Territorial Behavior? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-02-2018, 11:41 AM Thread Starter
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Territorial Behavior?

Hoping someone can give me a little advice on when/if males become territorial? I have only owned female GSD on my own (though growing up we had an awesome male, Baron) and now have my first male, Klaus. He is 14 months, still intact (planning to neuter at 18 months), 90 lbs of lean muscle and is ridiculously laid back.

He had a different training and socialization schedule than I had planned...within a month of bringing him home my son got sick, (Stage 4 Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma) and life was a bit more chaotic than usual. There were 5-6 people who aren't family that chipped in to help with walks and play time and he spent a significant chunk of time with us at the hospital and Ronald McDonald House while my son was in treatment (he's in remission and doing great!!) visiting with nurses and other kiddos who needed some puppy love.

He knows who he belongs to (classic velcro dog), but if someone walked into my house he would not care other than maybe to ask for pets. He does not bark (except when he's arguing about whether or not he owns the couch and if he catches a glimpse of the cat) to the point I had to put a bell on the door so he could let us know he needed to go outside and taught him to ring the doorbell to be let back in.

In your experience do they grow into being territorial as they age or will he likely stay this chill about who is on our property? With it being summer there are kids in and out of my yard and house constantly and he is rarely kenneled anymore as his puppy behavior (ohmygodthechewing) morphs into more grown behavior. He usually greets them at the gate with a nose kiss and then moves on...

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-02-2018, 02:11 PM
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Congratulations on your son being in remission!

All dogs are individuals and mature at their own rate, but typically it's around 2 or 3 yrs of age that they mature enough that they sort of become what they'll be. Given your pup's laid back personality and the fact that he spent lots of time with a variety of people growing up, he may never develop any degree of suspicion of strangers, it's hard to tell. I have a friend who's dog was exactly like yours, but became a great watchdog at 3 yrs. of age!

Of course that doesn't mean the dog won't protect you or your home from a real threat either way (though most dog's without training won't do much more than bark). Dogs read body language well, so he'll sense the difference if someone comes with I'll intent!

But you certainly don't want your dog to be aggressive toward kids ever, so his stable, calm attitude toward kids coming and going is awesome! My dog won't bark at kids coming into the yard, but she does at adults when they try to come in solo. If they're with me she ignores them or says hello, and to me that's perfect! Enjoy that dog!

It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog. Mark Twain

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-02-2018, 02:21 PM
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He sounds like a good boy. There are no threats with the children visitors. You are allowing them in the house, he sees this. This should not trigger any sort of suspicion. He greets them appropriately, then moves on. I like this. My adult male will alert bark if someone pulls in the driveway, walks onto our property. I like that he does it but it's important to me that when I say - thanks, good boy. That he stops, I'm in control now. I honestly can't remember when he started doing this. He just turned 8.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-02-2018, 03:19 PM
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That is a good problem to have, in my opinion.

I was relieved when you said your son was in remission. How wonderful that your friends/family were able to chip in and help with your pup when things were so stressful. One of my GSDs is on the more social side. He has gotten more aloof as he ages, and he has always barked when the doorbell rings and when a stranger comes into the yard. But he still likes to meet new people. He's a big boy though, and most people (especially non-dog people) are wary of him. I would guess your boy will become more aloof between 2-3 years, but either way, he'll be a good deterrent. People will be afraid of him based on breed and appearance alone. How nice that he is so reliable around kids! Perhaps, your boy could be a therapy dog since he love kids and is used to hospitals?
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-03-2018, 07:24 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you!! I appreciate the advice!
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-03-2018, 07:28 AM Thread Starter
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He IS a good boy. Just big and I wanted to make sure I was reading him alright, especially with the kiddos around (some who are not familiar with dogs, so we've had some learning opportunities for the neighborhood). Thank you for taking the time to offer some advice!
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-03-2018, 07:41 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you - it was a whirlwind and we are very fortunate to be on the other side. We have thought of getting him certified as a therapy dog...which was not at all where I thought his life would lead when we brought him home. He visits our neighborhood elementary school a few times a week and is SO GOOD with the littles and does well with the chaos that a hospital room can bring (although to be honest, he helped more with the boredom than the stress, 15 day inpatient treatments were brutal).

People are wary of him and don't understand that he's still a baby. Although when he was smaller, folks would pet without asking..no one does that anymore.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-03-2018, 11:29 AM
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It varies from dog to dog. If somebody my dogs don't know are in their line of sight, they aren't getting inside. They throw a barking fit, very deep barks in fact compared to when they're commanded to bark. Not every dog has this sort of temperament, in fact it's probably a good thing. My brother had a friend over last weekend, and he came downstairs while the dogs were sleeping and they chased him up the stairs. They know the kid, but not his scent so well and it was dark. Like another user above stated, you've only really exposed him to people you want in your house/on your property, you won't really be able to tell unless he is exposed to some sort of threat. I've been reading into protection dog work, and teaching my dogs basic bark and bite commands, so their prey drives seem to have gone up some, contributing to some extra territorial behavior.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-04-2018, 03:06 AM
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I am very much a novice so take my word with a grain of salt. With my one dog experience I think it is very much with MY dog more not as much as WHEN the behavior develops BUT when they are PUT into a situation in which they must defend.

I have a dog very much like yours but maybe because of my lack of experience more of a spaz when it comes to friendliness. He is now 1-1\2. He loves the world. We have a busy house, big family, lots of friends open door kind of policy. He has been exposed well, loves other dogs.

I've had two occasions(can elaborate if necessaray) where I was shocked at his ability to come to the extreme opposite of friendly, PROVKED experience but I was no the less shocked. I will say as other posters have mentioned they are very capable of reading body language. The one time he could advance he did not BUT stood ground. The other time he was crated. It was both times as others have noted 100% a body language thing and completely justified.

Now the actions by my dog were justified 100% and after these events I trust him 100% with anyone I trust....family friends kids..beyond.

It still startles me and I push for verbal obedience and I train for as much as I can so that my friendly GSD when faced with anything obeys my word not his instinct.

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