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Coming to the pantheon again, to quench my thirst for GSD Knowledge. My 16 month old is a joy to be around, and we have followed the socialization guidelines by exposing him to the ways of the world, which is so important in his development (walkers, joggers, bikers etc). However, it occurs to me that after seen him not bark at the door bell, or be suspicious of the pool/lawn guy; perhaps his protective pack instincts, may have been delayed or compromised by out efforts to make socialization a priority during his formative time. Don't get me wrong, we do not allow him to be pet by any strangers, nor we encourage him to go and sniff folks that approach us in our daily walks, but; we are starting to get concern with the fact that there is zero protective behavior from him, when it comes to his family pack. Perhaps these developmental traits, come at a later stage in their maturation?. He is a pure Western show line GSD, with a low to medium drive, and don't know if this is genetically dictated, or if we are negatively affecting this trait by over socializing him.
Sitting in my bathing suit, at the ready to be showered by the knowledge of this forum.:grin2:
 

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I doubt his behavior has anything to do with your socialization efforts. It is most likely genetics and his threshold for aggression might be high or he might just not have strong protective instincts. I would set up some scenarios to try to elicit some aggression. Do it at night around your house. Have him on leash and have someone hiding in the bushes or somewhere out of sight and not too close. Then have them rustle the bushes or make some type of noise and give him whatever command you plan to use to turn him on, such as "watch" or "pass auf." Your tone when giving the command should have a sense of concern in it. If he lights up, praise and pet him up and take him in the house or where ever you keep him. When he lights up, have your helper run away so the dog sees he has chased the threat away. Then just build from there. When he gets good at turning on at home at night, try getting him to alert in the car at night. Then go to a different place at night. Then try it during the day.
 

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You're going to make a lot of folks envious:)He sounds like a confident,easy going companion who knows the difference between good guys and bad guys.My dog is certain that 99% of all humans are up to no good.The two girls view the world more like your dog does.
 

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Don't do things to try to make your dog suspicious especially if you aren't sure he has the nerves to handle it.

He sounds like a great dog. You might be surprised how he'll behave if there is a real threat.

Just being a big GSD is more than enough to thwart most 'bad guys'.
 

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I also have a mellow guy who doesn't bark much.
When parents come to pick up and drop off their kids from our house, he often doesn't even get up and go to the door. He just lays there!

However....
the day a man came to offer to trim our trees...this man was very persistent and would not leave...that time, my dog stood by my leg barking and growling at him the entire time. He actually acted so vicious, ears flat, showing teeth... that the man backed away off our front step and asked me to nervously hold my dog.

I think your dog will be able to sense when something is up.
Perhaps he takes his cue from you, and if you are a calm confident person then he in turn also feels that everything is ok.
I think he can sense that it is the pool guy, you were expecting him, you are calm and in control, this guy has been here before, etc.

When that tree-trimming man made me nervous, somehow my dog sensed it.
I think/hope that in a tough scary situation, he would have my back.
(But of course, it's a little difficult to actually test this, and I really hope that I never have to find out!)
 

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He sounds like a nice confident dog. But it is hard to tell if he is not suspicious of the pool guy and other strangers visiting because of healthy confidence and being clearheaded, or if it is due to lack of drives. Do you have access to any type of protection type sport club? IGP (IPO, Schutzhund), PSA etc? If so it would be a safe and fun way to have a breed knowledgeable person assess your dog, see what his make up is. He is gorgeous by the way! Jealous you are by the beach :)
 

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He's still young, good chance he just hasn't developed that yet. The GSD we have we got at nearly 3. Her previous owners had never heard her bark and got rid of her because she was too friendly. Several months after being with us and getting used to what was normal and what wasn't and becoming an inside dog she began to alert bark when she heard something. Completely unprompted, she just settled in and figured out what was routine noise and what wasn't and let us know when there was something that wasn't the usual.

So personally I'd give your pup time and maturity and he may surprise you. And as others have said he may just know there is nothing to be concerned about and so doesn't need to be protective.

I have a female GSD/lab mix. Several people have commented on her being protective when really she's just afraid and barking because of that. So sometimes protective instincts aren't all that people make them out to be. A lot of people mistake non-protective behaviors for being protective.

An example of what I think are more protective behaviors, one female I had(not gsd) I was out on a walk with my Grandma. There was a person walking across the street from us. I didn't pay him much mind but her hackles went up and she put herself between me and the guy but didn't do anything else. Once we were away from him she relaxed and the walk went on as normal.

Another time I was going down to the river with her and she froze for a second and was 100% not wanting to go any closer. But she went with me and as I got closer I noticed an individual down there having a fire by themself, based on her reaction I decided to turn around and then for quite some time after she kept looking behind us. But she never behaved like that on any other walks or with other people. Another time my sister slipped on the ice and my dog thought our dog hurt her, she didn't attack him just merely got inbetween my sister and him. No barking, growling etc. just vigilant and keeping an eye on things and putting herself between us and what she perceived as a threat.

Meanwhile my female that barks and would like to run away people call protective.
 

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I had a Whippet , a breed that doesn't even care about strangers, but when we suddenly saw a guy at the door when we came around the house, this skinny little dog had his short hackles up and positioned himself between the guy and me. This was a dog that was confident and had never shown any sign of aggression.
Don't worry about your gentle giant. It is a crazy person who would try something. He is gorgeous by the way.
 

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It is so funny that I see this pop up today. I have been thinking about the same thing for quite a while.

Shasta has always been quite friendly. I brought her around lots of people and dogs when she was a pup. Pretty rock solid. She is 3/4 show line, and 1/4 WL. Low to med drive.

I started to think, man, would she really do anything if something I needed her?

I went to go pick up my buddy this weekend to take her to the river now that is has warmed up a little. She had met him a few times before, but it has been a couple months. I pulled up to his place and he opened the passenger door. She absolutely LOST IT!!! She couldn't believe someone had the audacity to to actually open the door to her truck! I have never seen this before. Of course, once she smelled him and remembered him, it was all over except the face licking......

All of my worry was for nothing. She will do her job when it is needed.
 

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I think he may still young they and can be still happy go lucky dogs at this age they are all different though. He may have a higher threshold and or genetics and not have protective instincts. Time will tell.

Karat had a high threshold but he was always fully alert if someone as at the door he made no noise but he did not have to he was looked ominous, seriously staring down the steps toward the front door and could never be missed -ever lol!if all was okay he would lay down and just watch who or whatever service person had to come into house just watching in a very low key calm manner but would never take his eyes off the stranger in the house.

Max will always alert if someone is at door or on property. There is no window to the view the driveway if downstairs. Just by Max catching there scent and his body language and tone and intensity and deepness of the bark- I can tell if family/friend or a stranger. Although, One time though there was an overlap my kids left with their father and not but two seconds later the doorbell wrang I immedielty thought the kids forgot something. The dogs also was expecting the kids by their body language and I opened the door wide and relaxed and a cop was there. I was surprised- the dogs almost half way out the door greeting this officer in a very happy way. I suppose they were not going to waste their greeting energy since they were in that mind set. It was the wrong house number and had to explain how houses were numbered wrong on a street sign on our private road. So after that I’m a lot more careful with assuming who is at the door even with happily wiggly body dog language I look though the window or glass anyway.

Luna watches her property outside but is less concerned in the house at the door then my two males were /are but she did alert to me something during the night it happened to be a false alarm but a family member/friend was staying over and Luna must of forgot she was over and charged her when she went to get a drink but smelled her first and realized who she was I was surprised and glad to see that -so you never know.

My King Charles -bell very sweet and loveable but aloof to strangers. She was such a good dog, but was not a good watch dog - so i thought - there were times I swore she was deaf. she did alert me in the middle of the night going stark mad I thought she was attacking a cat but someone was trying to steal our truck.
 

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I gotta go with Chip on this one! Definitely set up the scenarios he mentioned and "test" your dog's reaction if you're curious/concerned. It can tell you a lot, and it can help you help him if needed to be more of the protector you want.

That being said, I agree with others that you're lucky to have a dog that isn't too far the other way. Teaching a dog to be "in control" is, IME, easier than reacting to a dog not to be always in control. Laid back is a good thing in a big dog!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
As always, many thanks for the prompt and invaluable feed back. It has put my mind at ease, knowing that with the matturation process, and when it matters; the appropriate responses will be there, if needed. And yes, we count our blessings, because Red has turned out to be everything we hope he would, and then some, specially now that the adolescent stage of his development, is in the rear view mirror!:wink2:
Your compliments and advice, are truly appreciated!:smile2:
 

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Wow he is such a gorgeous dog and I love his expression. :)

Thinking back again on our "protective" episode...
Normally there is a knock. I open the door. "Hi!" I say in a friendly tone. Then I open the door wide, and step aside and invite them into our front hall.
When the tree-trimmer guy came, there was a knock. I did not open the door, I talked to him through the screen. I did not say "Hi" in a friendly tone. My voice was cautious. My body position was probably tense, and I was probably hanging onto the door handle wishing I could close it.
For a dog, I realize that the difference is pretty clear to observe...so my dog probably decided he should "back me up" and help to me to get the man to leave.

Anyway you can see what Red does if you ever have an Unwelcome visitor (one that you truly don't feel happy to see, or are not expecting!). I think he may surprise you.

I agree that the other problem - indiscriminate hostility/aggression towards anybody that approaches the house - that's much harder to deal with!!
 

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It would be interesting to see video of your dog just being himself out and about. My female had never met a stranger when she was younger. She was everyone's best friend. but, she was also quick to bite anything she could get away with, including people. Then one day in home depot someone mentioned what a cute dog she was and asked if they could pet her. As my usual response I said, up to her. They said "hello doggy" and tried to pet her she just looked the other way as if saying "don't bother me, I don't know you". Not fearful just indifferent. Now shes that way everywhere. I prefer the dog that is indifferent. Safe to take anywhere, Will bite if needed. Shes 3 now. Maybe your boy will turn out the same.
My male was always very untrusting of people. Fearful even. Now that he has matured and with a lot of training he is also indifferent. I can walk him through home depot, lowes, Big R. He ignores people and acts fine. He is 3 also. You will probably see some changes in the next year.
 

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Wow he is such a gorgeous dog and I love his expression. ?

Thinking back again on our "protective" episode...
Normally there is a knock. I open the door. "Hi!" I say in a friendly tone. Then I open the door wide, and step aside and invite them into our front hall.
When the tree-trimmer guy came, there was a knock. I did not open the door, I talked to him through the screen. I did not say "Hi" in a friendly tone. My voice was cautious. My body position was probably tense, and I was probably hanging onto the door handle wishing I could close it.
For a dog, I realize that the difference is pretty clear to observe...so my dog probably decided he should "back me up" and help to me to get the man to leave.

Anyway you can see what Red does if you ever have an Unwelcome visitor (one that you truly don't feel happy to see, or are not expecting!). I think he may surprise you.

I agree that the other problem - indiscriminate hostility/aggression towards anybody that approaches the house - that's much harder to deal with!!
This is very true today I was talking through the window late this afternoon and challenging some views of religious people at the door. I was more tense as I was in a rush to get somewhere but The minute I would become tense max would rush over by my side trying to eyeball through the tiny window trying to get a view of their eyes. I was relaxed he would lay back down but the entire time I was talking to the couple he would not leave my side whatsoever and the back Door to the yard was open where he go outside and play but he would not.
 

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Soldes, you are so lucky! You have a drop dead gorgeous, stable, confident, clearheaded GSD.

You should read the posts from frantic people whose GSDs turn into screaming idiots when the doorbell rings, attack children, bite friends and relatives, try to kill puppies, and so on. These dogs often run away when there is real danger.

Why should your dog try to attack the pool guy? Was he a threat? Doesn't sound like it. A proper GSD (or a dog of any breed) is well mannered or even friendly with people who are not a threat. But when a real threat arises, the dog will do whatever is necessary to stop it. That is what is meant by a dog being clear in the head. I have no doubt your dog will do the right thing if you are ever really threatened or attacked.

Who is the breeder of your dog?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Red is a German Import, son of last year V2 German Seiger, pure show line. It is very reassuring to hear all opinions here, from people that have been there, done that.
Someone told me that the WSL from Germany, take longer to mature; we are in no hurry, he is a confident good boy.
 

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Red is a gorgeous pooch! Back a few years ago when I still owned a home I had 2 large Dobermans. Occasionally, a few of my biker buddies would come over. While standing at the front door I could see that my buddies weren't sure about coming in. To ease there fears I would say, "come on in....they won't bite". Then after they came in the house I'd point to one of the Dobes and say, "well, maybe that one will"...course I was kidding...but my buddies didn't make any sudden moves.

Igor, who's dealing with pano right now, has only met 1 other dog so far...my neighbor has an older dog that he NEVER walks....a few times when I'm outside with Igor my neighbor will bring his dog out but only to do his business then it's right back inside. A few times people walk through my apartment complex and let there dogs do there business in front of my apartment and of course don't clean up after them. That makes my blood boil and I've confronted them about it. I don't confront very well. To keep my bp at a reasonable rate I've started to go up to the person and ask them to do me a favor...next time your dog does his business in front of my apartment would you please knock on my door and let me know so I can come out and clean it up. Haven't seen those people since. Is Igor being trained to be socialble? Not really...but I'm not very socialble...

I haven't really added any value to this conversation...sorry!
 
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