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Hello all, New to the forum and loving the discussions. I have my 7 yr old GSD "Vada". She is a wonderfully smart, beautiful girl. She is very protective of myself especially, but also my six children. Everyone is well versed on what she is capable of doing when she feels threatened. We have house rules and protocols for her as well as for our black lab, cats etc...
My problem is this. My boyfriend has been in my life now for 5 years. Vada knows him, she sleeps in our bed with us! She licks his face and honestly has a look of submission when she snuggles up to him. This can go on all day. But, as soon as he gets up, walks out of room to bathroom, kitchen, outside etc...,and comes back in bedroom, or house, she goes after him like a stranger! She growls, circles him like a shark. We are stunned bc this is the same man she was just snuggling up with minutes before. She doesn't do this with ANYONE else (except strangers, of course). He is 6'4", dark hair, beard, I used to think it was that. We have tried letting him come in before/after me, telling her he's ok, even have had him go right up to her petting her, reassuring her who he is softly. Nothing works. He is a gentle man. He doesn't yell at her, hit her or any of our animals. I am the only one who needs to correct them. I'm hoping someone might know why she does this. It's as if she has short term memory loss. He isn't afraid of her, but as lovers of German Shepherd's, we all know their bark can be startling. When he walks in, her sudden bark/growl scares the crap out of everyone! Lol I love her so much and hate to think she is afraid of him. It's so stressful on her.
 

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Does she do the same thing in other settings or if you or your kids aren’t in the house? Is it the same thing in every room? From your story I would also think it’s something also other than training...
My other guess would be that she really liked him the first time she met him, that’s how she greeted him and now it’s forever in her memory that if she scares the crap out of him when he walks in the door, he stays 😂
Dogs don’t really know WHY they do anything either, they just associate random things they do with the reaction it causes so if they like the outcome, they keep doing whatever causes it.
We bought one of my dogs that pad that if you step on it, it shoots water up... for the rest of his life, whenever the dog wanted water, he would start bizarrely smashing on random things like he was doing CPR on them... if you weren’t there for the water fountain thing, you’d never figure out why he did that 😂
 

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Does she do the same thing in other settings or if you or your kids aren’t in the house? Is it the same thing in every room? From your story I would also think it’s something also other than training...
My other guess would be that she really liked him the first time she met him, that’s how she greeted him and now it’s forever in her memory that if she scares the crap out of him when he walks in the door, he stays 😂
Dogs don’t really know WHY they do anything either, they just associate random things they do with the reaction it causes so if they like the outcome, they keep doing whatever causes it.
We bought one of my dogs that pad that if you step on it, it shoots water up... for the rest of his life, whenever the dog wanted water, he would start bizarrely smashing on random things like he was doing CPR on them... if you weren’t there for the water fountain thing, you’d never figure out why he did that 😂
That is hilarious! When she even heard his foot steps, she starts growling. Of course when she does this everyone in the room says," Vada! Stop it!" I never really thought of it like you're saying. Maybe if we say nothing?? Thank you for your feedback 😊
STOP letting the dog sleep in the bed!

Between 6 children and a tall/dark/handsome boyfriend.... the last thing you need is a dog in your bed.
My children are all young adults, so those "family bed" years are over. Still crowded though with he and I and 2 big dogs. Just curious...why (other than crowding) do you seem so staunch about not allowing the dogs in our bed?
STOP letting the dog sleep in the bed!

Between 6 children and a tall/dark/handsome boyfriend.... the last thing you need is a dog in your bed.
 

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STOP letting the dog sleep in the bed!

Between 6 children and a tall/dark/handsome boyfriend.... the last thing you need is a dog in your bed.
Anyone with 6 kids doesn’t need advice from us what to do in bed! 😂😂😂

For the record... even if there was 6 kids and a dog in bed, where there’s a will, there’s a way! 🙃
 

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Another vote for no GSD on the bed.

Whatever works for you fine, but I just think it's weird, especially if there are two of you already there.. They're not lap dogs, don't need to be on the couch or on the bed....or on the counters or the top of the fridge :whistle:

My dog(s) have their own beds beside my own and we all sleep the better for it.

PS have your tried having your boyfriend talk to the dog before and as he returns to the room? My 7 month old would growl when a car would drop my daughter off late after work and we were already in bed. That pup could growl and put up a racket! When I started to get my daughter to talk out loud as she came up the walk (pup could hear her very well) the growling and barking stopped.

PS it still happens with strangers
 

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Anyone with 6 kids doesn’t need advice from us what to do in bed! 😂😂😂

For the record... even if there was 6 kids and a dog in bed, where there’s a will, there’s a way! 🙃
Thank you...so funny 😅
 

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The reason the dog should not be in your bed is that the behavior happens there. If you can’t stop the behavior, you need to change the circumstances. Either she is removed from the bed or the boyfriend is. You can’t even get a trainer to observe and help you because if you do find a trainer willing to sit all night in your room waiting for the dog to exhibit that behavior, especially during COVID, you wouldn’t want to use them. Your dog is either protecting you or the bed or resource guarding. I don’t know the reason, only that it has the potential for a serious bite. It doesn’t matter how gentle he is, something is triggering it.
 

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OP, what do you mean by "look of submission"? Ears back? That can also mean a dire warning. I am surprised your boyfriend still wants to share the bed. Doesn't seem very romantic to have a GSD in the bed.
 

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What does a bed need to be so romantic for? I thought GSD people would be more exciting than that 😂😂😂 maybe I’m just weird but I don’t even notice the dog is there 😂😂
Love me, love my dog. I generally have at least one dog in the bed with me, their choice as they have dog beds and crates. I hate closed doors, if I had it my way my home would have no interior doors so the dogs may come and go as they please. Any man in my life can get with the program or hit the bricks.
OP are you sure she is growling? When Shadow is saying good morning to me she snarls, growls, nibbles my face and rolls on top of me. Anyone watching may mistake it for aggression but she is really just having a chat with me.
 

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Love me, love my dog. I generally have at least one dog in the bed with me, their choice as they have dog beds and crates. I hate closed doors, if I had it my way my home would have no interior doors so the dogs may come and go as they please. Any man in my life can get with the program or hit the bricks.
Off-topic, but when my husband and I were first dating, he'd complain that Luc was crowding him in the bed.

Me: That's because you're on Luc's side of the bed
Toby: It's MY side of the bed!
Me: Huh
 

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Hello all, New to the forum and loving the discussions. I have my 7 yr old GSD "Vada". She is a wonderfully smart, beautiful girl. She is very protective of myself especially, but also my six children. Everyone is well versed on what she is capable of doing when she feels threatened. We have house rules and protocols for her as well as for our black lab, cats etc...
My problem is this. My boyfriend has been in my life now for 5 years. Vada knows him, she sleeps in our bed with us! She licks his face and honestly has a look of submission when she snuggles up to him. This can go on all day. But, as soon as he gets up, walks out of room to bathroom, kitchen, outside etc...,and comes back in bedroom, or house, she goes after him like a stranger! She growls, circles him like a shark. We are stunned bc this is the same man she was just snuggling up with minutes before. She doesn't do this with ANYONE else (except strangers, of course). He is 6'4", dark hair, beard, I used to think it was that. We have tried letting him come in before/after me, telling her he's ok, even have had him go right up to her petting her, reassuring her who he is softly. Nothing works. He is a gentle man. He doesn't yell at her, hit her or any of our animals. I am the only one who needs to correct them. I'm hoping someone might know why she does this. It's as if she has short term memory loss. He isn't afraid of her, but as lovers of German Shepherd's, we all know their bark can be startling. When he walks in, her sudden bark/growl scares the crap out of everyone! Lol I love her so much and hate to think she is afraid of him. It's so stressful on her.
This isn't just a bedroom issue as highlighted above for those who missed it.

I'm inclined to believe that it might be more of what @iBite suggested. An inadvertent learned response. Vada postures and she gets a soothing reassuring "hey it's me let me show you how much I love you" response. Boyfriend has been around 5 years and I'm reading this isn't a new behavior (OP correct me if I'm wrong). It does sound like a learned behavior. I'm no expert though.

Has your boyfriend ever just very firmly said something like "HEY it's me! Knock It Off!" to Vada or "Who do you think you're growling/barking at?" If so what was the dogs response? Does your boyfriend ever correct Vada for any other bad behavior? What is her response when/if he does?
If he isn't correcting her he needs to be as he is part of the household/family.
 
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