What is this behavior? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-02-2011, 01:09 PM Thread Starter
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What is this behavior?

My puppy has been doing well on her walks. She has done great meeting people, esp. kids, and takes everything in stride.

However, there is one thing that seems to really distract her-other dogs.

Now, I wanted to discuss what this behavior could possibly be and where it could go. I think that she is just unsure, and that this can quickly turn into an aggressive or fearful response to other dogs in the future. I obviously want to change things before this happens, so please discuss!

Here is what she does when she sees another dog:

She just stops and looks at them. There is nothing intense or fearful about it. She just stops. Tail is hanging (like a saber ), not up wagging, or tucked. No hackles or leaning forward. No growling or any noise. She just wants to stand there and watch them.

When she does this, I cannot get her attention, even with food. The only progress is that she now takes the food but doesn't eat it-it will fall to the ground. At enough of a distance everything is normal again...I would say 20-30 feet. Then she is fine, takes food and listens.

We walked right by another dog yesterday (totally neutral dog not even interested in her) and she did the same thing. She stood right in the middle of the street and didn't budge. I gently coaxed her along and gently pulled the leash to keep her moving and she kept wanting to just stand and stare. About 15 feet away after passing she was fine again.

I just wanted to note that on a previous walk a dog was right across the st. and tugging to come near us and she jumped straight up and barked at that dog. A deep, defensive bark. She was also with my other two dogs that time. She has not shown this behavior since, and had shown the stop and stare before that.

Again, I just wanted to discuss this before it becomes a problem instead of an annoyance. We will continue to work on watch me, but the whole LAT thing just kinda goes over her head...

Thanks for reading
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-02-2011, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by TankGrrl66 View Post
Tail is hanging (like a saber ), not up wagging, or tucked. No hackles or leaning forward. No growling or any noise. She just wants to stand there and watch them.
Straight and still? That could be a sign that she is alert.

Don't let her focus on the dogs. Stopping and staring is slowly building her frustration level until she has no release for the energy but to bark and carry on.

Let her look for a second and very happily say "ok, let's go" and just go.

Sounds like she is just curious but it could turn into reactivity if she gets frustrated with them always being out of the way. Use it as a training opportunity to show her that you are way more exciting than any dog you come across and watching you is more rewarding than staring the dog across the street down.

Jamie

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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-02-2011, 05:25 PM
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There's looking and there's staring. Staring in the dog world is confrontational - when a puppy does it it's cute and looks as if the pup is curious, but if she is still doing it when she is older that can equal throwing down the gauntlet, and a more dominant dog will see it as a challenge. Better to nip it in the bud now and move her along when she stops - use a clicker, or a favorite toy to get her focused on you if food isn't working, and move briskly on your way. Do some OB - sit, down, a bit of heeling: keeping busy is another way to redirect unwanted behavior.
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-02-2011, 05:46 PM
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My pup does the exact same thing. I don't think its confrontational at all. When I let her approach dogs, shes great, totally sociable, no aggression. When I'm trying to get her to walk away or were sitting on the drive way trying to get her short self into my car, she'll sit/stand and watch the dog until they are out of sight. My perspective is that she's just really interested, and since I won't let her run to the dog because were trying to do something, she'll just sit and watch them to fulfill her social butterfly needs. although this is getting much better.

granted, her recall and attention clearly need work :P
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-02-2011, 05:49 PM
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I don't think its confrontational at all.
It's not to you but it is to other dogs.

Jamie

Raven (GSD) - December 8, 2007
Kaiser (GSD) - November 2009
Holly (GSD) - March 24, 2011

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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-02-2011, 06:01 PM
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Work under her threshold. This may require having a friend involved and not just passers-by.
You reward her for looking at you and paying attention to you, gradually moving the friend (with their dog) closer and closer until you can be next to each other and she's looking at you and not staring at the dog.

If at any time you "lose" her and she won't look at you, that is, she's staring at the other dog, move back and start over.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-02-2011, 07:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gsdraven View Post
Straight and still? That could be a sign that she is alert.

Don't let her focus on the dogs. Stopping and staring is slowly building her frustration level until she has no release for the energy but to bark and carry on.

Let her look for a second and very happily say "ok, let's go" and just go.

Sounds like she is just curious but it could turn into reactivity if she gets frustrated with them always being out of the way. Use it as a training opportunity to show her that you are way more exciting than any dog you come across and watching you is more rewarding than staring the dog across the street down.
This is a GREAT post!

Also, how much dog-dog interaction is she getting? Is she meeting "new" dogs much? Maybe some SUPERVISED playdates with nice puppies her age or nice older adults would benefit her and curb her curiosity!

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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-02-2011, 08:17 PM
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it's really great that you are noticing this behavior so you can work on it now. this is something i wish i would have recognized at the time my boy started doing this and i definitely think you should work on this asap. of course hindsight is 20/20, which is why i feel like i can say that with certainty. i mean, when chobahn was a baby he always got really excited about other dogs...but now it's to the point where he fixates and he cannot share the space of a sidewalk with another dog while he's on leash. he goes nuts. playing with other dogs? no problemo...he loves other dogs, it's when he's on leash thats an issue. i have finally figured out his threshold so i can continue to work on this, but like VonKromeHuas suggested, it might be wise to have the support of supervised play dates that way you have a bit more control over the situation. also, i can say for myself that i have to really try to relax and lead him through the situation calmly and not get aloof too just because i know what could potentially happen. i'm always on high alert when we are walking because i want to see everything that is coming at us from every angle so i can be prepared. this habit and this behavior are so hard to break, but it can be done with a positive attitude and persistence! good luck

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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-04-2011, 12:15 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by VonKromeHaus View Post
This is a GREAT post!

Also, how much dog-dog interaction is she getting? Is she meeting "new" dogs much? Maybe some SUPERVISED playdates with nice puppies her age or nice older adults would benefit her and curb her curiosity!
She lives with 3 other dogs. She interacts with them and plays with them beautifully...in fact, she is actually bossy with them! The aggressive response she did when she was walking with them...the staring happens now that I am walking her alone (we have been working on loose leash walking).

She didn't show fear to the other dogs she has played with. She did awesome playing with my friends' puppy...

Should I get my friends to bring their dogs over as much as possible and just let them be dogs? Or should I work on obedience too?

Last edited by TankGrrl66; 09-04-2011 at 12:18 AM.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-04-2011, 12:23 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by msvette2u View Post
Work under her threshold. This may require having a friend involved and not just passers-by.
You reward her for looking at you and paying attention to you, gradually moving the friend (with their dog) closer and closer until you can be next to each other and she's looking at you and not staring at the dog.

If at any time you "lose" her and she won't look at you, that is, she's staring at the other dog, move back and start over.
Sounds like a plan. A good one at that.
She goes NUTS for her little flirtpole toy, I mean she looooves it...think I should bring it with me on walks and use that?

Should I try and use a dog she hasn't met before?

@Anja - She looks. It isn't much of a stare. However, she saw a lab playing today and really stared. She leans her head forward when she stares. The lab started coming over and it scared her.

**I updated what is going on in a new thread in the puppy behavior section. Things took a turn tonight on our walk...she responded fearfully. How much does that change things? Should I still go with what msvette said? 'cus I think its a great idea...I just want to make sure the fear doesn't change it all up.
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