Hello all! I'm pretty new to forums, but I did search for my issue before posting, and didn't find anything really similar to my problem. So hopefully some of you veteran GSD lovers can offer some advice!
Background: Beta (we got her when she was a really sickly 2lbs at 5 weeks) is now almost 9 months and 70lbs. She has her basic commands down pat, and is very well-socialized. She loves children and other dogs. I work from home, so we spend all day together. My boyfriend is in the military, and is usually at work from about 8 until around 6 or 7.
Issue: Beta listens to me quite well during the day, and stays underfoot, following me from room to room and even coming with me if I run a quick errand to the UPS store or to grab a bite to eat. However, when my boyfriend is home, she listens quite well to him and picks and chooses when she listens to me. She has also started "herding" me in the last month or two. If we're hiking or if I'm just walking into another room at home, she will nip my heels or wrap her paws around my ankles to either direct me or try to speed me up (my guess). Also, as of late, she has become much more vocal toward large dogs. She'll bark from a distance and her hackles stand up. When we allow her to go close enough to be introduced, she doesn't growl, nip, or show any submissive behaviors. After they have sniffed each other out, she wants to play, as usual. With small dogs, she just goes straight to her usual "lets be friends, play with me!" mode. Same way with people - she never meets a stranger!
Is she displaying "alpha female" characteristics, or is this just typical of a maturing GSD? I know they are protective and aloof by nature, but I'd assumed those behaviors would be more consistent (I.e. when my boyfriend isn't home as well) or that they would have been displayed a little later than 9 months of age.
Any input would be greatly appreciated! I love the watchfulness of the breed, but this is probably behavior that we need to correct soon, but I want to be sure to go about it in the right manner.