1.5 y/o GSD has started to become very defensive and protective. - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 05-26-2014, 02:04 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 1.5 y/o GSD has started to become very defensive and protective.

I've owned Blitz since he was 8 weeks old. I've done all of his training myself and intend to keep it that way. I've made extra sure to socialize him with both dogs and people. He has never shown any sign of aggression and we always joke that "oh yeah he's a big mean vicious dog" because of how docile and submissive he is.

Within the last few weeks, he's shown aggression towards certain people. Each time it seems like it's when someone is approaching me, but only certain people. I can't figure out a common trait. He will run at them, barking his head off and snarling, stops right at their feet, and scares the living daylights out of people. He hasn't bitten anyone, but I'm not convinced that he won't, with this new behavior he's showing. I always go hiking with him off leash, and it's never been a problem. Very certain people will incite this behavior, and this weekend it seemed to be more common as he barked like that at two separate hikers.

It's happened a total of three times and I mean to put a stop to it ASAP. Does anyone have any advice? The reason he's doing this or a method to make it stop? Thanks!
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Old 05-26-2014, 08:36 AM   #2 (permalink)
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He thinks he needs to be the one in control, not you. By stepping up your leadership and management it will give him more confidence in knowing YOU have his world safe.
Many times maturing dogs will begin the reactivity because they are not yet mature, and deciphering when and when not to react is not clear....so you need to let him know you have it under control.
I would not let him off leash right now while he's going thru this phase.
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Old 05-26-2014, 01:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by onyx'girl View Post
He thinks he needs to be the one in control, not you. By stepping up your leadership and management it will give him more confidence in knowing YOU have his world safe.
Many times maturing dogs will begin the reactivity because they are not yet mature, and deciphering when and when not to react is not clear....so you need to let him know you have it under control.
I would not let him off leash right now while he's going thru this phase.

He does seem to kind of "take control" during our hikes. You can see the shepherd in him, because he blazes the trail and circles back to make sure everyone's together and not lagging behind, etc. So I think you may be right...he thinks he's running the show on our hikes lol. That makes sense.
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Old 05-26-2014, 01:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Our dogs have always hiked and camped with us. With our last dog, I taught "follow me" and "on the trail" commands. Those always mean to get behind me. I teach "follow me" at home with my hand (with a treat inside closed fist behind my back). First let him figure out where the treat is and give it to him. Work your way up to you walking and him walking behind you to the command "follow me". To teach "on the trail", if the dog is exploring a bit, say on the trail and throw a treat down (behind you). Do that continuously throughout your hikes with some high value treats and he'll get it. You are the one in charge on walks. I always keep a long lead on our guy while hiking...too many mountain lions, bear, and coyote in our neck of the woods. He can explore a bit if you allow, but you can always get him quick if you need to. Our new GSD is a puppy young so we are just introducing this to him, but it worked great with our last dog (a German Shorthair pointer). Here is a pic of our 6 month old at Mt. Lemmon, AZ yesterday at 8000 ft...nothing too strenuous yet for him of course, just exploring and maybe a mile into an easy trail.

Also to add, if your dog is behind you, you will be sure to make the greetings to passersby first (again you in control). For now, I would out m in a sit/stay if you see oncomers. I had the first family shy away from me yesterday when they saw my beast! Lol[IMG][/IMG]
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Old 05-27-2014, 11:24 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I don't think our breed really matures until around 3 yrs old, so you are just experiencing an new behavior that he's decided you have put him in charge of.

Deciding mass murderers from friends.

How's he doing with his decision making? I know MY dogs have zero ability with this skill judging random strangers walking towards us.

Too bad you won't go to dog classes, cause a great instructor and the class environment really make it easier for our dogs to give us the leadership role so they look to us and learn from us instead of just reacting... and us having to play catch up (while giving our breed a bad name from the crazy). Additionally, the weekly classes immediately give us the ability to gain skills to work on to remain calmly and easily as the one that just needs to be checked in with BEFORE anything starts.

It's normal for our pups to go thru different stages and phases and so we need to be prepared and have 'a plan'. If it's just to get out the treat bag and stuff the pup with treats when people pass by, then that may work. If it's to get off the trail and practice some quick, fun obedience as people go past, then that may work. If it's just to pay the 'attention' game spitting out hotdogs as people pass, then that may work.

The goal is that our dogs know that if mom/dad is calm and not having an issue with who ever is coming towards us, then THEY should be ok with the same. I'm the one that's in charge of the situation and they can relax and let the world pass by.

Does your dog act the same when you socialize in busier locations like outside of Walmart or walking down Main Street? Is this only showing up in isolated areas?
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Old 05-27-2014, 12:56 PM   #6 (permalink)
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First you have to understand (and it sounds like you do) that everytime this happens the dog "learns" that "he" is making the right decisions! Everytime he does this..it makes your job harder!

The "freedom" for a dog to be allowed off leash is a freedom that has to be "earned" it's not a privilege to be given freely! A dog acting like that should "never" be allowed off leash period!

And yes GSD's can "change!" My GSD (7 months old rescue) was one dog for 8 months and then a few months later a different dog with "people issues!" I dealt with it. My guy never got a chance to bite or "threaten" anyone,ever! If people were around he was never off leash period!

What can you do... first "stop" allowing him off leash! He has shown you he's not ready to handle it!

Then practice this:
Leerburg | Who Pets Your Puppy or Dog

You keep people out of his face! The dog learns that "you" are in charge! You just "ignore'
and move on.

Today when we go on walks my guy can lead or follow off leash, I let him chose! If he doesn't want to lead anymore..he simply stops and lets me go in front! Kinda cool!
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Old 05-27-2014, 04:14 PM   #7 (permalink)
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He's only ever acted that way on the trail when we're backpacking. He behaves excellently (maybe a little too tuggy when he gets excited lol) when we're at the park or when I take him to petsmart. I even have him off leash a lot of times at the park.

And his decision making is rather poor lol. The mass murderers that he points out to me look pretty randomly placed lol.
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Old 05-27-2014, 04:45 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucasbroderick View Post
He's only ever acted that way on the trail when we're backpacking. He behaves excellently (maybe a little too tuggy when he gets excited lol) when we're at the park or when I take him to petsmart. I even have him off leash a lot of times at the park.

And his decision making is rather poor lol. The mass murderers that he points out to me look pretty randomly placed lol.
Ok now the dog sounds different?? Try this... NV is a open carry and concealed carry state, lot of states are like that!

Some folks have a very low threshold for being harassed/threatened by dogs! There are folks out there that will not hesitate to put three rounds in your dogs head if they feel threatened!

I'm not one of them but if you allow your dog to "harass" people he might find one! My horizon is just not broad enough to find my dog getting in somebodys face amusing?? Just saying.
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Old 05-28-2014, 01:05 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Chip18 View Post
Ok now the dog sounds different?? Try this... NV is a open carry and concealed carry state, lot of states are like that!

Some folks have a very low threshold for being harassed/threatened by dogs! There are folks out there that will not hesitate to put three rounds in your dogs head if they feel threatened!

I'm not one of them but if you allow your dog to "harass" people he might find one! My horizon is just not broad enough to find my dog getting in somebodys face amusing?? Just saying.
Not sure how he sounds different now. And if you think that I find it amusing, you're not understanding where I'm coming from. I posted this because this has turned into a second-time occurrence and I mean to put a stop to this behavior before it starts. I strongly dislike putting a leash on him, but if he is showing me that he's not responsible enough for it, then I will leash him until I can trust his behaviors again and when he learns that he's not the one in control on the trails.
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Old 05-28-2014, 01:42 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucasbroderick View Post
Not sure how he sounds different now. And if you think that I find it amusing, you're not understanding where I'm coming from. I posted this because this has turned into a second-time occurrence and I mean to put a stop to this behavior before it starts. I strongly dislike putting a leash on him, but if he is showing me that he's not responsible enough for it, then I will leash him until I can trust his behaviors again and when he learns that he's not the one in control on the trails.
Now your being consistent!
Sorry thought you were starting to make excuses for the dogs behavior.

I understand not wanting to leash him but work put in now pays off in the long run! If the dog is good on leash? Then "Who Pets will work..." will work out just fine!

There is also this:
Post 12 posted by one of the mods today:
Why the heck is she shy is it cause shes a chick?

That should help speed things along.
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