequences. Your dog may be picking up on a change in your son's development. I really don't know, just putting my best guesses out there.
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Old 12-09-2013, 02:57 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OhWhyChyGuy View Post
...on many occasions I do have my son do commands...
Do not do that. Your dog will never take any leadership from a 2 year old, and a 2 year old will never be able to assert himself against an adult GSD. Your GSD is not stupid.

It has to be crystal clear to your dog that kids are off limits, they are young creatures that are to be protected if it comes to it, not followed. Don't elevate your son into a different pack position that he doesn't fit because of his age.

All advice written in this thread is very good, just I think that the dynamic of the pack has definitely been changed.
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Old 12-09-2013, 06:29 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Now to watch him even more carefully today, I'm pretty sure my gsd is protecting the baby from the toddler. Hes pretty rough with her, mainly because he's learning to be gentle just not quite good yet. How do I handle that?
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Old 12-09-2013, 08:41 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Do not do that. Your dog will never take any leadership from a 2 year old, and a 2 year old will never be able to assert himself against an adult GSD. Your GSD is not stupid.

It has to be crystal clear to your dog that kids are off limits, they are young creatures that are to be protected if it comes to it, not followed. Don't elevate your son into a different pack position that he doesn't fit because of his age.

All advice written in this thread is very good, just I think that the dynamic of the pack has definitely been changed.
If that 2 year old is able to give a command mark that command and dole out the goodies a GSD will perform. Pack "rank" and the dominance theory crap has been over complicating peoples relationships with their dogs and being used as a smoke screen for poor training methods for way too long now.

The fact of the matter is if you do not practicing item exchanges, and actively train and desensitize the dog to hands near a food bowl, and then make sure that was all generalized to different people the dice were being rolled on whether or not the dog would become a guarder.

That being said 2 year old's need to be supervised to make sure they don't hurt the dogs as much as dogs need to be supervised not to hurt the kids. This is not a Disney movie. Dogs are animals. They practice ritualized aggression and get the point across with their mouths unless taught explicitly not to in a variety of situations. They have teeth they are potentially dangerous by accident or otherwise. If you wouldn't let your two year old play with a knife you probably shouldn't let them play with the dog.

Last edited by Baillif; 12-09-2013 at 08:48 PM.
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Old 12-10-2013, 10:17 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baillif View Post
If that 2 year old is able to give a command mark that command and dole out the goodies a GSD will perform. Pack "rank" and the dominance theory crap has been over complicating peoples relationships with their dogs and being used as a smoke screen for poor training methods for way too long now.
That's a play with a kid and a dog, not training. GSD doesn't perform for kids even for food but surely plays with them and is a great companion. Maybe, I just had experience with different type of GSDs that were zero food motivated and yes, performed for a kid because I told them so.

My post said nothing about dominance theory, you read between the lines. Your last paragraph just reinforces what I said. Having a toddler giving commands (unless it's just play) and expecting the dog to perform is poor training. My very own opinion, as always.
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Old 12-10-2013, 10:41 AM   #10 (permalink)
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The point was a well trained dog does the command because the dog was conditioned to do it when it heard the command regardless of where it came from or the age of the person that said it. Your implication that you need to "assert yourself" to get the behavior is frankly hard not to read into.

We of course seem to agree on the fact it isn't a great idea.
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