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So I was unaware that the city was stopping by today to change the water meter (both inside and outside the home), so here I am in the middle of a conference call with a client and my boss which I had to end because of what happened.

The repair man (who seems really nice, was an older gentleman) had to come into the basement where I have my office/living room and my sister has the other part of the basement which Penny is generally blocked off from unless my sister is with her or I'm with her, anyway! The repair man had to go into my sisters room where the water heater is under the stairs as that's where we thought the water meter was, and Noah was in his crib and as soon as the man stepped foot into the room Penny went ballistic! She was barking and doing her woowoowooing (not quite a growl just her talking that she does when she isn't sure of something). I put her in a sit stay right next to the door and she kept looking at me so I entered the room and told her to come, she came and parked herself right next to the crib quietly making her woowooing under her breath, as soon as the man left the room she was completely fine!She exited the room laid down in front of the door as the man worked on the actual water meter in a small room we use for storage in the basement and didn't make a peep at him, he finished his work and left and she was fine. She never had her heckles up or made an advance towards him other than the barking and wanting to be RIGHT next to Noah.

So was this her protecting my nephew or was she being aggressive? My sister was happy she liked the thought that Penny doesn't want strangers in her and my nephews room and saw it as protective and I saw it as protective I just wanted to get some more expert opinions on the matter.

Thanks :)
 

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Id say protection if she only did it in your nephews room. I think aggression she wouldn't have stopped in any room of the house.
 

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Congrats to your Penny! Yes, she was protecting your nephew. If she acted out of aggression, she would not have listened to you, she would have tuned you out and kept trying to attack the repairman.
 

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I am not an expert.
Maybe its just me. I would not be pleased with the behavior.You did the right thing by putting her in a sit ,but a GSD is supposed to be aloof. IMO that means anyone I bring around my house or my children, my dog could careless about them. If that person or persons makes a bad choice thats when they react. In all honesty it sounds like a fearful reaction which shows itself as aggresion. I would nip that in the butt as it could be a problem later on.
 

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I am not an expert.
IMO that means anyone I bring around my house or my children, my dog could careless about them.
I respectfully disagree. We have bred these dogs for a very long time to hear, smell, and sense things we can not. Perhaps there was something about that man that Penny saw as a threat that her owner did not. Penny was respectful, she listened, and continued to do what she was told. BUT, she alerted her owner to a possible threat in their home, and protected the baby. She was not acting aggressively, and it wasn't a fear response as she did not hackle, nor overtly growl. She stated her case as plainly as she could 'this man is a threat, don't let him near the baby; if you insist on letting him near the baby, let me watch over them and let him know I'm on duty'. Isn't this why we chose GSD's? I know it's why I have one. I'd say Penny deserves a bone in her dinner tonight...

As a side note, and not to sound overly dramatic, or paranoid, but you might want to call the city and make sure you really were supposed to get your water meter checked... Around here, they send out about 6 notices, and call first...
 

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I want a GSD that acts like a GSD. I say good girl Penny.

I maybe misunderstanding...but see if you can call your meter reading in every month or however the billing cycle works.

Years ago I rented a home that had a meter in the basement, it was a odd set up. I did not want them entering my home to read the meter. I would always ask for a badge but it made me uneasy. I started calling it in. Much better.
 

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Neither protection nor aggression.

Penny is seven months old - so protection does not come into play yet. Protection comes out when the dog is mature, around 18 to 24 months old. I see this as an Alert bark - there may have been some worry and apprehension when he first saw the man approach towards another pack member, but it was to alert the pack about something being not quite right. Then as soon as the pack leader took control of the situation - giving Penny direction and guidance on what is expected of her, showing her that she (Mandi) is aware of the situation and it is OK, Penny relaxed and deferred to Mandi, as it should be.

I think everybody did the right thing, and both puppy and person reacted appropriately. Alerting is not the same as protecting or fear aggression. People always seem to want to label barking behaviour as either protection or agression - but it could be a number of other behaviours too that are not really cause for concern.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I respectfully disagree. We have bred these dogs for a very long time to hear, smell, and sense things we can not. Perhaps there was something about that man that Penny saw as a threat that her owner did not. Penny was respectful, she listened, and continued to do what she was told. BUT, she alerted her owner to a possible threat in their home, and protected the baby. She was not acting aggressively, and it wasn't a fear response as she did not hackle, nor overtly growl. She stated her case as plainly as she could 'this man is a threat, don't let him near the baby; if you insist on letting him near the baby, let me watch over them and let him know I'm on duty'. Isn't this why we chose GSD's? I know it's why I have one. I'd say Penny deserves a bone in her dinner tonight...

As a side note, and not to sound overly dramatic, or paranoid, but you might want to call the city and make sure you really were supposed to get your water meter checked... Around here, they send out about 6 notices, and call first...
Apparently they left a note on the door on Tuesday? I was completely unaware of the note. Still would have like a bit more notice but apparently it was given.

I will also note that Penny never made a peep when he rung the door bell, she didn't get up when he came into the house and never made a noise at all until he entered my nephews room with him in his crib. Its not like she started freaking out the moment he stepped foot in the door or even when he rung the door bell.
 

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Neither protection nor aggression.

Penny is seven months old - so protection does not come into play yet. Protection comes out when the dog is mature, around 18 to 24 months old. I see this as an Alert bark - there may have been some worry and apprehension when he first saw the man approach towards another pack member, but it was to alert the pack about something being not quite right. Then as soon as the pack leader took control of the situation - giving Penny direction and guidance on what is expected of her, showing her that she (Mandi) is aware of the situation and it is OK, Penny relaxed and deferred to Mandi, as it should be.

I think everybody did the right thing, and both puppy and person reacted appropriately. Alerting is not the same as protecting or fear aggression. People always seem to want to label barking behaviour as either protection or agression - but it could be a number of other behaviours too that are not really cause for concern.
I felt the same way first time I read it. Then the words "she went ballistic" maid me think it was more then just a warning bark. Im not trying to label anyones dog as fearful but her being a puppy I felt going ballistic in that situation would be fear based. If it was just a few woffs and a huff thats one thing. OP also stated the dog countinued to growl or woowoowoo after she told her to sit. Now again not saying the dog is fearful just that it sounds fear based.
 

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Because she is so young I would say she was alerting you to possible danger. Once she realized there was no danger she was fine. I would think this is a step right before protection. If she was older it would be protection. Either way I think that she did well and I don't see anything wrong with what she did. If a GSD that normally doesn't bark and is good with people(like Penny) takes notice is something, it is probably a good idea to take a look at what she is noticing.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I felt the same way first time I read it. Then the words "she went ballistic" maid me think it was more then just a warning bark. Im not trying to label anyones dog as fearful but her being a puppy I felt going ballistic in that situation would be fear based. If it was just a few woffs and a huff thats one thing. OP also stated the dog countinued to growl or woowoowoo after she told her to sit. Now again not saying the dog is fearful just that it sounds fear based.
"She went Ballistic" was probably too strong of a word/phrase, where Penny is great with people and I can have her in a large crowed even and she is fine to me that was going ballistic as she just doesn't do that, she has never barked at people like she did yesterday at the service guy. She has woowooed under her breath at a few people (those of which I know to be up to no good I have a post about that) but never outright barked and "talked" before... I will have to try to get video of her doing her woowooing thing lol As to me its not a growl, I know what a growl sounds like and it does not sound like it.
 

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I think that was great! She was protecting her family! I stranger was in the house and then into a bedroom! Good job ...I'm impressed she did a sit stay for you. My two I probably couldn't hold - I'm trying to work on it. Of course they will stay when no one is around but I need it when someone comes to the door.:)


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