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Hello, we have an 11 month old male German Shepherd. Since the day we brought him
Home he has been attached to my wife’s hip. He literally goes everywhere with her including work. He will even cry when she walks out of the room and leaves him behind. On a side note he is not yet neutered, I’m not sure if this has anything to do with his behavior.

A few weeks ago we dog sat my sisters female pit bull. She was only in the house for about ten hours. Ever since the she was at our house he will viscously growl at my wife. Generally when she walks up to him to pet him. Normally he seems to enjoy copious amounts of petting from her, and if she is sitting on the couch he will walk right up to her and lay next to her. The angry growling generally starts when she is within a couple feet of him and looking at him. It starts with growls, then the hair on his back goes up. If she tries to pet him to calm him down, he will bark/snap at her. If she starts obedience commands he performs all of them hesitantly while still growling.

He has always had some bone defense growling but nothing with his food or waster. We just figured he doesn’t like anyone coming near his high value treats.

He is way closer to me, than he is to her, and he never growls at me. If he is growling at her, I will call him, and he will playfully run over to me and try to sit on my lap, it’s strange. This has been happening for about two weeks now.

What’s really odd to me is, he can be growling at her one second, and be laying on top of her the next. He generally tries to push me away from her when I sit next to her, so I would figure she is gods greatest gift to him.

we are pretty much at a loss. We have tried ignoring it, distracting it, disciplining it, nothing seems to change the outcome.

he doesn’t run up and growl at her, it’s only when she either approaches him, or calls him over to her, the second she’s within 2-3 feet of him, the growling begins.

thinking it may be a medical thing, we took him to the vet, his physical and blood work check out normal. He is scheduled to be neutered in 2 weeks. I don’t think that will have an effect on him, but considering this started after having a spayed female in the house I suppose it could.

any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. He has been through 2 levels of obedience training and does very well with commands. We have not changed anything in his diet.

I apologize for the lengthy post, I just wanted to give as much information as possible.

Thanks.
 

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*If he is growling at her, I will call him, and he will playfully run over to me and try to sit on my lap, it’s strange. *
Be careful with this. You are rewarding her for the behavior towards your wife. I'm sure it's not intentional, but it is the equivalent of "Good Boy"!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Alright, I was trying to use it as more of a distraction. If she stands there and plays the dominance stare down with him, the growling doesn’t stop. I have no clue what to try next.
 

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Sometimes we miss clues or behaviors, and outside neutral experienced person can see issues. I would try to find a trainer that can come to your house and observe in place these interactions.
 

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I was thinking that but he doesn’t do it when there are strangers in the house. He will do it when it’s just him and my wife, or when it’s the three of us home.
 

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To be honest this is a serious issue that needs you to potentially flip the way you live with your dog upside down. I would say no more of your dog "laying on top of" your wife, or anyone. No sitting on the furniture, etc. If he is growling at her you need to correct him sternly, no touching, no calling him, no affection afterwards. You need to be clear that it's something that needs correction not distraction, something that is not tolerated. Consistency is the most important thing

You said he has always had "bone defense" growling, has that been at humans or just other dogs? Has he ever growled at you over a bone?

I agree with others in that there are probably many cues and behaviors that you have probably overlooked or not seen through lack of experience. Therefore it's really hard to see and explain everything that is going on through a forum. I would definitely look to be working with a professional trainer that can come to your home.
 

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He has growled at me a few times, generally I will snatch the bone from him, give a stern no! And then the next day I’ll go to give him the bone and he won’t even take it from me.

all of his growling is towards people, we have never seen him growl at another dog, even at a dog park when another dog has gotten rather vocal and physical with him. Normally he tucks his tail and runs away.

like at the vet today, two “strangers” and my wife held him down to draw blood. Not a peep from him.

it’s difficult for me to believe it’s a dominance or fear behavior from him, because when she gives him commands 99% of the time he is like a robot. But with me it takes a few seconds for him to do anything.

could he really be challenging her?
 

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The two replies above are both solid advice.One other thing is for your wife not to stare directly into his eyes while moving forward.Have her try taking a couple of short steps backwards while calling him.That would appear welcoming and encourage him forward for praise and petting.
 

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Yeah we noticed that if she looks away, while he is growling, he stops. If she doesn’t look at him when walking up to him he doesn’t growl.

for example right now we tried it both ways, approach with eye contact and with no eye contact, he was sprawled out on the floor.

with eye contact he stiffens Up, ears go up, and he turns his head away. If you move he acts startled.

I know it’s something neither of us recognize, we both grew up with dogs but are in no way shape or form dog trainers.

could it possibly be something to do with the female dog that was in the house for a few hours? He was constantly trying to mount her, so I took him to work with me, and my wife stayed home with the female pit. When him and I got home the female pit was gone.
 

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could it possibly be something to do with the female dog that was in the house for a few hours?
I have no expertise in this matter, but it's very possible that the two things are completely unrelated. correlation does not equal causation. It might help to clear the pit bull out of your mind and look at your dog and his interactions with you and your wife with fresh eyes if at all possible.
 

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My wife is out of state visiting family for a week starting today, so I’ll get some good observation in.
 

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Turning his head away is a 'calming signal'.It's a dog's body language cue which means 'We're cool.I don't want a confrontation.'Ask your wife if she's in the habit of staring at him while walking toward him to scold and correct.From your description it really sounds like he's expecting a negative(unfair?) interaction.
One of my dogs is super sensitive to tone of voice and eye contact.She's devastated if I give her 'the look' or use too sharp of a tone.When I call any of my dogs I stand in place,lean back,or step away.It's become a habit to use specific motions and tone of voice.
 

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Ok. We noticed it happens more when she’s using her “high pitched puppy is so cute voice”

haha, best way I can describe it
 

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It sounds best to have your dog evaluated by a recommended gsd trainer. I would not feel comfortable with a dog that I owned if a memeber of the household can not look directly at them. Strangers people outside the family to me is a bit different but someone who lives in the house daily and handles the dog daily would concern me if the dog responded to them in this manner staring/not staring at the dog.
 

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Hello, we have an 11 month old male German Shepherd. Since the day we brought him
Home he has been attached to my wife’s hip. He literally goes everywhere with her including work. He will even cry when she walks out of the room and leaves him behind. On a side note he is not yet neutered, I’m not sure if this has anything to do with his behavior.

A few weeks ago we dog sat my sisters female pit bull. She was only in the house for about ten hours. Ever since the she was at our house he will viscously growl at my wife. Generally when she walks up to him to pet him. Normally he seems to enjoy copious amounts of petting from her, and if she is sitting on the couch he will walk right up to her and lay next to her. The angry growling generally starts when she is within a couple feet of him and looking at him. It starts with growls, then the hair on his back goes up. If she tries to pet him to calm him down, he will bark/snap at her. If she starts obedience commands he performs all of them hesitantly while still growling.

He has always had some bone defense growling but nothing with his food or waster. We just figured he doesn’t like anyone coming near his high value treats.

He is way closer to me, than he is to her, and he never growls at me. If he is growling at her, I will call him, and he will playfully run over to me and try to sit on my lap, it’s strange. This has been happening for about two weeks now.

What’s really odd to me is, he can be growling at her one second, and be laying on top of her the next. He generally tries to push me away from her when I sit next to her, so I would figure she is gods greatest gift to him.

we are pretty much at a loss. We have tried ignoring it, distracting it, disciplining it, nothing seems to change the outcome.

he doesn’t run up and growl at her, it’s only when she either approaches him, or calls him over to her, the second she’s within 2-3 feet of him, the growling begins.

thinking it may be a medical thing, we took him to the vet, his physical and blood work check out normal. He is scheduled to be neutered in 2 weeks. I don’t think that will have an effect on him, but considering this started after having a spayed female in the house I suppose it could.

any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. He has been through 2 levels of obedience training and does very well with commands. We have not changed anything in his diet.

I apologize for the lengthy post, I just wanted to give as much information as possible.

Thanks.
IMO, this is another example of a lack of leadership "dominance"

As a leader, you need to take charge and be in control of ALL situations. Your dog is coming into maturity and is starting to assert himself.

I would start with "NILF"

Practice obedience commands with him. You can use treats to teach him commands. Once he understands commands you have to enforce them. The easiest way to that is with a prong collar.

Your problem is only going to get worse if you don't start taking charge.

He never growls at you because he sees you as the leader and he sees your wife as under him.

You said you tried "disciplining" him. How do you do this?
 

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Eye contact to a dog is a silent challenge. He is an unneutered 11 month old with all sorts of hormones coursing through him. This has nothing to do with a spayed female, if she were in heat it may cause him some issues.

What is her body language as she approaches him? Is she rolling her body forward, bending at the waist? To a dog that suggest an attack is coming.

She needs to stand up straight, legs shoulder width apart, hands on her hips, eyes averted and call him to her.
No more baby voice, instead a firm, calm, even tone without raising her voice. Also, don't smile at him or show your teeth. Give him a sit command followed by a down. If he continues to growl, you both stand up and leave the room and shut the door behind you. After a few minutes, re enter the room and repeat, if he growls leave the room again. He will soon learn that growling loses him his favorite people.

This can take time, be patient.

As far as his resource guarding, are you making him work for these high value items? GSD are working dogs, they need to work for things, even treats.

How often do you walk him? He should be getting a vigorous walk at least once a day.
Hope this helps.



I'm glad you are getting him neutered, that will help a great deal.
 

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@Tripp's mom said:
"Give him a sit command followed by a down. If he continues to growl, you both stand up and leave the room and shut the door behind you. After a few minutes, re enter the room and repeat, if he growls leave the room again. He will soon learn that growling loses him his favorite people."

Giving rapid obedience commands is good (wife should be doing this) and the dog needs to be corrected if he disobeys commands.

However, I wouldn't be the one to leave the room. I would take the dog into another room and command him to stay in calm firm voice...then, after a period of time, praise the dog for staying by using micky mouse voice and petting.

If the dog growls and you show fear or leave, this only reinforces that his growls work.

Further, I wouldn't allow this dog onto the wife's lap or furniture until this leadership problem is resolved.

The dog's boundaries need to tighten up until this dog fully matures.
 

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I have used this technique with many of my clients and it has worked well. Each trainer has a different method, do what works best for your dog. I have never had a dog I have trained think his growl has caused people to leave the room, dogs are social creatures being left alone isn't something they relish.
 

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I have used this technique with many of my clients and it has worked well. Each trainer has a different method, do what works best for your dog. I have never had a dog I have trained think his growl has caused people to leave the room, dogs are social creatures being left alone isn't something they relish. I do agree he needs to be clear I regards to his place in the pack before he gets any older.
 

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He has growled at me a few times, generally I will snatch the bone from him, give a stern no! And then the next day I’ll go to give him the bone and he won’t even take it from me.

all of his growling is towards people, we have never seen him growl at another dog, even at a dog park when another dog has gotten rather vocal and physical with him. Normally he tucks his tail and runs away.

like at the vet today, two “strangers” and my wife held him down to draw blood. Not a peep from him.

it’s difficult for me to believe it’s a dominance or fear behavior from him, because when she gives him commands 99% of the time he is like a robot. But with me it takes a few seconds for him to do anything.

could he really be challenging her?
It could be that he's a little on the insecure side, and its not that he's challenging anyone, its more that he's not real trusting of what you guys are doing. Probably more so with your wife if she's a little hesitant or unsure but still being somewhat demanding with him. I think a lot of times some indifference in your attitudes along with calm, easy obedience that he can comply with will help build trust and make you guys more predictable in his mind. For now, I'd avoid putting him in a situation where you have to take anything from him, conflicts and competitions over things will set everything back. Think in terms of respect, not excitement or "love" with him.
 
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