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Duke is a very mild mannered dog and is two. He is very socialized and loves people, other dogs (until now) and life in general.

A few recent stories that have me perplexed. I brought him over a firends house with two huge female great danes. They kind of overwelmed him trying to check him out and he got nervouse and scared. He tried to avoid them, went to the door, and then his back neck hair rose and he started to growl. I could not trust him not to attack so I removed him. I was a little surprised at his lack of confidence. Is the aggression a result?

Second, I have another dog, a 6 year old 80lb golden doodle. We let them out each morning and live in a wooded area with a e-fence covering an acre including in the woods. We heard the GD barking strangely and looked out and saw the GD in the face of two coyotes. The GSD was standing a few feet behind and we screamed for them to come in. The coyotes were just standing looking at the GD in a way like "what's your problem dude". The GSD returned immediately and ran under a table shaking. It took a while to get the GD to retreat.

I guess I am a little disappointed the GSD did not support his housemate and ran away scared. Trust me, I am not looking for a coyote / dog fight. You know how that will go, just a little surprised.

It seems the GD has gotten more territorial with age as he would have done the same thing as the GSD at two.

Any perspective on this?

Thanks,
Joe
 

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A few recent stories that have me perplexed. I brought him over a firends house with two huge female great danes. They kind of overwelmed him trying to check him out and he got nervouse and scared. He tried to avoid them, went to the door, and then his back neck hair rose and he started to growl. I could not trust him not to attack so I removed him. I was a little surprised at his lack of confidence. Is the aggression a result?
Personally, I wouldn't call what he did aggression based on what you wrote. He was nervous (I would be too if two horses were cornering me) and warned the Danes to back off. He had appropriate dog language based on what you wrote.

There are a lot of other subtle clues that would help determine if he was just fearful or if he would indeed attack. His body posture, ear set, mouth, etc all give off subtle clues to the Danes and to you about what he is feeling.

But because you said he was trying to get away, him attacking was not likely unless the Danes didn't back down and really backed him into a corner where he felt he had no choice. Of course all this is just speculation since I don't know your dog and wasn't there to see the situation for myself. Has he reacted with aggression and attacking in other situations that make you think he would have attacked?

Did you just walk him into your friends house with the Danes loose? That's a very stressful meeting for dogs. A better option would have been to have them meet off the property first before going into the house. Or bring your dog into the house or yard with the other dogs put up and then introduce him to them one at a time before having all 3 together.

As far as the coyotes, I'd be happy if my dog tucked tail and ran in that situation because I'd be less likely to end up with a dead dog.
 

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Did you just walk him into your friends house with the Danes loose? That's a very stressful meeting for dogs. A better option would have been to have them meet off the property first before going into the house. Or bring your dog into the house or yard with the other dogs put up and then introduce him to them one at a time before having all 3 together.
I agree with that. Many many dogs are territorial in their own homes, so a new comer is normally tentative and unsure (unless they do start a fight immediately). Add to the fact the dogs on their home ground are huge can be super overwhelming to a softer dog.

It's our job as good owners to expose our dogs to lots of new experiences while at the same time not completely overwhelming them to lead them into the mindset that the world is a VERY scary place with constant new frightening things popping up. Be like living our lives in a Halloween Fright House, never knowing when something horrific will pop out at as.

I like that, so far, your dog hasn't engaged and fought. Both the coyotes and the Great Danes would have been a horrific vet filled $$$$$$$$ possibly fatal experiences. While you may want your dog to have more CONFIDENCE in these situations, I know I wouldn't want my dogs to be any more confrontational to add to the stress and high feelings.

I'd be working on general socialization, continuing dog classes so my dog would get more confidence in me and my guidance/leadership in these situations (so less likely to go into the fear thing and more likely to look to me......very calming to our dogs when they have a calm leader they TRUST and know to rely on). I also would know that I need to continue to know my dogs strengths and weaknesses so I can help and prepare my dog for situations like these BEFORE they come up.
 

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It can be an age and experience thing. He may grow into himself more.

It could also be his temperament and he might remain relatively soft and non-confrontational.

The going into the strange house with big dogs looming must have been overwhelming. His options are flight or fight. If he could not flee further, the only option left to him was to give a defensive aggression display.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Great advice and comments everyone. Yes, I had Duke with me and was picking up my daughter's friend. Duke got out of the car with us and walked into their house with us as the owner welcomed us and Duke in. Duke immediately had two huge great danes in his face. His behavior makes perfect sense now that you have pointed things out.

On the Coyote situation, I wish both my dogs ran in with their tail between their legs. I just fear one of these days my GD will get 2 on 1'd by coyote's and have no help.
 

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Maybe your GSD is accustomed to the GD taking the lead. But if he is soft then just accept him and love him for what he is. Try to give him as many and varied situations as you can to build his confidence. That's about all you can do. Don't try to make him into something he's not.
 

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He's still pretty young and experiencing situations for the first time. Our last gsd Omy, was primarily an outside dog, by her choice, and was tough as nails. She came in contact with all kinds of animals- raccoons, beavers, coyotes, snakes, you name it- and knew how to handle herself. The best thing about Omy was how well she knew her strengths and abilities and when running home with her tail down and heading straight for the doggie door. Duke may be a lot smarter than your other dog and knew they were no match for the coyotes...maybe that dog should pay attention to Duke!
 

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Don't you think that a GSD and other pretty big dog would be no match for 2 coyotes? When we saw coyotes in RI whn I lived there they were only about 30-40 lbs - about 1/2 the size at most of our GSD.

Not that i would want them to get into a fight but I think that the dogs should not be afraid of a coyote.

Course if the coyotes are bigger anf tougher there, then maybe someone there should consider getting a Komodor (sp?) - these are the dogs that sheep herders use to protect their sheep out west - wonder if they will protect GSD's too. heh! heh!
 

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Well, don't coyotes try to tempt the dogs further out and then the pack will attack? So you may see just two, but in reality your dogs know there is a whole pack out there waiting for them. The pheronomes are so overwhelming alone, along with what they hear, body language of the others. We don't see half of what canines do, because their senses are so much more evolved in comparison.
 

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I live on acreage also, surrounded by woods and fields. Lots of wildlife here. The problem with the e fence is that it won't keep out trespassers, and thus you run the risk of your dogs getting killed right on your own property, where you thought they were safe. I know we all have our comfort level in how we control our dogs, but personally I would never just open the door and let my dogs out, not knowing if this was the last time I'll see them alive. That is why I ALWAYS, (no exception) go out with my dogs, and supervise them. Yes, even in the dead of winter in -20 temperatures.

It is not up to them to keep themselves safe from bears, lynx, cougar, Moose, loose dogs, or coyotes. I feel that my dogs have been entrusted to me, regardless how they came into my life, and it is up to me to accept the responsibility and always do my best to keep them safe. So thinking that if both took on the coyotes, you would feel better because two dogs fighting stacks the deck in their favor, is a dereliction of your responsibility. It is really not up to them to defend themselves from wild animals, but up to you to protect them from conflict in the first place. Your presence alone will often keep wild animals from coming too close, or will convince them to go away and not start anything - one or two dogs, coyotes can feel they can engage - one or two dogs AND a human being - I betcha they'll think twice about starting any trouble!
 

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Do coyotes always run in packs - does anyone know? if so, anybody know how big a typical (if there any such things) pack is? The ones that I have seen have always been only 1 or 2 or a mother with a few little ones.
 

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Codmaster.....we have a pack of at least 9 adults across the road from me.....we came home late one night and found them all in my front yard and long driveway.....scared the **** out of us!! There is over 300 acres of farm land. The farmer drives around in his four wheeler in the summer with a rifle...ready to shoot them at a moments notice. They have killed baby calves of his.
A pack of Coyotes...is a dangerous situation....our dogs do not stand a chance.
Remember...Coyotes "fight" to survive daily....they are taught to be cunning and learn to be ruthless. *Be careful with foxes also...nasty, nasty.*
 

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Codmaster.....we have a pack of at least 9 adults across the road from me.....we came home late one night and found them all in my front yard and long driveway.....scared the **** out of us!! There is over 300 acres of farm land. The farmer drives around in his four wheeler in the summer with a rifle...ready to shoot them at a moments notice. They have killed baby calves of his.
A pack of Coyotes...is a dangerous situation....our dogs do not stand a chance.
Remember...Coyotes "fight" to survive daily....they are taught to be cunning and learn to be ruthless. *Be careful with foxes also...nasty, nasty.*
There are a lot of myths about coyotes - at least around RI there are, as they are pretty new in that area, esp. in the more built up areas. The animal control folks there actually told everyone to keep their cats and small dogs in the house and never let them out by themselves. Never warned us owners of big dogs about the coyotes.

Coyotes there were esp. rough on cats esp. the house cats that too many people let out at night!

Wonder how those Komodors out in Montana and thereabouts manage to keep the sheep safe? Or at least that is what some folks have told me they do. Maybe they run the dogs in packs also, so the coyotes can't gang up on them?

I also heard that one way to get rid of coyotes is to reintroduce wolves into the area - they have actually seen that happen where folks have reintroduced wolves - like in Yellowstone park.
 

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How big are the coyotes out your way? I always heard and believed that they were pretty small - 30-40 lbs tops. Maybe we need to add a pit to the pack if coyotes are a real problem in my area? Heh! Heh!
 

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Our neigborhood is not suburban, yet not quite rural. We have coyotes around here but there's no way to know for sure how many. I know we had at least a mother and three little ones last year; the year before that there were at least two adults. If I had to guess the weight on the ones we see around here, I'd say 50 pounds or more.
 

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Codmaster, I suspect that coyotes have been evolving very rapidly, both physically & socially, in the past 20-30yrs. Despite the different nomenclature, realistically wolves, coyotes & domestic dogs are the same species. Environmental pressures, ie the loss of wolves & large wild cats, coupled to the explosion of deer populations, favor selecting for increased size & pack drives in coyotes.

Normally, their weight varies from ~20-50 lbs. Wild dogs don't take unnecessary risks, or waste valuable resources, on fights that have little to no survival value. I wouldn't advocate deliberately messing with them, but they pose practically no risk to humans or mid to large sized dogs that don't seek them out or chase them down.

Guesstimates as to the size of wolves have historically been wildly inaccurate. Invariably the guesstimates are much, much larger & heavier than the actual animal. I suspect these inaccuracies prevail with guesstimates of coyote weights, too. My old Sibe was never estimated below 90 lbs. He actually weighed from 48-66lbs, usually 50-55lbs. The guesses were same even at his top weight, which was still incredibly lean, ie bone thin. I think this was partly b/c like the wolf, Cochise was a tall, rangy, narrow animal whose woolly undercoat gave him a weightier appearance. Cochise was assumed to be larger than dogs that outweighed him by 30 or 40 lbs, sometimes more. Wolves & coyotes have that same narrow, rangy build & woolly undercoat, at least in cold climates. IMO, guesstimates of weights s/b taken with a huge grain of salt.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
The coyotes are small and mangy here in MA. I would guess 30lbs. However these are wild animals and when cornered they will fight til death. Even if my dogs were 100lbs and tough as nails I would not want to see them go at it. Yes they travel in packs and they will collectively rip apart a deer if they are hungry which they are right now. Duke would get clobbered. I worry every time I send them out to pee in the early morning dark.
 

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On the Coyote situation, I wish both my dogs ran in with their tail between their legs. I just fear one of these days my GD will get 2 on 1'd by coyote's and have no help.
Be glad about then! Only 1 e-vet bill instead of 2!

I'd be much more concered with the GD and would work on that behavior.
 

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Coyotes ARE generally on the shy side, but have a tendancy for their behavior to escalate. My parents live in NM and back 10,000 acres of open space. Gradually the coyotes have gotten more and more brave and have killed a gradual progression of larger animals in the neighborhood. I've seen packs from as small as 2 to as many as 5 or so in their area.
 

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Yes...the coyotes around here would be about 35-45lbs....I would also suspect that they may even be Coy dogs within the mixes.
We have also had 2 actual wolves caught within 10-30 miles from my home.
They suspect it is because we are only 20 miles from the WI border.
I was reluctant to believe about the wolves, until the pictures and article was circulated.
As with all nature....animals evolve. They learn to survive, and they migrate where there is food sources.
*As for coyotes and people.....they have attacked people on occasion. Most documented attacks are on children, or from coyotes that have had hidden reasons for the assault....ie starvation, rabies etc..
I love coyotes, wolves and foxes.....I just make sure that I "respect" them as well.....
Robin
 
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