German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have a question for anyone with more experience on GSD. (Real sorry but I used to own labradors and am not sure which assessment is the correct one)

I recently got myself a 7 month old GSD and he’s wonderful. I heard this breed is happier if they have a job or something to keep them busy so I got K9 trainer to assess him so i’ll know his potential.

One of the things I was told that he is very obedient but has no protection drive and prey drive.

When I told a friend who loves this breed. He said that Fantom is just more even tempered but he is highly protective. The trainer I had called tried to get him to growl or act aggressive by pretending to threaten my GSD but Fantom just watched him and did nothing. when I stepped out Fantom immediately went to me and continued to watch the trainer without making any sound.

According to my friend. Fantom’s temperament is ideal and the fact that he he doesn’t growl or bark means he doesn’t feel threatened. The fact that he immediately went to my side and continued to carefully watch the trainer means he wanted to protect me in case there is a threat but has a good enough temperament to not be aggressive when being protective.

Which assessment is correct? I want to believe my friend but he’s biased towards German Shepherds. (He’s the one who convinced me to get a GSD instead of adopting another Labrador)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,904 Posts
Without actually seeing the dog it's tough to tell. All dogs have different threshold to when they feel the need to react. It's usually called "sharpness".

So a very sharp dog will react to a perceived threat quickly.

It sounds like your dog was not worried or fearful. So that's good. But it's possible that you have done such a solid job of obedience training that the dog thinks it not allowed to react? I don't know.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Sabis mom

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Actually I only had him for about a week but got him potty trained, understand a few commands and walk with me without tugging the leash. I don’t think it would take long to get him to walk off leash as he’s pretty good at ignoring cats and small yipping dogs when he’s out with me.

Frankly I’m Amazed at how quickly he learns. None of my previous 2 Labs learned this quickly. But GSD are known to be intelligent.

I’ve only heard him bark once (barked at an annoying dog barking at us - dog left us alone after he barked at it) never heard him growl so far.

Didn’t do anything to discourage him from barking and growling. Maybe he’s just the quiet sort? He just comes to me and gives soft whimpers if he wants something.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,993 Posts
I agree, no way to tell without seeing the dog. It sounds to me like he just saw no threat. A week in he likely has no real bond with you so why on earth would he protect you? Do not mistake quiet for passive. I owned a male who was not into noisy outbursts, we had to learn the hard way to watch his eyes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
977 Posts
Congratulations on the puppy, he sounds lovely. Of course, without pictures we can't really tell. ;) Personally, I think you haven't had him long enough (a week?) to have a true picture of his character and drives, nor long enough to have developed a relationship where he'd want to protect you assuming that he did have the character/drives for it.

Then too, I'm never fully sure what folks mean when they say they want a protective dog. Do they mean a dog that alerts on strangers/strange sounds (barks), or a dog that will brace a stranger coming to/in the house (hold its ground, but nothing more), or do they mean a dog that will STOP a threat to its people? These are very different scenarios, that require serious time and training to achieve (of owner *and* dog). To differing degrees, I think that all three scenarios assume that the dog has/had the right character, management and training.

I tend to think that the first scenario is fine for most folks (our fantasies of Rin Tin Tin notwithstanding), but the second and third scenarios would IMO require more serious commitment by the owner to achieve. Of course, the risk is greater too.

Aly
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,762 Posts
Just wondering- where did the puppy spend the first part of his young life?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
868 Posts
I'll go with your friends assessment and bet on the dog...every time......don't misjudge Fantom and think because he's quiet he won't defend....your job given time is to "bond" with this dog...if you do that....he'll protect you instinctively .....he saw no reason to respond in the situation with the trainer....the fact that he stuck to you during this "trainer episode" says a lot IMO....he's got it in him....you'll see it more and more over time through the bonding "process".....one day you'll see your friend is right...they protect the person(s) they're bonded too.


Two of the best I've owned were also the quietest...they were perfect judges of a situation....and at the right moment....both proved they would defend...in real life! Your friend sounds like he knows this breed....:wink2:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
I’m not really sure when it comes to protective instinct of a GSD. My experience are with Labradors. My previous dogs were friendly and not protective. So I don’t really mind if he can’t protect me.

I got him from a breeder. I’m more hesitant at getting a rescue from a breed known to be more aggressive. I just told the breeder that I prefer an older dog that’s sociable and not bitey.

(Guess the breeder has a harder time finding a home for him as his coloring is not ideal for a showline GSD. He is a faded sable with reversed mask)

Edit: thanks @ Shane’s dad. I will continue to work on bonding with him. It’s so easy with Fantom as he’s affectionate and follows me around whenever he can.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
868 Posts
Fantom's a very handsome young man...well built strong legs...I'm drawn to his coloring--because it is different than the norm.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
16,941 Posts
7 months is still very young to test for protectiveness and aggression, and as others pointed out, you just got him.

I think he did wonderful - he stayed vigilant, watched carefully, and seemed to rely on you to take charge - which is exactly what a seven month old should do.

When it comes to protection training, very few people are able to project themselves as being a real threat - most solid, high-threshold dogs will pick up on the fact that this person is only acting threatening, but is not serious.

Another thing to bear in mind, is that some lines are slow to mature. My Gryffon came from slow maturing lines. I did IPO training with him, and he wasn't mature and serious in his protection until he was 3 years old. Many of the experienced trainers I worked with saw the potential in him at a young age, but they all said he won't really show what he has inside until he is older.

The average GSD will mature mentally between 12 to 24 months old, some, like mine, even later. When, in training, we teach young dogs to bark at the bad guy, we are really working them in prey drive, and the teaching and bite-work is all in fun. Putting real pressure on the dog comes later. No one would dream of pushing a 7 month old into a situation where they feel threatened for their lives. They are just babies still, and not able to mentally deal with that kind of stress.

I'll give you another example of appropriate behaviour for a young dog that feels secure and defers to the more senior members of the pack (as they should).

I live on acreage in the boonies. Gryffon was about 8 or 9 months at the time, and I had an older five year old Rottweiller mix. We were outside walking towards the wooded area of my place, when my older dog took off barking - I hurried to see what it was, and there was a bear, comically, trying to hide behind a tree, occasionally peeping out, and all the while Keeta was doing a hold and bark on him.

I looked around fearful for Gryffon, and here he comes with a ball in his mouth, pushing it into my hand for me to throw.

Many people would have been disappointed that my other dog was not involved in "protecting" me from the bear, but that is not how to look at it. As a young dog, still immature, Gryffon took stock of the situation. His thinking would have been: "Older senior dog (Keeta) have situation under control - bear is not a threat, Mom and Keeta are keeping me safe - I feel completely safe, I trust them, lets play!"

I just recalled Keeta, and we all walked back to the house and went on a leash walk instead. :) But I was very pleased with how the whole thing had played out.

I agree with your friend, you have a higher threshold dog, who had the insight to understand that there was no real threat. A much better reaction from a young dog than if he would have spazzed out.

What kind or k9 trainer was this person you got to evaluate Fathom?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
382 Posts
Athena very rearly barked she wasn't aggressive and some would say submissive. If she felt threaten or if one of us where threaten she instantly was protective. She would put herself in between whoever the threat was and us, she looked very imitating so she really never had to do something. Most GSD have a natural protective instinct. (My personally opinion) when me and a friend where wrestling she grab my friend ankle and held it, didn't bite down just held it, he was shocked because she was a sweetheart to her but she felt I was under attack and she needed to protect me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,762 Posts
He looks to be strongly built. Of course, my GSD is a bitch. It looks to me like the difference between male and female GSDs is similar to the sexual dimorphism between of cows and bulls.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31,519 Posts
I would be very careful trying to get a 7 month old to react to aggression. That's a good way to ruin a puppy.

Ditto on everything Lucia said.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Thank you everyone. He is beautiful, the trainer I brought had been impressed by his build.

The K9 trainer was from the agency we use for protection and detection on a mall we operate. I just had an idea that I can bring Fantom to work and if he has a job there, then he won’t be bored. I wouldn’t have minded the training cost to keep him happy and busy. (Actually it was my partner who suggested that Fantom would look beautiful and intimidating in a security dog harness for our mall).

I will take in the great advise and wait until he is older to figure out what type of training and activity he will thrive in.

I was just overly excited when I saw how easy it was to train him and thought he’d do well with a more challenging training regimen.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,902 Posts
Thank you everyone. He is beautiful, the trainer I brought had been impressed by his build.

The K9 trainer was from the agency we use for protection and detection on a mall we operate. I just had an idea that I can bring Fantom to work and if he has a job there, then he won’t be bored. I wouldn’t have minded the training cost to keep him happy and busy. (Actually it was my partner who suggested that Fantom would look beautiful and intimidating in a security dog harness for our mall).

I will take in the great advise and wait until he is older to figure out what type of training and activity he will thrive in.

I was just overly excited when I saw how easy it was to train him and thought he’d do well with a more challenging training regimen.
It's not necessarily that he needs a job. Its mental stimulation.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,993 Posts
Thank you everyone. He is beautiful, the trainer I brought had been impressed by his build.

The K9 trainer was from the agency we use for protection and detection on a mall we operate. I just had an idea that I can bring Fantom to work and if he has a job there, then he won’t be bored. I wouldn’t have minded the training cost to keep him happy and busy. (Actually it was my partner who suggested that Fantom would look beautiful and intimidating in a security dog harness for our mall).

I will take in the great advise and wait until he is older to figure out what type of training and activity he will thrive in.

I was just overly excited when I saw how easy it was to train him and thought he’d do well with a more challenging training regimen.
I worked with security dogs for 15 years or so. Your pup is too young to be working and should only now be starting groundwork for his training. On a personal note no one should be selecting working dogs based on looks. They should be selected based on suitability, aptitude and health. And the reason working security dogs get such a bad rap is because disreputable companies put unstable and ill trained dogs to work. This isn't a six week training thing. And walking on hard surfaces all day can break a dog down pretty quick if there is any weakness.
If you want to pursue training with your pup that awesome, but anyone stating that a dog would look good in a security harness does not sound reputable to me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
*lol* the one who said he would look good as a security dog is my business partner. He wouldn’t know much about dogs and training them. He does handle aesthetics and marketing in our mall. He probably just thought my dog looked better than our security dogs.

I took it as a compliment as It’s the first time I heard him compliment a dog.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,902 Posts
*lol* the one who said he would look good as a security dog is my business partner. He wouldn’t know much about dogs and training them. He does handle aesthetics and marketing in our mall. He probably just thought my dog looked better than our security dogs.

I took it as a compliment as It’s the first time I heard him compliment a dog.
Are you Paul Blart? Mall cop? Kidding
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,839 Posts
I agree with your friend. And to be honest I highly question a trainer that would test defensive drive in a 7 month old.

Being over reactive, suspicious, or "protective" in a dog that young isn't necessarily a desirable trait. Some have it, and it's fine..eventually, maybe...I mean, mine was like that and the trainer wanted to focus on confidence building and handler focus to counter act it, not encourage it? but ideally a 7 month old GSD should be confident and bonded with his owner. Look up tug games on Leerburg.com..you can build relationships and stimulate his drive with games like that.

Sounds like your dog has proper temperament, however as others said hard to say for sure without seeing it.

I'd also add, don't fall into the dog playdate trap. Dogs don't need dog "friends"..that whole thing is a modern social construct. It is great to expose them to different environments..trips to allowed places like Pet stores, Lowes etc is great. They also do not need to meet every person that awwwwws at them. They need love, focus on you, and training from YOU. You (and your family) are genuinely all they need.
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top