German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
475 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I posted not to long ago about Shadow becoming leash reactive and territorial in the car. Shadow is nearly 15 months and female.
My son and I have been working hard on both issues and things are improving. However......
Last night we all (my 21 year old son, 12 year old son and myself) all took Shadow to the dog park. She was happily playing with 3 dogs that she has grown up with, one being to old really to play (gs x that mostly lays around, but gets grumpy if others come to close) Any way all is well until, from across the field a brown lab comes charging straight at the group. My older son swears it was headed right for where his little brother was kneeling on the ground with the grumpy shepherd x. One of Shadows friends (another female brown lab) was the first to start chasing this dog, but Shadow caught up with it first. Her hair was up and she gave a growl then pinned this dog to the ground. My son got to Shadow pretty quickly told her enough, leashed her and moved her aside. Shadow did stop when she was told to. Shadows lab friend took a little while longer to respond to her owner. The owner of the charging lab grabbed her dog and walked off (actually it was kinda like she expected this behavior from her dog).
About 15 minutes later a golden retriever was approaching from the distance, Shadow ran a few feet away from the group, her hair was up and she let off what sounded to me like warning barks. Again when Shadow was called back and told enough from my son she came and was again leashed, and quiet but watchful. My son left Shadow on the leash for longer this time.
My younger son was then playing tug with 2 of Shadow's doggie friends, Shadow was watching intently. After a few minutes of tug Shadow let out a few small barks at the two dogs. My son told her "enough" and she stopped with the barks but continued watching carefully. My son then let Shadow back off the leash and straight away she ran over to the other two dogs and mouthed them a little and put her body between my youngest and these other two dogs. She then seamed to herd them away from my boy, she wasn't aggressive about it though. Once they were far enough away she continued to play with them.
A little while later, my son and I spotted a labradoodle being walked off leash with it's owner and they were headed in our general direction. Shadow hadn't seen them yet, so my son leashed her and had her sit with us. Shadow's two friends approached the labradoodle and had a game of chase, after a few minutes, and no reaction from Shadow except her being watchful, I told my son to let her back off the leash. So she was let off the leash she ran straight over to the labradoodle, her hair went up, but my older son went over with her and the minute he started petting the labradoodle Shadow's hair went down. Mind you we told my youngest to stay where he was, a couple of meters away.

I initially thought Holy cow, she is becoming an aggressive bully. I am now thinking, she is just being protective of her family, particularly my youngest son. My older son tells me she only ever acts aggressive when my youngest son is present and strange dogs get to close, if it's people she is just super watchful. Even if I'm right I know we still have work to do with her, I don't want this escalating.

So what do you all think?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
207 Posts
I am now thinking, she is just being protective of her family, particularly my youngest son.
No. That is not what is happening.

Possibly she's resource guarding and your son is the resource.

More likely she is responding awkwardly and inappropriately to other dog's awkward and inappropriate behaviors. Either stop going to the dog park or do a better job of recognizing the body language she shows before reacting to the other dogs. Head her off and redirect her attention prior to her blowing up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
475 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Why would you say perhaps resource guarding as opposed to protective? whats the difference?

I agree she isn't responding to inappropriate dog behavior in a way I like, and as I said we will be working on this. :)

Perhaps I'm being overly sensitive? But your comment about either stop going to the dog park or do a better job of recognizing her body language came across a little forceful and rude. This was the first time we had ever seen her act like this at the park, my older son I think dealt with it fairly quickly and she responded. If this behaviour were to continue, then yes, the park would be off limits. To keep her away from the park at the first instance, would be teaching her what? Isn't it better to teach her how to behave rather than just avoid the situation all together? This is an honest answer, not trying to be rude or nasty.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,962 Posts
And how exactly are you teaching her to behave? A dog approaching, 'come' command, leashed and watch intently others having fun. You let her fixate on a trigger, react, and then repeat this over and over.

Here's the resource guarding:
************
My son then let Shadow back off the leash and straight away she ran over to the other two dogs and mouthed them a little and put her body between my youngest and these other two dogs. She then seamed to herd them away from my boy, she wasn't aggressive about it though.
********
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,099 Posts
Why would you say perhaps resource guarding as opposed to protective? whats the difference?

I agree she isn't responding to inappropriate dog behavior in a way I like, and as I said we will be working on this. :)

Perhaps I'm being overly sensitive? But your comment about either stop going to the dog park or do a better job of recognizing her body language came across a little forceful and rude. This was the first time we had ever seen her act like this at the park, my older son I think dealt with it fairly quickly and she responded. If this behaviour were to continue, then yes, the park would be off limits. To keep her away from the park at the first instance, would be teaching her what? Isn't it better to teach her how to behave rather than just avoid the situation all together? This is an honest answer, not trying to be rude or nasty.
If I understand what you're asking about resource guarding vs protection, I'll try and answer this. I'm not a behaviorist, just a long time dog owner, so please take that into account:

She views your son as a "toy" (resource) and is reacting to the fact that someone is a threat to take her "toy" away.
She doesn't have a sense that the pack is in danger, rather that someone is going to take her "toy" away from her.
Kind of like if she had her soup bone and another dog got to close to her.
She doesn't think another dog is going to necessarily attack her, just try and take what's hers. In this case, the other dogs are going to take your son away from her. This is my view, based on what you described.

You can learn to "read" her body language. You described some of the signs and I think you know how to tell.
We have the same problem with Gunnar at the park, but not all the time. We're usually there with the same dogs and he doesn't always do this. I don't know what triggers it with him, but I recoginize it.
For us, if he starts paying too much attention toward a dog, head lowered, eyes fixed, ears up, etc. I try and "break" his attention before he starts to move. I call him back for a few seconds and that's it.
I may be oversimplifying it and I'm sure others with more experience will correct me if I'm way off base, but I hope you get the basic idea of what I'm saying.

PM me if you have any further questions or if I can help clear up what I'm trying to say.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
475 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
I can now see and agree with the resource guarding when it came to the two dogs my youngest was playing with. However her barks were different with these two and her hair wasn't up. It seamed to also be more a case of just pushing these dogs aside and having my sons attention on her.
With the first lab and the golden, it was different behavior, her hair was up and her barks were more guttural/menacing and she pinned the lab.

So are all examples resource guarding? I'm a slow learner obviously. :)
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top