A Curiosity and a Concern - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-20-2019, 03:00 PM Thread Starter
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A Curiosity and a Concern

CURIOSITY:

Yesterday, Yazzy had her New Puppy Check at the vet. While we were standing at the counter checking out, there was another person there with an old, very overweight black lab. He was pretty chill and just looked at Yazzy and then ignored her. Yazzy seemed a bit startled when she first caught sight of him but didn't get upset or vocal.

Then another dog walked by (not too closely) with its owner...a young, very fit looking American bully sort of dog. That dog was also unreactive....but at my feet, I hear this low growling start up. I look down at her, surprised....her hackles are up (as much as that fluff can go "up") and she's on full alert, fixated on that dog. Growling quickly turned into barking, which got the other dog barking, too. They never got close to each other. I put myself in front of Yazzy to block her view of the other dog. Nothing dramatic came of it and she settled down fairly quickly. But the completely different reactions she had to the two different dogs has me curious about what's going on in that fuzzy little brain of hers. Maybe the bully gave her the doggy version of a Stink Eye? LOL

I have to admit, on the inside, I was melting at how cute her first puppy growls and barks were, but I did my best to maintain a totally neutral expression and response.

CONCERN:

Right now, my biggest concern is trying not to step on her, or kill either of us by tripping over her. She's constantly darting in, under, around my feet. I'm a...well....let's just say, generously figured sort of person, so my feet are not something I can watch with any sort of grace. I sincerely hope she doesn't get hurt before we figure out how to teach her to avoid getting kicked, stepped on, or tripped over.

-- Judy

Yazzy the feisty GSD ~ Jan 6th, 2019

Waiting in Heaven:
Mira the goofy Doberman ~ Dec 1st, 2007 - June 2nd, 2018
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-20-2019, 04:46 PM
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IMO, and it is a novice's opinion, whenever you go into high animal traffic zones, work on engagement with you. Train her to focus on you, make focusing on you rewarding, and encourage her to not look at other dogs. Reward with food or praise... toys can cause lots of issues in a small place with lots of dogs. Ultimately, the goal is to encourage your dog to be so engaged and focused with you that they became aloof and unconcerned about the other animals around them. It can help create neutrality. Plus it helps strengthen the relationship between you.

In the dog world, locking eyes isn't a kind or friendly gesture in most cases. It's often perceived as a challenge or can create concern, which you saw in Yazzy.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-20-2019, 05:00 PM
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^^^^^ good advice....I've also felt that for some dogs --more so puppies and young dogs who haven't experienced much they don't feel as threatened by a adult dog who's not moving as opposed to a dog who is moving...you knew the other dog wasn't approaching but your pup did not..instinct kicks in and she warned the other dog off...as I'm sure you know the more you have her in situations like this as she grows-the more comfortable she'll become
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-20-2019, 05:00 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, Femfa. I completely get what you're saying, and that's exactly my goal with her. I've only had her for less than 24 hours at that point, so that level of engagement is just barely a work in progress, but that is definitely my goal. I was just curious about why she reacted so differently to the two different dogs, neither of which seemed to have shown any interest in her. Of course, it's possible that the bully did make eye contact, but if so, it was fleeting.

-- Judy

Yazzy the feisty GSD ~ Jan 6th, 2019

Waiting in Heaven:
Mira the goofy Doberman ~ Dec 1st, 2007 - June 2nd, 2018
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-20-2019, 05:04 PM Thread Starter
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I hadn't thought about the movement being perceived differently by her. That's entirely likely. I'm not particularly concerned or worried about the encounter...just curious. I know we have a lot of growing and working together to do.

My biggest concern with her right now is genuinely trying not to kick or step on her just moving around the house.

-- Judy

Yazzy the feisty GSD ~ Jan 6th, 2019

Waiting in Heaven:
Mira the goofy Doberman ~ Dec 1st, 2007 - June 2nd, 2018
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-20-2019, 05:11 PM
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It's very early. But at that age I'd hope to see either aloofness or friendly overtures. Barking to play is not a concern for me, I can easily work on that, growling and getting worked up might mean she'll be dog-reactive or aggressive as she matures- or have that tendency. If so, working on engagement now and early is key. Every dog is different. This behavior wouldn't be a deal breaker for me by any means, but it likely means that you need to be proactive to avoid dog-reactive behavior or dog-aggression in the future as she matures. If you start working on this young, you can get control over this early. Once she's settled in, re-evaluate. If this behavior continues, find a good trainer to work with.

Not a huge deal, but were I to evaluate a pup, I wouldn't want to see this... as a general rule. It would depend a lot on circumstance and the whole picture.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-20-2019, 05:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Judy Untamed View Post
CONCERN:
Right now, my biggest concern is trying not to step on her, or kill either of us by tripping over her. She's constantly darting in, under, around my feet. I'm a...well....let's just say, generously figured sort of person, so my feet are not something I can watch with any sort of grace. I sincerely hope she doesn't get hurt before we figure out how to teach her to avoid getting kicked, stepped on, or tripped over.

I have bad knees and poor balance (easy to tip over). Except for a very brief amount of time (rising in the A.M. and bedtime), I always wear athletic footwear, with good tread and cushioning. If I had been wearing less practical shoes, I'd likely have fallen by now. I've had a few near falls, but the sturdy shoes and tread helped me prevent it.

I used to pay less attention to the footwear I wear, until the day I fell at home and broke my left ankle and then a small bone in my right foot during one fall. I learned a lesson the hard way. The flimsy sandals I was wearing, with smooth soles was the root cause of my fall.

As others pointed out to me, controlling the dog's freedom should help. In addition to using a crate, restricting her to one area with a baby gate and/or using some long leads to tie her out to some area of the house to minimize where she has free roam.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-20-2019, 06:44 PM
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Maybe I'm reading this wrong? but I would not have a young pup not fully vax'd on the floor of a vets office. She's young and everything is new, sights, sounds, smells, and you. As her bond strengthens and she learns engagement, dogs and other distractions should become background noise.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-20-2019, 07:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Judy Untamed View Post
Thanks, Femfa. I completely get what you're saying, and that's exactly my goal with her. I've only had her for less than 24 hours at that point, so that level of engagement is just barely a work in progress, but that is definitely my goal. I was just curious about why she reacted so differently to the two different dogs, neither of which seemed to have shown any interest in her. Of course, it's possible that the bully did make eye contact, but if so, it was fleeting.


With your attention turned elsewhere, itís very likely the one dog had made physical cues you never saw. Lowering its head, eye contact, alert ears, stiffer body posture... unless you were watching both closely, itís very easy to miss those signs and they can happen extremely fast. You also have to remember that some dogs exude, ďIím harmless/friendlyĒ, and others possess a much more intimidating, inquisitive nature. A young, unsure, dog in an environment that is new and uncomfortable can prompt it to be far more concerned than it normally might be. Vet offices have plenty of smells and being in a small, enclosed area can make it worse. Plus if she was unsure if the dog was walking towards her or not could make a difference.

As for her positioning with you, honestly, a lot of it is live and learn. I know youíre worried about stepping on her, and one of the best ways to prevent it is to walk with keeping your feet closer to the ground if youíre not sure where she is. Itís annoying and slower, but it helps. A little bump is better than a stomp. I accidentally punted my rabbit across his room once... I was walking, he ran in front of me, and he landed perfectly on the top of my foot as I went to take a step forward. He ended up on the other side of the room unharmed but a bit shaken... but you can imagine he didnít step in front of me again, lol!

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-20-2019, 08:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saco View Post
It's very early. But at that age I'd hope to see either aloofness or friendly overtures. Barking to play is not a concern for me, I can easily work on that, growling and getting worked up might mean she'll be dog-reactive or aggressive as she matures- or have that tendency. If so, working on engagement now and early is key. Every dog is different. This behavior wouldn't be a deal breaker for me by any means, but it likely means that you need to be proactive to avoid dog-reactive behavior or dog-aggression in the future as she matures. If you start working on this young, you can get control over this early. Once she's settled in, re-evaluate. If this behavior continues, find a good trainer to work with.

Not a huge deal, but were I to evaluate a pup, I wouldn't want to see this... as a general rule. It would depend a lot on circumstance and the whole picture.
I'm with Saco. She's only 8 weeks old. I would be concerned at this and watch it closely.

And I would not have had her on the floor where she could pick up nasties and she felt unprotected.




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