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Alley 01-01-2014 02:30 PM

My GSD has started "stalking" -- ideas to stop it?
Background: we adopted our GSD in May and he's 2.5 yrs. now.

He is a GREAT dog. Very friendly, sweet and becoming more and more accustomed to being an inside family dog (he'd been w/ the military and lived in a kennel).

He's starting to do this funny thing when we're on walks where if a dog is walking in front of us. . . he gets down low (he's on a leash) and starts stalking the dog.

Once he was stalking a small(ish) dog who turned around, barked slightly at him and he jumped behind me. I mean, I don't think he has any mean intent at all.

And generally when he's w/ other dogs he wags his tail a lot.

Do you know what to do about this funny stalking thing he's doing?


Myah's Mom 01-01-2014 04:31 PM

I will let the experts chime in here. But here are my two cents.

Your dog is displaying fear, which is not healthy. Since the dog is relatively new to you, that is good, in that you are the new master and can lay down a good foundation. I'll be interested to see what the experts add here.

For me, though, if my dog was doing that, I would do the following:
  1. Start a training regimen, both on leash (on walks) and off leash in your yard. You've got to get the dog in the habit of listening to you, trusting you, responding promptly and being rewarded (can use food or a ball first, then transition to praise)
  2. When you come up behind another dog (say, 20-40 feet), do not yank on the leash, change your breathing or give any indication anything is different. Just go through your training regimen, taking your dog's focus OFF the other dog and ON you, without changing direction or avoiding/approaching the other dog. Ignore them, but keep pace.
  3. In the initial stages, once your dog has gone through the regimen and taken their focus off the other dog, THEN change directions in a relaxed mode, keeping your dog focused on you with praise.
  4. Work up to longer periods behind other dogs, meaning that you keep the training regimen (stop, sit, down, stay, come), and then keep walking along after the other dog for longer periods of time (neither avoiding or approaching).
Also, please don't think you have to have the goal of your dog making friends with other dogs. Your goal should be that your dog pays no mind to them, not bothered in the least.

Myah does great at ignoring other dogs, though it's always a work in progress. By that, I mean that you don't reach the destination of training, but always have to keep it up.

With Myah, she was fearful as a young pup (just normal puppy fear, as she is of very sound mind!). Whenever we went places, if there was a loud commotion, dogs barking through a fence, noisy construction, a dog on a leash far off giving her bad vibes, etc, I just made her SIT and would instantly reward, acting like nothing was a big deal. Staying very relaxed myself. Only when she would relax (which could be a few or several seconds), would we then casually go another way.

Trust is a big issue. You need your dog to trust that WHENEVER they are on a leash with you, if they do what you ask, they will be safe and secure, bonded with you.

It's good that you ask this, because when the dog starts making their own fearful decisions, then you have a BIG problem.

Good luck! :laugh:

Myah's Mom 01-01-2014 04:34 PM

I would also add:

Start taking your dog OUT to new places a lot. Sounds like your dog is VERY comfy at home, but needs to increase training outside of the home.

You will be SO glad you do this!

doggiedad 01-01-2014 04:47 PM

teach him to "heel". work your way up to heeling on
either side with or without a leash.

Redberry 01-10-2014 10:12 PM

My 6mo old pup does that a lot while PLAYING with other dogs in dog park

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onyx'girl 01-10-2014 10:22 PM

stalking is a part of the herding instinct. It isn't usually fear based.

misslesleedavis1 01-10-2014 10:29 PM

My dog does that too and in my opinion he is doing it out of play and herding because he springs up on his girlfriend and rtries to make her chase him.

Liz&Anna 01-10-2014 10:49 PM


Originally Posted by onyx'girl (Post 4811714)
stalking is a part of the herding instinct. It isn't usually fear based.

I saw this thread and was very curious- my 4 month old will stalk my other dog, it's normally followed by a pounce! My poor other dog (Sam) but its really interesting she looks like a border collie she will get so low and sorta crawl as close as she can get before he notices her....she hides behind the furniture and slowly creeps out lol and she will crawl half the length of the living room like this, I think Sam pretends not to see her because I don't know how he couldn't see her...SHE'S HUGE

Bear GSD 01-10-2014 11:03 PM

Bear is a stalker as well. He's been doing it since he was 6 months old. I agree it's part of natural herding instinct. While I know Bear only wants to play, at his size it's very intimidating to other dogs and when he goes down when he sees another dog I immediately put him in a sit stay. I still have not broken him of it, but he's gotten better about it, I swear Bear's demeanor is more BC than GSD :wild:

KZoppa 01-11-2014 12:08 AM

its not fear based. It's a herding behavior... part of the breed...

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