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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So Otto (my 3-ish rescue from this board) has on-leash fear aggression towards strangers and though we didn't know at the time... we've been working with it since we got him.

It's been a huge challenge and he's done soooo well. He's never had an incident but we do realize that it's completely within him and he would bite if it came to it. It hasn't.
I know we'll never be "cured" but we live happily in "remission". He goes to day care and dog parks and does extremely well there.

So last week... we had our yearly vet appointment for both dogs (Katie and Otto). This is a point of great stress for me and I know I should be calm but it's as much of a challenge for us as it is for him. We switched vets (long story) so this was the first appointment at the new vet. I figured that as long as he wasn't a 10 on the psycho scale... we were doing well. We muzzle him as normal (he's used to the muzzle in these situations so that doesn't freak him out) and he lets a few growls go and then goes in the back for his heartworm blood draw. He does great and I'm thinking WOO HOO! He comes back in the room and the vet and vet tech are looking at Katie and he flips and lunges. Again... not my proudest moment but he was muzzled, we had ahold of him, they knew to expect this and it's normal for him at the vet. Not excusable but normal.

The vet is back looking at Katie and he's still flipping out and it dawns on me (after having him for 3 years... I know... I'm slow
) that he's protecting Katie or DH or me.

I have DH take him out of the room and he's fine. They finish with Katie (who's a gem at the vet) and we switch dogs. I leave the room too and watch through the vision panel so he couldn't see me. He was fine. Still muzzled but not lunging and let them look him over and feel his abdomen, ears, eyes, bones... everything.

I can't believe it didn't dawn on me earlier that maybe it was us.

So a few days later, he goes to day care and I'm picking them up. We do this once a week. I have him on the leash and I'm trying to pay and the owner comes in. He knows her but I think she surprised him and he gave the scary bark and a lunge. She had come in and was petting Katie! I had him when it happened so he didn't come near her and he was corrected on the spot (not harshly but he got yelled at and then puppy push-ups, waits at the door and attention on mommy stuff). He knew he did wrong from the snuggling he was trying to give me.

It's a lot of background but here's the question... are we having a true setback or a minor bump in the road? I think he's become TOO protective of Katie. They're tightly bonded and though I had GSDs all my life, I know protective but he's becoming TOO protective of strangers with her.

(Just an FYI: He's NOTHING like this in the house or with people he knows. This is only with aquaintances or strangers. He has zero dog on dog aggression.)

We've started separating them a little. I'll take her on errands or a walk with me or vice versa so they're not ALWAYS together but overall... I've never been faced with this issue so I'm not sure what to do about it or even it that's what I think is the case is actually the case. I could use advice...


· Premium Member
18,380 Posts
it does sound like he "thinks" he is katie's "big protector",,,as in

I would do what your doing,,work them separately,,IF this were my dog and he behaved that way when katie was around,,I'd work on him by getting across, a good,,"leave it" fact,,since you know the trigger,,I'd work on diverting his attention prior to an incident if you can..

Just an idea,,good luck
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