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Discussion Starter #1
Mom invited a couple of hoomans over to stare at the flat box for a couple hours. One of them was really loud and boisterous. I was sure to protect Mom by barking and growling at them. She put me in my den for a while but I stared at the hoomans the whole time and made sure they knew I was watching them.

They finally left. Phew! And my job was done. Boy, protecting Mom from the evil hoomans ("fren"? What is a "fren"?) is exhausting.

I can tell Mom is really, really pleased about my behavior! :)
 

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Oh boy. That sounds like a fun night for you! (I'm sure if was for her.) :D
 

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So are you happy that your dog is protective? She looks tired out! :)
Haha.

No.

This post is me trying to make light of a night that actually made me really disappointed and sad.

Good thing she's cute. We'll keep working on it. Or I'll just put her in another room whenever I have company.
 

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I'm sorry it was a tough night for you.

My girl is the same way and she distrusts strangers. We put her in a crate in another room when people she doesn't know are over. Other than that I don't mind her being protective.
 

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My dog is the same way, but he does reach a "saturation point" after which you become accepted.

For example, when my daughter and her friend were working on their roller coaster project for Science Olympiad, the friend's mom always came to our house to pick her up. At some point after something like 5 pickups, Rumo walked up to her very close and pushed his nose at her, his tail waving gently. I told her it would be OK to pet him, and she did! She apparently had crossed the boundary from "stranger at the door" to "trusted welcome visitor".

So maybe the "evil hoomans" will become "friends" after they come over a few more times and act nonthreatening.
The best thing is for them to just ignore her and let her initiate any contact, I think...

And there I was thinking things were going so great because you had begun writing in the voice of your dog! :)

I think I could write quite a lot of amusing stuff in the voice of my dog...I'll leave you with today's amusing dog moment:
I was putting away holiday stuff upstairs and I went into the storage area and closed the door behind me without thinking. A few minutes later, I opened the door and found Rumo standing outside! Then he walked slowly into the middle of the room and gave me a reproachful look.
Dog voiceover: "How could you shut me, your faithful dog, out!"
Me: "Because of you, I haven't showered with the door shut for years! Isn't that enough!"
 

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Getting a dog, any dog, to behave the way you "want them to" in ANY given situation is to expose them to the situation (with the dog under threshold, of course) and calmly teach them what is desired.

For me, that would mean both talking to and explaining to visiting hoomans about how to act around the dog, but also keeping the dog in the room (on leash) and guiding her behavior as well.

To me, putting her in another room is just avoiding, managing; which IMHO gets you no closer to your end goal.

Teaching is sometimes done best by just letting the dog reach it's own limit of gaurding or trying to "scare away the thing" that is making them uncomfortable. Just stay calm, ignore, and let them get over it.

It works...
 

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Getting a dog, any dog, to behave the way you "want them to" in ANY given situation is to expose them to the situation (with the dog under threshold, of course) and calmly teach them what is desired.

For me, that would mean both talking to and explaining to visiting hoomans about how to act around the dog, but also keeping the dog in the room (on leash) and guiding her behavior as well.

To me, putting her in another room is just avoiding, managing; which IMHO gets you no closer to your end goal.

Teaching is sometimes done best by just letting the dog reach it's own limit of gaurding or trying to "scare away the thing" that is making them uncomfortable. Just stay calm, ignore, and let them get over it.

It works...
in college my buddy and his wife had two dogs.. one a male GSD and another a female red nosed pit. The GSD distrusted mostly random males, while the pit loved anything with hands and would pet her. My buddy just told me to ignore the GSD and his actions, he would eventually approach me on his own.. which i did.. We would sit on the floor bsing about random topics, while i had the pit loving on me or just laying in my lap. Most of the time i would spread my arms out with one hand on the end of the sofa towards the direction of the GSD and i would just ignore him. Eventually he would come up to me, sniff and run, sniff and run, and then would put his head under my hand in an act of wanting to be pet. When he did so, i stayed with that one hand, and we both praised him. Eventually Lars grew to trust me a little over time. for some reason he just didn't like males. Females could walk in the door and he'd be a big pile of mush. We think this could have been due to my buddy having two little girls, and his wife in the house.

anyways moral of my story is like Tim said. Not knowing 100% of your dog's past, and being a one owner home, she may be a little extra protective of you. Like previous people have said, have friends come over a little more frequently, and slowly introduce her to them. Eventually your pup will hopefully starting trusting them as much as you :)
 

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I would try not to get too disappointed. Your story was probably a little off as well, it might have been less of your dog being proud of protecting you, and more of your dog spending the evening scared and worried (of the strangers). Your home is your pups new safe place and her territory, of course it's going to be difficult for her when you bring people over. Patience and understanding are probably key, also acknowledging that she is not just being difficult, rather she is probably overwhelmed.

I would give your dog time and patience to get to know your friends. It may be that your dog will never readily accept strangers coming into the home (not unusual for the breed), but she will accept your regular visitors and friends. As said above, my female distrusts all strangers, therefore she will get defensive and upset ANY time a stranger comes into the home. I put her away in a crate in another room when people she doesn't know are around (workmen etc), no reason to subject her to that when these are people she doesn't need to know. My regular family and friends (if they don't mind dogs) are another thing completely. I have also had out of town guests stay at my home for periods of time, my dog had to just get used to it. I correct her barking and she will eventually sniff, I make absolutely sure I teach my people how to win her trust (no eye contact, no talking to her, no touching), get them to offer treats calmly and play once small levels of trust have been established (still no touching). Going on group walks really helps begin some bonding too! For my girl, it takes at least a few weeks to sort of trust a new person, depending on the person and how well they follow the rules. My girl will hate the person forever if they insist on trying to pet her ? but if they are respectful, maybe she will offer to be petted in her own good time :)
 

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Haha.

No.

This post is me trying to make light of a night that actually made me really disappointed and sad.

Good thing she's cute. We'll keep working on it. Or I'll just put her in another room whenever I have company.
Oh, I'm sorry you had a bad night. Don't get discouraged though. Just try again.
BTW: She's a lovely girl. I love her colors!
 

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Whoa lots of responses overnight.

Yeah so if you want the details, what happened was my two friends Jeff and Rickard came over. Jeff has come over twice since I got Willow to watch movies, Rickard had only been inside for a few minutes to drop off a cookie tin and so she doesn't know him as well.

Rickard came first and tried to offer Willow his hand before I got a chance to tell him to ignore her, so she growled at him, full hackles, and I told Rickard to just ignore her and act like she wasn't there. He obliged. Jeff immediately came in and sat down without acknowledging Willow at all. Within a minute Willow came over to him, sniffed and let him pet her and wagged her tail because she knew him a bit better. Took her another minute of sniffing Rickard but then she let him pet her too. So really the "warming up" period is not that big a deal.

Problem is that then she just gets nervy and paces around and around the room like she doesn't know what to do. I'd put her in "place" near me, she'd sit for maybe 5 minutes but then get up and pace some more, going between Rickard and Jeff, not really sure what she's doing. Eventually she did settle down.

Problem was that Jeff (who's really loud, was laughing super loud and annoyingly at the movie--that's just how he is) went up to go to the bathroom and when he came back, he smacked Rickard hard on the arm with his beanie in a joking way. That really set Willow off. From her lying down position, she started barking pretty ferociously at him, like he'd really freaked her out (it didn't take place near her--she was lying beside me). I tried to tell Willow to stop but she barked probably 10 times and then was all huffy and wouldn't go near Jeff, and kept kinda mumbling at him. Jeff apologized and said maybe she had some PTSD from being hit or being in a family where people hit each other or something...him hitting Rickard with his hat was some kind of trigger.

After she calmed down I decided to put her in her crate, which is in the same room. She went in but sat pressed up against the door the rest of the night, watching Rickard and Jeff and grumbling now and then.

I've since put my spare crate in another room and will plan on putting her in there in future; out of the way, quiet, she won't be bothered by people. My dad is coming to stay for a few days--he's a large, large man who doesn't really like dogs, but he's going to have to sleep in the living room where Willow's crate is because he can't do stairs. So...I have options, we'll see how it goes. Maybe because he doesn't really like dogs it'll be fine because he'll ignore her.

So there's the whole story. Willow really warms up to strangers rather quickly, but then is SUPER reactive if they make a sudden move.
 

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So Willow thought that your friend was a threatening person when she saw him hit the other person, and then she stayed "on guard" for the rest of the visit...I understand.
Mine used to growl/bark at my husband when he tickled my daughter!
I think the "policeman" personality is not unusual...

However if I say, "Back off" or "Be quiet" or "That's enough." I expect my dog to listen. That is, the dog needs to trust my opinion of the situation and not keeping going off on the person...
So I think her reaction was understandable, but to me, the issue is that she should listen to you and settle if you say, "Shush" or "Back off".

And as Kari01 said, there are people with GSDs who usually crate them when there are visitors over.
They don't expect their dogs to act friendly unless it's a well-known person.

Good luck with your Dad's visit!
It sounds like he won't be the kind of person who tries to pet Willow a lot, at least...
(Our worst experiences have been with dog-lovers / dog-owners...live and learn...)
 

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Lots of good advice and ideas. I’ll give mine too.

I would consider asking people to come over for short visits. Maybe even the interns from work. Different strangers come over, sit on the couch, eat a cookie (and take a batch home as a thank you), talk for ten minutes and then they leave. Having someone over for a whole movie might push that threshold too much. But one random person a week probably wouldn’t push her too much. Let her realize that visitors come, they don’t bother her and then they leave and she has her home back again.

Loved the dog speak. Recently my pup heard a noise from headphones and I’m convinced he thought there were tiny humans inside the headphones ready to launch their attack on his family and we just didn’t understand the threat that was apparent to him.
 

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I agree with the person that advised the use of the phrase “that’s enough”. This breed is protective (that’s what we want, right?), but they need to know that we “hear” them and to know whether we need them to take it further or whether we’ve got it. Vic is almost two and my vet suggested using the phrase “I’ve got it- that’s enough” whenever his protection/barking was unwanted. I’ve been doing it for about 4 months now and Vic understands it totally. I use “that’s enough” for any unwanted behavior right now that might be appropriate under different circumstances. I want him to know that his behavior is not bad, just not wanted right now.
 
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