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We have been trying to figure out Regen's behavior with other dogs, especially as we are considering fostering and/or adopting another dog.
She loves going to doggie daycare and the "counselors" there have never reported any issues with aggression or overly rough play. She loves going to her "home daycare" with Miikka, and after a couple of weeks of sorting out the pecking order, I think the two of them get along well and like to play (Miikka's mom would have the complete story though!).

The strange thing is how Regen reacts to other dogs when WE (my husband and I) are around. It seems to have changed as she has become more comfortable and bonded to us. She used to love going to the dog park with me, but in the past 2 months, if we try to go, she will spend about half the time hackling and barking at other dogs who try to come too close to wherever I am.

When we are hiking, her recall is great except in one instance where someone else had his 2 dogs off leash and she decided it was her job to "hold" them off and stood in between us and barked at them.

She does this on leash, which we have treated as reactivity and has improved with "watch me" and "look at that" as well as avoiding situations (because nobody wants to have their walk ruined by a lungeing, hackling, barking GSD!).

She never used to do this off leash with other dogs, though. When we went to meet a potential foster dog, she was barking her head off (though not hackled).

In the past month, she has started running out the door to the backyard and barking/hackling at the fence to our neighbor's yard (they have dogs, too). She never did this before, and now she does it every time we let her out.

I am trying to figure out what is causing this behavior, and wondering how to work with it.

Things we are already doing: NILIF (sits/waits before eating, going out or in a door, getting into car, getting collar leash put on, has to do a down or something we ask before getting pets), working on "watch me" and "look at that" from a distance.
 

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Hondo will only react to another dog, if that dog reacts first. If the 'outside' dog doesn't react, Hondo will completely ignore it. If I see an 'outside' dog and correct Hondo with "leave it" before his reaction, he'll ignore the other dog. Is your dog reacting to the other dog's actions (like barking)?

Hondo will run the fence barking when he is outside our back yard and the other dogs are inside the backyard. But they all do it - it's like a game. If I recall him, he'll stop and join me, so I don't worry about too much.
 

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We have been trying to figure out Regen's behavior with other dogs, especially as we are considering fostering and/or adopting another dog.
She loves going to doggie daycare and the "counselors" there have never reported any issues with aggression or overly rough play. She loves going to her "home daycare" with Miikka, and after a couple of weeks of sorting out the pecking order, I think the two of them get along well and like to play (Miikka's mom would have the complete story though!).

Are you sure she loves going to daycare? I think the counselors at those places aren't the greatest at seeing when a dog is having fun vs just dealing with being there.

The strange thing is how Regen reacts to other dogs when WE (my husband and I) are around. It seems to have changed as she has become more comfortable and bonded to us. She used to love going to the dog park with me, but in the past 2 months, if we try to go, she will spend about half the time hackling and barking at other dogs who try to come too close to wherever I am.

This could be resource guarding. Does she do this in other settings too?

When we are hiking, her recall is great except in one instance where someone else had his 2 dogs off leash and she decided it was her job to "hold" them off and stood in between us and barked at them.

She does this on leash, which we have treated as reactivity and has improved with "watch me" and "look at that" as well as avoiding situations (because nobody wants to have their walk ruined by a lungeing, hackling, barking GSD!).

She never used to do this off leash with other dogs, though. When we went to meet a potential foster dog, she was barking her head off (though not hackled).
Where did this meeting take place? Was it on neutral ground? Were they brought together face to face or from the side?

In the past month, she has started running out the door to the backyard and barking/hackling at the fence to our neighbor's yard (they have dogs, too). She never did this before, and now she does it every time we let her out.
This could be maturing and her starting to "guard" or "protect" her territory. I noticed it with Raven when she was 1.5-2years old.

I am trying to figure out what is causing this behavior, and wondering how to work with it.

Things we are already doing: NILIF (sits/waits before eating, going out or in a door, getting into car, getting collar leash put on, has to do a down or something we ask before getting pets), working on "watch me" and "look at that" from a distance.
Personally, I see a couple of different situations going on here and they may or may not all be related. The biggest thing is she is maturing mentally (according to your signature she's around 1.5?) and is starting to feel comfortable in your home. Has she been socialized with the dogs next door? What type of fence do you? Can she through it? If she can, you might consider making it solid so that hopefully lessen the fence fighting because it will just build up frustration.

In my experience with Raven, she did alot of the same things you are mentioning when she turned 1.5 -2 years old. She stopped getting along with every dog at the dog park. She had matured and no longer liked playing with strange dogs all day long. It may be time to stop the dog park and day care. A lot of adult GSDs just don't enjoy being thrown into play with strange dogs even if they did when they were younger.

 

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hmmm...Jax has NO desire to play with strange dogs. She wants her toys and me. She literally puts her head in the air and turns her face away from them.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
maybe she needs more socializing
and training.
Can you be more specific?

She has done a basic obedience class and is now doing a beginner agility class.

Not sure about socializing at this point, as we try to avoid letting her get to her threshold where she reacts on leash. She is with other dogs in her class and at doggie daycare. She goes almost everywhere with us.
 

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Personally, I see a couple of different situations going on here and they may or may not all be related. The biggest thing is she is maturing mentally (according to your signature she's around 1.5?) and is starting to feel comfortable in your home. Has she been socialized with the dogs next door? What type of fence do you? Can she through it? If she can, you might consider making it solid so that hopefully lessen the fence fighting because it will just build up frustration.

In my experience with Raven, she did alot of the same things you are mentioning when she turned 1.5 -2 years old. She stopped getting along with every dog at the dog park. She had matured and no longer liked playing with strange dogs all day long. It may be time to stop the dog park and day care. A lot of adult GSDs just don't enjoy being thrown into play with strange dogs even if they did when they were younger.

She hasn't met the dogs next door because they are completely out of control and some of them are yappy little dogs that I know she doesn't do well with. The fence is a 5.5 foot wood panel/concrete block fence, so she can't see them, just hear them.

She definitely doesn't seem to enjoy the dog park anymore, so we did stop doing that with her after a couple of the hackle/bark encounters. It does seem like she likes doggie daycare, but for limited time. She does 1/2 day a week at the daycare and when I spy on her on the camera, she is usually playing with the other 2 GSDs there.
She is kind of stuck doing some kind of daycare until she is over her separation anxiety, unfortunately.

She did meet the foster dogs at the foster person's house. In retrospect, probably not the best setup for a meet, but the foster mom seemed to think it would be better than meeting in a park.

It sounds like she is resource guarding us- she does the hackle/bark any time we are out with her and another dog approaches. I just am not sure how to communicate to her that we make the decisions about that, not her.

She is *better* with dogs who have good doggie manners (dogs that approach in an arc and not head-on), but that usually means a delay before she'll hackle/bark.

I definitely don't have any need for her to want to play with other dogs, I just want her to learn that she doesn't need to act like Kujo every time we meet one!
 

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I wouldn't let her outside unless you are with her so that you can redirect her from the barking at other dogs. She is just going to get herself frustrated trying to get to them.

It sounds like she may just have reactivity issues if she hackles/barks at every dog that passes. Have you read Scaredy Dog! by Ali Brown or Fiesty Fido by Patricia McConnell? They are both very good resources for helping with reactive dogs.
 

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^Yeah, I think I have that one memorized! :p It's helped. She's getting better, she's just on the slow learner curve.

I haven't read Feisty Fido, we'll try it. We've been using Control Unleashed. We'll definitely stop letting her run toward the fence when we release her to go through the door...silly pup. Good thing she is so darn cute!
 

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You'll like Fiesty Fido. I had several "ah ha" moments reading it. That and "The Other End of The Leash". It's not a training book, more of a doggie psychology book.
 

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I had this big long reply all written out and just as I hit the reply button my computer crashed…good grief!

So, since I’m too lazy to redo it, in a nutshell, here’s what I said:

Regen rarely barks when she is here. She is never aggressive. Usually, she is pretty darn relaxed and laidback. Yes, Miikka is the alpha dog, but I’ve always wondered if that would still be the case in a neutral environment.

We have a black lab next door to us. Occasionally, Duke (the bk lab) will peek his head up over the wall. Remember Killroy? That’s what Duke looks like when he is peeking over the fence. Anyway, when he does this the dogs will start barking when they see him, including Regen. I can divert their attention with a ball or toy. If that does not work I bring them inside (toys usually work, though).

I think Regen is protecting her people when you are out on walks/hikes.
 

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FYI, we have followed up with this after reading Feisty Fido...I think it's definitely resource guarding (us).

The trainer is going to give us some tips about this when we see her to introduce Regen and our new dog next week...I'll be sure to share anything helpful.

She has stopped barking at the fence now that we go out with her and ask her to leave it, and most of the time she will even go out on her own and be okay.
 

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Zoe resource guards me with people not other dogs, but same behavior. It is definitely frustrating and while watch me works great in situations where you are just walking by it does nothing when you have to be around people or other dogs for an extended period of time. Zoe no longer barks at people on walks it's just inside our home when we have guests over. She gets a warning and then goes off to her crate until she calms down and we can let her out. A new dog in the house permanently may be different because she'll see this dog now lives here in her domain with you her beloved owner. A few verbal corrections and she will probably understand this is her new friend whether she wants one or not:)
 
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