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Discussion Starter #1
I am going to tell you what happened here last night. Wolfie's reaction to the situation scared the daylights out of me., and has been on my mind since. I am wondering if I should be concerned or feel secure over his reaction. To tell the truth, right now, I am a little of both. Last night, while hubby and son were at work, I put Wolfie in his crate, while I ate my supper. There was no tv or anything on, just the lights over the kitchen island, and Wolfie's light downstairs. Wolfie started barking like a maniac after being in his crate for 10 minutes. Sometimes he does this as a way to get attention when he wants out of the crate. Figuring that's what it was, I continued dinner, cleaned it up, and went down to let Wolfie out of his crate. I barely got the second latch undone, when he came bursting through the crate door, hackles and tail up high, and barking ferociously. He headed for the outside door, which is about 20 feet away like a freight train and with such tunnel vision like he wanted to kill whatever was on the other side of the door. He didn't even slow down when getting close to the steel door. He went full speed jumping into the door, barking, snarling, growling, and clawing at the door knob like he was possessed. Then he raced up the stairs, with not a look at me, and went to all the doors trying to get out, still going nuts. I turned the floodlights on in the yard, and called hubby,who was about 20 minutes away. Seeing nothing at all outside, I got the big police flashlight, and took Wolfie outside. There were fresh footprints in the snow where no one walks, but nothing else around. All the other footprints were iced over, but these were fresh. I shined the light in the woods, saw nothing, hubby came home and looked around, still nothing. What we think is that someone came through the back yard, tried the cellar door, heard Wolfie and left. While I am glad that he is protective at 1 year old, I was taken aback at the intensity of his reaction. I have never seen a dog go absolutely out of his head like that. His trainer said that she could see strong protective traits in him when he was 9 months old.
 

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How scary for you.

I think that as long as you don't see him reacting to normal every day things like that or "protecting" you when there is no real threat then you can be ok with his reaction.

What kind of advanced obedience do you plan to do with him? I think that if I had a dog that reacted like that, I would want to make sure I could make him stop on a dime and had complete control of him at all times.
 

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How scary for you.

I think that as long as you don't see him reacting to normal every day things like that or "protecting" you when there is no real threat then you can be ok with his reaction.

What kind of advanced obedience do you plan to do with him? I think that if I had a dog that reacted like that, I would want to make sure I could make him stop on a dime and had complete control of him at all times.
I agree with that. How much TRAINING are you doing? And regular socialization outside the home (and why is he still crated when you are home and he's a year old?).

Protection is useless without training cause it can end up inappropriate (uh, surprise visit from inlaws gets your mother-in-law with a trip to the Emergency Room?).

It's all well and good that he reacted. It is NOT well and good that you were completely ignored and not given any type of leadership role in this event.

There is a reason we go to dog classes.
 

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Agreed - I would ensure that you can call him off, get his reaction under control. But personally speaking I want my dogs to react like that if someone is in the yard.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I agree with that. How much TRAINING are you doing? And regular socialization outside the home (and why is he still crated when you are home and he's a year old?).

Protection is useless without training cause it can end up inappropriate (uh, surprise visit from inlaws gets your mother-in-law with a trip to the Emergency Room?).

It's all well and good that he reacted. It is NOT well and good that you were completely ignored and not given any type of leadership role in this event.

There is a reason we go to dog classes.
Wolfie has been through intermediate obedience. His trainer recommended personal protection classes for him. I just have to wait until I can afford more classes. In the meantime, his trainer gave me some obedience exercises to work on with him on my own, that we do regularly.

He was in his crate because we have an open floor plan in the main living area, and we don't like dogs around when we are having dinner. Even though I was alone, I don't want him to think that the rules are not enforced just because it's only Mom at home.

He is regularly socialized. Trips to the pet store, lots of company at home, dog park in the summer. I live in a very populated area, so even on our walks we interact with lots of people and street vendors as well.

I wasn't all that concerned with him ignoring me, since I didn't make an attempt to call him off. I was just watching in shock at the intensity of his reaction. He looked at me when I said what is it, but I don't really know what he would do if I called him off.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I also want to add that both hubby and I had childhood GSD's and my mother grew up with GSD's as well. Even though, they know Wolfie well, we all live within 4 miles of each other, and Wolfie knows they are family, neither my parents nor my in laws would walk in without knocking first. They have too much respect for the breed. Remember, way back when, your average GSD owner didn't go to classes like we do now. No one that I know would just walk in to my house.
 

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He was in his crate because we have an open floor plan in the main living area, and we don't like dogs around when we are having dinner. Even though I was alone, I don't want him to think that the rules are not enforced just because it's only Mom at home.
Since you have an older dog that you say is trained. I think it's a great idea to not have him bothering you at mealtimes, but would TRAIN this.

Just put a dog bed in the other room to have him stay there during meal times. Or just have him 'go lay down' if he's a bother. The older my dogs, the higher my expectation and more training I do, less crate time.

I love the crate to 'manage' my dogs when I am not able to train. But if there is a way to train, then that's always my first choice.

The fact you titled this post 'Wolfie's Reaction Scared Even Me Should I Be Concerned? ' gave me the impression you were scared and didn't feel Wolfie was letting you take control and be the leader once you were alerted to the possible threat. Sorry I mis read that.
 

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How scary for you.

I think that as long as you don't see him reacting to normal every day things like that or "protecting" you when there is no real threat then you can be ok with his reaction.


Agreed, if he does not react this way when the UPS or Postal Delivery person show up (mine let me know when someone shows up) and you can work on the other stuff I would feel ok with this reaction.
 

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One thing to consider, and this is obviously just an opinion I thought of while reading your story- If the "intruder" was able to look through any windows, they might well have seen Wolfie crated. So while they would almost certainly decide your house wasn't worth the risk, they might decide that it's an easy target because the dog is crated. I dunno...

If I was a burglar (I'm not! :hammer:) I'd think the noise alone, regardless of a crated dog, would be deterrent enough. But that might not be true for someone dumb enough to try to burglarize someone. I still strongly hold the opinion that pretty much any barking dog that sounds big is a seriously good deterrent!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Since you have an older dog that you say is trained. I think it's a great idea to not have him bothering you at mealtimes, but would TRAIN this.

Just put a dog bed in the other room to have him stay there during meal times. Or just have him 'go lay down' if he's a bother. The older my dogs, the higher my expectation and more training I do, less crate time.

I love the crate to 'manage' my dogs when I am not able to train. But if there is a way to train, then that's always my first choice.

The fact you titled this post 'Wolfie's Reaction Scared Even Me Should I Be Concerned? ' gave me the impression you were scared and didn't feel Wolfie was letting you take control and be the leader once you were alerted to the possible threat. Sorry I mis read that.
I was concerned at the intensity of the reaction. It just seemed so primal and scared me. My older dog, though I talk about him a lot, passed away 10 years ago, so while I grew up with a GSD, and had one of my own, it's been so long that I sometimes feel like a newbie. We are working on "place" as a command to go to his place and stay there. I bought him a bed for Christmas that we keep in the other room :)
 

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I would definately continue the training but would be grateful that he let you know something was wrong and wanted to protect. The big thing, as said, if being able to call him off and have him snap out of it, so to say.
I know that Zeb is good with his ability to tell friend from foe, even with strangers. We had a maintenance guy come around the house and he did nothing but watch him, while one time a burgler did prowl our yard and he went nuts similar to wolfie. Just keep working with him!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
One thing to consider, and this is obviously just an opinion I thought of while reading your story- If the "intruder" was able to look through any windows, they might well have seen Wolfie crated. So while they would almost certainly decide your house wasn't worth the risk, they might decide that it's an easy target because the dog is crated. I dunno...

If I was a burglar (I'm not! :hammer:) I'd think the noise alone, regardless of a crated dog, would be deterrent enough. But that might not be true for someone dumb enough to try to burglarize someone. I still strongly hold the opinion that pretty much any barking dog that sounds big is a seriously good deterrent!
I have his crate downstairs in the playroom and keep all the blinds closed on the windows. Even hubby remarked last night, good thing the no one could see that he's in a crate.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I would definately continue the training but would be grateful that he let you know something was wrong and wanted to protect. The big thing, as said, if being able to call him off and have him snap out of it, so to say.
I know that Zeb is good with his ability to tell friend from foe, even with strangers. We had a maintenance guy come around the house and he did nothing but watch him, while one time a burgler did prowl our yard and he went nuts similar to wolfie. Just keep working with him!
Yes, Wolfie will bark when someone comes in our yard or in the street in front of the yard. I did notice a significant change in the intensity when he perceived a threat. I plan to continue working with him. He doesn't have great recall as of yet, but we are working on it.
 

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His initial reaction was fine.

It was your posting (that would also have scared and worried me) of

He went full speed jumping into the door, barking, snarling, growling, and clawing at the door knob like he was possessed. Then he raced up the stairs, with not a look at me, and went to all the doors trying to get out, still going nuts.
that I was addressing as something that you SHOULD be worried about.

I'm not quite clear why my dog being out of controlled and crazy, totally ignoring me, wouldn't concern others? :confused:

The BEST TRAINED protection dogs are still supposed to be working WITH their handlers. Not scaring them and ignoring them.

So I'm not sure why everyone else aren't taking this a bit more seriously as a heads up for upping the training immediately.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
My fault, I should have made myself more clear. When Wolfie goes to do anything, even if it's just go in the other room, he usually stops and looks at me first, sort of like an acknowledgment. He didn't do that last night. That's the first time he didn't stop to look at me. I didn't call out to him, and I agree with you 100 % that if I had he shouldn't have ignored me.
 

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I'm not quite clear why my dog being out of controlled and crazy, totally ignoring me, wouldn't concern others? :confused:
It definitely concerns me too which is why I said that if I had a dog that reacted that way that I would be making sure I had excellent obedience on them and could stop them on a dime. I'd be concerned about the liability of not being able to stop him.

My dogs don't react that way or at least have never had the opportunity to. I also don't subscribe to my dogs being a protector of the home theory. I want friends and family to be able to walk in the house with no problem even if I am not right there.
 

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I would definitely get him in a higher level obedience. Maybe even Schutzhund or PP. You have a highly intelligent dog that knew something was wrong. His initial reaction wouldn't cause me alarm at his behavior. The fact that he didn't respond to you immediately would give me some concern though. It must have taken place in just a matter of seconds so I'm sure you didn't have alot of time to respond before he raced past you. When did he calm down and let you take control back?
 

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If she had made an effort to get him under control and he didn't stop, I would see more of an issue.

I don't see an issue with his reaction, and as stated as long as this doesn't occur when every tom, ****, and harry walk onto the property then I would not be alarmed at his behavior. He's alerted to the problem and when let out of his crate proceeded to head straight for the source of his concern, then check other exits to try to get outside. It's not as though he blew through a window to get outdoors. He was a smart thinking dog that knew someone was outside on the property when and where they weren't expected or welcome and he wanted to check all the exits to see if he could get ouside to check it out.

The issue for me is not the intensity of the reaction. The issue is - could you have called him off. If not, then THAT is the only problem I see.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I should be more careful how I word things. I seem to have left the impression that I was trying to call him off. I wasn't. I was alone, the doors were locked, as they always are, and I wasn't going to call him off if there was a possibility of an intruder still on the other side of that door. We have had a lot of house breaks in our town and a few home invasions in near by cities and towns. After he had gone to every door and window, I did call him, and he came right to me. He was definitely going crazy, but I never tried to actually stop him.
 

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Then the only issue is to get your incredibly intelligent dog into training.

My father used to go away overnight and leave myself, 16, and my brother, 11, alone. I woke up one night to our collie going nuts at the bottom of the stairs. Growling and barking. I had never seen him act like that. He did NOT come when I called. He was guarding the bottom of the stairs and growling at the back door. I have NO doubt he did exactly what he was supposed to do that night.
 
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