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Old 05-08-2014, 04:11 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Puppy protective behavior

I was wondering when your dogs began exhibiting what I would call protective behavior.

I walk Pearl twice daily, and we live in the city so we interact with a lot of people and dogs. She used to go up to virtually every person and want to be pet, etc. She is 5 & 1/2 months now, and I have noticed within the last two weeks or so that she ignores almost everyone. She keeps her eyes straight ahead, and when someone talks to one of us, she will look at me for guidance. I think it's great because I don't want everyone to pet her, and I didn't train her to do this at all.

I have also noticed that since about 3 months of age she gets the same vibe of people as I do, I don't know if it's my body language or what, but she gets closer to me and will have a little bit of a low growl.

Just curious on other people's experiences with this!
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Old 05-08-2014, 07:53 AM   #2 (permalink)
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What you're describing (coming closer to you and growling) is fearful behavior. They're just babies at this age... they don't understand or have the maturity for "protective" yet. Most dogs don't start exhibiting truly protective instincts until they're a bit older. If you get weirded out by a particular person, she picks up on it and thinks there's something to be afraid of. Be sure not to reward it.

Being aloof towards strangers is a good thing! The breed is supposed to be aloof- neutral, if you will. As they start to mature, they often become a lot less interested in other people.
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Old 05-08-2014, 12:47 PM   #3 (permalink)
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You need to stop what you are doing cause you are teaching her to be afraid of EVERYONE.

When instead you want her to be happy, confident, secure in her place in the world. A normal puppy shouldn't be growling from FEAR when everyone gets near. And what an adult dog does with this fear is bites when someone accidentally gets too close and then you have to put her down for a behavior you unintentionally TAUGHT her.

You should be going thru the world CONFIDENT, happy and greeting it with joy and aplomb. So your puppy will too!

That way, a few years from now when your puppy is an adult, and a REAL threat comes up you will act appropriately from a REAL threat, and your pup will also be able to judge from your behavior that something is different from the thousands of humans they have met in the past.

It's common that we think our puppies are protective and we THINK that's what we want. Instead, we are teaching them to be afraid and the biting adult dog that results is something that can rarely be fixed.

Be aware, I have had dogs for over 20 years now. When out an about with my dogs I have NEVER been attacked, robbed and injured. And we've probably met literally thousands of humans in the woods, town and even New York City. So raising a confident, happy and SECURE puppy in a world that is CLEARLY full of good people who aren't going to murder me is a better way to go. For me and my pups.

Get into dog class so you can turn this around (hopefully) with a trainer and the other students in class as well as the training/socialization in a POSITIVE way you are going to start.

Heck, instead of encouraging the fear and growling when people get near me and my pup, I am boldly going up to them to hand them a treat and ask 'will you pet/treat my puppy'???



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Old 05-08-2014, 01:34 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Definitely not protective. Pups shouldn't growl at any human. If they do then it's from a place of insecurity.

Imo the perfect reaction for a pup is to just sit there. Not wanting to move forward to sniff and certainly not growling/barking. Aloof and confident.
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Old 05-08-2014, 02:47 PM   #5 (permalink)
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[QUOTE=MaggieRoseLee;5491601]You need to stop what you are doing cause you are teaching her to be afraid of EVERYONE.

You should be going thru the world CONFIDENT, happy and greeting it with joy and aplomb. So your puppy will too!

That way, a few years from now when your puppy is an adult, and a REAL threat comes up you will act appropriately from a REAL threat, and your pup will also be able to judge from your behavior that something is different from the thousands of humans they have met in the past.

Be aware, I have had dogs for over 20 years now. When out an about with my dogs I have NEVER been attacked, robbed and injured. And we've probably met literally thousands of humans in the woods, town and even New York City. So raising a confident, happy and SECURE puppy in a world that is CLEARLY full of good people who aren't going to murder me is a better way to go. For me and my pups.
///end quote
I never said she is afraid of everyone. She used to go up to every single human and beg for attention, and now she's more "aloof" as someone else stated. She'll still wag her tail and get excited when a stranger greets her with "omg what a cute puppy!"

I take her to the pet store, restaurant patios, parades, hardware store, a beer festival, virtually everywhere. She doesn't ever look like she isn't confident, if that makes sense.

So, with that said, do I need to work on MY behavior more than hers? If she's picking up in my anxiety by certain individuals, do I just reassure her that it's okay and we continue on?
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Old 05-08-2014, 03:18 PM   #6 (permalink)
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You don't want to call it fear, okay, let's call it anxiety or discomfort. These dogs are very sensitive and your emotions are traveling straight down the leash to her. They pick up on so much more than we think they do.
Exactly what is this behavior of yours that she's picking up on?
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Old 05-08-2014, 03:36 PM   #7 (permalink)
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We walk after dark when I get off work as there is no way to avoid it, I live in the city and truth be told I'm sometimes uncomfortable doing so as a young woman. I don't know how my behavior changes when I see unfamiliar people in the neighborhood, but I'll try to be more aware from now on.
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Old 05-08-2014, 03:53 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Hmm... If its a person that YOU are not comfortable with then I would say its ok for the dog to growl...at a creepy person on a darkened street corner living in the city and walking at night- alone??? The. What is the problem? If you alone I wouldn't even bother with "oh she's friendly" like said previously in this thread dogs ready body language QUITE WELL and it might not be your body language that your dog is not ok with...it could be the person you are approaching. Work on your basic obedience, make sure your dog know is you say "leave it" that there is no need to worry or to take matters in to its own hands. after all they are guard dogs. My dog is allot like yours, but I also try very hard to have full control of her.


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Old 05-08-2014, 03:55 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thank you Liz&Anna, that's kind of what I was getting at without trying to be rude! She knows "leave it" great, both when she picks up something or when she tries to approach a dog/cat/human/bird etc. that I don't want her to.
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Old 05-08-2014, 04:07 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Take a self-defense class. Put some OFF! or mace in your pocket. Don't walk around like a victim wannabe.

Sorry, I know I shouldn't be blaming victims. But there are victims, and there are survivors of crime. And survivors are often victims until they wake up one day and say, NO MORE! They own their own power, they park under the streetlight, they keep their keys in their hand, and they walk confidently.

It is odd, but they showed a clip of people walking in a city to a bunch of different inmates of a prison. They all chose the same people to victimize. It does not have to do with size, weight, body type. There are people out there that walk like victims.

What you are doing by going to places that make you feel insecure, is that you are over-riding your common sense and putting yourself into dangerous situations. The first thing you will learn in a self-defense course is not to be there. Don't put yourself in a position where you are likely to be victimized.

Right now that five month old pup can't help you. If you are attacked that dog will be ripped out of your hands and swung up against a wall or over a fence or kicked to death. They cannot protect you. Not at all. Not at that age. The only thing they can do is make noise, and hearing a puppy barking is unlikely to bring the neighborhood to your rescue. Not in crappy neighborhoods.

So if you have to drive to somewhere more populated, or some quaint country village well out of town, then do so to protect yourself and your puppy. In the mean time, go out and get into some real self-defense courses. Don't let yourself become a statistic.

ETA: The most important thing. Walking your dog when you feel insecure will make your dog feel insecure and it will teach your dog that people are scary. The dog will not look insecure, most likely he will look intimidating, barking and growling. And, unfortunately, these dogs are the ones that are likely to bite an old lady with a walker, or a little kid that runs up behind. Please do not teach your dog to be insecure around people. Please don't let your dog become a statistic either.
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Last edited by selzer; 05-08-2014 at 04:12 PM.
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