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We adopted a 4 year old on Oct 30 so have had him almost 3 months. He’s mostly a sweetheart. We’re his 3rd home, and he also was in a shelter and foster home with other dogs for a while. He likes to cuddle and loves people. However, if he’s laying down, usually on his bed, and I try to take ball or toy from hom if it’s under him, he growls. Last night it was a loud one. I yelled no and bad and he apologized and was good. Has happened a few times. Also, we were at friends house and he was one their couch next to wife...husband, who comes over and walks him, reached over the couch to pet him and he growled at him. Didn’t try to bite, just growled. Any suggestions? wish we knew more of his background. I’m sure that’s part of it.
 

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Leave him alone with his toys, and don't allow him on furniture. That'll fix it.
At 4 I don't think you can change him with regards to the growling too much. Like posted above, your best bet is to avoid situations where he will growl. Guessing he feels territorial to the object and telling the people to leave him alone as he doesnt like them getting too close at an unusual house.
 

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I adopted my last GSD at 1 1/2 years of age. I didn't ask anything of her for the first 3 months I had her, and never approached her while she was laying down. She was with me for 11+ years and would allow me to do anything with her, but she wouldn't allow any adult, whether she knew them well or not, approach her when she was laying on her bed. She'd even bark and growl at people if they had the audacity to talk to her or try and call her away from her bed! She wasn't resource gaurding, she just didn't like it.

Three months is too short of a time for a 4 yr old dog to fully trust you. Just be calm and consistently show him he can, and he'll probably get over it on his own.

Pictures?
 

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If he's sleeping, don't try to touch him or take his things. We just had another post about something similar where the dog bit the father of the owner of the dog while the dog was sleeping. Your dog is still learning to trust you since he's been in multiple homes before you. It's going to take a little time. And btw, thank you for saving a GSD.
 

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If he's sleeping, don't try to touch him or take his things. We just had another post about something similar where the dog bit the father of the owner of the dog while the dog was sleeping. Your dog is still learning to trust you since he's been in multiple homes before you. It's going to take a little time. And btw, thank you for saving a GSD.
Oh, he was wide awake! And he’s never had an issue of petting him when he’s asleep!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I adopted my last GSD at 1 1/2 years of age. I didn't ask anything of her for the first 3 months I had her, and never approached her while she was laying down. She was with me for 11+ years and would allow me to do anything with her, but she wouldn't allow any adult, whether she knew them well or not, approach her when she was laying on her bed. She'd even bark and growl at people if they had the audacity to talk to her or try and call her away from her bed! She wasn't resource gaurding, she just didn't like it.

Three months is too short of a time for a 4 yr old dog to fully trust you. Just be calm and consistently show him he can, and he'll probably get over it on his own.

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He's probably still not fully used to you. Give it some tome, He'll be fine soon.
 

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I don’t leave toys lying around. They’re mine, I bring them out, play with the dog, then they get put away. That way, no chance of resource guarding, which is what he was doing.
I also don’t correct a dog for growling. It is his way of saying, “ I don’t like that, “ and an effective warning that is actually good, because the alternative would be, the dog goes directly to a bite.
 

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Well done for trying your best for this dog. I agree with some of the others points, if a dog guards toys you should probably not have toys laying around your house for him to guard (possibly permanently). You really ought to be thinking about how to create an environment that is safe for everyone and this dog. I really would hate for this dog ever to get to the point where an accident happens because people do not respect the dogs boundaries.

In my household, if I had a dog like this, I would probably put the dogs bed inside a crate (it creates easier boundaries), but it doesn't have to be, and I would ensure that every visitor (especially children) know that NO ONE bothers the dog when he is laying inside his bed. No one approaches the dog on the bed full stop. I would also not allow this dog to be on human furniture. It's a boundary thing, he needs to respect your boundaries and your space and you need to respect his in return. If he is in his bed then you should leave him alone also.

I would focus on positive ways that you can engage with him, working on calling him off his bed to you from a distance for example for a reward, and make the interactions between you positive and building trust.
 
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