A very odd question I'm sure - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-17-2010, 01:53 PM Thread Starter
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A very odd question I'm sure

From the day I got my dog, I have trained/taught her to be friendly, bark free and able to be around anyone, other dogs and cats. She has played with dogs of all sizes, from those little Chihuahua things to Great Danes. The local elementary school would always stop by and about swarm all over her and she loved it. She doesn't jump up on people unless they clap their hands and hold them out. I have also used her to help parents and adults with their fear of dogs. I snap my fingers and she comes right to my side and sits down. She is a great dog.

She will chase other dogs out of the yard if she doesn't know them. Once she see's that they are ok and friendly, she lets them in and she looks at the as more of a new toy then anything else. Well today, one of those dog's that they use to heard sheep (can't remember the name) came in. She ran him out of the yard so fast it wasn't funny. I checked out the dogs tags and rabies was up to day as well as the local town tag. All he wanted was some attention. I told my dog that it was ok and she slowly let him in the yard. He began to scent mark around the yard and then a little while after that he started getting aggressive toward my dog. He was no threat to my dog at all. While he looked healthy you could tell that he didn't get much exercise where mine is run hard 4 or 5 times a day and is 85 to 90 pound of solid muscle and could run circles around him backwards.

Now my odd question/problem. I think I might have over done the calm, mellow, friendly and nowhere near the German Shepherd dog stigma. I do not want to undo what I worked hard to get her to be like but I would like to be able to have a command to be aggressive when needed. As she is right now I believe if someone were to break into the house that she would greet them with a wagging tail and not a growl with hair raised and teeth showing. Does anyone know anyway to teach a command to be aggressive only when needed when they were taught to be friendly and mellow from day one?

Any help would be great!
Thanks,
Rich
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-17-2010, 02:05 PM
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Welcome to the board!

That is not an odd question. You don't show your location, but I would try to find a trainer in your area, perhaps at a local Schutzhund club. Or you could ask the local K-9 officer to recommend someone. I would be very careful, watch the person train and ask a lot of questions. It would be easy to mess up your dog's good temperament with the wrong trainer.

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-17-2010, 02:06 PM
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LOL – I’m sorry, I had to chuckle a little when I read through your post. Sounds a little like my Miikka. However, I strongly believe that if an intruder were to try to enter the house she would raise holy h***. I think your dog would to…it's only natural.

Having said that, I think you can do “protection” training with her. There are others on the board that are more knowledgeable in that field. Hopefully, someone else can answer your question better than I. Good luck!!

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-17-2010, 02:07 PM
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How old is he?

Some dogs do not become protective until they mature.

My dog acts the same way that your dog does, he is 1.5 years old, one day he became aggressive towards 2 crackheads that approached us. He completely took me by surprise. He has never acted that way before. He was lunging at them, growling and fast barking, snot was flying, the way he was acting I knew he would bite.

Dogs know when to be serious, they can sense when something is not right.

I would not train a dog to be aggressive. I feel like other problems could arise with that.

Lauren

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-17-2010, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Hunther's Dad View Post
Welcome to the board!

That is not an odd question. You don't show your location, but I would try to find a trainer in your area, perhaps at a local Schutzhund club. Or you could ask the local K-9 officer to recommend someone. I would be very careful, watch the person train and ask a lot of questions. It would be easy to mess up your dog's good temperament with the wrong trainer.
That is what I'm trying to say.

Lauren

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-17-2010, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by rshippee View Post
Well today, one of those dog's that they use to heard sheep (can't remember the name) came in.
My first thought was a German Shepherd.

It sounds like you've done a great job training her to be a family dog. My guess is only a good trainer or behaviorist is going to be able to tell you if she can be trained for protection work...lots of variables. How old is she?
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-17-2010, 02:26 PM
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Now my odd question/problem. I think I might have over done the calm, mellow, friendly and nowhere near the German Shepherd dog stigma. I do not want to undo what I worked hard to get her to be like but I would like to be able to have a command to be aggressive when needed. As she is right now I believe if someone were to break into the house that she would greet them with a wagging tail and not a growl with hair raised and teeth showing. Does anyone know anyway to teach a command to be aggressive only when needed when they were taught to be friendly and mellow from day one?
It sounds like you have a very well socialized dog with nice temperament! I personally don't think you can overdo the "calm, mellow, friendly" socialization, nor can you change her core temperament - the aggression is either there or it's not. Some dogs just tend to be more calm and mellow, some tend to be more friendly, and those are all good things, especially if she's going to be around children a lot.

Do you want her to actually BE aggressive on cue or just appear to be? As Hunter's Dad suggested, you could find a Schutzhund club or personal protection training, but maybe just teaching her to bark on cue would be enough of a deterrent to anyone who meant you harm.

Consider also that a well socialized dog like yours may already be perfectly equipped to recognize a threatening situation vs a benign one and act accordingly. Just because you've never seen her go off on anyone doesn't mean she wouldn't, it may just mean that she's never felt the need. As long as YOU are calm and accepting of strangers, she should be too, as she will feed off your emotions. And if you felt your life or safety were being seriously threatened you might be surprised at her response.

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-17-2010, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Cassidy's Mom View Post
It sounds like you have a very well socialized dog with nice temperament! I personally don't think you can overdo the "calm, mellow, friendly" socialization, nor can you change her core temperament - the aggression is either there or it's not. Some dogs just tend to be more calm and mellow, some tend to be more friendly, and those are all good things, especially if she's going to be around children a lot.

Do you want her to actually BE aggressive on cue or just appear to be? As Hunter's Dad suggested, you could find a Schutzhund club or personal protection training, but maybe just teaching her to bark on cue would be enough of a deterrent to anyone who meant you harm.

Consider also that a well socialized dog like yours may already be perfectly equipped to recognize a threatening situation vs a benign one and act accordingly. Just because you've never seen her go off on anyone doesn't mean she wouldn't, it may just mean that she's never felt the need. As long as YOU are calm and accepting of strangers, she should be too, as she will feed off your emotions. And if you felt your life or safety were being seriously threatened you might be surprised at her response.

Lauren

Sinister ~ black male GSD 3.11.09
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-17-2010, 03:31 PM Thread Starter
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WOW thanks for all the fast replies!

The name of that bread that I couldn't remember is Boarder Collie. She is about 3 to 5 years old I believe. For some odd reason I can remember the day she was born but the year always escapes me. She has been and shown signs of protection or aggression in the past but at times when it would be expected. One time when she was young, my daughter was out taking her for a walk when she raised her fur and started to growl and turned around and charged an adult Rottweiler that was running up behind them. Another time my daughter was coming in at night and the hall door was shut. She was right at the door growling and let out a bark if I remember right. My daughter was a little nervous to open the door but once the dog she calmed down for the most part. Her fur on her back was up for a few minutes and my daughter got the sniffing of her life as did the hallway and upstairs was checked as well. At night if someone walks by the house or a car door shuts close she sometimes will growl but normally just watches in the direction it came from. Same thing if someone is walking their dog by the house and I just have the screen door shut. A nice deep growl and bark and thats it. The main thing that Im looking at is, once I tell her its ok, like today, then something changes where things aren't ok anymore, but she still stays in the things are ok mode. The dog was starting to be aggressive to her mood/state of mind never changed. Kind of makes me wonder how she would have reacted if it had started to be aggressive to me. That was the reasoning behind me wanting a command or something to tell her to shift everything is ok to things aren't ok.

I think your right in that I should leave things as they are for now. If down the road a situation happens where she needs to, shift gears so to speak and doesn't, I will look into doing something. Right now she's not broken, so why try to fix it.

Thanks for all the fast replies!
Rich
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-17-2010, 03:49 PM
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The dog was starting to be aggressive to her mood/state of mind never changed.
Maybe the other dog wasn't really being aggressive. It could be that she was reading its intentions correctly and you misread the situation. Can you describe exactly what the other dog was doing? My dogs sound like they're trying to kill each other when they're playing - to an outside who has never seen such a thing before I have no doubt that they would think they were watching (and hearing - oy, the NOISE! ) a dog fight.

Dogs are very good at reading extremely (to us) subtle body cues because that's how most of their communication happens, unlike us where we're all about the words and not always so savvy about body language.

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