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Hello All,

I am new to this forum. So a new guy recently moved in to our house. It is a 4 bed room and he occupies one of the rooms. He has a 1.5 yo male German Shepherd (named Rocky).

I am not particularly afraid of dogs, in fact I love dogs and I am a dog person. I have been around a few dogs and also my sister owns a 5 year old pretty big guy (not exactly sure of the breed, but he's agile and easily a 70-80 pounder) with whom I've spent a ton of time. Now I do know that GSDs are not the regular lab/retriever type, where everyone they meet is their best bud. I also know that they are very skeptical about strangers.

Having said that, I feel pretty bad for Rocky. The sooner he befriends us and sees the others living in the house as allies, the better it is for him. Coz he's a pretty big guy and my new roommate has no option but to leave him locked in the bedroom when he goes out for school and stuff.

So, I did offer to spend some time with him and my roommate obliged. However the first meeting ended up in him being on a leash and trying to charge and bark at me while I stayed put.
The second time was yesterday. I went home for lunch and my roommate was in the hall and Rocky was roaming around freely as none of the others were in home. However, the moment he saw me entering he started coming near me and aggressively barked for a while as my roommate was trying to calm him down. He eventually sniffed my hands and feet and face (which he also licked a little) and decided to calm down. I went to the kitchen to heat up my food and he kept following me around curiously, with the occasional bark or two. Then I sat down and had my lunch and he was calm for the whole time. Then the moment i got up to do the dish, he started barking again (As though he met me for the first time). I decided to ignore this and kept going with what I was doing and eventually left for work. I again came home in the evening after work and he barked as though he saw me for the first time. But calmed down in a bit.

The third big meeting was this morning. So my bedroom is located upstairs. When I woke up to make my breakfast he was already awake with my roommate in the kitchen. He heard me closing my door and walking towards the stairs to make my way down, he came charging at me with barks and kept going back and forth. My roommate didn't seem to bothered and asked him to calm down every now and then. It did freak me out being alone with him in the stairway. I stayed put and slowly made my way downstairs. He kept barking aggressively for a little while even after I came down. But I felt a lot more confident coz my roommate was around. Then eventually he calmed down after a few sniffs of my hands and face. He was a touch less curious than lunch yesterday although he kept sticking close to me. But there weren't any extra barks thereafter. I did feed him a couple of wings after asking my roommate if that was okay. He grabbed them out of my hand when I offered and seemed to like it and had a second serving too. Then he stayed close to me when I was having my breakfast and even spent sometime alone (just staying around) with me when my roommate went into his room to do some work.
Then I got up and washed my plate and said goodbye to the big man and left for work. He did not bark when I left and seemed pretty calm.

Is this a sign of progression? I wanted to know your opinions after reading this post. Do you have any pointers on how I should move forward in this relationship. I do want to be his friend. How long do GSDs take to fully trust people? Is his behavior normal? Why does he act like he is seeing a new person every time he sees me? To be honest his barks are a little intimidating and freaks me out inside. But I try not to show it to him. I want him to stop barking at me at some point. How do I get there ?
 

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First of all, he is still adjusting to life with you and your roommate, it's only been a matter of days. Btw is it your dog or your roommate's?

My suggestion would be first and forenost to crate train him. Being locked in a room will give him anxiety, because a room is NOT a 'den.' When he comes out of the room, he'll be anxious and that's when he meets you, in an anxious state!

Yes, it takes time for a GSD to fully trust someone, although it depends on the dog. My GSD would not be ok with someone in my house unless I TELL HIM. Now why would he listen to me? Because I'm his Alpha. Always. You or your roommate need to claim that position. He's barking because he is UNSURE. Unsure of you and your roommate, unsure of where he is, unsure of everything.

Leave him be for a couple of weeks. Then take him on walks, bond with him by learning tricks and hand feed him some treats. Earn his trust.
 

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As a young man I lived with roommates and had a GSD. She would always bark an alarm anytime anyone came in the front door. While I had her at one point I lived with the same 2 roommates for 3 1/2 years, and she never stopped barking an alarm whenever they came home...

That being said, she loved them both! It was an alarm bark, and that was her job, but it was not ever aggressive. There is a HUGE difference!

If this dog just moved in I'd give him a little time to get his bearings. But I'd also be letting the new roommate know that being harassed by his dog in your own house is unacceptable. He needs to be a little more on top of his pup while he's adjusting!
 

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That behavior is annoying. Personally, I think the roommate needs to correct it. But barring that, try feeding him and playing with him. Take him out to play ball Sounds like he settles down so he's not actually looking to bite but is unruly and getting away with it.
 

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Will your roommate consider keeping him on-leash in the house when he's out and about in the house? It will keep him from being a butthead (or at least keep the buttheadedness within a few feet of your roommate), during this transition period.
 

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From my experience, it takes a while for guardian type working breeds to even remotely trust a stranger. My GSD will not let anyone other than me even touch him for the most part, even family members. My Rottie mix on the other hand is far more trusting. It varies from dog to dog, and in my opinion it also varies depending on the age of the dog. A puppy would probably be less wary of strangers than an adult dog. Your best bet is to just give it some time. Give him treats, play with him if he lets you, feed him, take him to go to the bathroom(on a leash of course), etc. He'll never seen you the way he sees your roommate but he'll eventually grow to trust you and see you as someone he should also be protecting. The more time you spend with him, the better off you'll both be.
 

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Way back when Sabs was young we had a few different roomies and she learned just fine in a short time who was who. Bud on the other hand was incapable and, much to her disgust, ratted my step daughter out every time she attempted to sneak in late.

Your roomie needs to get a handle on this, I would not tolerate a dog being confrontational in my house. Since the dog seems to not really know what it should do I would show it. Next time it confronts you talk to him. Ask him to sit and give him a treat.
 

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...Since the dog seems to not really know what it should do I would show it. Next time it confronts you talk to him. Ask him to sit and give him a treat.
While this "could" help beak the ice, I personally would not put up with a roomie who has a dog but doesn't manage HIS dog better! For me this would be an either/or situation...
 
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My thought was, I wouldn't be letting a dog like this sniff or lick your face. He only needs to get a little startled and you've got your face in his mouth.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
UPDATE:

It's been close to a month. The barks have still not gone away. However, I have started trusting more that these are just barks to caution and not to bite. He barks in a very uncomfortable manner every time he sees me after a while. I spoke to my roommate regarding this a couple of days back and told him that we really need to work on this. He has since brought a bag of treats, so I give him one every time he barks and that seems to calm him down instantly and be friendly (maybe friendly is pushing it, but definitely better).
My roommate is planning to get a couple more bags (one for my car and one for my room upstairs) so that I can give it to him if he blocks my way entering the house or leaving my room. Let's hope this works.
On the other hand, he is so afraid when my roommate is not at home. I feel like he literally has split personality. If I am home alone with him he is extremely afraid of me and hides himself in my roommate's bathroom. I try calling him out or even giving him treats but he completely avoids eye contact and walks away in a very diminutive manner.
Do you guys have any idea about this trait? Is this unusual ?

PS: Thank you all for your responses. They were really helpful.
 
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