Protection kicking in? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-13-2011, 07:27 PM Thread Starter
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Protection kicking in?

Hi there! I have a GSD mix, but everyone has told me to research GSD behaviors as that seems to be the dominant "dog" in him. We had an interesting experience today. We've had him for 3 weeks (he is 4 mths old) and have had no issues with other people or dogs. We have been socializing him as much as possible - he's in puppy class, I take him everywhere I possibly can and we have people in and out of the house all the time. He has never shown an ounce of aggression to anyone or anything (aside from chasing the cats and that's just play). However, today we were walking in a new spot (something else I've been trying to do) and we came up to a group of 3 teenagers sitting on the ground (he's been around adults, kids and teenagers before - no issues). As soon as Jedi saw them his hackles went up and he started growling. He's never done anything like this before. Is this something like him finally getting used to us and wanting to protect us from strangers in a strange place or is it something else? We walked wide of them and as soon as we passed them he was fine. This is not behavior I want to see in him - certainly not out in public. Any ideas on why he would do this and what I can do - aside from more socialization - to curb it? Thanks!

to edit: I may have put this in the wrong thread, and if so I apologize. I just want to know how to make this not happen!=-)

Last edited by jm513; 10-13-2011 at 07:33 PM.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-13-2011, 08:09 PM
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Nope. More fear/uncertainty than protection. You won't see protection until he's more mature. Even then you should only see protection in the face of a legitimate threat if the dog's nerves are solid. I had almost the exact same experience with my pup recently and some teengers. It was chilly and the kids were wearing hoodie sweatshirts. He's young enough not to have seen hoodies before.


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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-13-2011, 08:13 PM
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I think I would have walked him by the people/made it no big deal. This is the age where they seem to see things as threats that aren't at all.
Bring treats with you or a toy to distract him when he does this.
He is now learning about his surroundings more, so you may see him reacting to unfamiliar things/dogs/people. Sometimes a scent will set them off.
It sounds like you are doing a great job with classes/ socializing~keep up the good work!
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-13-2011, 08:13 PM
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As emoore said in her post, that's not protection, it's fear. Just keep up with the puppy classes and socialization like you're doing - hopefully he grows out of it. Talk to your trainer about it too - see if they can provide some advice or input. It's definitely not protection though.

As for the cat chasing, that's not play, it's his prey drive. These dogs love to chase and herd whatever they can. Try not to allow it if it's really bothering the cats.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-13-2011, 09:00 PM Thread Starter
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ah! I hadn't thought of it being a fear issue - now I feel bad for the little guy I'll also try bringing treats and not the wide berth - it just unnerved me and I didn't want him doing anything bad! It was just so strange to see. And as far as the cats, I know it's his prey drive, but he has never been aggressive with them, he just wants to chase and say hi so I'm calling it play. We have baby gates up so the cats have their safe zone when they need it and we haven't had any issues. Thanks for the replies and info!
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