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Discussion Starter #1
In the GSD breed, I mean.
These dogs are guardians, within the breed standard (not the show dogs.. bred for looks not for the origina purposes for the most part) how unacceptable is aggression towards strangers?

This is only my opinion, and not an educaed opinion at that.. but my old GSD, to me, was what I'd consider 'just right' in the stranger aggression area. If you came in his yard without being invited, you would be bitten. If you came at him or his family aggressively, you'd be backed down really fast or bitten if you were a threat. If I let you in my house or yard he was at ease and would let you pet him, play with him etc. One woman leaned over and kissed his head before I could tell her not to and his reaction was to grin and wag his tail.

But as I said, if you threatened his territory or family he would not play games..

He didn't need a muzzle at the vet, he loved kids and was fine with strangers if I was there, he could go anywhere with me until he died at 16-17.

To me he was a great dog, he did his job well and he was smart enough to know I was the leader and he was able to relax and take the backseat while I was there.

But with other breeds, like APBTs, biting a human for any reason - unless it's extreme - is enough to warrant a one-way trip into the woods. That's just their breed 'rules' on HA.

So, what is acceptable within the GSD breed regarding aggression towards people(in your opinion, or set standards)?

This is just something I've been pondering for a few days, and what better place to discuss it?
 

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A dog should be 100% neutral to strangers unless an active threat is present.

Any dogs who lunges at and tries to bite someone just because they approach you in a huffy manner is either severely untrained, or unstable. These dogs should NOT default to attacking. Attacking/biting is a last ditch effort for safety. Even in trained protection dogs, they should not react unless ordered to do so, or if the handler has been rendered incapable of commanding and is in eminent danger.

Territorial aggression is with limitations. A dog should not attack a small child chasing a ball into your yard, simply because they are on your property and were not invited. The dog should have enough sense to know the difference.

ETA- and if I may make a quick comment on APBTs: these ARE dogs who posses a good amount of defensive drives in the right situations. I get sick and tired of hearing all this "take them out back behind the woodshed" business. Yes, a dog who attacks unprovoked or is overly sharp is dangerous and wrong for the breed... but being protective of their family is NOT.

People have been trying to paint the breed as the doofus, lovebug, never hurt a fly breed for so long, that I think people are actually doing them a disservice in some resections. Its not like I don't get WHY they are doing it, but a correct APBT absolutely WILL attack if his family is threatened, and will do so very effectively. They are lovable, more gregarious than most breeds capable of protection, but are NOT pushovers who will take something serious lightly.

I wish Cain was still around. She was friends with a man who trained his Pitty girl in personal protection. This same dog would later go on to break the arm of a man who tried to break into her home. Good dog.
 

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This is a great question. I've always felt that Niko was too bark-y at strangers. He has always had the same reaction to meeting new people: barking, barking, avoidance, barking, cautious sniff, barking, bolder sniff, eat treats, sniff, allow petting, new friend. He has never been a dog who though everyone should be his new friend.

I have no idea what he would do if a person came into our property while we were gone, that situation doesn't happen in our lifestyle. I highly doubt he would bite, he's never given any indication of biting (although I realize that is no guarantee).

Niko is definitely NOT neutral though. :(
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I don't know. I am pretty oldschool I suppose when it comes to this type of thing and I don't see a problem with this breed biting someone univited in their yard.

Yep, I agree with most you said there. A dog should not bite someone for approaching or a person who is a non-threat. MY old boy did know the difference between adults and kids, he scared the living crap out of a boy who hopping out fence trying to take my dog's football, but he did not even snarl at him. He knew better instincively.

I think the situations you said, protecting the family ifrom a real threat or being trained to be a PP dog, are not the same as a manbiter for any breed at all. A dog who will just bite because someone bent down next to them or walked past, or just out of nowhere. And a ton of APBT (since you mentioned it) owners DO kill their dogs for unwarranted aggression or signs of instability. I know several bull breeds in PP, that's (JMO) not the same as unprovoked HA.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
This is a great question. I've always felt that Niko was too bark-y at strangers. He has always had the same reaction to meeting new people: barking, barking, avoidance, barking, cautious sniff, barking, bolder sniff, eat treats, sniff, allow petting, new friend. He has never been a dog who though everyone should be his new friend.

I have no idea what he would do if a person came into our property while we were gone, that situation doesn't happen in our lifestyle. I highly doubt he would bite, he's never given any indication of biting (although I realize that is no guarantee).

Niko is definitely NOT neutral though. :(
I've never had a dog who would be 100% neutral to a stranger coming in their home or yard univited.. Right down to the schnauzers and pomeranian mutts. It's in a dog's nature to be territorial, there are exceptions, but you can't deny that.

The GSD I have right now doesn't accept strangers, he just doesn't and that's who he is. I don't like his temperament but I manage him.

My old lady Dutch would bark her head off at strangers who were walking by or came in, but she woulnd't bite them unless they were hurting her or her family.
 

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Allow me to elaborate-

100% neutral to being APPROACHED by strangers, on neutral ground. As in, you are on a walk with your dog, someone comes up to you and starts talking. Dog's reaction should preferably be indifferent, at worst friendly, but NOT overly dodgy and sharp, and willing to bite.

Most dogs will bark and alert if someone strange comes onto your property- of course, that is natural for most breeds, not the least of which the GSD.
 

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Allow me to elaborate-

100% neutral to being APPROACHED by strangers, on neutral ground. As in, you are on a walk with your dog, someone comes up to you and starts talking. Dog's reaction should preferably be indifferent, at worst friendly, but NOT overly dodgy and sharp, and willing to bite.

Most dogs will bark and alert if someone strange comes onto your property- of course, that is natural for most breeds, not the least of which the GSD.
I agree. :thumbup:
 

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Masi is starting to mature out, and I see a big difference in things with her. For example, she will bark if she's in the house and someone comes to the door, (my aussies are usually REALLY barking,),,she isn't going bonkers, but normally she's very quiet..Person comes in, doesn't matter WHO it is, stranger, axe murderer (I'm kidding) someone she knows,,she is perfectly fine with them , "come on in",,don't think I can count on her when it comes to guarding the house or property:)

In public, a different matter, she can be suspicious, but IS 100% neutral, she is very indifferent to strangers, happy to sit there and "watch", if I stop to talk to someone.
Whereas, younger, she was a little "iffy", someone approach she tended to be a little growly and on high alert.

I once had a guy approach me that I knew, (she didn't) and he was flailing his arms and coming on STRONG,,before I knew it, she was doing a major 'bark & hold" on the guy, and I mean she was right into him, doing this bark and hold, I immediately 'downed' her and recalled, which she complied with. Told her to "leave it" and it was done, she was still really keeping an eye on this guy.

Now, if someone does this, (i've tested her a few times), and I tell her to leave it, as I approach, she does just that..but will keep a good eye on them..

So, in the end, I didn't get her for a guard dog or property protector, and she really isn't, altho I have no real way of knowing, since it's never been tested. I absolutely do not mind that she is what she is in public, aloof, but watchful, minds her own business.

Unfortunately I do see alot of dogs that are highly reactive towards people/other dogs out in public, and no I don't think it's acceptable as well as being a major liability. Training? Genetics? Most likely both.

I also dont want a "cujo" biting anyone that walks on my property or in my house.
 

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Zoe is 100% fine outdoors and with people she knows well- they could just walk in and she will bark, but with tail wagging. However, if your a newer guest she has to be crated...especially if you go near my kids or stairs. She sees the upstairs where our bedrooms are as her families space only. It's a major issue being we have children in and out of our home daily though it's nice to know if an axe murderer came in she'd be on them in a second. I guess it depends on the handler and what they want from their dog ultimately. All my dobes would bite a stranger if they just walked in but were fine with guests if we allowed them in and thats personally what I want. A dog that respects when I allow someone in the home and bites before asking questions when I don't:)
 

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but a correct APBT absolutely WILL attack if his family is threatened, and will do so very effectively. They are lovable, more gregarious than most breeds capable of protection, but are NOT pushovers who will take something serious lightly.

I have to disagree with you here. These dogs should have very little defensive drive and if they bite a person that breaks skin they should be put down.

I don't know how much you know about dog fighting but I know quite a bit. It took a very stable dog to be in the middle of a fight for its life and be grabbed from behind and not bite. This is what was expected from Pits.

Pits should not be viewed as a protective breed. They should happily accept all people and I would almost consider a pit that was neutral to strangers to have a fault. I want pits that love everyone.
 

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100% neutral to being APPROACHED by strangers, on neutral ground. As in, you are on a walk with your dog, someone comes up to you and starts talking. Dog's reaction should preferably be indifferent, at worst friendly, but NOT overly dodgy and sharp, and willing to bite.
This assumes the handler/owner is not giving the dog signs.
I am very "reactive" to being approached by strangers.... either jumpy genetics or past experience or a combination:). The second, and I mean the millisecond, that I feel fear, my dog(s) will react aggressively. It travels right to them.
That is one reason why basic obedience is so important for me and my dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Allow me to elaborate-

100% neutral to being APPROACHED by strangers, on neutral ground. As in, you are on a walk with your dog, someone comes up to you and starts talking. Dog's reaction should preferably be indifferent, at worst friendly, but NOT overly dodgy and sharp, and willing to bite.

Most dogs will bark and alert if someone strange comes onto your property- of course, that is natural for most breeds, not the least of which the GSD.
OH okay, I'm sorry we had a misunderstanding - I took what you said wrong.

I agree with this. The dog I've based my first posting on as an example was not defensive or worried about people on neutral grounds. He was curious and interested in them, but not ever aggressive to a human outside of his home that was not an obvious threat - I.E someoen walking up and giving me a hug, talking loud and boisterous, he couldnt' care less. But when a man came up to me shouting and angry (I am nearly positive he was on drugs because I never met him in my life) and his body language was very aggressive the dog went on defense, he barked and stood his ground, and I am positive if the man had came at us, he would have tried to bite.



I agree with most of what you said RVAdog, but oh please let's not turn this into an APBT temperament debate LOL

Maybe you can make a thread about it in the lounge.. I've been told this area is only for GSD discussions.
 

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I'd be very disturbed if I felt my dog might bite someone merely for entering my property. Entering my house uninvited, well, that would be different.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I'd be very disturbed if I felt my dog might bite someone merely for entering my property. Entering my house uninvited, well, that would be different.
Not to a dog, they usually don't descern the difference of outside or inside if it's their territory..

Defending their property is what animals do. They USUALLY don't stop and think with logic "Well, this here UPS guy running to my door might be a threat, he might not.." the dog will likely act, they go on instinct not thought.

An animal, all a dog is, knows there is something in their territory they don't know, it's only natural for them to try to scare this 'threat' away by an act or display or aggression or to physically beat it down to make it leave.

No, a lot of dogs don't have the instict to protect property and don't give a hoot if a strange person comes in without invitation, but it's natural.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Another question to you guys.

What would you euthanize a dog for? A German Shepherd dog to be more precise.. What temperamental flaw or instability would make the dog a candidate for euthanasia in your opinion?

I take it case by case.. With Jaeger, my current GSD, he is aggressive to all strangers.. man, woman, child. He is predictable and I know his temperament and what to expect, therefore it's easy to manage. But I have euth'd dogs in the past for instability.
 

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I've never had a dog who would be 100% neutral to a stranger coming in their home or yard univited.. Right down to the schnauzers and pomeranian mutts. It's in a dog's nature to be territorial, there are exceptions, but you can't deny that.

Even my typical-loves-everyone Golden would bark at people who entered/approached our house or property uninvited.
 

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Another question to you guys.

What would you euthanize a dog for? A German Shepherd dog to be more precise.. What temperamental flaw or instability would make the dog a candidate for euthanasia in your opinion?
I'm assuming we're talking about euthanizing for behavior here and not for health/medical reasons.

That said, I've had to euthanize a foster dog who was a fear biter. She bit two people while in my care, both without any warning. She was lying quietly and these people (both men) walked near where she was lying and she lashed out and bit them. In addition she couldn't be crated, would injure herself in a crate and lost her mind when left alone. Poor girl. :(
 

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I would euth any dog that attacked a person for no reason, with the intent of doing some physical damage.
 

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I would only euth a dog for behavioral reasons if they bit me, my dh, or my kids for no reason, and it was an actual bite. If they were injured or sick probably not, but an unprovoked bite of a family member would force me to consider euthanasia especially if the bite did not come with a warning...those are the biters that worry me the most. My GSD can not be trusted with guests and though she hasn't bitten she would if not managed. She is crated when any guest is over before they hit the door these days because though she gives fair warning I don't want her to even get to that threshold where she feels the need to warn.
 

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Another question to you guys.

What would you euthanize a dog for?
Interesting question. And I assume you mean only as it relates to temperament.

Hard to say. For me, with my personal dogs (not general population) I think *unpredictability* would have to close to the top of the list. It's very hard to manage a dog that has no consistency to their behavior. It's one thing if you KNOW the dog does not like kids, or men. It's easier then to manage their world and to work on training the behavior. But a dog that's fine one minute and then goes beserk the next? I'd have to say there's a screw loose. Fear biters for me often fall in this category.

True Handler Aggression would be a deal breaker for me. Not the dog that is conflicted and over-driven and has to bite something but the dog that really wants to eat the handler. There are some bad ass rank driven dogs out there who will go after their handlers for top position. I have been bitten by my own dogs before, but usually it was a bite where I said to myself "Stupid. My bad." I will not own a dog that scares me- and it takes a fair amount to really scare me.

Severe Separation Anxiety. Again far end of the spectrum- the sort that break their jaws trying to eat through crates, go through windows to escape, etc. This is a doggy mental illness that is almost impossible to deal with for the majority of people...since we all leave the house at one point or another. Others may not agree but that kind of mental anguish is no kind of life for a dog.

For general population- I do agree with many shelters opting to euthanize dogs that show human aggression- fear or otherwise. Can many of them be trained out of it or properly managed? Probably. Can you ensure that the adopter that thinks Fido is cool looking and should come home is that kind of dog owner? Probably not.
 
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