My dog growls at men - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 01-22-2008, 02:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My friend M is a dog person. Dogs like him, he likes dogs. He's calm and confident and somewhat aloof. He was our housemate for several years. We're still very close.

About our dog: Her name is Elly. She's a 3yo german shepherd from a gsd rescue. She's well mannered and polite. She knows basic obedience commands and she stands for grooming--when I trimmed her nails she even handed me her feet. I don't know how she fell into hard times, but I'm glad she's here with us now. We've had her for 3wks.

We also have Koda, a 3yo male lab/shep. He's solid, no issues at all.

So, M came to visit. The kids were in bed, everything was calm and quiet and good. She greeted him, he sat down, got up to get a beer, sat back down, petted the dogs, normal moving around the house just being at home stuff. We were all happy and relaxed.

The baby woke up and I brought him to the rocking chair to nurse him back to sleep. We were talking politics, and it had gotten a little heated, but we're accustomed to disagreeing with each other, no big deal. The conversation moved on, and so we're sitting there, sleeping baby on my lap, and M gets up to leave. Koda followed him over to the door. Elly got up and came to me. I pushed her away b/c I was holding the baby (she's usually pretty good about avoiding him,) but rather than go to M or go lay down as I expected, she took a stance between M and me and growled at him.

I told her no, she quit, he left, that was that.

A couple of days later another friend came to visit. He's loud and doesn't have good dog manners, and they have a 4yo...so my intention was to let the dogs say hi, and then put them in their crates. I don't let dogs rush the door.
So Koda was in down stay, and I had Elly's collar. They came in, the people greeted, I let the dogs up, the dogs greeted. Elly sniffed, he petted her and talked to her, she came around and sniffed his wife, she petted her, Elly went back to the man, lowered her ears and growled when he extended his hand the second time. I corrected her (I said no and body checked her (my legs, her shoulders) she stopped, sat down and wagged her tail. I put her in her crate as planned, no hard feelings.

I'm wondering what is going on, and what I should do next. I think I'm doing the right thing, but I need reassurance. I also want to know if I'm totally off!

Any insight is so appreciated!

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#2 of 7 Old 01-22-2008, 02:48 AM
 
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I'm going to let the GSD people give you more advice--speaking of GSD people, where's Sailor (with Roark)? Anybody know and want to PM me? but... my first move would be to contact the rescue for advice. They spent more time with her than anyone else, and unlike those of us who are just giving advice from afar they actually know her personality. If it's a good rescue, they'll have VERY good gsd trainers on board.
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#3 of 7 Old 01-22-2008, 03:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, I knew it wasn't a good rescue when I took her.

I recognized the yeast in her ear & the rescuer blew it off as dirt. Three days later I wondered why she was so interested in her hiney, and when I took a look, she had an abscessed anal gland. To be fair, I'd checked her out thoroughly and I'd been watching her carefully & I didn't see any s/s of it, so I can't fault him for missing it.

She's on the mend. She's completed 10 days of antibiotics and the yeast is abating. She's putting on weight.

The rescuer isn't a trainer and he doesn't work with one. He'd give me his advice, but honestly, I'd rather have yours. Or Sailor's.

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#4 of 7 Old 01-22-2008, 12:02 PM
 
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Was she possibly abused by a man before she was rescued?

Our old dog used to bark her head off at anyone that was wearing a hat.

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#5 of 7 Old 01-22-2008, 12:30 PM
 
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She sounds like a good girl to me, especially if she's stopping immediately when corrected. I wonder if someone has done a little work with her, but never followed through. She's trying to find her place in the pack and you are showing her where it is. It's a short trip from "Stop growling" to her knowing she hasn't the need to growl as long as you're comfortable. Cut her off IMMEDIATELY every time she does this when it's not warranted. Then put her away. You two will get good at reading each other. I know some people even come up with a word to let their dog know that this guy is ok. (I don't use it, but some people will teach their dog, "Friend." Of course, you reserve the right to change your mind about said friend. )

You're on the right track. She's just being who she is. She's just been there three weeks so she's testing to see where she fits. Stay right on top of this now because it will be harder to fix later. If you get her while she's trying to figure it out, she'll understand sooner.

About her yeasty ears... What is she eating? Raw-feeding has cured many ear problems.
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#6 of 7 Old 01-22-2008, 12:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I doubt she's been abused. She's the kind of dog who would be ruined by abuse. She's been neglected, no doubt. Abused, I really don't think so.

She's never had an issue with my dh. He and M are often mistaken for brothers.
They have the same build, they dress the same, carry themselves in much the same way...really, it's no wonder they're best friends.

I guess I'm most surprised she growled at M. That she growled at my other friend isn't ok, but I can understand why she might feel threatened by him.

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#7 of 7 Old 01-22-2008, 12:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We feed Nutro. I'm close to deciding to go raw, but I'm not there yet. I'm thinking I might do it in the spring.

I know there are better kibbles than Nutro, I just have a hard time swallowing the price. If the yeast remains a problem, I'll take her off grain completely, even if I don't go raw.

If that's the case, that someone has done a little protective work with her, what else should I watch out for?

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