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Eiros 02-07-2014 08:58 PM

What does this behavior mean?
Hi all - we had an odd incident in group training class yesterday and I was wondering if anyone had insight into how I should interpret this behavior. Warden has come a long way socialization-wise since we first adopted him in October. Usually in training class (and in public for that matter) he's confident and well-mannered. He's curious about other people and dogs in general, and won't bark or growl unless

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Eiros 02-07-2014 09:07 PM

Whoops, posted too soon!

Anyways, he won't bark or growl unless something startles him.

We were in class and a friend of the trainer came in, wearing a big coat and a hat. He and a few other dogs barked, but even after a few minutes he was still not calming down. She was just walking around a little, and talking calmly to the trainer, but he was barking and growling long after all the other dogs had stopped. He was in a heel and didn't move until I put him in a down, he didn't snarl or lunge, nor pin his ears. He was, however, shaking like a leaf.

So my question is, was he afraid? It didn't look like fear (except the shaking) so was he trying to protect me?

I told him to leave it and tried to shift his focus to me, but it was a struggle. He was fine after we started up the training activities again.

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DaniFani 02-07-2014 09:14 PM

I'm willing to bet it was definitely fear. Just don't give up doing this>>"I told him to leave it and tried to shift his focus to me, but it was a struggle."

Nothing says he was trying to protect you, everything was fear based. Just keep up the obedience and exposure. He just showed you his nerve threshold at this age and point in time/situation. Now you know.

Eiros 02-07-2014 09:18 PM

Thanks, fear was my first thought too, just might not have recognized because usually it's obvious - he lowers his head and gets very skittish and tries to avoid the situation. Maybe she just didn't get close enough for him to have that response

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hunterisgreat 02-07-2014 09:23 PM

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Shaking would indicate strong fear. actual posturing & aggression would have a flagged tail, tall head up stance, and gives the very clear indication it is the opposite of fear

Eiros 02-07-2014 09:29 PM

Makes sense, thanks. I know most dogs don't truly protect unless trained, but someone else in the class said he was protecting me, and I wondered if I missed a signal.

An entire family of cross-country skiers coming at us head on at the park doesn't faze him, but a lady in a coat 20 feet away is pure terror! Lol. I hope she comes back again so we can work on it again.

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David Taggart 02-07-2014 10:10 PM

It well could draw him back in memory. Is it possible that he was returned to the breeder when he was very young? PP dogs are trained to become PP dogs from 2 weeks of their age by the breeder. But some trainers buy puppies at the later age in order to raise and sell already trained in protection dogs. Pretending to be a potential owner, they "try" puppies for suitability, leave brave ones and return to the breeder those with weaker nerves. These puppies later would show strong reaction to the person of similar bodily constitution, sometimes it seems illogical, how possibly the pup could be not scared even a little of a big bulky man, and scared of slim and short? Something should add to it, like some particular itonations of his voice. That is one scenario.
Another scenario could explain. A similar looking man could work for the breeder. Say, a cleaner. Puppies must be held in sterile conditions, he could be not terribly careful moving them.
A third scenario - it was a vet. Not every vet has plenty of time to fiddle with puppies if they don't want to be handled, he could simply grab yours, make injection - and here you go! And the vet was a big man, who came in a coat and a hat.

Eiros 02-07-2014 11:12 PM

@David, yes, all those things could have happened honestly, and I won't ever really know. He was an owner surrender and could have been neglected by his breeder, accidentally traumatized by a vet, or anything. He came to us from a home with no abuse that I could see, but anything could have happened before then even. Interesting idea though, I'll keep an eye on his reactions to her if she joins us again.

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carmspack 02-08-2014 12:15 AM

continuing to overwhelm and flood the dog with this fearful situation won't help the dog .
this is wrong "PP dogs are trained to become PP dogs from 2 weeks of their age by the breeder"

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