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Discussion Starter #1
My wife was outside playing with Shadow today and was waiting for fer friend that she has not seen in over a year. When her friend got out of her car and my wife put the dog into a sit and Shadow sat there which was fine. Well this is where the problems started. My wife instead of putting a leash on the dog and walking her so they could meet instead left her on the line we use to play with her outside. Her friend is from Japan and never been around a GSD and not thinking ran full speed at my wife and flung her hands out to give her a hug. Shadow did NOT take kindly to this and ran right at her and hit her in the gut knocking her back about 5 feet or so. She stoped after that and walked back to my wife. The girl was not to badly hurt, she had a small tear in her shirt and a very small red mark but no hole in the skin. She is not mad at us and did not make a report. Normally I give treats to whoever is over and have them feed her to build trust up. My wife never got to this because of her friend running up to her to give her a hug. I was not at home at the time so this is what my wife told me. What at this point should I do.
 

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Since your wife hadn't seen her friend in over a year, Shadow must be younger than a year. If that is the case, I see this incident as a combination of puppy and human error.
At this point, about this incident, you simply appologize sincerely to your friend, ask how she is and hope for the best. Then, we need more information about the situation. Did Shadow growl or bark? What more went on? How did your wife respond? Where did the three of them go next? What happened then? What I am trying to figure out is if your wife was also running to greet this friend, how much excitement was in the air and how the situation fired up your dog -- whether your dog was reacting in exhuberance and play, or was defensive.

In either case, I would think you would want to work Shadow so that she saw such exhuberance in humans as a good thing but as something she was not to participate in. In the future, your family needs to be a more aware of Shadow and the dogs reactions to people. I'm sure you realize this.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Ok my wife was standing next to the dog and Shadow was just sitting there. She did not bark or growl that I know of most likely because it happened so quickly. My wife did not more closer or away from her friend. I think what set the dog off is the fact that someone she did not know ran at my wife. My wife has Cerebral Palsy so she can't run too fast. I think because she is somewhat disabled and I am sure the dog know this that Shadow was most likely trying to watch out for her. I have had a lot of dogs over the years but this is the first one she has had. Shadow is 8 months old so no she never met the girl before.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Forgot to say that I am going to send Shadow and my wife to a LOT more training classes to see if will help out. She plays with some of the kids that live close and has no issues with then. And she loves anyone that will play with her. I was at the park the other day with my wife and Shadow and 2 little kids ran right at her full speed before I could do anything about it. Normally she would go nuts and bark like mad but the oldest kid I little girl about 7 told her to sit toke the toy she was playing with from her and gave it a toss. Shadow jumped into the air and took right back to the girl. At first she would move away from them if they tryed to pet her and they left after 10 min or so. About 30 min later they came back and sat on the ground and she walked over to them and sat between them and layed on her side and let them both pet her and started licking there faces clean. I have never seen her warm up so quickly to anyone but was really happy about it. She would do what ever they told her to do and was just great about it. She likes adults too so it is not that they are kids. I can not for the life of me find what sets her off and makes her bark at people at times and other times not care at all.
 

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I think your plan of more classes for the wife and the dog is a good idea. BTW dogs react better if they are approached from an angle and not head on so that could be part of what happened here.

I think you are right in that it is the way in which your wife was approached. Part of the solution is learning more about your individual dog. I know what works best for meeting people with my current two. (The next dogs may be very different.) Yet I remember meeting a friend who had moved back to town. I drove to his place, got out of the truck, we greeted one another relatively exhuberantly and with a hug. I then cautioned him about the dogs as I let them out. To my pleasure they evidently figured that if I greeted him with such enthusiasm, he wasn't worth barking at. They went on to explore his yard and basically ignore us!

Good luck and keep us posted. (I hope someone else weighs in on this one.)
 

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Personally, I think this was more human error than dog. My dogs would have probably reacted the same way. Also keep in mind that Shadow is a baby.

I think that having your wife attend more classes with Shadow is also a good idea.
 

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I agree with that too. She didn't know the friend and was protecting your wife, we have some GSD's that would do the same.
 

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Earlier this week, I posted here (click on the 'here'). Part of what I said was this:

Quote:I guess the point of this diatribe is that Thor was never 'trained' to protect me, but when he thought I was being threatened, he automatically (and very suddenly and unexpectedly) went into protect mode. I recall my sister-in-law being asked by strangers, "Does your dog bite?" Her response has always been, "He never has but he is a dog. That's what dogs do when they feel a threat. So stand back please and don't approach him..or me.. too quickly."
I think the sudden movement of your wife's friend may have startled Shadow, who reacted in a protective manner. And without the leash on the dog, he was free to move between your wife and her friend.

I am curious though and if someone could explain, I'd appreciate it. How does specific training help in a situation like this? And exactly what type of training? I don't expect it to happen again but if there were a way to be certain it wouldn't by some kind of training, I might be inclined to drive the 80 miles give or take to the nearest trainer to work with Thor.
 

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That really isn`t acceptable. Even a trained dog IMHO shouldn`t defend it`s handler until given a cue. The dog doesn`t have the right to make that decision.
More training and keep up socializing should do the trick along with setting up that scenario under controlled conditions.
 

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kutzro357,

I agree...it is not acceptable...and it scared me half to death when it happened. Nor should it have with Shadow, the original issue of this thread. But it did and I repeat my question::::

How does specific training help in a situation like this? And exactly what type of training?

For some of us, this is an entirely new world and the jargon, training techniques and topics are all something we've never been aware of before. Not all of us are 'old pros' at raising shepherds (or any other dogs for that matter).
 

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There are only a few things that need to be done.

First, never put the dog or let your wife put the dog in a position like that again; period. It is the owner's responsibility to make sure situations like this do not happen. After a few similar experiences this was made very clear to me.

Second, GSD's are protective and the dog's reaction was entirely normal. There is absolutely nothing wrong with your dog, nor with the way the dog reacted.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Well I told my wife that if someone were to come over the Shadow must have a leash on and not just be on a outdoor lead. She did not think anything of it tho because that is how she did it with her other friend and it turned out fine. I talked to the girl and she said that she was not mad and did not want me to put her down. However she said that she did not run at her but walked kind of fast. She also needed 5 stitches and that her pants and shirt was riped. My wife is going to go to classes with Shadow, a lot of them and she needs to learn to control her better and be more of a leader. This dog will control anyone she can and like to do so. My wife is below the dog and that needs to be fixed. Shadow try's anything and everything to out smart me or control me and she is smart about it. I am working on NILF with her and it is helping some. It is going to take time.
 

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Originally Posted By: Timber1
Second, GSD's are protective and the dog's reaction was entirely normal. There is absolutely nothing wrong with your dog, nor with the way the dog reacted.
Really? That`s a lawsuit waiting to happen since you sometimes don`t have the opportunity to control a situation. What if that was a child and this was face level. Your dog needs to learn people are not a threat and he doesn`t need to react since your wife is the leader. Training with either treats or praise (which ever works for your dog) setting up the scenario first with a walk up of a stranger (dog on lead but not tense) praise when he doesn`t react. Repeat and repeat. Then to a faster walk up. Correct if he moves treat if he stays keep repeating and repeating.
This isn`t horrible but it needs attention now.Then just lots of regular obedience training.
 

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Originally Posted By: Hatterasser
How does specific training help in a situation like this? And exactly what type of training?
by tightening the bond andpack order between ALL the members ofthe family and your dog. Obedience training is more than teach tricks and positions to a dog, is to let them know that thay are supposed to act as the owner wants in all situations and understand than the human is who is in charge.
 

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Quote: Originally Posted By: Timber1
Second, GSD's are protective and the dog's reaction was entirely normal. There is absolutely nothing wrong with your dog, nor with the way the dog reacted.


Really? That`s a lawsuit waiting to happen since you sometimes don`t have the opportunity to control a situation.
I agree. There are lots of things that may be a "natural" reaction from your dog. Peeing on your couch would be "natural." But if dogs are going to live with us, we have to teach them to do things that go against their natural inclinations.

Some of the reaction in this case can be attributed to the dog's young age. For the next year or so, your dog will definitely try to test his limits--just like a human teenager would do. He's testing to see how much he can get away with, and attempting to insert leadership if he thinks there is an absence of leadership coming from the humans.

You will have to increase your training and socialization during this time. Your "natural" instinct will tell you to limit the dog's exposure to people (because there might be another incident...). But that is also the wrong response. You must increase the dog's exposure to strangers, BUT-BUT-BUT--you must always be in 100% control of the dog. He cannot be off leash around strangers until you are fully confident in his response. This may take many many months of training.

Ordinary obedience training will help you build the foundation for the dog understanding what you want, and that it is in his interest to comply. But at the same time, much of this is repetition, IMO. You have to continually expose the dog to situations like meeting strangers so that you can correct the wrong response (or better still, reward the right response.) The dog can't figure this out on his own.
 

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Ditto that. Training is great-shaping behaviors, using treats to associate meeting new people with obedience and yay! food is also great.

But a leash is your best friend.

I know people with dogs trained to the highest degree who may not need a leash.

But I know my dogs and know that given the chance to make a decision on their own, it will likely be one that I won't agree with.
So despite their training and their CGCs they stay on a leash when not in the fenced yard.
 

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Originally Posted By: Hatterasser
How does specific training help in a situation like this? And exactly what type of training?

For some of us, this is an entirely new world and the jargon, training techniques and topics are all something we've never been aware of before. Not all of us are 'old pros' at raising shepherds (or any other dogs for that matter).
There are lots of different training out there to look into, Besides the basic obedience, one thing you may want to look into is training toward a C.G.C. (Canine Good Citizen) certificate. Several of the exercises in the CGC program deal with meeting with strangers (to your dog), meeting someone walking a another dog, wlaking through a crowd, and having others handling/grooming your dog. Depending on the trainer, you may be able to focus on specific areas where you want/need work.

There is other training out there, but this would be a good place to start after your basic obedience classes.

But the comments from others about putting/keeping the dogs on a leash in situations like the OP described are right on.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Ok thankd a lot this info helped me and gave me some ideas. The issue I have with trying to do socialization is that I am havening issues finding somewhere to do it. We use to go to walmart and sit on the benches but I was told never to bring the dog back. Shadow wile she was there never even got near anyone but she barked and it was hard to make her stop. Plus one of the people that work there getting baskets is scared of dogs and I think Shadow knew this. He walked by 3 or 4 times and did not see her but Shadow let out a single bark just once wile he was kind of close about 15 feet away and he freaked out and wet him self. So that did not go to well. Shadow did not do anything else not even move but it was too much for walmart. When I was going there she barked at people and I could not find a way to stop her. She had a all her hair sticking up and just would not obey quiet. I would give her treats when she was quiet but that was rare and now I can't go back. I tryed a diffent one and sat on the bench and she did not bark but when a worker walked over they told me the to leave. Shadow did not even bark at the girl that told us to leave but you could tell she did not like dogs and she did not care if she was being good or not. So I am having issues finding places where I can work on socialization at all. I work 3 pm to 11 pm and most places are dead in the time I am around.
 

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The episodes at Walmart sound like you might have been pushing the dog too fast. With training I think you should only go a teensy bit past where you are confident in the dog's ability--anything more than that is overwhelming and counterproductive.

So in this case, being THAT close to strangers was too much for the dog. Solution--get farther away. Park across the street and let the dog watch strangers from a distance at which she can settle and feel comfortable, all the while you're praising.

Only when you know that she can observe people from that distance reliably do you move a little closer. If you reach a point where she isn't handling it well, then you moved forward too quickly.

You could also do some of this in the car. Take her to someplace and sit in the parking lot. People will pass by, and if she barks at least they won't feel directly threatened. Even then, you want to set the dog up to succeed. If she's "failing" when you take her out in public, you are asking too much too soon.
 
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