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Hello everyone! I am pretty new on the forums but have a 6 year old GSD named Nala. She is very loving with family, but recently I started reflecting on a couple of her behaviors which I'm trying to change.

First of all, she hates anyone that walks up to our house that she doesn't know. She get's aggressive and barks and postures up. If anyone is walking by our fence and she's in the back yard, she get's the same aggression and barks. This is the first behavior I would like to change with her. When she was a young puppy, she was very timid and didn't have a lot of confidence. My trainer at the time had me build her confidence by keeping her head up high, ears up, not having her roll on her back, etc. However, now I would like to take it back a notch. I would like her not to bark at all my neighbors and everyone that walks by. When we are away from the house she isn't aggressive, but she's very protective of our house.

My second issue is her "random" aggression. I know it's not random, but I can't figure it out. A great example was last Halloween. We were giving out candy and had her with us near the end of the driveway where she isn't protective. We had maybe 50 kids come up to us and her, and she just lied there and didn't mind them. Then all of a sudden one kid walked up, nothing different than any of the other ones before him, and she got up and growled and got pretty upset. Another example is with small dogs. Last night I was walking her around the neighborhood and unfortunately we have a few people that think it's okay to allow their little dogs to walk around without a leash. Well recently when these small dogs run up to her she will typically sniff them for a few seconds, but if they don't leave her alone she gets pretty upset again, and does an angry bark and lunges at them. From what I can tell she has never tried to bite them. Normally I get between them, scare the other dog away, and then keep walking while praising her for not looking at the other dog. The issue is sometimes the little yappers will run after us for several houses and it really stresses her out.

So those are the two behaviors I'm trying to adjust. Any input would be greatly appreciated!
 

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First of all, she hates anyone that walks up to our house that she doesn't know. She get's aggressive and barks and postures up. If anyone is walking by our fence and she's in the back yard, she get's the same aggression and barks. This is the first behavior I would like to change with her.
IMO this sounds like very normal GSD behavior. She's alert barking/barking to protect her home and pack. She doesn't "hate" anybody! She's being a watchful dog! Now if she's getting frothy and doing a high, excited bark and going crazy, maybe something else is going on.


My second issue is her "random" aggression. I know it's not random, but I can't figure it out.
And this is the tricky part! Your dog has likes and dislikes that you haven't figured out yet. Regarding little miniature humans coming around (in the dark?) in weird costumes onto "her" property... I'm actually impressed that she was calm most of the time. And the yippers.. same deal. Good for her!

However, I think what you want to do is socialize her to accept the things she barks at otherwise. Everytime someone comes to the door, tell her "quiet" and reward her big time when she's quiet and calm. Training may take time, but the good news is you can recruit others to help you by coming by and ringing the bell, knocking etc.
 

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IMO this sounds like very normal GSD behavior. She's alert barking/barking to protect her home and pack. She doesn't "hate" anybody! She's being a watchful dog! Now if she's getting frothy and doing a high, excited bark and going crazy, maybe something else is going on.





And this is the tricky part! Your dog has likes and dislikes that you haven't figured out yet. Regarding little miniature humans coming around (in the dark?) in weird costumes onto "her" property... I'm actually impressed that she was calm most of the time. And the yippers.. same deal. Good for her!



However, I think what you want to do is socialize her to accept the things she barks at otherwise. Everytime someone comes to the door, tell her "quiet" and reward her big time when she's quiet and calm. Training may take time, but the good news is you can recruit others to help you by coming by and ringing the bell, knocking etc.


Thank you for that. I'm glad to know that is normal behavior. She's my first dog and I've learned a lot with her and wouldn't trade her for the world.

Good pointers too with socializing her. It's such a fine line in my eyes though because I do want her to bark and make her presence known (especially when nobody is home), but I have to work on her obedience in those cases when I'm home, so that if I tell her the person is okay she trusts me and them.
 
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