|08-23-2013 07:26 PM|
|08-23-2013 07:21 PM|
I will tell you from experience that it is probably your wife. Nikkia does the same thing with my Mom. When the leash is in my hands Nikkia is fine, When I open the door she is fine, etc... But when the leash is in my Mom's hands she becomes very protective. She is fine when my brother's or sister hold her leash sometimes she reacts but it's usually only to the downright scary people. And like you said I don't mind when she reacts to them. They can just stay away.
German Shepherds are very intelligent dogs and they are very in tuned with their owners. Some of trainers would describe this as your dog responding to your energies. Some people think this is a weird concept but scientifically I think it has basis. Although it's probably not about tiny energy waves being read by your dog our body language and pheromones can change quickly depending on how we are feeling and our dogs specialized traits are likely to allow them to pick up on these signals.
In terms of leadership our dogs are looking for strong leaders if you are giving off signals telling him that you are in a strong calm authoritative state he will happily let you fill that role. But because of the German Shepherds naturally protective instinct he is ready to step up and take that role of leader and protector when he feels you are in a weakened state. Whether it be because you are scared, anxious, injured, sick or even frustrated. My Mom and I both believe that Nikkia acts this way with her because she has struggled with an anxiety disorder. It seems that the days she feels most anxious coordinate with the days that Nikkia feels she needs to be the most protective with her. This is also why when I am sick and my body is weak I choose to leave her home or put her away when people come to visit because she always becomes more protective.
Maybe this is what is happening with your wife. Did she feel nervous when that homeless guy walked up to her? A scary dude walked up to me to ask for money one time and I felt pretty nervous about it resulting in Nikkia hackling up and warning him that he should move on. Was she nervous during dog class? I know sometimes the first day of school, whether its for your kids or animals can be nerve racking. And her feelings may have caused him to react.
As women we are unfortunately naturally more emotional and our pheromones and scents fluctuate far more, this can be confusing to our dogs. I also used to struggle with an anxiety disorder but living with Nikkia has taught me to keep a check on my emotions and be sure that I am portraying myself in a clam, confident manner when I am around her. When I do she is the sweetest most obedient dog but when I'm not she'll push my buttons and show those more protective qualities.
Maybe over the next little while have her stop and think about how she is feeling at the times when he has these reactions. And over time try to make sure she is always acting in a calm confident manner when handling him. Even if it is hard at first focusing on body language will help immensely as this TED Talk shows changing you body language can actually change your whole physiological response.
You should also always be present while she is handling him until he stops having these reactions so that he does not become habitually like this with her. If you are not around he needs to be in his crate or run or where ever it is that he is contained. When I train my dogs they are in their crate, by me or I am right there while the rest of my family members are handling/playing with them to ensure that things are kept consistent until he is fully trained.
He is also still a puppy and most dogs go through this weird stage in puppyhood (up until about 2yrs of age) which is comparable to teenagers in the sense that one day they'll like someone, and another they won't, and then all of a sudden they'll like them again. The important thing is that in this stage you correct him when he acts aggressively towards people (unless their scary people then I don't usually correct), ignore him when he is fearful (so as not to re-enforce) and ALWAYS reward him only for acting in confident, calm, friendly and stable manner to help guide him into a confident adult.
Also if he ever growls or barks at children give him a harsh correction. By harsh correction I don't mean be brutal but for some people it comes off that way. Just think of it like if your kid did something hazardous, you would not yell and scream and force them into submission but you would make sure that they understood that this is serious and should NEVER be done. With that said never allow your dog to show aggression towards children as there is no absolutely reason for him to (you don't need to be protected from a child). Also to protect him and the children ALWAYS make them ask to pet him, even if he is nice. Whether you are at the park or even in your home do not be afraid to say "Excuse me did you ask to pet my dog?" if a child comes running up. Make them walk away, approach calmly, ask, then instruct them on how to gently pet him so that he learns not to get riled up and overly excited with them and they learn to be soft with dogs. By doing this you are teaching him how to interact with new children and you are teaching the children how to not get bitten by someone else's dog who may not be as nice as yours.
Hopefully this helps I lean more towards this thinking since it seems like by all other means she has been striving to be his leader. It sounds like you guys are doing a fantastic job with him and he is turning out to be a great boy!
|08-23-2013 12:46 AM|
I really think the dog needs to be able to be handled by every responsible person, which would include older kids and any adults that live there. Because the door bell rings, and you really don't want to have to crate the dog if the wife is home alone.
So, I think it is good she is taking him to classes. It may be good if she reads up on NILIF, and starts handling the feeding and the goodies for the dog. It sounds like he is cool with your leadership, but is uncertain with the wife's. Maybe maturity will be enough to get him where he needs to be, but it is a terrible risk to just hope that. Better to do some leadership modification, so he can be more relaxed regardless to your whereabouts.
|08-23-2013 12:05 AM|
You said he's working line? I don't thing some reactions you described (some strange dude approaching etc.) are anything but perfectly normal. My dog (10 month intact male) is super reactive, and I actually like it that way. Of course he will calm down after he has seen that there's nothing to worry about, that I'll handle things. But I don't expect him to be shy when he sees something he has never seen before, I expect reactions. This is GSD, not a golden retriever!
What I've noticed is that my dog is very reactive indoors, because he cannot see or hear properly what's outside. So he starts to bark about 100 times a day . I think it's normal and it used to ~1000 times a day, so it is getting much better, lol. Just stay calm!
|08-22-2013 07:54 PM|
Wolfie Dog, Thanks for being so thorough in responding to my questions. Much appreciated. And your advise is sound and makes perfect sense. He is my dog and my responsibility and he is not a labardoodle. (nothing against labardoddle, that's what my wife wanted, dodged that bullet )
I am familiar with your story, I actually just found out today. I am so so sorry for your loss. I did shed a tear and my thoughts are with you.
|08-22-2013 07:33 PM|
WD was extremely stable and I wasn't going to mess that up by letting others, who were not into dogs as much as I am, handle him outside my presence.
I would let them play and handle the others who were not such a liability (old sight hounds). If he had lived out his entire life I would have given them some slack when he would have been 4 years old as long as he would still be sound. But unfortunately, you may know the story.
|08-22-2013 06:26 PM|
|JakodaCD OA||double bingo|
|08-22-2013 05:23 PM|
thanks everyone for your insights,
This is also what our trainer said:
|08-22-2013 05:08 PM|
Also at nine months, he is going through some adolescent/puberty thing, enough to make ordinary things confusing to him. His hormones and his brain are developing at different rates, so he is over-reacting to normal stuff.
At core he seems like a well-balanced, sane, friendly dog with good nerve strenght. I wouldn't put too much stock into these incidents. I think it is great that your wife is getting more involved in his training - the more they work together, the more they'll mesh together.
|08-22-2013 05:06 PM|
|Ronin864||So does him relying on me for leadership and judgement a good thing or a bad thing? It seems to be a good thing but when i'm absent he doesn't get that. And that is a bad thing, right? I want him to be confident even when I'm not there. Would you think my wife needs more training on how to be a good leader? Is there something my wife can do with him so he will trust in her to protect him. (i.e. playing tug, that would be something to see ) She really isn't a dog person. Could he be feeding off of her own insecurities when I'm not there to control the dog? When Jango barked at the trainer, my wife admitted to being nervous on the first day of training. Maybe with the kids around she didn't feel confident enough with herself in controlling the situation. So Jango took charge.|
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