At what age should you expect your GSD to protect you? - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 10-26-2012, 07:02 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default At what age should you expect your GSD to protect you?

Hi everyone, my puppy is now 6 months old. When I got her at 3 months of age I would take her places and I would notice she is already becoming protective, after taking her to puppy education at 4 months of age even the trainer said that my puppy is one of the most protective she has ever seen (she is a dog trainer for 8 years) she had difficult time training my puppy because my puppy didn't want to leave my side even for treats (no separation anxiety issues if thats what your thinking) she graduated her first level, was doing much better at the end altough still snapping at other dogs if they got too close to me. Now, she is 6 months and I am noticing that she is having fear agression, her fur gets up, she barks and then she hides. I know that this is a BAD sign. She got spayed a little over 2 weeks ago and I think thats when I started noticing that she is being fearful. Before whoever it is or whatever it is she doesn't trust she would try to go strainght to that object/person and now she seems to hide... She is very well socialized outside meaning in dog park and on the street the only place is never allowed people is our house. I am really hoping that this is just a stage but I was thinking taking her for protection training classes... anyway my question is by what age should GSD be expected to not be fearful?( I know it depends on their temperament and breeding) I have no info about the breeder...
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Old 10-26-2012, 07:32 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm sorry you have a fearful pup. I had one too. He's nearly 11 and I've been managing the behavior you describe all his life. It's really really common in poorly-bred Shepherds. Again, I have one too so I'm not criticizing. It's so common that we've started probably hundreds of threads, maybe thousands, about this very topic over the years.
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Old 10-26-2012, 07:55 AM   #3 (permalink)
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the behaviors you were seeing in class "snapping at other dogs that got to close", was not protective, it was most likely a fearful response then. Sorry I disagree with your trainer. Dogs at that age have no conception of "protective" except maybe protecting themselves.

At this point, I would take things slow, don't 'force' people or situations on her, but keep getting her out into the big wide world and exposing her to new things, new situations, but allowing HER to make the choices without forcing her to make choices.
Also don't "baby" her, just kinda go with the flow.

And as ^^ said there are many topics on here about fearful dogs/fear aggression. If you do a search, you may find some other suggestions/advice as well
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Old 10-26-2012, 08:03 AM   #4 (permalink)
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This isn't a dog who would do well with protection training. Instead locate a trainer who has verifiable experience with GSD and fear aggression. I would suggest a different trainer then the one you went to before. The trainer will teach you how to manage your pup and work with your pup on the fear issues.

It doesn't happen often, but altering some dogs does increase the aggression. It happened to mine and a couple more on here.

It would be very unusual for a pup at 3 or 4 months of age to show protection. At that age they are more into having fun and exploring. I imagine what you were seeing was fear and unfortunately it wasn't recognized.
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Old 10-26-2012, 08:22 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I forgot to mention the reason the trainer said she is protective is because she snaps ONLY if I am next to my dog and other dogs come close, if my dog is by herself she doesn't care about them. Also when we would go swimming Arexa was 2 months old and she was scared of the water but she still followed me and swam after me while she was whining and crying, if she was scared wouldn't she stay on the shore with other family members? She is very protective of me and my younger siblings ages 5, 11,14. In public she is ok with people and I have noticed there are some MEN she doesn't like and doesnt trust. My dog follows me every step and I notice she stares at me all the time, like just now I turned around as I type this and there she is looking at me. I know you guys have a hard time believing that such a young pup would try to protect but I was in shock myself, as so are my friends and my relatives, and the dog trainer... I think its one of the reasons I am so attached to her than any other dog I had, there is this sort of connection... I guess I would have to wait a little more and see if it is in fact fear agresssion or she is just being over protective, but im sure that spaying has something to do with it because there is no way my dog can change so much in 2 weeks..
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Old 10-26-2012, 08:30 AM   #6 (permalink)
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well it sounds like she is very bonded to you, and looks to you for confidence / reassurance. She could also be resource guarding you, (the snapping at other dogs)
but believe me, a dog that young is not protecting you.

Spaying of course can do some weird things to females, and she's also probably at the age where they go thru weird changes anyway.

Enjoy what you have, deal with what you have, and like I said, continue to get her out in the big wide world, don't force, just let her experience..
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Old 10-26-2012, 08:46 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JakodaCD OA View Post
well it sounds like she is very bonded to you, and looks to you for confidence / reassurance. She could also be resource guarding you, (the snapping at other dogs)
but believe me, a dog that young is not protecting you.

Spaying of course can do some weird things to females, and she's also probably at the age where they go thru weird changes anyway.

Enjoy what you have, deal with what you have, and like I said, continue to get her out in the big wide world, don't force, just let her experience..

I totally agree on not forcing her, I tried for her to like my neighbor but she saw him every day even with treats...and did not like him until recentely...4 months later. Also I think what ruined the experience for her is when we were at dog park for the first time she was started being scared AFTER an adult pit bull jumped on her and rolled her over... aftwards was bit of a challenge to get her to the dog park, but now its almost impossible to get her out of there the only problem now is she thinks that small dogs are toys I absolutely hate owners who bring their tiny dogs to the big dog area makes me so nervous! Not only I have to watch for my dog but also after their dog, but thats a different issue. Thank you for responses everyone will take her to GSD trainer if necessary.
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Old 10-26-2012, 09:39 AM   #8 (permalink)
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If you can take your dog to the dog park...it might not be that fearful. Not sure if you've still taken her there since the spay or since you noticed this behavior.

Before as a pup she was resource guarding you. This is not protection. It's fear of losing you. To me...the line between protection and fear or resource guarding is that one is controlled and is only towards true threats. Your dog has no idea what a threat is at this point in her life. I'm not sure what you did to correct this behavior but you should've started correcting early and often.
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Old 10-26-2012, 12:31 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JakodaCD OA View Post
well it sounds like she is very bonded to you, and looks to you for confidence / reassurance. She could also be resource guarding you, (the snapping at other dogs) but believe me, a dog that young is not protecting you.
I agree with Diane - either resource guarding you from other dogs, or she's more confident with you there backing her up.

We did some interesting training with Cassidy, who was VERY leash reactive around other dogs. She was fine with most dogs off leash, and we used to go to the off leash park to play ball and let her swim all the time. It was called Abandonment Training - we held her leash while a trainer had a long line. An assistant walked another dog into view, and the second Cassidy saw the dog at a distance and started to tense, but before she blew up into a reaction, we tossed her leash at her (the tactile sense of the leash hitting can break through and get the dog's attention when their other senses, such as sight and hearing, are otherwise engaged), and turned around and ran in the opposite direction.

She'd realize we were gone and she was all alone to challenge this dog by herself. After a brief "oh, crap!" moment, she'd turn and run to us for a big reward. She was still under control because of the long line, but she felt like she was free, and consequently she had the choice to leave, like we did, rather than stay and engage. Her natural inclination was more "flight" than "fight", but the leash can inhibit normal greeting behaviors by dogs and take those choices away from them, causing fear, stress, and social anxiety - hence the aggressive display, which is designed to scare away the other dog.

Within about 20 minutes she and the other dog were walking calmly past each other, about 3 feet apart, with no reaction.
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Old 12-14-2012, 11:25 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I have a 9 months old little girl and she has let people in my house and yard with out barking. She is afraid of the neighbors Yorkie. I'm glad she isnt a barker!!! i enjoy getting my gas pumped and not having my dog jump at them.
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