German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 20 of 26 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
398 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I was just wondering when the GSD's get that "protective" instinct ? Duke is a little over 5 months now and now it just seems like he loves everyone which is great on one hand but on the other hand I wonder if he'd know if we were ever in harm and what he would do. We have done some training with him but its only been the basic for the most part.

Heck, maybe he has that protectiveness now but haven't came across any situation which would cause him to show it. I don't know LOL.

Thanks again for my silly questions,
Laura
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,119 Posts
He is just an itsy bitsy baby at this point. I wouldn't look for anything before 12-18 months. Before that it is not "protective" but more fear based which is not good. Hopefully someone will come along and explain it to you better!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
815 Posts
Hi Laura! Don't worry at all, it sounds like you have a wonderfully socialized puppy, and it's extremely important to keep up the positive experiences with meeting new people. A lot of people worry about their GSD pup being too friendly, but that's what a puppy should be. I adopted a GSD that missed out on all that early socialization, and it was a tough time getting her to be safe around strangers. You don't want a fearful, mean dog, trust me!

He's only just a baby, and won't show any signs of real protective instinct until he's grown (at least 2 yrs old). Once there, he will use the knowledge and confidence gained from all of his previous good experience with friendly people to be able to recognize and deal with the bad ones. When and if you ever need him, he will be ready.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,220 Posts
Some dogs are earlier than others, some are later. I've had 4, 5 month old pups alert to strangers outside. One of my H litter last week started barking like nuts in the middle of the night. Wife woke up, it was her husband who got off night shift early. Dog quieted down once he realized it was dad. Pup is almost 7 months old. Now would I expect this same pup to actually do anything at this age? Absolutely not.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
389 Posts
We got Bond at 8 months and he didn't seem to sense anything from strangers. He would let anyone and everyone it seemed talk to us and pet him..then one night we were out for a walk, Bond was about 14 months old, and a mentally disturbed person approached us. Maybe it was me sending signals that this guy made me comfortable, but I also think Bond read the man pretty clearly.

Bond growled and then gave a warning bark when the man headed towards us. I was very surprised to see this behavior from him. But he has been his normal happy self with 'normal' people ever since. He's always barked at strangers outside our house, but that was the first and only time he behaved that way with a person. He could sense that the man was not right and he did not want that man anywhere near me.

Up until that point I wondered what he would do if danger was present, now I think he would do a good job keeping me safe!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
398 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Thank you so much for the heads up on this, I just really didn't know. We've had a GSD before but he's passed and its been years so I couldn't remember exactly when that would start.

He's a very happy puppy and LOVES everyone he comes across
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,540 Posts
Originally Posted By: JeanKBBMMMAANIt'd be kind of like taking a kindergartener into the worst section of town and expecting them to protect you, is the way I look at it.
Very good analogy, Jean.

Laura, if I were you, I certainly wouldn't worry. From what you described in your original post, you are raising a well-socialized, happy dog, which is <u>exactly</u> what you want.

I guarantee that you <u>don't</u> want a vicious dog!

The protective instinct comes to them naturally; it's hard-wired in them. Guaranteed, you need not worry about it!

I'm sure that since you own a GSD, you have begun dog obedience training. Our trainer is fond of telling students (who ask the same question you did!): "There is nothing more off-putting to any potential wrongdoer than an obedient, well-trained dog walking at your side."

Stick with your obedience classes and socialization; it's the best way to ensure a friendly, trustworthy GSD, who is protective by nature.

In short, from your original post, I'd say that you and your dog are doing just fine. Keep up the good work!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,483 Posts
IMO the puppies that get barky and blustery with lots of strangers and appear to be acting "protective" are more often than not just terrified and as adults are more likely to be acting out of fear than true protection - they're calling on you to come protect them!

The dogs you want are the ones confident enough to distinguish random strangers from actual threats and act accordingly. At this age, sounds like your baby is right on track to grow up like that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Shadow was very happy for her sister, Angel, to be the protector until she was about 1, then she became the protector. If anyone raises their voice around Angel, she puts herself between them and her. She is OVERLY protective of Angel to the point my hubby thinks we should put all of our valuables in a vest on Angel, this way we know it will be protected!

Right around a year and a half she became very protective with the family. The my twins were outside playing freeze tag once and one of the kids "tagged" them a little too hard in Shae's opinion and she went NUTS! I had to call the girls in so she could make sure they were okay. She watches them like VERY closely when they are outside, which I love!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,844 Posts
Strauss didn't start barking at the door until he was 2 years old. The first time he actually tried to "engage" somebody he was just under two, and I was in the car.

It was a police officer that he gave a really stern warning to, but most likely my dog sensed my uneasiness. I wasn't expecting it and he launched himself out of the back seat just as the officer was reaching into my car to take my license. Didn't even have time to stop him x.x

But that was Strauss at around 18-19 months old. From 8 weeks up til then, he just loooooooooooooved everybody xD Took him awhile to hit that "aloof" part, and even now, he's not as aloof as I'd like him to be, lol.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
182 Posts
My Coco is 18 mo. We only got her in mid-November so I'm not sure how "relevant" this is but she has alerted a few times at the door. Once when a friend came by and hit the doorbell at about 10 pm which is past our normal bedtime and two other times when it was solicitors. I made sure to praise her each time so that I reinforced that it's OK to alert me when she is concerned.But, then I made her do a sit/stay next to me as I answered the door so that she could see what went on and be there as a deterrent to anyone trying anything funky LOL.

I agree with the poster who said that a well trained dog at your side is WAY more scary than a spaz dog!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,525 Posts
Alerting at the door, barking at strangers and noises, etc, isn't protection. That's a watch dog. My pug does that stuff. He barks, you get up and check it out.

I wouldn't expect any true protective abilities to come out before 2 years or so, depending on the breeding of the dog and how much defensive drive it's got. Some lines mature even later. Most of them simply are not mature enough prior to that. A 10 month old dog that bites someone is most likely doing it out of fear. They figure out that "hey, if I bite the person, they go away and leave me alone". That's not a good thing, because now you have a fear biter, one who realizes that if he uses his teeth he can make a threat that he doesn't want to deal with go away.

We had a 2yr old white GSD at our dog club who was like that. He was all huff and puff, growling, barking, but he'd just assume cheap shot the decoy rather than engage. When the guys who ran the club finally told the handler they were washing the dog out, that he didn't have what the club was looking for, the handler got all mad, and said, I know he can do this, I'll show you. Just to prove it to the handler, the decoy said, fine, I'm so confident that he won't do it, I'll go out in the field with no gear on. The handler sent the dog, the decoy made a threatening move toward the dog, and then chased the dog off the field. Then he took the handler, put him in a headlock and started to scuffle to see what the dog would do. He did nothing.

So- even when mature, not every GSD will "protect". If barking and growling are enough to keep people away, that's all good, but please remember that not every dog will come to your aid if a bad guy is trying to hurt you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,460 Posts
Hmm good question. Missy (German bred) was about 11 months old when the protective gene really kicked in. It was about the same for Mercedes (American). B'EL (German) on the other hand was in the mode at about 3 months. Ara is 22 months old and makes no effort to show any aggression in that way. Perhaps the fact that she has been trained for therapy and that mama B'EL does all of the protecting has something to do with it.

I believe that individual temperament and environment certainly play a role.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
182 Posts
Dan - yes, it's a watch dog, but she's showing a protective instinct to guard her house and family. It doesn't mean she will step up if we were really attacked but its a start.

On the other hand, my prior GSD, was the biggest baby and NEVER barked or alerted me to strangers, bu DID come up to protect me one day when I was play wrestling and screeching with DH. We were at my Mom's and she was on the porch behind a baby gate and knocked it down and rushed in to see what was happening!

I know that has nothing to do with the puppy thread - but it shows you never know just from the outside what a dog may set up and be willing to do.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
398 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
after posting this yesterday and reading the responses, I was like well that makes perfect sense


Kind of a funny story though, this morning when we were in the living room exercising and getting ready for a shower I heard something tapping on my front window, I thought I am not getting it, no way ( yea I guess I am chicken ) I thought if someone needed me they could knock or call me.... anyhow when I came out I had Duke right beside me when I opened my blinds and front door to check it out, I thought just in case I have my puppy with me and at least they would know I have a GSD anyway, so knowing this...... it was my cat! how retarded am I ? but I felt safe having Duke right beside me. LOL LOL.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,782 Posts
I don't have anything to add to what has already been said. Just wanted to say "HI". (I am from Vancouver origionally. I moved to the other side of the state in 1998.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
398 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Hi BlackGSD,

Hi, that's great to know someone locally even if your not here now, LOL.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
256 Posts
I have a one year old male.He is very shy but warms up quickly.I can trust him a room full of people.My wife likes to have demostrations,like party light candle, at our house and its full of people. I have noticed that if someone gives my wife a hug or grabs my kids that he doesn't no,he is right up and over with them.He runs around the person nervous like.I'm sure that if that person picked my kids up and ran for the door the dog would go right after them.So you don't have to train protection they protect there pack.Now as long as your the Alpha memeber your good.You can call him off and he will listen.The problem is if he thinks he's Alpha he will not listen to you.So just make sure you are the boss from day one.Then one day you will see there instricts kick it.Its amazing but its more amazing to see a dog go nuts and you say no more and thats it and they lay down.Makes you feel all in powerful.lol
 
1 - 20 of 26 Posts
Top