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Old 02-26-2014, 10:46 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default GSD Attacked by Dalmatian

Got my 6 month old approaching 2 weeks now. I do realize that I've lost a lot of "time" in terms of socializing Rocky. I've been doing a lot of introductions to people, places, different surfaces, meeting dogs etc.

This is her baby photo from the breeder:



Yesterday, I saw a friendly look male adult Dalmatian, he was unleashed and seems to have just be let out of his house. I know Dalmatians to be a bit cooky, so we walked in their general direction.



I proceeded to encourage a friendly meet up, my leash was loose and I was very encouraging to both of them. The Dalmatian though did not have good intentions and proceeded to growl, I then tried to separate them, the Dalmatian then started to become dominant and started to attack, Rocky tried to fight back and show some teeth but just for a second or two, but afterwards he was on the ground surrendering.





I stepped in and Rocky started to hide behind me, I did my best CM impression and started to Pssst the dalmatian away. He lunged again and I kicked him off. He lunged again, so I had no choice but to take out my telescopic baton:


I was getting worked up now and told myself, if this guy lunges again, I swear a family is going to be in mourning for a dead pet dalmatian.

The Dalmatian then saw that I was going to go shaolin on it and started to back away. Rocky and I took 3-5 steps forward to show him who's boss and we walked away in "victory"

I wanted to consult the board and ask if I did the correct thing. Also I wanted to ask, my impression of GSDs were fearless, is mine just being a pup and I'm asking too much of it at this point. Is he going to be a "boss" eventually and let that Dalmatian know who's boss?

I guess my question is, is courage in the genes or can I develop it out of my Rocky.
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Old 02-26-2014, 11:03 PM   #2 (permalink)
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So you want Rocky to exhibit the same behavior as the Dalmatian..correct?

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Old 02-26-2014, 11:06 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm struggling to determine if you're serious and very unfamiliar with how to interact with and train dogs, or if this post was an enormous effort made on the part of a troll.

In the case of the former....

If you see an off leash dog that is acting in an unfriendly manner do not take your pup towards it. At 6 months he still needs you protect him. And no matter what his age is in the future, for your dog's and your own safety do not force an approach with an unknown and unfriendly dog, especially off leash.

Otherwise, if your dog is of a more submissive nature then there's no guaranteed way to make him dominant. You can do confidence building exercises, but chances are if he's a beta dog he'll always prefer to allow another dog to take charge. And there's nothing wrong with that. Putting your dog in situations as a pup where he is getting beat up by other dogs will do nothing but cause him to fear other dogs more.

If you are genuine in your inquiry, please take a significant amount of time to do A LOT of research on this forum and read up much more on GSDs and their behavior, genetics, training, and care.
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Old 02-26-2014, 11:06 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Okay. Wow. Give me a minute.

So you saw a dog that A) you didn't know, B) your dog was not familiar with, C) you were not familiar with, and D) WAS OFF ITS LEASH and you decide to APPROACH it? That was your first mistake there. There is no defensible reason for you to ever put yourself or your dog in potential harm by approaching a dog that you DO NOT KNOW, no matter how "friendly" looking it is.

This entire situation of yours could have been solved by recognizing that the dog was both unfamiliar, off-leash, and from the sounds of your story, not under direct control by any other person. And even if it was under the control of another person, you should always ASK first before using their dog as a socialization exercise.

Furthermore, your puppy did exactly what I would expect any young puppy in a relatively new environment to do. It finds itself in an encounter faced with what seems to be an aggressive display from an older dog. To avoid severe bodily harm, he showed appeasement behavior (rolling over, putting himself lower than the other dog) to try to defuse the other dog's aggression and avoid injury or attack.

Finally, while the baton is a decent measure of defense if the dog decides to attack you, walking forward into a dog that is starting to back down is only putting further tension on that dog and encouraging it to pop back and bite the bejeezus out of you. Honestly, I feel like you had a huge stroke of dumb luck that the dalmation didn't take your steps forward to "show it who's boss" as a further challenge or aggressive movement. Or at least not enough of one to bite you like he was probably going to do otherwise.

As far as protection instinct in Shepherds, there are others who are more experienced in this than I am. My last shepherd had epilepsy, and my current is my first schutzhund bloodline shepherd and he has not matured yet. If they are in any way similar to rottweilers in terms of protection it is something that MAY develop in maturity, but not by putting the dog in situations where it feels like it has no control.

PLEASE manage your dog's situation more carefully. Especially if it is new to you, you are still building a relationship with your dog and you don't want to teach it that you can't keep it safe. Interactions with other dogs should be CONTROLLED at BOTH ends of the interaction, especially with dogs that you do not know.
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Old 02-26-2014, 11:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by SuperG View Post
So you want Rocky to exhibit the same behavior as the Dalmatian..correct?

SuperG
The Dalmatian was a jerk! Absolutely NOT.

I want Rocky to be gentleman. Well socialized, confident, loyal, courageous and all that jazz. All the good things that I've read so much about the GSD that led me to bring this dog into my family's life.

However, when a gentleman is a disrespected, he should also know when to smack jerks in the face and give them what they deserve.

My question to all the more experienced owner is if these GSDs will develop courage and confidence through time. I'm sure it will but will be a dramatic evolution, or will genes be the more dramatic effect?
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Old 02-26-2014, 11:08 PM   #6 (permalink)
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rethinking "popular" early socialization ---- read this thread regarding socialization

Your pup is 6 months old - a puppy - *if* he has protective instincts, it will begin to appear in another 6 months or so. At this time, it is his job to be a puppy, your job is to protect him from strange off leash dogs.

For safer exposure to other dogs, join a training class or a local club. You want controlled meetings with stable dogs for your pup.
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Old 02-26-2014, 11:10 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I think that to expect a 6 month old pup to stand up to an adult dog is expecting too much. Your dog looks to you to protect him, he is too young to have the confidence to be fearless.

I also have some experience with Dalmatians and I think the film 101 Dalmatians has a lot to answer for! They are powerful dogs that can be aggressive without socialization, and a lot of owners get their sweet puppies without realizing this about the breed. I have had a male Dalmatian, he was friendly with people he knew, but he was a much more fearsome guard dog than the Doberman and the GSD I have now, and God help ANY dog that tried to take him on. My dal wore a muzzle when he was off the lead, partly because children who had seen the Disney films would run up to him and be all over him, he never bit one, but it made me nervous and I was not prepared to take any chances with him...Some parents out there need educating, but that's a whole different subject!

As for whether you did the right thing, I am thankful to have never been in your position, and it sounds as though you are lucky that neither you or either dog was hurt...
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Old 02-26-2014, 11:12 PM   #8 (permalink)
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However, when a gentleman is a disrespected, he should also know when to smack jerks in the face and give them what they deserve.
If an older man walks up to a child on the street and starts screaming at the child, I don't expect the child to smack the man in the face and show him what's what. I expect an adult to step in and properly manage the situation.
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Old 02-26-2014, 11:12 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by sechattin View Post
PLEASE manage your dog's situation more carefully. Especially if it is new to you, you are still building a relationship with your dog and you don't want to teach it that you can't keep it safe. Interactions with other dogs should be CONTROLLED at BOTH ends of the interaction, especially with dogs that you do not know.
Point very well taken. I actually did NOT approach the Dalmatian, we were walking and I continued in that direction. I guess the most prudent approach would have been to walk the other direction.

A misstep of mine that won't be repeated, thank you for your positive and encouraging post.

Am willing to learn, I have researched a lot, apparently not enough.
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Old 02-26-2014, 11:14 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Twyla View Post
At this time, it is his job to be a puppy, your job is to protect him from strange off leash dogs.

For safer exposure to other dogs, join a training class or a local club. You want controlled meetings with stable dogs for your pup.
This! Absolutely! The only way you can make sure your dog turns into a gentleman is to do lots of training with him. Start with basic obedience and work your way up from there. A well trained dog is the only dog that can be expected to act appropriately in public. The Dalmatian is likely the pet of someone who didn't take time to train their dog.

For now, protect your pup and get started on obedience training.
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