Puppy aggression or protectiveness? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-26-2018, 11:23 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Puppy aggression or protectiveness?

Hello,

Its been a long time since I have wrote so I will fill in some space. My boy Brutus is now almost 7 months. He is very obedient and is incredibly smart. I have taught him very well this far and he very well behaved. But I wouldn't be writing to you guys if that was the case. So today my girlfriend took Brutus to Academy and Atwoods. She said he was acting very aggressive towards every male that came near her or she passed. She called me and I could hear how much he was barking and believe me it was deep and meaningful. On top of that he even lunged towards someone and barked right in the face of a kid. He has never shown any aggression EVER. Why would he act this way? How do I stop this behavior immediately and how do I train him out of this? I have taken him to plenty of public places and he's never acted like this. He has even been around kids for days at a time and has always been okay. My worst fear for owing this breed just came true. I am genuinely asking for real advice and knowledge. Thank you in advance.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-26-2018, 11:36 PM
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Does he does this behavior with you too?
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-27-2018, 11:37 AM
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My dog started doing that at about 7 months too. Feeling his oats? I don't know. What I do know is I immediately called the trainer, and he showed me how to read the language before it starts and how to correct the H-E- double hockey sticks out of it. We are good now. It needed to be nipped immediately, 7 months old is too young to be that protective and to be making decisions on their own like that.

I would seriously recommend you and your girlfriend invest in a good trainer asap. Preferably one with GSD experience. I always say that because sometimes super positive trainers do not have the mindset to understand working lines in particular. I have a trainer like that for my pit who is a fraidy cat of a dog, and can't handle strong correction. Well, her solution to my GSD grandstanding at 7 months old was to have random people come up and shove treats in his gob. He won't take treats from strangers. Needs to at least be somewhat familiar with you. Which I am fine with. To be clear, I can invite a stranger in my home and he sits. After he sits he is allowed to go greet, which he is very reserved about but friendly. Then he goes to his place. It was specifically when we were out alone and and males would approach us. He is much less "on" when my 6'2 BF is around. That just meant I had to learn to command the same confidence of control, despite being a small woman (dogs do not know anything about PC I guess lol) Maybe your GF needs to learn the same..does it he do it with you?

Also, never at kids. He softens at the mere sight of kids. He was also raised by a puppy raising family from 8 weeks to 5 months in a house with 5 small children though..so that could be why.

Get a trainer with your GF. Working on raising a dog can be a fun couple thing to do anyway.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-27-2018, 11:53 AM
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My gal-dog reached at about 6 months started telling people, especially kids, to stay back by barking. Basically, distance is your friend. Don't call stranger, especially children, to come pet your pup. Tell your pup what you expect, heel or sit or lay down, etc. It will be work, you will have to insist, but every time your dog does well without first barking or lunging, reward the good behavior.

And a good trainer will help. Having another set of eyes watching what is going on is invaluable.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-27-2018, 12:14 PM
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I have more of a problem coming up on us without asking. I have had to be very firm with people. I got REALLY mad at home depot because he was doing so good..a lady asked if she could pet him and she obligied when I asked that she wait until he sit and if she would allow him to sniff her hand before petting. While she was doing that another lady came from the side, and before I could say anything squealed, put both hands on his head and went to KISS him. He barked sternly at her. I was really really mad because she ruined a proper interaction. OP- while you are working this out, head on a swivel. People can be such tools. They also allow kids to run up to any dog yelling "doggie!"

So I got him a "do not pet" traffic lead. Another lady. in a pet store, says "is he a service dog or does he bite?" I said "neither" and before I could say "but" she was on him petting him vigorously. He was fine, but not the point. So I said ..as she was "woojie woojieing" my dog .."he has a yet to be unidentified fungus that has been incurable to any humans he has passed it to". She went off to find a hand sanitizing station. I told her later when I saw her in line (she was still wringing her hands) that I was kidding, but if a dog has a do not pet lead it would be polite to hear the person out and wait for permission before diving in to touch a dog. Her response was unless he is a service dog you have to realize people like to pet dogs and when you bring them out it is to socialize. (slap head with palm)

So as much as you have to train your dog, the people around you will often be tougher to train lol
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-27-2018, 01:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CometDog View Post
So as much as you have to train your dog, the people around you will often be tougher to train lol
Ain't that the truth! I have been known to tell people (pushy, clueless adults), 'Yes, the dog will bite.' That backs them off nicely. [grin]. However, if I'm with a dog that's good with children, I'll take a few minutes to teach the child (and its' parents) how to read and approach strange dogs, and, if they seem to get it, how to pet it.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-27-2018, 03:40 PM
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Hi Brandon,

Finding and working with a trainer that is balanced, and has GSD-specific experience, is always good advice. But I also wanted to take a stab at answering some of your questions. First of all:

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrandonBull22 View Post
My worst fear for owing this breed just came true. I am genuinely asking for real advice and knowledge.
Breath! And lighten up!
This is a puppy, he's bound to do things on occasion that are undesirable...that's why we train /teach them LOL!


Quote:
Originally Posted by BrandonBull22 View Post
So today my girlfriend took Brutus to Academy and Atwoods. She said he was acting very aggressive towards every male that came near her or she passed. She called me and I could hear how much he was barking and believe me it was deep and meaningful. On top of that he even lunged towards someone and barked right in the face of a kid. He has never shown any aggression EVER. Why would he act this way? How do I stop this behavior immediately and how do I train him out of this?
You don't stop most behavior "immediately", so again, calm down. If you get overly upset your puppy will pick up on that. Don't be angry, and don't be embarrassed, just deal with the situation calmly but firmly. But first, ask yourself a couple questions.

Has he shown any other behaviors that seem "different" than normal, like being bothered by things he's been good with before?

This is important because puppies often go through a couple of "fear" periods growing up, where they'll be a little freaked out by things - and this can be people, other dogs, trashcans, etc. - that didn't used to bother them. My puppy, a female, did this at 8-9 months, but my understanding is that males often have them sooner, so 7 months is about right. If this is the case, it's best to keep them away from these triggers until the fear period has passed -
a couple weeks at least. Just watch closely and you'll notice him getting back to his usual self where things don't seem to set him off as much anymore. Correcting a dog for their reactivity during a fear period can have lasting negative effects, so don't...


Do you take him out as frequently now as you used to?

It's not unusual for new puppy owners to take the puppy everywhere initially, then slack off a bit as the puppy grows. Let's face it, for a number of reasons large puppies, in the 5 month to 1 yr age can be a bit trying at times, so taking them everywhere is not quite as fun as it was when they were still little and cute lol! If this is the case, don't feel bad, just acknowledge that your pup will need some additional work to get back to where he was. As others mentioned, take him out and just keep him at a comfortable distance from people until he seems okay, then very gradually move closer. Praise calmness, and gently correct reactivity. He'll come around if you don't rush it. If he's being reactive, move away a little, then praise calmness and move closer more slowly. The time to correct him is BEFORE he's barking and lunging. Remember, the "correction" is intended to help steer him toward the behavior you want to see, not a punishment.

Does your puppy go to public places with your gf without you frequently?

If not your puppy could very well be reacting this way because he's a bit unsure of the situation, and because of that he got a little overwhelmed! If this is the situation, just work on it. Take him out and about with both of you, but let her hold the leash. Gently correct any reactivity, and stay fairly close at first, increasing your distance from her and the puppy over time. Remember it's all new, give him time to experience things and adjust!

And most of all, remain calm LOL! I hope this helps in some way...Good Luck to you!
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-27-2018, 05:46 PM
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the dogs in these situations are over loaded --

isn't this the truth! "It's not unusual for new puppy owners to take the puppy everywhere initially, then slack off a bit as the puppy grows. Let's face it, for a number of reasons large puppies, in the 5 month to 1 yr age can be a bit trying at times, so taking them everywhere is not quite as fun as it was when they were still little and cute lol! "

that's the point of the thread https://www.germanshepherds.com/forum...alization.html

it is easy when the pup is at the baby stage. The person can easily walk quicker and further than the pup could or should.
The pup is an exciting novelty bringing lots of attention - great ice breaker . Every one wants to see the puppy shmuppy.
They are indulged -- they are allowed to stand up on the person for pets , they are indulged with mouthing and silly bursts of energy . Cute for a pup .
And then the pup gets bigger and older and they can easily outstride and out distance the owner on the walks .
All the attention the pup was accustomed to , lead to , has evaporated and now you have a new reality .

I would start with obedience. You have to be proactive , present , and catch the dog before it has entered the zone
of acting out.

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-27-2018, 06:13 PM
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One of the things I find helpful that I did not see mentioned is that I take my pup (now a year) to places with low distraction low activity mostly parks at odd hours (winter has been really good). All we do is play in the beginning, if I can I would put the long line on, but you can still play on a regular leash. I would work some obedience like 2 ball recall and sit and down basic stuff. My goal being do not focus on them focus on me. Once he gets use to a place then I can work on other things like obedience or heeling (we currently battle smells/grass and other dogs). Each new place we go it starts with play. My pup is really alert he can be reactive depending on distance our progress is slow but that has more to do with me being a noob than anything else, he had fear periods where we would back off going places and work on confidence at home. I want him to be neutral to his environment my pup is very friendly, but I do not want him expecting to play with every dog and meet every person after making mistakes I understood it was counterproductive to my goals. I will get there someday.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-28-2018, 12:14 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you so much. This helps a lot, she never really takes him anywhere publicly without me so it makes a lot of sense.
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