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An alarming thing happened this morning. I'll lay down the sequence here.

My wife and I were in the kitchen with Jupiter, 15 months old and well-trained. I had to go to the bathroom, and I heard this through the door: "Jupiter, no. Get down. NOOOOOOOOO! [growling]. Miiiike, come here, Jupiter's growling! [then I half-opened the bathroom door and called Jupiter and closed it after me].

Apparently, Jupiter had hopped up his front legs and was eating something on the table. My wife told him to get off, he ignored her, and then she yelled, loud and low (she has a very intimidating yell) at him. Then she tried to grab his collar, but he started growling. When she backed away, he advanced, growling, a step or two. That's when she called me, I called Jupiter, and now we're caught up. Once I was done with my business, we were all there together and I saw no sign of hostility or aggression or anything abnormal at all with Jupiter. Nor has he ever shown any toward my wife or any other human before.

It seems to me that it's mostly a resource guarding thing. Jupiter had found some tasty crumbs and didn't want to let them go. Oddly, I've never witnessed resource guarding with him before, and I can and have on a couple occasions, grabbed bones out of his mouth (like he's eating on my blanket and I want to move it or something; he always gets it right back). He's never growled at anyone in the family, or anyone at all before.

Jupiter has gone through four obedience classes. I trained him 3X a day when he was younger, using his kibble; now I train him only once a day or so and for more directed things--loose-leash walking, recall, etc. My wife doesn't train him or spend much time with him, but we're always in the house together.

Ideas for what could be the cause and what could be the cure would be appreciated.
 

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I’m not super experienced but I’d say you’re right and it’s resource guarding but also with a dash of not respecting or feeling a partnership with your wife. I work my GSD a bunch too and trust our developing relationship but my husband doesn’t ‘work’ him. So I dug around to find something they could bond over. I coached and encouraged them to play tug together. I think that really helped with household respect and obeying in these types of situations. My husband is my GSDs tug buddy. So I would encourage you to find something your wife and dog can do together to feel some type of partnership.
 

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Jupiter was a bad dog and must be redirected into a more civilized dogie behaviors. I'm reluctant to tell you how without knowing Jupiter...but imo this is a serious breach of etiquette. Best wishes.
 

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I would agree with others and personally the alarm bell would be that your wife backed away (why?), and felt she had to call you to deal with the situation. If my dog ever growled at me, believe me there would be no calling for my husband or backing down from the situation. I would also worry that your dog might pick up on your wife's hesitation and might start pushing the boundaries more often.

Now, I don't know your dog, but my dogs are raised by me and bonded with me (equally by my husband when he isn't at work), and therefore if they tried to intimidate me I wouldn't feel scared to put them in their place. I know some might say that you can't punish for resource guarding, only through counter-conditioning, but really, if it was my dog that I had raised, I would definitely give them an extremely stern telling off with no backing down. They know better. I work on general conditioning daily by bonding, training and giving my dogs treats in a positive way (no messing with their food once it is theirs). Food on my counter is not theirs though, obviously.

Probably the best solution would be to have your wife work with your dog. Have her train him, walk him, feed him, etc.
 

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I agree, your wife rewarded him. It’s a bigger problem though. My male dog would never grab food off a table, so its pretty clear your dog never learned basic house manners. I had a smaller breed male herding dog years ago that growled and attacked me when I tried to pick him up. I didn’t realize I hurt him. I backed out of reach but from then on, I had lost control over him. I had to really work to get it back and never tried to lift him again. With my dogs now, if they act out now, I get as big as I can and I step toward them and let them know I am in charge. It doesn't happen often. They are very well trained and tuned into me, but sometimes they turn on each other and I stop it immediately with my presence. Your wife is signaling something to him.

The dynamics are probably that your wife has shown timidity before and he has learned he can aggress at her and get his way. We can’t fix it, you need a professional trainer in the house to work with your wife and the dog, if your wife is afraid of him, she may never be able to discipline him.
 

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The 1st red light is the fact Jupiter took something from the table. A dog who knows their place will never do that. 2nd is obviously when Jupiter clearly doesn't see your wife as his leader. I'd say go back to square 1: Obedience training. And for your dog to bond with your wife even more.
 

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Jupiter is 15 months old. He's coming into maturity. He may push your wife around to see what he can get away with. She needs to be confident and matter of fact when dealing with him. He growled, so he was communicating. The fact that he challenged her by leaving the food and walking towards her is a little concerning.

What type of training equipment do you use with him?
 

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Jupiter is 15 months old. He's coming into maturity. He may push your wife around to see what he can get away with. She needs to be confident and matter of fact when dealing with him. He growled, so he was communicating. The fact that he challenged her by leaving the food and walking towards her is a little concerning.

What type of training equipment do you use with him?
David, I am certainly keeping an eye out for Jupiter's personality changes as he comes into his own. At around nine months, he became very intolerant of puppies, but overall he has seemed to calm and be more relaxed at home, until this incident. Unfortunately, we have a weird setup at our house where we have another older dog who's very dog aggressive and we have to keep them apart. As a result, my wife usually watches the other dog and Jupiter is with me. My wife really hasn't spent a great deal of time interacting with Jupiter, and she is used to nice Golden retrievers and has very little expertise with dogs. The last couple of days, I have helped her train him with high-value treats just so she gets some more experience with that.

Jupiter was on a martingale at three months and a prong-collar by four, and has spent most of his time outside of the house on the prong. I am the only one who takes him outside. In the last month, I have gone away from the prong and focus more on positive reinforcement, because I wanted to get away from doing hard corrections (Jupiter is a hard dog and you really have to crank it to get him to notice).

But generally, his current life is: Daily walk with me with lots of food treats to encourage him to walk nicely next to me (Martingale collar and six-foot lead). Twice a week we go to the elementary school to play fetch with Chuck-it. At those times, he's on a harness and a 100 ft lead, but is basically off-leash as the ball is often thrown 200 ft away. Several times a week, I train him in the house off-lead, using kibble or other treats. Several times a day, I am working on his recall according to Total Recall, Pippa Mattinson's book. This consists of methodically working out lots of combinations of recall by room, distraction level, distance, etc, but we are only a couple weeks in for now. No lead.

Thanks for your attention.
 

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Things have taken a step backwards. You need to send your dog and wife off to train together. Your wife can not be afraid of your dog.....BTW I just noticed a post from you 6 months ago about your dog and a finger bite. Have you owned GSDs before? I think you and your wife might need to work with a trainer.
 

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Things have taken a step backwards. You need to send your dog and wife off to train together. Your wife can not be afraid of your dog.....BTW I just noticed a post from you 6 months ago about your dog and a finger bite. Have you owned GSDs before? I think you and your wife might need to work with a trainer.
Thanks for your thoughts. Jupiter did bite me, but AFAIK, it was an accident, as I was using a tug ball and he missed and got my little finger. He has been extensively trained, but by me and not my wife.
 

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it was an accident, as I was using a tug ball and he missed and got my little finger. He has been extensively trained, but by me and not my wife.
This coming to light, I think my ‘tug buddy’ suggestion comes off wrong. What does your wife do with the dog that could be considered fun or bonding?

My daughter can’t compete physically with my dog so she hides things for him and asks him to ‘find it’. It’s a blast for both of them and they bond over the game.
 

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This coming to light, I think my ‘tug buddy’ suggestion comes off wrong. What does your wife do with the dog that could be considered fun or bonding?

My daughter can’t compete physically with my dog so she hides things for him and asks him to ‘find it’. It’s a blast for both of them and they bond over the game.
My wife doesn't do anything with Jupiter. Our household is divided so she watches our older, dog-aggressive dog. I'm going to strongly encourage her to train Jupiter on a regular basis now. He's extremely trainable because he's very food-oriented.
 

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My dog is 10 months old and I was training him myself and then we had a few problem behaviors. We are with a professional trainer now and I regret not being with one from the beginning. Without knowing, both of you may be reinforcing negative behavior you aren’t even aware of. The trainer also taught us that fetch is terrible for exercise. She says stimulate their minds. You aren’t getting anywhere with fetch except building up stamina. I have owned several breeds of dogs over my life and this GSD is a breed of its own. It is not a Golden by any means. This is my first one, but they seem to want to be in charge and will find ways to do it. Mine has very few consequences that seem to matter to him and all positive reinforcement would never work with him. He has to have a consequence. Find a professional that is familiar with the breed or a similar breed. (And I dont mean Petco). It will be an extra expense but worth it in the long run.
 
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