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Thread: Protective or fearful? Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
12-19-2015 10:32 PM
onyx'girl Sura is a GSD...she has had to deal with more than what her maturity level at the time could handle. But she is, a GSD.
She will need management and help from her handlers to deal with what she went through, but I bet she'll never be a liability with the knowledge you now have.
I think some dogs are failed because the owners either expect too much or squash a dogs confidence. They don't know or understand their dogs lines and misread their motives.
Keep up your good instincts!
12-19-2015 10:24 PM
Castlemaid I'm sorry you had this happen to a 7 month - way too young to deal with a real attack. I'm not surprised that there has been long-term issues you are still working with.

Glad to hear she is getting better. Glad to hear that you understand the stage of mental development she was at and how this traumatized her. Sounds like she'll be okay though with your help and time and confidence building.
12-19-2015 01:43 PM
Jennperry we have the "fear" issue with our Sura. When she was 7mo old a guy tried to break into a house 2 blocks away. He was chased by the homeowner (he was on a bike the home owner in a car) he dumped his bike in my front yard trying to get away and Sura was outback playing and ran into her. I was folding laundry hubby was at work and I heard guys yelling in my yard and she was viciously growing. She did what she naturally should do and took the guy down pulling and tearing his pants. by the time I ran out back I had my (legally owned and CCL) gun and shouted everyone to stop I was armed and they did but the bad guy kicked her hard. this was 3 days before we had her fixed.

ANYWAY.....She is now 1 year 5months old and it's taken this long to even get her to walk with us and not be fearful. Whenever someone comes to the house she freaks out...Vicious....We have signs posted for our electric company and told them NEVER to open our fence without us home. We do this because we know what she can do and do not want her hurt or someone else. She has slipped pass me a couple times and my mailman knows to take a stand not to run but his sub didn't and he ran that day and I was horrified. She was chasing him off but had he fallen or she bit him it would be MY FAULT period.

She has come a long way we take her to stores with us and she is better not 100% but we work every day with her. SO NO this was not funny it wasn't a game we have to be responsible owners because they have a bad rap for a very good reason.

Sura is a female 95lbs pure lean mean muscle. She will protect us to the death we know it but I won't ever allow someone else to be hurt because I am not doing the right thing to keep people who visit us safe.
09-22-2015 09:28 PM
onyx'girl
Quote:
Originally Posted by NINADOG View Post


Just wondering what would be considered good management for a dog such as this that would help him to succeed?? The dog is young, 14mos, and unpredictable on his reactivity to people approaching and at times charges and attempts to bite people. His owner just feels he is just being protective of him as so many newbie owners do and only gives soft verbal and collar corrections the dog no longer takes much notice of. . If you can get past the initial approach you can take this dog from his owner and hold him with the owner out of site and he will interact safely with you. He is also dog aggressive in the same manner. Just wondering as he did leap to bite me and made contact with his mouth on my arm. I just felt the dog should have received a strong correction. In my own opinion his behavior is fear based without a doubt and it seems to be getting more frequent and severe.
This type dog does need strong leadership, and should not be put in situations (at this age) where he is set up to fail.(Owner should not allow people to approach or the dog to react, but be proactive and keep the dog engaged, focused on the handler) Owner should be getting with a trainer that knows this breed and work on handling skils.
He needs to learn boundaries, and gain confidence. Tracking is something that may help, it keeps the dog under threshold, teaches decision making as it builds confidence and the handler can bond more, learn more about the dog when doing something as simple as a track.
I would not assume he'll ever get over the dog aggression, most often that is something that just has to be managed.
09-09-2015 02:56 PM
NINADOG
Quote:
Originally Posted by onyx'girl View Post
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.
Just wondering what would be considered good management for a dog such as this that would help him to succeed?? The dog is young, 14mos, and unpredictable on his reactivity to people approaching and at times charges and attempts to bite people. His owner just feels he is just being protective of him as so many newbie owners do and only gives soft verbal and collar corrections the dog no longer takes much notice of. . If you can get past the initial approach you can take this dog from his owner and hold him with the owner out of site and he will interact safely with you. He is also dog aggressive in the same manner. Just wondering as he did leap to bite me and made contact with his mouth on my arm. I just felt the dog should have received a strong correction. In my own opinion his behavior is fear based without a doubt and it seems to be getting more frequent and severe.
03-30-2015 07:14 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 06:58 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 06:55 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 06:32 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 05:00 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.
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