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Victor is 15 months old - I’ve had him since he was 8 weeks old. As a short background - for health reasons I need to walk regularly. I live in northern MN, and realized shortly after starting my new healthy lifestyle that we live in a hiking paradise! I wanted a partner to join me and after much research decided a gsd would be the perfect partner (I’m an experienced dog owner, but have never had a gsd - now I will never have any other breed!) There were many reasons for my choice, but they don’t matter for this post. Suffice it to say there is no doubt I made the right decision - we’ve done a lot of training (of course we’re far from done) and although we’re not perfectly mannered on the trail, we don’t often embarrass ourselves (that means both of us - we are a partnership). So, background down - now the new behavior. Today we walked on the Superior Trail which is frequented by mountain bikers, runners, and many hikers with their furry family members. Vic has always been dog aware and reactive, although not typically aggressive unless the other dog shows some aggression. Then he will bark. I have been working on the reactive part by trying to have him focus on me - having him sit and looking at me reinforcing with treats. I’ve started to notice some progress. However today he started to do something totally new. When he noticed a dog (or dogs) coming toward us on the trail he laid down in a very alert mode with his eyes glued on the approaching dog(s). Once they were within about 10 feet or so he jumped up and lunged towards the dog. He didn’t bark and seemed friendly if they were, but where did the lie down thing come from? I’ve never asked him to do that when approached by a what he might perceive as a potential threat. Does anyone have some insight on what he’s thinking and if this is behavior I should support?
 
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