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So my dude is 2 years old and quite protective. Not mean, never bit anyone.. even me. But he barks a lot and my relatives are all very afraid of him to the point where I usually just crate him when people are over. He will settle but they never get comfortable around him and their tension makes him suspicious

how do your families react to your dog?

I try to educate ppl on the breed and tell them hey he’s just protecting me but some ppl just see big dog and get afraid
 

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In your case, people see a big German Shepherd barking and get afraid. That’s different from seeing any big dog and getting afraid.

You HAVE to instruct company to ignore him. Completely ignore. No touch. No voice. No eye contact. Nothing.

That puts all responsibility on You. Have your dog by your side or send him to a spot where he’s in the room, but you control when he can and cannot move.

Crating him (in essence, grounding him for being him) exacerbates the situation, because he’ll never learn to deal with friends and family. You’re teaching him - people in the house means he gets crated. No good. Watch the resentment build.

This is not a difficult fix, but requires some time, consistency and complete cooperation from whomever is in the home.

Start slow. Maybe have two friends over for an hour and explain to them completely ignoring your dog only helps your dog.

Remember. He’s a GSD and carries a natural aloofness. Eventuality, he’ll be perfectly fine with ignoring those who ignore him.

Best of luck to you and your pup.
 

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My parents are afraid of Jupiter even though they live an ocean away. They saw the picture I use as my avatar here and said, "Scary!"

My father-in-law and brother-in-law are not afraid of him. They've been coming over once a week since we got him, and he doesn't bark at them or jump on them. Jupiter has actually only barked at two guests of ours, one the HVAC guy and once a person who was visiting for a few minutes. Besides that, he only barks at the doorbell or at "suspicious" sounds or yelling in the house (yes, I have an 11-year old, there is sometimes yelling in my house).

Personally, I have never seen any behavior out of Jupiter I would describe as protective. He is only 18 months though, so maybe that comes later? His parents are used as guard dogs and I was told his mother has bit four would-be thieves. I would be interested in how one can determine if a dog is being protective of their owners or just fear-aggressive.
 

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My relatives were terrified of my last dog because she barked like crazy, the dog before was fine so they were okay with him.
 

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If I don't have a dog thats just naturally welcoming of people in the house, I'm just going to put them away and not be bothered with it. I'm not going to spend the time trying to change anyone who's afraid's mind and I'm not going to bother trying to teach manners to a dog that I'll still have to keep obedient and watch over during the time people are over. There's no benefit to either of them or me.
 

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My family is used to me having "big dogs" to me they are normal dogs. They also know to ignore when they enter and that I will introduce them to the dogs. If you are not introduced to my dogs do not start walking around my house.

Years ago my daughter forgot to intro a group of friends she had over to Rocco our GSD. After entering the kids all went out in the yard to have fire. My daughter noticed one of the boys was taking a long time for his trip to the bathroom. Rocco had decided that he did not who this was and that he was not allowed free range, once my daughter introduced him to Rocco all was fine and he was allowed to leave the bathroom. Good Dog!

He kept a much closer watch on the boys than the girls, probably from reading me. My daughters also knew not to squeal or use a high pitch excited voice, Rocco would then enforce social distancing. :D
 

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Your dude is two years? Expect big changes as his adult temperament begins to emerge.

I agree with Steve. If I have company the dogs are put up. I don't want my company feeling uncomfortable. I don't want to give a tense dog a chance to bite. There simply is no need for it.
 

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Most people don't really enjoy being surrounded by lots of big dogs in a room. I figure if they enjoyed that sort of experience, they'd have one or two or three of their own. :)

Unless it's someone that I know enjoys my dogs, I crate them when we have company.

Most people are super polite and will lie and say "Oh, I love dogs, i'ts ok, leave him out" but their body language clearly screams otherwise.
 

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Not a chance. Too easy.

I like having my dogs around as much as possible. That always benefits them and me.

I don’t mind putting forth the effort.
 

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Quite protective? He's not being appropriately protective if he behaves this way with family. He should be trained to not behave like that with family and guests. He would be out away at my house if this happened. My dogs will alert/bark if someone drives in but cease when told to.
 

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Quite protective? He's not being appropriately protective if he behaves this way with family. He should be trained to not behave like that with family and guests. He would be out away at my house if this happened. My dogs will alert/bark if someone drives in but cease when told to.
I will be the dumb person who agrees with this (dumb because what do I know, not because ksotto isn't right). Agis is GSD and Rottie so I've really focused on bringing in family and friends (pre-COVID) to get him used to that since we got him at 13.5 weeks. Even now, his dog walker (who is also a friend) comes in 1x/week (we just started that back up again) so that he stays used to 'strangers' coming over and can be handled by them.

My husband has said 'Oh he'd protect you' because he alerts when we're out walking if there's someone skulking, or acting in an aberrant fashion (to him) I don't think that is actual protective behaviour though, especially at 9 months for him, who can say. For us it's a learning opportunity to show him that some of those people are behaving perfectly fine.
 

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I think that if you want your dog to behave a certain way when family comes over that you will need to teach him what you want.
I would have him on a leash so that you can control him.
Teach him to lie down near you and have your guests ignore him.
After enough time has passed and he has completely calmed down, you can take him over to the guests and let him sniff and greet calmly. If he gets wound up, correct and bring him back to the spot he was in and make him lie down again.
With your dog on a leash, not only will you have control, but your guests will likely be more calm/unafraid because of it.
This will take time and a lot of repetitions.

Make sure that everybody stays calm and generally ignore the dog, even when he eventually greets them.

It's hard for many people to be calm and ignore dogs. Any excited or scared behavior will quickly undo what you are trying to accomplish.

This is one area where the Cesar Millan mantra applies to your guests:
"No touch, no talk, no eye contact".
 

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Some people are not worth having your dogs around especially if they have a strong opinion of the breed. I suppose it depends how often those family members come around. Walk in my opinion are a great way to bond with the person if you want to go that route. My aunt and uncle and their son my cousin are not fond of German shepherds at all they don’t say it but it’s easy to see it. Most of their Germans shepherd dog park stories are not that good. They have two huskies. Even when I sent them the link to the Top dog tv show competition not a peep. They don’t live local and do not come out often. They are the only family that come over that I will put them away. Luna will often be out when they are here she is the sweetest dog and she likes my aunt. My aunt’s husband will not even pet her and Luna stays away from their son she does not seem to be comfortable around him so that’s supervised. Max is put away. Other then that I have a lot of family that come over and family parties and the dogs are great. Max is a food thief that can be a pain. My two nephews 4 years old may get overwhelmed with the dogs exuberance and excitement when they come in but I will let the dogs settle then bring them out.
 

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My family was converted to GSD after meeting Tessa. She was the perfect breed ambassador, a "soft" intro to the breed. Now they think GSD/malis are just the best breed ever. Seriously.

My dogs love my immediate family that they see often. If it's family I rarely see, and the dogs don't know them I'll focus on family and just put up dogs that would require any attention or management. Because if it's family I rarely see, I want to focus on them only, not on training my dogs.
 

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I live abroad alone, my family is all around the world basically. My dog is quite rambunctious and super excited (non-aggressive) whenever there's people who come visit. But none of my family members are ever afraid of my dog because my dog is a sweetheart.

Different stories with friends from back home in Southeast Asia. Most people there do not grow up with dogs and associate dogs much like we dog people associate wolves in the wild, scary and dangerous. And yeah, German Shepherd has THAT reputation and that look.

People are divided into 2: those who cross the street when they see my dog and I walking towards them, and the others they want to pet my dog cos they think my dog is cute.

But generally speaking........ People are afraid of German Shepherds cos of their exterior and their lack of knowledge. Lame.
 

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Not a chance. Too easy.

I like having my dogs around as much as possible. That always benefits them and me.

I don’t mind putting forth the effort.
To be honest, I've gotten a little lazier over time, but I've always gotten dogs for me, not for everyone I know. I spend a lot of time with them, but I like easy, so thats generally the way I'll end up doing things.
 

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You have to remember some people are not dog people, my mother was bitten badly by a dog when she was young and never liked them since, she tends to ignore my pup when I bring her over and as a result my pup seems to respect her more for ignoring and doesn't bother her at all. My sister is really scared of dogs, she will barely stand in the same room as my puppy and I say stand as she won't even sit down ha! There's plenty of people that never had dogs so know nothing about and don't understand them
 

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If they are dog savvy, Deja will be present. She is obedient, non-aggressive and stable. Somehow, most people are not worried about her, actually the opposite. Some will constantly want to pet her and it makes her uncomfortable, then I put her on a down stay or crate her.
To the OP, your dog is not protecting you but given the opportunity to making his own decisions. Reel in that boy and enjoy your company. Visitors are usually not too keen on being props for dog training. In that case I would hire a trainer to come to the house to practice 'ignoring visitors and taking cues from you'.
 

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"To the OP, your dog is not protecting you but given the opportunity to making his own decisions."

This.

GSD often don't need to be trained to be protective of strangers at the door or if you are perceived as threatened.
But they do need to be trained that once a stranger is admitted to YOUR home, YOU are in control and those people are both allowed and no threat. GSD normally remain aloof and alert but friendly. Don't let a pup win this one.
 

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So my dude is 2 years old and quite protective. Not mean, never bit anyone.. even me. But he barks a lot and my relatives are all very afraid of him to the point where I usually just crate him when people are over. He will settle but they never get comfortable around him and their tension makes him suspicious

how do your families react to your dog?

I try to educate ppl on the breed and tell them hey he’s just protecting me but some ppl just see big dog and get afraid
My mother-in-law is afraid of our "pack" so she won't come over. Should have trained them years ago. No seriously, if the relatives are afraid of your dog, crate him when they're around and the problem is resolved. Maybe in time, they'll get passed it.
 
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