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Thread: Protective or fearful? Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
03-30-2015 06:14 PM
onyx'girl
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dalko43 View Post
I agree with most of what you have said. And though it's hard to statistically prove why most dog-bite incidents occur (fear, confusion, protectiveness) I can buy off on that statement of 'most random reactive aggression is fear based.'

However that last part in bold raises a few questions on my part. I have first-hand experience with a secure/confident male GSD, who does not go looking for trouble or try to chase/attack strangers passing by...but has a bite incident and several aggressive incidents with people who tried to approach him for a pet. He is curious about everything, gets along fine with dogs that want to play, and is perfectly at ease on walks just as he is at his home.

I just don't think all GSD aggression (or dog aggression in general) falls within that black and white category of being either fear-driven or protective-driven.
If he is immature mentally, he may not be correctly assessing situations....and it is up to his handler to help him succeed. GSD's carry aggression, it is in their breed standard...many breeders are trying to breed it out, or not breed pedigree matches carefully enough to keep that natural aggression controlled/ temperament isn't stable. Young dogs need to be managed regardless. My male was very suspicious when he was immature, but his high threshold helped him and he was never placed in situations where he would be failed.
03-30-2015 05:58 PM
Stonevintage So what would you make of this? My pup has no interest in other dogs. It's the dogs owner she wants to get to for a pet and a hello. She is almost 11 months old and her beef with other dogs is if they are standing between her and their owners. She will stand an inch away from a dogs face with her back legs braced and bark and bark. If this garners no reaction, she will try to go around them to get to the owner.
03-30-2015 05:55 PM
Dalko43
Quote:
Originally Posted by onyx'girl View Post
If we read the body language, there are always subtle clues to let us know the dogs emotional state....and most often random reactive aggression is fear based. A dog that is secure and confident does not go looking for trouble.
I agree with most of what you have said. And though it's hard to statistically prove why most dog-bite incidents occur (fear, confusion, protectiveness) I can buy off on that statement of 'most random reactive aggression is fear based.'

However that last part in bold raises a few questions on my part. I have first-hand experience with a secure/confident male GSD, who does not go looking for trouble or try to chase/attack strangers passing by...but has a bite incident and several aggressive incidents with people who tried to approach him for a pet. He is curious about everything, gets along fine with dogs that want to play, and is perfectly at ease on walks just as he is at his home.

I just don't think all GSD aggression (or dog aggression in general) falls within that black and white category of being either fear-driven or protective-driven.
03-30-2015 05:32 PM
onyx'girl If we read the body language, there are always subtle clues to let us know the dogs emotional state....and most often random reactive aggression is fear based. A dog that is secure and confident does not go looking for trouble.
My female doesn't always show stress or fear when she reacts, she is forward and stealth, but it is a display of emotions due to the fact that she is unsure, so takes the proactive stance. Her tail is high, her head is up, she doesn't hackle, but I know her well enough to see she needs to feel like the 'big dog' when she is insecure.
My male who is always confident and secure, will watch and discern before ever reacting.
03-30-2015 04:00 PM
Dalko43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Castlemaid View Post
Protectiveness comes from a place of complete calm and complete confidence. The dog will assess the situation, stay watchfull, and give warning growls. The look on their face often reads "don't try anything, buddy, I'm on top of it!"

Dogs lunging to the end of the leash, barking widely, hackling, looking around widely, switching their gaze from the person or thing to something else and back, and so on, are showing fear.

In some cases, the difference is subtle because a fearful dog may be so good at the bravado, trying to act confident and sure in order to try and convince the threat that they mean it (though they are bluffing), that even an experienced person may have difficulty in seeing the difference.

And as others said, the threat has to be real. A dog that barks at every passerby or random people approaching a vehicule, or every noise is reacting out of fear, because those are daily occurances that have never posed a threat.
Some good points. Though I will say I have seen some GSD's bark/act aggressively towards random strangers (without provocation), and yet were not displaying any indication of fear/stress.

I don't think we can diagnose all GSD's as either "fearful" or "protective" when they exhibit aggressive behaviors. I have dealt with some that are just looking for a fight, others that have a strong pack mentality and will keep strangers away from their perceived pack members (owners), and there are many other reasons for an aggressive outburst. It's best to analyze these incidents on a case-by-case basis.
06-14-2014 10:48 AM
GSD Shepherdess We use the Don Sullivan training method. Since we began using this method, we have had great success in bonding, training, and helping others.
05-23-2014 04:36 PM
Banshee5 Very interesting opinions and I myself cannot comment on what is right or wrong behaviour. I do know my dog does not like dogs coming up to me if they are loose and will come up to chase them off. People he has no bother with,unless they approach the house then he barks and barks but never attacks.
Hes greta out walking but again if we meet a dog he barks and pulls on his lead. He never had other dogs around growing up as people were afraid of him
05-20-2014 10:07 PM
GEORGEKY Greetings, I'm relatively new to this forum, but posted last year when our GSD male contacted lymphoma. Dino is gone, but I have a question regarding our 5 year old female adopted last fall through the GSD rescue organization. Bella is wonderful in the house, responds to commands, but is very protective if anyone comes to the door- until they come inside. We have no issue with this behavior, but need to do something about the same behavior or worse when confronted with another dog when on leash during a walk. Lots of barking, snarling, and an apparent readiness to fight.

Obviously, we are far past puppy training, or even knowing her background. The foster people said she was very well-behaved with other dogs in the house but she has really become hard to handle around other dogs. I'm looking for any training or conditioning suggestions.

Thanks,

George Schweikle
Lexington, KY
12-02-2013 02:04 PM
FORRUGER Thank you for your reply and assessment based on the circumstances. I just mentioned that it was out of working lines as it has siblings trained and actively working on police forces so it's out of dogs with good strong drives. I did mention the liability issue to her... and even told her about a person in my neighborhood who adopted an adult GSD with a bad attitude that ultimately ended up being ordered to be euthanisized after getting loose and attacking people in the area...

But I will try to pass on to her sound suggestions from anyone willing to offer them... it's not acceptable behavior to me especially out of a dog that technically is still a 'pup' at 13 mos of age.... just wanted other opinions/suggestions. thanks!
12-02-2013 01:15 PM
boomer11 definitely fear and definitely not ok. a protective dog only watches people and doesnt bark at everything that moves. a protective dog is ok with 99% of the people it comes in contact with and will only bark and lunge and maybe bite if they feel the threat is real. my dog has barked his deep bark when startled but he's never lunged at anyone.

a fearful dog will huff and puff and bark and lunge and maybe bite at everything that its unsure about. if this behavior isnt corrected then the dog thinks that this is how i get rid of the danger. the dog thinks its ok to bite and lunge and bark because it works! it has nothing to do with working line. sounds like the dog needs lots of leadership and training. if your friend is proud of this behavior it'll just be a matter of time before she gets sued.
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