Pudgy Pets - German Shepherds ??

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02-04-2010, 01:52 PM
This might be a dumb question.
We just adopted (3 weeks ago) a 1 y/o GS who just had pups almost a week ago. We have a 1 y/o chocolate Lab also who is outdoors.
She has become very protective, not only with her pups but also with us. She will not allow the Lab to come near us when we take her out to potty. If he comes within 4 ft of us, she will go after him. He's so scared of her.
Before the pups, they both got along and would run and sit together outside. Even now, I've let her have her freedom outside for a while (while I stay indoors) and they're best buds. But if either us or the kids go out, he's public enemy #1. LOL
We plan to get her fixed once we get the go ahead, which is 3 months from when the pups were born.
Is this just hormones or is this the GS personality?

02-04-2010, 03:55 PM
It probably has a little to do with hormones but seeing as though she did just have pups but I would say she is reacting this way because the GS thinks that she is the pack (family) leader and that you need protecting whereas it really should be the other way around. You need to learn how to become the pack leader.

Because your other dog is not an "inside" dog like the GS the lab is not part of your pack (family).

I know this sounds kinda silly but dogs are not humans, they don't think the same way people do, underneath their domesticated exterior they really are just like wolves.

What I would suggest is practicing more dominant behaviour over your GS. As soon as you go out in the yard with her poke her in the side (just enough to get her attention of course) and at the same time say NO in a really deep voice. But you have to do this before she reacts to the other dog so she knows you have the situation under control. If she turns away to pay attention to the lab do the same thing until she "submits" i.e. calms down a little.

The GS just needs to be reassured that you are not going to let anything happen to her or the rest of the pack inc. the pups.. I would also suggest not letting the Lab run up the GS at free will, because this can be confrontational which may be why the GS is reacting. Try and practice dominance over the lab as well, if the lab comes running towards you both, even if it is in a playful manner, step in front of the GS and so NO in a really deep voice directed at the Lab and if your dog knows how to sit or lay give the command and tell them to stay.

It will take a few times but eventully she will learn to trust that you will make sure nothing happens to her, her puppies or yourself. She will be a lot less tense and much more relaxed.

You may think this is really crazy, and I thought it was too, until I began dominance training my dog, but you have to put yourself in the same situation.

Let's say your family was a pack of wolves and you just had puppies, if a wolf that wasn't in your pack came running up to you, no matter how friendly they may seem, and the pack leader didn't step in to protect you, you would have to take matters into your own hands right to protect your group right??

I know Dominance training doesn't sound very nice, I mean the the word "dominant" sounds horrible like the act of dominance training would mean punishment or acting really horrible towards your dog but it really isn't. It just means training your dog in a more dog friendly kind of way, a language that they actually understand and respect. I would never hit or abuse my dog in any way and I find this training the best type I have ever used.
I assume that people who use positive reinforcement to train their dogs i.e. using food, think they are being kind too their dogs but feeding your dog overly processed treats constantly is that not cruel??

Anyway - that's kind of off point, you should do whats best for your dog - if you would like to discuss more let me know.

I hope this helps :)

02-04-2010, 04:17 PM
The issue we have with her that I've never had with any other dog is this. when we first brought her in and we would take her out to potty, we would take her on a leash to prevent her from rolling in the mud after we washed her up. Well the whole day we were doing this she would not do anything, we would tell her "Get busy." But she seems so eager to please that she patiently sits in front of you waiting for you to give her some command which is what we're doing but she just wouldn't do it. Finally we just resorted to letting her run free outside and she would do her thing in a couple minutes and we let her back in.
I was planning on getting obedience classes but we just had no clue when she was due, now I want to wait till the pups are gone to do it but I will try what you said.
FYI, I completely understand what you said about dogs not being humans. :)

02-05-2010, 11:25 AM
I see, they really can be tough sometimes eh :)

Never know what they are thinking or what they actually want to do.

02-05-2010, 11:56 AM
LOL if only they could talk. :)

02-06-2010, 02:51 PM
There is a good Ceaser Milan (Dog Whisperer) video on Hulu about mother dogs being "agressive" toward strange dogs. I think this will continue until she has stopped lactating. I agree with the part about "she sees you as part of the pack." It is always a good idea to keep mother and other dogs separate until the pups are weaned (the milk dries up).

02-24-2010, 05:53 AM
GS dogs tend to have a lot of aggression problems, often times it's fearful aggression. They feel out of control/not secure so they react by getting aggressive. Our dog has had a few little problems with it within his own pack, he's pretty good with everyone else. It got better for us after we neutered him and moved his cage (aka den lol) back into the area he's at all the time (it wasi n the living room the one room they're not allowed in because of the cat food/litter lol). When he starts growling we tell him to go in the cage and he goes in until he calms down. He's more secure in there because he knows it's his home, silly thing.

But it sounds like a lot of the problem is the pups, she's being protective of them and because she just gave birth and is being all motherly she probably feels like the rest of the family is part of her pack that she needs to protect. This probably won't get any better until the pups are weaned and out of the picture. After they're gone (assuming you're not keeping them) and she's spayed see if the aggression issues get any better. If they don't you should call a trainer/behavorist. Aggression issues can be very serious if not dealt with properly, you don't want to end up with a dog who might attack another dog, especially your own! Until you see how she is without the puppies I'd keep her and the lab seperate. Bring him inside when you take her outside, or take her for walks away from him. Good luck!