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Old 09-28-2011, 01:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Bad Nerves, immaturity, aggression?

Kato is 6 months old (almost 7 months now) and has been great but occassionally he shows strange behavoir, either aggression or nerves. He is generally very confident but SOMETIMES can get a little nervey around strangers. He is usually very outgoing when I take him places and I take him places a lot.

He will generally be friendly to people (gives kisses etc) once introduced but even after seemingly accepting them, he will not completely trust everyone even if he is around them a lot. I've noticed it can take a week or more with certain people (daughter) before he truly accepts them. Other people he seems to trust right off the bat (my mom).

Sometimes he gets upset at people that come into my office or another room. It seems random and it can be anyone. For instance, he loves my wife to death and spends a fair amount of time around her. Yet yesterday he yipped when she entered my office. This is the first time he has yipped at her like that (but he has yipped at other people occassionally). He did not growl or bark but just let out a high pitched yip. He was lying down at the time but not asleep or surprised by her. Then she was standing behind me looking at something over my shoulder and he was lying down under my desk getting upset, whiney, agitated and focused on her as she leaned closer to me. When she reached over my shoulder to point to something on the ipad I was holding he started to get up and go towards her until my leg stopped him. He was not going to bite but he was clearly agitated/excited. I think he was being protective. But given how he loves my wife so much its very surprising to see him act like that. Is it just immaturity or nerves?

He also yipped at my sister the other day. They had just met and he was lying down when she got up to get something. He yipped and then got up and moved. He is not snapping when he yips, he is just letting out a high pitched yip as though he is upset or as if he snapped. He did the same thing with my daughter a couple of times back when we first got him.

I keep an eye on him and note these weird behavoirs. But I am wondering if you would call that bad nerves and what you would do about it? I socialize and work him a lot. Is it a case of bad nerves, immaturity, aggression, or what? I am just a little concerned that he may grow into a dog that could bite someone reactively.
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Old 09-28-2011, 01:08 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Puppies can be weird, they go through so many phases. The yipping can be excitement and/or trying to engage for attention. At six months, nothing that would send up red flags for me.
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Old 09-28-2011, 01:17 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Someone with more knowledge will answer you.
I was wondering though if others in your family or elsewhere handle or train him. If he is with you too much without being trained by other family members he may be becoming overly attached to you. GSD's tend to have a favorite but should be comfortable with others. Have your wife do some work with him. Maybe have her do a class without you around.
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Old 09-28-2011, 01:26 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Nobody else trains him but my wife will take the lead on walks. She sometimes will make him sit/down but thats about as far as it goes.
He is overly attached to me but there is never going to be too much I can do about that. My daughter lives away at college except on holidays/vacations and so its my wife and me most of the time. Our other daughter is grown and out on her own.

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Old 09-28-2011, 02:09 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TechieDog View Post
Nobody else trains him but my wife will take the lead on walks. She sometimes will make him sit/down but thats about as far as it goes.
He is overly attached to me but there is never going to be too much I can do about that. My daughter lives away at college except on holidays/vacations and so its my wife and me most of the time. Our other daughter is grown and out on her own.
Do you socialize him? I really think that dogs who are primarily family companions need lots of interaction with people and even if limited, with other dogs.
Any kind of dog class with a good trainer will give him exposure in a controlled setting.
Working or sport dogs get tons of training and are in situations where they are around a lot of people ,dogs, activity. Family companion owners have to find a way to do this or their dogs could become very reactive, and protective when the get older.
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Old 09-28-2011, 02:13 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I socialize the crap out of him! I take him everywhere I can, around new environments, different people, dogs etc. He is not dog reactive at all either, plays well with my neighbors dog and behaved nicely around mom's dog. He is going to a nosework class just for the heck of it too and is great, very outgoing there, fine with the people and dogs.
His OB work is done by me in various places. I am not hard on him at all and do not push him too much, taking my time with him.

Last edited by TechieDog; 09-28-2011 at 02:16 PM.
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Old 09-28-2011, 02:20 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Sounds great. I hope someone will respond that has more knowledge than me. It certainly could be nerve but I don't know how to tell for sure.
Seems like you are doing everything else right. Good Luck
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Old 09-28-2011, 03:26 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I think it is just a growing phase he is going through. I don't know for sure why he is yipping/reacting, but it seems it is nothing too dramatic right now.

I would guess that he is being possessive of you--not protective. So, it is sort of proto-guarding behavior, not because he thinks there is a threat, but because he is jealous of anyone else having access to you. Just help him to understand how you would like him to behave and guide him into behavior that you find acceptable.

If he guards in particular circumstances move out of that position. For instance, my Oda pup will try to set up guard position at my leg if I stop and stand in a social/public situation. If I find her lying/guarding at my feet, I move. If she does try to chase off another dog or person, I express disapproval and ask for a different behavior that I can then reward.

I suggest having your wife also take him out and about a bit more without your presence.
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Old 09-28-2011, 05:24 PM   #9 (permalink)
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when I think of yipping I think of high pitched puppy type whining-bark, not a true bark that says I'm after you,
If it's the high pitched whining type I would think it's more excitment and not that he's protecting anything.
Frank does what I would call a yipping whiney type bark whenever he gets excited, and sometimes it can be pretty loud. I think the dog actually thinks he's talking at times.
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Old 09-28-2011, 06:46 PM   #10 (permalink)
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It is sort of a high pitched bark. But it can be out of the blue without any whining or warning whatsoever.

@BlackthornGSD: Christine, thanks. He is very possesive. It could be a possesive thing. But at least a couple of those times the context didn't seem that way. Its odd though. It has been over a month since he last did it until last weekend. Then 3x in the last week. He's strange!
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