Dominating or protecting my children? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-12-2016, 01:57 PM Thread Starter
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Smile Dominating or protecting my children?

Hello all! I am a new member to this group and a new GSD owner! We rescued our girl about a month and a half ago from the shelter. She is a 6.5 year old purebred GSD, 95 lbs and gorgeous beyond belief! She is EXTREMELY smart, listens relatively well and hasn't given us any problems at all. She does not bark at all when there is a knock at the door, she does not have food aggression or toy aggression.
Here are my questions for anyone with any suggestions for me... When we got her we were told she was good with kids and dogs. She is good with everyone I have a 3 year old, an 8 year old and an 11 year old. She has been absolutely amazing with my kids. About a week ago my 11 year old was playing with our little one and she is a "squeaker" she tends to squeak when she's excited (it's her laugh) when she did this the dog jumped up and jumped on the couch and started licking my daughter all over, almost frantically, sniffing her. We immediately had the dog get down and I walked the dog to her dog bed and had her stay there. She was panting the whole time and would not take her eyes off my daughter. My daughter got up and went to her playroom and the dog proceeded to follow her and attempt to jump on the couch my daughter was on in the playroom. I didn't allow it and the dog stayed on the ground but was staring at my daughter. Since then, every time my daughter gets up, the dog follows her and has put her mouth on her forearms and calves. She hasn't bitten her at all and seems to be doing it so gentle that my daughter doesn't even know what's going on, I stop it immediately, but I am wondering is the dog being protective of my daughter or could she possibly be trying to dominate her? When my daughter gets up to walk sometimes the dog gets so close to her that her body is touching my daughters body. This isn't all the time, although it is happening more than I'd like, other times the dog ignores her completely. Most recently, my daughter got excited about a commercial in tv and let out an excited squeak, the dog jumped up and tried to repeat the above mentioned behavior but I got in between the dog and my daughter and the dog attempted to ignore me and push her way past me to get to my daughter, she didn't get past me and after about a minute of this she sat down in front of me but never took her eyes off my daughter. She doesn't growl, she doesn't bark. Her tail is down when she does this. I know and have taught my children how to behave around dogs and around our new dog, but I don't want my daughter to stop being herself all together.
Also, every time she sees another dog she pulls so hard on the leash that I have bruises on my hands and she barks. Her tail is wagging but I know that means nothing. Some trainers said she was aggressive, others have said she is reactive and not aggressive at all, I don't want to take the chance of taking her to a dog park if I am unsure how to read her body language just yet.
I have her scheduled for training classes which start in a few weeks. But I have had several consults with many trainers and have heard something completely different from all of them, so I'm a little confused as to what to think. I know to never leave the dog alone with my children and they are always supervised, but I don't think she is aggressive at all. She just follows my daughter very closely and has a tendency to "stare her down" while panting. I know to not let her dominate and I am working on having everyone in the house be seen as the pack leader to her. I'm wondering if anybody else has experienced anything similar to this and if there is something I should be doing or if it is nothing. Thank you in advance!!
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-12-2016, 02:42 PM
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Hi. It sounds like you got a really nice dog. You are smart to be leery of the behavior that she shows toward your daughter.
I don't know what it is but there will be people here who can give you their best guess but it will only be a guess (they can't observe your dog).
You will want to consult a trainer who knows and works with German Shepherds specifically. The forum can help you find someone n your area.

Best to Have the consult at your home so that s/he can watch the dog's interaction with your daughter.

In regard to pulling you while on leash, you might consider using a prong collar (but, again ask the trainer).
Basic obedience class and the prong collar is what corrected my dog's excessive pulling. (Prong collars need to be properly fitted by a trainer and the trainer will also instruct you on how to make corrections during walking and training).

Good luck.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-12-2016, 05:50 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you so much for the advice! Today she actually barked at my daughter. I forgot to mention she does all above when we kiss and hug and hold our daughter as well. Took her for a long walk today and had daughter in front and the dog kept trying to nip at her while walking...:/
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-12-2016, 07:05 PM Thread Starter
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I haven't had German shepherds before but I've owned giant breeds and from experience with my other dogs I always stopped it right away and stayed on top of it. The last thing you want is a very big, grown dog biting at anyone lol! I used to always stop them immediately and remove them from whomever they were biting at. Bitter Apple spray works also really well. I sprayed it on clothes and if that didn't work we did a quick spritz in the mouth when they were persistent at nipping. I wish that were working for my current situation lol but I'm thinking my current dog was never around children as a pup. Good luck to you!!
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-12-2016, 07:22 PM
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My male took a liking to my nephew from day one. He doesn't live with me but whenever he is here Midnite is where he is. He doesn't mouth or interfere when the kds are playing at all. The only time I seen him go into a more alert mode with a kid(besides when they are outside and he is inside just watching from the door) is when a guy was over with his kids and he took one of his kids and put them upside down as the kid was having a tantrum. Midnite ran from across the yard and made sure the kid was ok. I called him and he came but he was concerned. That same man is in jail for abuse(of his kids and wife) so Midnite wasn't to far off but he did not act on it.

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-12-2016, 07:46 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you! Was he acting similarly with your nephew As my dog is acting with my youngest?? I honestly can't tell if she's protecting her or if my daughter makes her nervous and I should worry about an impending situation :/
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-12-2016, 08:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luvpups View Post
Thank you! Was he acting similarly with your nephew As my dog is acting with my youngest?? I honestly can't tell if she's protecting her or if my daughter makes her nervous and I should worry about an impending situation :/
I can't answer that for sure because I haven't seen yours in person. If you don't feel comfortable then have a trainer that knows GSDs evaluate her. If I had to guess based on your description I think she is watching over your daughter and favors her.

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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-12-2016, 08:32 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you! I really appreciate it!! I do have several evaluations scheduled with different trainers soon as well as classes starting some weeks out, but I really appreciate it, ANY advice/input is greatly appreciated!!
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-12-2016, 09:29 PM
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This probably isn't the case, but what you described kind of reminded me of how a momma dog interacts with her pups.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-12-2016, 09:54 PM
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I am no expert but it sounds to me like she likes your daughter and wants to play with her. If I were you I would have your daughter take on an authoritative role with the dog. Have her feed the dog and have the dog sit and wait before your daughter places the food bowl down. Also I would have your daughter do regular rewarded commands with the dog - sits, lie downs, shakes, etc. You could consider having your daughter walk the dog when the pulling gets under control, for now I would bring her along on walks and have her walk ahead of the dog. Also make sure when you are passing through doorways have your daughter walk through first and then the dog. Just to reinforce respectful manners. She does sound like a sweet girl. Good luck.
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