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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 4 year old female and a 10 month old male intact GSD. This is the first time in a long time when I've had two dogs and it is been fascinating watching them play and interact. The female has had the hardest time adjusting. She really didn't want anything to do with the pup when he first came and he is very sociable, so they've had to learn how to interact with each other. That is coming along. The female is definitely the dominant dog, even though he is now bigger than she is. Sometimes the "play" can get rough, but they both know how to turn it off and stop when told to.

Another interesting thing of late has occurred. When ever I call Dasha, the female, if she doesn't come right away Natty, the male, gets involved by going up to her and barking. He will do this same thing if I fuss at her for something. I suspect this is a pack behavior. He seems to be taking advantage of an opportunity to get involved in dominating the one who is dominant over him. I'm curious if I am reading this correctly or if there are other explanations for this behavior. It really isn't a problem; I just like to understand why dogs do what they do.

Have any of you observed similar behavior? What is your take on this?
 

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Yes. Actually. I see it with my dogs. My female is 3.5 and my male is a bit over 2. When I tell Ava to shut up (if she is barking by the door) Phoenix runs up to her and nudges her or slightly body checks her.

I’m reading this really good book the 100 silliest things people say about dogs and it’s quite fascinating. The author is so right about a lot of things. I recommend it to any dog owner. It’s not to fix a problem but to see where it might be coming from.


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I have an Aussie who boards here and comes to daycare and he is a riot. If I call another dog and they don't come he will charge over and herd them to me. If I tell a dog to stop something he will try to go correct them himself. I think he sees the other dogs as the stock and himself as my helper. To be fair he is way smarter and better trained than most of the herd.

May or may not be anything like what your dog is doing but made me think of it.

One of the coolest things that's happened in recent memory was one of my adult dogs rushing up to me while I was vacuuming. Looking at my face, clearly distressed, looking pointedly behind me. I looked where he was trying to get me to look and the puppy had decided it would be fun to play on the grooming table unattended. Clumsy new puppy, grooming table, concrete floor. The other dog was right, it was dangerous and I needed to get the puppy down and he knew that and came and got me to do it. I was amazed that he put all that together. Note to self, take the stairs away from the grooming table when we aren't using it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I have an Aussie who boards here and comes to daycare and he is a riot. If I call another dog and they don't come he will charge over and herd them to me. If I tell a dog to stop something he will try to go correct them himself. I think he sees the other dogs as the stock and himself as my helper. To be fair he is way smarter and better trained than most of the herd..
Yes, this sound exactly like what Natty does. He sometimes even takes a stance with his head lowered and his rear up in the air while he's doing it. It does look like herding. Only Dasha will not allow herself to be herded. When he did this at her, she turned around and "grumped" at him. (Don't know how else to describe it but it sounds sort of like, "Grum, grum, grum," done in a very sharp percussive manner with a some teeth showing in the process.)

I guess there could be some hardwired herding ability here. They are shepherds after all.
 

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Yes, this sound exactly like what Natty does. He sometimes even takes a stance with his head lowered and his rear up in the air while he's doing it. It does look like herding. Only Dasha will not allow herself to be herded. When he did this at her, she turned around and "grumped" at him. (Don't know how else to describe it but it sounds sort of like, "Grum, grum, grum," done in a very sharp percussive manner with a some teeth showing in the process.)

I guess there could be some hardwired herding ability here. They are shepherds after all.
I wouldn't assume it is okay to let the youngster do it, just for the record. Especially if it makes the older dog mad. I have laughed and let it slide with the Aussie a few times because more than once he's been tactful about it--for instance he brought me in one dog who is super sensitive and gets upset if another dog touches her--and he managed to herd her without upsetting her so that time I said thanks. Sometimes I tell him to stand down and let me handle the other dogs. I have definitely made it clear to him that he needs to defer to me and sometimes I don't want his help. He is a VERY perceptive and well trained dog, so he can easily read my face and know whether it's cool with me if he polices the other dogs and if I call him off he will absolutely respond.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
He sounds like a really cool pup! No, I don't encourage this behavior at all, in fact I actively discourage it. Still, I'm curious as to why he is doing it. Natty is still just a pup and still learning the ropes so part of this may be him trying to figure out what the limits are.
 

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Your girl is still playful at age of 4 years? :rolleyes:

When mine turned 1 year she went totally serious. If my second dog or some other dog challenge her to play, she will just stops and give them disappointed look like "aren't we a little too old for this stuff? grow up!". Yet few months back it was her, who drove everybody crazy. Not anymore.
 

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Our females are closing in on 9 years old, one enjoys playing with our two males, the other has no time for that nonsense and prefers engaging her people.
 

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Our females are closing in on 9 years old, one enjoys playing with our two males, the other has no time for that nonsense and prefers engaging her people.


I’m sitting here on the couch while my girls wrestle around. One will be 9 next week, the other is 2. I honestly don’t know why my older girl likes the young one, lol, but she does.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
My girl loves to still loves to play but not as much as the pup. I keep Kong toys around for them and even if there are two identical ones around they both prefer to get the same one and tug. Sometimes she will pick up a Kong bone and walk close to Natty with it, teasing him to come play tug, which he is always game to do. What she doesn't like is him poking her, which I've seen him do (and told him not to do) numerous times. It's a hoot watching them in the stretch cab area of my husband's Toyota Tacoma. There's plenty of room if they both sit, but if one lies down, they will inevitably touch the other. Then Dasha will complain. "Oh no, he touched me!" I tell her to stop and to suck it up! She doesn't like it but she will tolerate the situation.
 

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Max is 4 and Luna two. I do have much fun watching how much they enjoy each other. If Luna is barking at cats outside and I say Luna knock it off he goes out there to herd her away and she turns that into a tag game. They are fun though and glad they really enjoy each other. Our chihuahua who around 12 is independent and wants to be left alone. He has - assisted me or thinking he is assisting me when max was a pup and corrected max for stealing things off the Xmas tree. It is interesting to see how the younger imitates the older. I remember my mom telling me (I’m the oldest) your little sister watches everything you do - so true!




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I would definitely watch how your female responds to your male trying to be your bouncer. My female is super bad for it, and she will reinforce commands to other dogs if they don't listen to me. But she's not gentle like the Aussie, or very tactful about it. Instead, she flat out bullies them into doing what I've asked, haha. So just be careful it doesn't escalate is all I'm trying to warn about. It can turn ugly when two dogs fight.
 
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