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Hi
I adopted Mazzy in March... she is prob under 18 months... the shelter had her listed at 2 , but her behavior suggests differently.. she was also not spade.. but had not had puppies at all... she also had no training and still bites at hands ect.... anyway we are working on that.... So I realize I have not had her very long... but we are developing a very strong bond... she appears to respect me as alpha and very rarely ignores a command... unless she is distracted.. but again .. work in progress.... she is my first purebred Shepherd.. I have had two mixes in the past... So tonight. on our way back from her last night at class.. she graduated... :) I stopped to get gas and the went inside the convenience store to use the bathroom and get a snack.. when I came back out to the car I was sitting there eating my snack when this low life looking guy approached my car.. I had windows up and doors locked... he started motioning to me asking me if I would unroll the window down and then motioned if I had a cigarette... I said , through the window .. No, I don't smoke... he looked at me really weird... I mean creepy looking.... put it this way if I had not been in my car he would have scared the %$#@ out of me.. he was just staring at me with this look that I cant describe... and would rather not .. when the mgr of the store came out and started yelling at him... told him to get off of the property or she would call the police.. he left ... so I asked her about him and she said he is not a good guy ... and that was all she would volunteer about him.. anyway I started my car and left.. Mazzy did not react to him at all... infact she wagged her tail at the manager... which is fine she is a very friendly dog ( almost too friendly) but should she not have sensed something weird about the guy??? I mean it was very brief but he was so strange... his look is what scared me , he never got violent or loud.. but the look in his eyes said the potential was definitely there.... Any opinion on this...? I mean should I join a Schutzhund club... I am not looking for a over the top dog... but to be honest my male Golden that I had years ago.. would have growled at the guy.. and my Shep x ... would have come completely unglued at a situation like this... I love Mazzy and she has a home for life... but I am curious as to why there was not a reaction.... any Ideas?
 

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Dont have time for a full reply to all aspects (dumb job lol) but I wanted to say lack of barking does not necessarily mean lack of judgement, awareness. Did she wag her tail happily at the guy or just the manager?

Also, my default answer to "should I join a Schutzhund Club" is always yes. Even if you go once or twice and get some input.

Forget the Alpha word too. I'm sure others here will elaborate. Glad to hear you and Mazzy are bonding!
 

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It's an unfortunate fact that some GSDs now have more of a Golden retriever personality. My first GSD had pretty much zero protective instincts.


That being said, in a dangerous situation, the dog often picks up on its owner's emotions (fear) and sometimes that will be enough to trigger a normally non-aggressive dog to attack. But there is no knowing for sure, and you cannot stake your life on it.

Schutzhund training will help you bond with your dog as you learn the different routines. However, it is NOT meant to teach your dog to be a protection dog. Protection in schutzhund is done more out of prey drive: the dog is after the sleeve, and sees it as a toy/prey. Rarely, a dog will be more focused on the decoy instead. It MAY increase your dog's wariness towards strangers, it may not. Wariness of strangers is more of a genetic trait - that's why golden retrievers, for example, are different from GSDs. If the trait is there, it may still come out as you and your dog develop a bond. What schutzhund training will do for sure is give you more control over your dog, and make it a better dog to be around both in the home and in public. It will also give you and your dog a job, something to work towards, and a healthy outlet for his natural drives.

Doing personal protection with your dog is not something I'd recommend for a newcomer to training. There are a lot of shysters out there who are all too willing to take your money, and have no idea how to train dogs. At worst, you may wind up with a ruined dog that is afraid of strangers. At best, you may have a dog that will bite, but will go after the delivery person or the postman or your best friend walking up to the house to visit. Having a protection trained dog is a HUGE responsibility, and in our sue-happy society, also a huge liability!

If you are REALLY intent on teaching your dog to protect you, and decide to join a schutzhund club, hopefully club members can refer you to a reputable trainer who can help you out. Even teaching a dog to bark in a situation like the one you were in above can be a huge deterrent. It's not always necessary to teach the dog to actually attack.
 

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Don't judge your dog off this one occasion.....I'm guessing i'll be in the minority here....we've had nine GSDs....there's no doubt in my mind...given the right circumstances all of them would die for any family member if asked too......but they all were different in the way they decided what was a threat....some were very quick to growl-rumble or bark... in your (the OPs) situation... some would have been chewing on the door glass more or less....the three best had one thing in common---they were the least vocal....but they'd access a situation all on their own and decide when they needed to be between myself and/or my wife and a stranger or what ever they perceived to be a threat at a given time Since you haven't had Mazzy that long...I'm curious ...how is she around the house with strangers...mailmen---delivery people etc ??---If you've never seen her excited...wanting to defend you--your home or property---maybe she really is that completely laid back....I'll say again I woudn't judge her solely from this one time.....I'll finish with this...you mentioned "Alpha"---that's Taboo on this forum----but not to me---the dogs I've owned clearly recognize a "hierarchy or pecking order"...they typically wait to see how I react....before deciding how they'll react....they respond differently when i'm gone and my wife is alone....they're more protective also when she's walking them then when we both are...Again it's hard for me to imagine a GSD being totally docile in all circumstances.....but i'm basing that on dogs we've owned
 

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There are german shepherds that don’t have protection instincts or instincts strong enough to carry through. There is a big responsibility that goes along with those instincts. She is young still and and you did just adopt her so i to would not discount her yet. She could just have a higher threshold- I take it she was not wagging her tail at the creep.glad your safe!
 

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Dang. That sounds like some coocooloo homeless guy. If That happened to Inga and I she would have hit the glass showing the two inch fangs. She didn't used to be like that. Last summer in Oregon I was at the laundromat and Inga was in the back of the truck. I looked out and saw two homeless guys approaching holding something out to her. (drugs? poison?) She was just looking at them. I yelled Hey! Get away from my dog! She looked at me, then at them, then started in with the the big girl bark. Ever since she has been bum reactive. On the west coast, this is a good thing.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hi .. thanks for your reply... :) she greets everyone with a wag ears back ect.....I am home when this happens.. she is not a barker my sister and I live together and her chi barks far more than Mazzy. I live in a condo so she does not have access to a large yard (unfortunately) she has barked at unknown situations twice.... both times at night and ran to the window in my bedroom... 2nd floor window.. I did not see anyone... but I praised her well.. I live in a fairly busy area so I am going to guess some random person walking by....Also one night ( this was her first week with me ) I had her out on leash to go to the bathroom and this guy came out with his dog as well and I think surprised her ( and me) she growled but did nothing else... but it may have been the dog since she is a little leash reactive to dogs she does not know... (we are working on that as well) she is fine off leash...
 

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LOL..... yep. this was in Fife Wa.... Tacoma is bad except for the north end... Seattle is out of control..even at Pike Place sad to say.... as far as bums..ect.... Thanks for your reply ... to be honest she was behind me when the weirdo approached... I dont know if she wagged her tail... I just heard nothing from her... she did wag her tail at the manager , but I had unrolled my window at that point.. and the manager acknowledged her... the weirdo did not..
 

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I actually dont want a protection trained dog.. but was just curious at her non reaction.... the local German Shepherd club is doing a temperament test in July .. I think I am going to attend with her.... mainly curious about her reaction to the aggressive stranger part of the test.... will post results !!
 

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Always fun to try to do things at work... lol been there... but thanks for reaching out... I may try a local club for imput... def going to have her temperament tested... local club offering this in July.. I was so focused on the guy I did not see her reaction .. she was behind the drivers seat... I had unrolled my window for mgr.. and mgr acknowledged her so she def wagged her tail..
 

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Yes, the temperament test should show you what you want to know!

I had my Showline female tested. She is also my hearing ear dog, so I don't want her going after random strangers in public!

When the 3 shots were fired, she wanted to go behind the blind to see where the were coming from. When the bad guy came out yelling and pounding the ground with a stick, she took a half step backwards in surprise, then looked up at me, as if to ask, "Hey, do I need to worry about him?" I showed no reaction, so she just continued to watch him closely until he disappeared.

The tester said she was the perfect dog for what I was using her for! He's the president of a local schutzhund club, so I trust his judgement.
 

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I can't speak for everyone but for me it isn't that I don't believe in alpha's it's that the term gets misused. Most canines live in family groups and while there is an "alpha" it's usually actually a female, the mother of younger pack members and she seldom rules by throwing her weight around but rather is accorded a maternal respect. Alpha males are in reality the equivalent of her hired muscle. She chooses the den site and decides who her mate will be. She generally eats first, because she has pups to feed not because she's pushy. It's a survival thing not a dominance thing.
Domestic dogs who would fill alpha positions are not the noisy, pushy, bully ones. They are the ones who are calm and quiet and who other dogs gravitate to and defer to.
The reason Alpha theory doesn't work between humans and dogs is because A) dogs are born with positional personalities and B) We are not dogs.
Trainers citing alpha type training are ill informed and their technics can do more harm then good.

With regards to your dog, she may protect you and she may not. Don't discount the quiet ones and don't assume her easy going nature will hold under a threat. I have long been of the belief that any loved dog who is bonded to their family will do their utmost to defend them.
But also don't assume that any GSD will show protective instinct. In BYB dogs especially the overwhelming genetic hold over seems to be herding, not biting.
 

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We do an alpha-like thing. Humans are dominant. Its not alpha rolling and meanness dominance, its that Nothing In Life Is Free. She is required to do something to get something. Training happens every time we go out and she works for praise and release (lets go and be a dog). She can't go out the door ahead of us, she waits for further instruction. She can't get on the furniture. She eats after we do (usually). We all enjoy ice cream and strawberries/peanut butter bone together after dinner, however. I think this is refered to as pack structure.
 

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When I was a youngster I used to work in a kennel,when the boss left of a night,me and a friend used to see what a lot of these dogs reactions were to the guy walking them (some were boarded 5 days a week year round,so knew us well) being challenged/shouted at/approached aggressively by a man in a balaclava carrying a stick, while on their final walk of the night.

We done this with probably 100's of dogs in the time I was there,if the dog wasn't a dog trained for it/used in security (many were) it was very rare they rose to the challenge.

Most were just pets,and of those pets I found the best by a clear margin were terriers,mastiffs and Rottweilers.

Maybe with their owners on the other end of the lead,or on their own property they'd be different,all I know is what I seen myself.
 

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When I was a youngster I used to work in a kennel,when the boss left of a night,me and a friend used to see what a lot of these dogs reactions were to the guy walking them (some were boarded 5 days a week year round,so knew us well) being challenged/shouted at/approached aggressively by a man in a balaclava carrying a stick, while on their final walk of the night.

We done this with probably 100's of dogs in the time I was there,if the dog wasn't a dog trained for it/used in security (many were) it was very rare they rose to the challenge.

Most were just pets,and of those pets I found the best by a clear margin were terriers,mastiffs and Rottweilers.

Maybe with their owners on the other end of the lead,or on their own property they'd be different,all I know is what I seen myself.
No offence but if I was paying to board my dog and someone pulled this crap with it there would be **** to pay. It's irresponsible and potentially damaging. It serves no real purpose and could have horrible consequences.
My trained dog would stroll happily with someone else but saw no earthly reason to do anything more. We experimented a few times and couldn't even get her to do building checks/check doors for another handler.
 

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Always fun to try to do things at work... lol been there... but thanks for reaching out... I may try a local club for imput... def going to have her temperament tested... local club offering this in July.. I was so focused on the guy I did not see her reaction .. she was behind the drivers seat... I had unrolled my window for mgr.. and mgr acknowledged her so she def wagged her tail..
The temperament test is always interesting, and I think its worth doing. If you want to try training in IPO, give it a try if you have access and have fun with it, but remember its a club getting together to do something they enjoy and have in common. Whether or not someone wants to give their time helping you figure things out with your dog? They may, they may not.

As far as will she protect you? As a general statement, I'd say no. She would have shown it with that stranger and with the manager. People can probably give examples of the dog that differentiates between threat and non threat, so they kiss babies and bite bad guys, but what you are more likely to see is the dog who is willing to confront the threat, will show that in any similar circumstance. She wouldn't distinguish between one stranger and another that easily.
 

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No offence but if I was paying to board my dog and someone pulled this crap with it there would be **** to pay. It's irresponsible and potentially damaging. It serves no real purpose and could have horrible consequences.
My trained dog would stroll happily with someone else but saw no earthly reason to do anything more. We experimented a few times and couldn't even get her to do building checks/check doors for another handler.
We were young and naive,though we weren't cruel to the dogs and backed off straight away if the dog showed it was scared through it's bark or body language.

The dogs almost all felt threatened themselves to a degree and the vast majority wanted to get out of there and most of the others didn't even realise the man approaching while shouting and banging a stick around was a threat.

There's no point in lying to ourselves and thinking you have a security measure when in reality it'll be heading for the hills at the first sign of a real threat or stood around wagging it's tail.
 

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I actually dont want a protection trained dog.. but was just curious at her non reaction.... the local German Shepherd club is doing a temperament test in July .. I think I am going to attend with her.... mainly curious about her reaction to the aggressive stranger part of the test.... will post results !!
I taught one of my dogs to bark aggressively on a signal from me. It was useful if I was walking around at night and just didn't like the looks of something. Basically all I did was made a quiet "Tsst" sound and whether she could see a threat or not she would light up. A different bark then the "speak" command and she would continue until given a command to quiet. We shaped and marked the behavior initially by showing her a threat.
Most undesirable company will depart when faced with an aggressive sounding dog, and the cue was quiet enough that no one could really hear it accept the dog. It's really just a trick but a useful one for a deterrent.
 

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Rather than zeroing in on what you see as a negative (possible lack of protective instinct, although you really don’t know at this point) work with the positives. What Mazzy has shown you (from your post) is she’s trainable and apparently not reactive or nervous around strangers. Consider those qualities a plus because they are much easier to live with than a dog that’s reactive, timid etc.

The longer Mazzy lives with you the stronger your bond will become and while she may never really “protect” you in the sense of having the nerves to take a kick to the head from a stranger and keep on attacking, that doesn’t mean she won’t develop and grow, start to bark at strangers on your property etc. At this point in time you really don’t know what she is or isn’t capable of.

If you really needed a dog for protection you probably wouldn’t have gotten Mazzy to begin with. Keep training, building the bond and most of all, have fun with her. She's going to be what she's meant to be. :smile2:
 
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