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I often associate these behaviors with drives and communication, are they useful tools in training or work?
 

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Does it matter at what? Like, appropriately (as in an approaching threat), or inappropriately (as in someone merely walking on the other side of the street)? I don't know the answer, just an interesting topic to me and what my dog does..so I will be following.
 

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I think it depends whether the dog is socialized, trained and of stable temperament. If it involves other breeds it may be the wiring.
 

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I often associate these behaviors with drives and communication, are they useful tools in training or work?
I'd look at them as useful, if nothing else it shows you that you have something to work with. Attentive,alert, determined, a little possessive and showing that little bit of fight with the growling maybe. Combined with overall confidence, you'd be in good shape to get started with some things.
 

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I often associate these behaviors with drives and communication, are they useful tools in training or work?
I think they could be.What a great question!I can usually understand what my dogs are feeling by the tone of their barks,growls,and posture.Excitement,agitation,or 'that looks interesting'.
 

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I often associate these behaviors with drives and communication, are they useful tools in training or work?
I believe these communication behaviors are very important, especially when establishing engagement with a dog. How can you teach a behavior without the dog's attention? When shaping engagement behaviors or gauging a dog's natural handler attentiveness I look for pushy behavior(barking, jumping, eye contact), with my current dogs, when they're really into the game we're playing they will growl. I'm still new to GSDs, but these are behaviors I like to see.
 

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Griff at thirteen weeks growls when eating chicken backs. It startled me the first time but it was not directed towards me or Deja. He is consistent in this. Today he started digging in a shallow creek, pulling out clumps of reeds, sticking his snout in the water etc. and growled as well. For me this means excitement. He is my first dog ever to do this. It is very amuzing.
 

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Griff at thirteen weeks growls when eating chicken backs. It startled me the first time but it was not directed towards me or Deja. He is consistent in this. Today he started digging in a shallow creek, pulling out clumps of reeds, sticking his snout in the water etc. and growled as well. For me this means excitement. He is my first dog ever to do this. It is very amuzing.
I've heard this too. Excitement, intensity, and at times I really really want whatever it is they're after. It’s all communication
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I personally like to see a strong authoritative bark in my dogs. Though the bark may vary according to what prompts the barking, I think strong barking is part of the breed when balanced in drives. I like growling as a way of communication when the dog alerts to something unknown especially at night, and when the dog is sometimes in active aggression. I like staring and intensity of staring as long as the dog won’t lock into this behavior so as to not be responsive to me in training.
 

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I personally like to see a strong authoritative bark in my dogs.
I like a strong bark also. One of the advantages of a male over a female. At least in my dogs. The female just can't get that deep bark that my male can. She does add a low growl in her barking to make up for it though.
 

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My WL stares at me with intensity. We do a lot of focus work so I like that kind of attention. He growls sometimes, and has a deep bark. Training is going well, so I vote yes on all three.
 

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I personally like to see a strong authoritative bark in my dogs. Though the bark may vary according to what prompts the barking, I think strong barking is part of the breed when balanced in drives. I like growling as a way of communication when the dog alerts to something unknown especially at night, and when the dog is sometimes in active aggression. I like staring and intensity of staring as long as the dog won’t lock into this behavior so as to not be responsive to me in training.
How do you, meaning you personally, use any of them in training?
 

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I personally like to see a strong authoritative bark in my dogs. Though the bark may vary according to what prompts the barking, I think strong barking is part of the breed when balanced in drives. I like growling as a way of communication when the dog alerts to something unknown especially at night, and when the dog is sometimes in active aggression. I like staring and intensity of staring as long as the dog won’t lock into this behavior so as to not be responsive to me in training.
My boy will use all three behaviors most times during in house alerting and he means business. I have learned how to use his heightened state for controlled training. It started way back and took a bit to make him understand that I also meant business but boy, once he "got it" He gives some flashy fast response to me.

He gets in what I call the "red zone" and at first didn't, couldn't, wouldn't (take your pick) hear me. Now he does. Of course, I'm talking about the mail man and many may say I should squelch that behavior, but I didn't want to squelch it, just control it.

I think also that once there is enough practice invested in training during heighten state, it becomes brain power muscle memory and the dog expects it so it helps him behave more level headed. I don't know if that would be true in general but it seems to be what my boy is getting out of it.

It was also very effective when going through getting a handle on his dog reactivity.
 

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I like a strong bark also. One of the advantages of a male over a female. At least in my dogs. The female just can't get that deep bark that my male can. She does add a low growl in her barking to make up for it though.
Sabi sounded twice her size through a closed door. Lol. Even Miss Shadow, tiny thing she is, can produce a deep and deterring bark when she wishes.

To the original question, I take all forms of communication into consideration with the dogs. Nothing annoys me more then people who stop the growling.
A good dog should have an intense stare, and the tone of the bark tells me if the dog is working, scared or frustrated.
I was able to stop multiple bites from Bud because I watched his eyes. When they got still, whoever he was focused on was gonna get it.
 

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Max and Luna will use all three. They do this when someone is in our yard - oil man, fedex etc. Max has a deeper then average bark it use to shake our old sliding glass doors. max can also be quiet and just stare. His eyes are the tell all. One time we were having some things removed from our yard I heard dogs going nuts downstairs. Max actually went upstairs and got my attention and gave me his head toss over his shoulders to follow him which I did -he wanted to show me -the man taking our pool away. This I when I like to practice training with Max to get him to listen to me. If someone jogs by the house he will follow them from window to window. Sometimes he will wait for them to come back so yeah i like to work on training with Max when he does this and snap him out of that mode. Where we live we are surrounded by woods and very quiet area so when they see some unknown person by the house it’s full alert time.

The dogs can’t see who pulls up in the driveway if they are down stairs but I can tell right away if family or friend just pulled into the driveway the way the react. Soft whiny bark and happy body language.

Our first German shepherd Karat who was super serious rarely barked he would just loom and stare. He barked just if he got excited to go out but he never had to bark for anything else he used his body and eyes which said it all.

They are super communicative breed.
 

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In the most general sense I see those behaviors as elements of defense drive with the goal creating avoidance in the perceived threat. But it really depends on the context the behaviors are displayed in. Barking can communicate many different things and it is up to the handler to learn his dog's vocal language.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
How do you, meaning you personally, use any of them in training?
In indicating alerts in building searches or sometimes in drug work, I like strong barking. In H&B I like to see very strong barking with intensity. Strong barking is also effective in control with Herding ( tending).
I like strong focus for teaching new skills to the dog, and I think strong focus allows dog to benefit from whatever reward system is used.
I don’t use growling in training, but some growling is an indication of a dog upping the ante in fight or combat. I especially see this when we are doing muzzle work with the dog!
 
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