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Hey friends..
Zoey is now 4 1/2 months old. We were all in the family room. Zoey ( naughty girl) runs and leaps up on the couch with me as I was reading a book.

I look at her and say- what are u doing? ( training her no couches- lately the past couple of days she sure is trying to lay with me on the couch) get off!!! She lays her head now on my leggs and gives me those puppy dog eyes...please mommy let me lay here with you. I look at her and say and point- off....

Mean time dh- is moving towards the kitchen putting hooded sweatshirt on and it's pouring outside..cats and dogs and every other thing from the sky LOL..dh says from the kitchen need anything from the store..me still in the get off the couch mode with Zoey.

Dh turns the corner and oh my freaking word..zoey turns in cujo... So fast..... Leaps ups in a standing position, teeth out, growling , snarling, hair standing up..and This is all real fast too.. I look at what has her in such an uproar which I have not seen ever before..

It was my husband who had entered back into the family room from the kitchen heading out the door..he had the hoodie over his head..( she didn't recognize him) I am saying to my dh who looks in shock too. Take the hood off..take the hoodie off..he quickly takes it down..as she looks as if she was about to lunge him

Scared the crap out of me..

I know he must have scared her too.... She did not like obviously the hoodie..

But is this gsd behavior when they feel in fear or protective. What was this behavior..

He took the hood down and she in motion leaping towards him..wagging her tail now..licking and totally back to happy Zoey.

Hugs
 

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Dogs do not have the visual acuity that we do, their eyes are tuned for movement and (to us) vague shape recognition. The hoodie changed his profile enough to make the situation uncertain and she reacted like any pack animal might....alert and act like she was gonna do something about it. Invade her house, startle her AND put a fellow pack member in danger and the reaction sounds just about right. Had your husband stood still long enough for her to scent and figure out who was in the hoodie she would have likely gone totally submissive and "apologized" in the manner dogs do. Also had he spoken softly in his normal voice she would have likely figured it out really quickly.

*edit*

No telling if she would have gone through with the threat display, the point there is that the dog wants you to *think* it's gonna go for blood while never doing so. Fighting is a wasteful and dangerous enterprise, best to put on a helluva show and hope the other backs down. I have a GSD and Malinois. The GSD is a companion, the Mal is an ex-K9 (article search and some PP). By watching them and how they react to situations I could not tell you which dog would do the deed. History shows the Mal WILL do what she is looking like, my GSD? I dunno, I hope so but I would not bet the farm on it.
 

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I think its a mixture of fear and protectiveness...my dog did the same thing to my son when he put sun glasses on!! As soon as he took them off and spoke she calmed down..she walked up to him very slowly to make sure:) I once had a lab mix that barked/growled at me when I dressed like a clown for Halloween, needless to say once I took the red nose off he was fine..of course I did put it down and he found it and ate it...I guess he was just making sure:)
 

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At 4.5 months old, I imagine it was panic at a strange sight. I would try and socialise her loads to people wearing weird things and walking with weird body movements etc so that she grows up to be well rounded and won't react like that as an adult. :)
 

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But is this gsd behavior when they feel in fear or protective. What was this behavior..
Neither. This is 4 1/2 month old puppy brain going through weird stages behaviour. One day they are fine with something, the next they are freaking out. Then in a few days they'll be fine again.

You won't see protectiveness in a 4 1/2 month old. That would be like expecting a six year old to be protective. This was a fear response, but the good news is that she recovered quickly as soon as she realized there was nothing to be afraid off. If in general she is solid and calm, and accepts new things with curiosity instead of fear or insecurity, then I would not worry about too much.

The best thing to do if she is going through a fear period, or a puppy-brain weirdness period, is to laugh off her reactions. Coddling her (there, there, nothing to be afraid of baby) gives her positive rewards for her reaction and will re-inforce it. Laughing it off, or acting supremely bored by the whole thing will give her an example to follow.

So I wouldn't worry too much about this, considering her age.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you everyone ....that is why I asked?
She did recover quickly. So that was good.

Read all your words... Thanks so much for all your responses
 

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Yeah, she got freaked out!

Jackson did this a lot around that age. New people and new 'figures' would send his hackles skyward and have him barking and lunging/snapping. I called his breeder in tears asking for advice and wondering about his littermates.

I was scared. I was afraid there was something terribly wrong with him and that I would not be able to keep him. He's almost 2 now and he still hackles at new situations but has stopped barking and lunging. He's not 100% confident, but he's much, much better.

I was pretty freaked out, just as you were, when he first started doing this. I didn't know if he was going to bite or attack or what, but it was just fear that he was feeling. I actually dressed up a few times in my husband's hunting attire, covered my face and approached him. I figured if he was going to bite, it better be directed at me. I wanted to know what he would do. He didn't bite, he actually took off and hid when he realized I wasn't backing down, just standing there. After a few minutes he got curious and approached me, and when he did, he got tons of praise. I did this a few times to help build his confidence in approaching things that he thought were 'scary'. It did help.

From my experience and from what I have read on this forum, our GSDs do seem to go through weird stages at times.
 

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Some dogs hackle when ever highly stimulated, even in play. It is not always a fear or protection response. My current dog has always been quick to hackle but by watching other body and behavior signals I have come to know which response it is. It has lessened quite a bit with age though.
 

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Some dogs hackle when ever highly stimulated, even in play. It is not always a fear or protection response. My current dog has always been quick to hackle but by watching other body and behavior signals I have come to know which response it is. It has lessened quite a bit with age though.
Yes! My male will shoulder hackle when he sees me pull out his favorite treat, he also does the same when he's excited watching me walk up the sidewalk after work. He has also done it out of fear, not being sure, there was a huge snowman kids made close to the street, we were walking at night and upon approach his shoulder hackles were up, I let him approach, sniff then he was fine quick recovery, on the way back he didn't pay attention.

I agree with Castlemaid, brembo also had good insight.
 

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Yes! My male will shoulder hackle when he sees me pull out his favorite treat, he also does the same when he's excited watching me walk up the sidewalk after work. He has also done it out of fear, not being sure, there was a huge snowman kids made close to the street, we were walking at night and upon approach his shoulder hackles were up, I let him approach, sniff then he was fine quick recovery, on the way back he didn't pay attention.

I agree with Castlemaid, brembo also had good insight.
That's cute that he hackles over treats :wild:

Those snowmen, I tell ya! During Jackson's first winter we built one in our yard and he would hackle and bark at it each time we let him out! He would look over his shoulder when he was going potty to make sure the snowman wasn't creeping up on him, LOL!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hackles I guess now I know can mean a whole variety of things..
Snowmen..yep I can zoey going ballistic on them too..
Xoxo
 

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I remember Jemma doing a few things like that at about that age too - once was at a large box that our new vaccuum cleaner came in. Scared me too - but I just walked her over to it, let her sniff it and reassured her...that phase seemed to pass - haven't seen her act like that in a while. I would think that it's just a pup learning, going through the fear of new things stage, and not something to totally worry about...although if a strange man (not your hubby) in a hoodie enters your home....I bet you'd not mind that reaction!
 
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