Why did my dog attack?

asked 2020-10-29 13:35:01 -0600

First, thanks for reviewing my question.

-Note my female dog is not pregnant and is not in her menstruation period cycle I believe.

One 3yr old female GSD 80lb +-10lb. She has everything taken care of medically. Has been socially acceptable towards people. Also towards dogs both male and female. Large and small. Never once have witnessed hostile body language or audible cue's towards another dog.

Some relevant information regarding the incident. The children taunt her on a regular basis only to get her to respond to either growling or barking once. Then leave her alone. I believe they want to see how much they can get away with before she reacts. This behavior is not observed when myself or any other adult walks by her bowl. I assume because we have no interest in bothering her when she is eating, but when we do approach her bowl she seemingly knows not to express that behavior towards us. That could be the "pecking" order of her perception of how the house is. Adults, female dog and then the children. She has never bit anyone. Aside from playful bites toward the children only. She has be introduced to the neighbor's dogs. 2 male dogs both younger than her. It went smoothly. She knows to stay within our yard even though there is no physical barrier. Boy, did that take a lot of positive training with her to establish an imaginary line that she knows not to cross.

Incident 10/29/20 08:45 The female dog was eating her morning breakfast. Kibble and one egg. The children were actively challenging her for her breakfast. Aggressive behavior, body language, and an audible bark was observed. Wife was outside getting into the car leaving the door open but the screen door closed. The windows were open and the neighbor's male dog was heard outside in our yard. The male dog got loose from their backyard. When she heard this it was "DEFCON 1" for her. Ears up and that GSD stance. The children opened the screen door unknown to them that the male dog was outside. She regularly escorts my wife and children to and from the car whenever they leave or come back. This is all second hand information by the way. I was on the opposite side of the house in another room listening to Tears for Fears - Everybody wants to rule the world. Only did I witness what I'd always fantasied what she would do to a wild rabbit if she ever caught one when we go on our daily walks in the desert together. It was over in 5 sec. She came back submissive and looked like she knew she F@#$%* up.

Could this incident be the result of all the wrong factors happening at the worst moment? Is she over protective? Early signs of rabid? Wild instincts. Feedback would be appreciated. Thanks!

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She reacted perfectly, she did a German Shepard's job. A German Shepard protects their pack, in human words who they live with, family. No human was there so she protected your kids. You were not there and your wife was not there. Think of someone trying to hurt your family that with a dog though.

Whimsical G.'s profile image Whimsical G.  ( 2021-04-20 11:42:09 -0600 ) edit

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answered 2021-04-20 11:35:45 -0600

If your dog attacked the neighbor's loose dog in this situation. She did not f#ck up(sorry the way I speak. Yeah, I have to talk like this to my neighbors so they back off and let me walk a dog. We are nice to each other they just nit pick my dogs I sit). She did not mess up though. You did a little bit. Do not let anyone touch the dog's food. It does not matter who they are. The dog eating should be left alone. I dog board and I tell everyone the dog's eating when they are. It is important the dog has their food left alone. They will protect their food.

But the situation. She was just protecting your kids from an intruder. To you, the loose dog was your neighbor's dog. To her, it was just a dog who could put your kids in danger. But she was just doing her job. She is a German Shepard they have a natural instinct to protect. She does not see the neighbor's dog as the neighbor's dog. She saw an intruder. She knew your kids were with her and she protected them. To her, she is in a pack and she defended that pack. Also, she defended the pack's territory. The territory being the backyard. The house, front yard, and backyard are territory to the dog.

You can not think that a dog sees everything as you do. Put yourself in a dog's shoes or mind.

Like you said she took the GSD stance and it was done perfectly. To her, the neighbor's dog was an intruder and she just acted just right. She was aware your kids were in the middle so it was from in the house to out the house. Your dog is first, your kids 2nd and in the middle and in the backyard neighbor's dog, 3rd.

She put herself between your kids and the dog intruder. In your eyes the neighbor's dog

Dog's need their owner or pet mom or dad to introduce each other if not they can not just come over and yes the dog will defend. They are not like people. If your neighbor says but they know each other and have met. Say what they saw was a loose dog outside and your kids were the only ones there. A loose dog is an intruder, lots of people do not understand just because they met before. They need to meet with their owner not just by themselves and the owners think everything is fine.

This is dangerous thinking it should be fine just because they know each other. Once again your dog saw a loose dog, an intruder they did the right thing. Also, you and your wife were not there with your dog and the kids and there was a loose dog. Your kids opened the door. A loose dog was outside. Yes, this was a dangerous situation for your kids. Your dog protected them. She is ... (more)

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answered 2021-04-27 00:39:45 -0600

Dogs know the difference between adults and children.(Human or animal) So When she meets younger dogs she isn't going to display any negative behaviors because she knows they are younger.

She attacked the dog because he stepped on your property. She was already aware and on alert because your wife was outside so The neighbors dog getting out was was just a situation that she was "waiting for". By waiting for I mean she was already on go . Think of it like the secret service (hope for the best prepare for the worst) with 100 times better hearing and awareness.

My assumption is that the aggressive behavior, bark and body language is because the screen door was open. The kids were taunting her and she was telling them to pay attention because more important things were going on. It could have also been in response to the neighbors dog barking. The male dog May have been challenging her. She attacked him because he was in her territory.

Dogs are extremely empathic. I am willing to guess that whoever stopped it or intervened displayed panic or anger towards her. Either she didn't get the positive reinforcement that she was looking for or she could feel that you guys were not happy. Which is why she came back sad and remorseful.

If she signaled to get outside your kids probably thought she was trying to get to your wife and recognized it as regular behavior. However the missed cue was the Aggressive behavior, body language, and an audible bark. She was already clearly upset.

The only mistake that you guys are making is letting the children agitate her (jokingly or not). They are literally pissing her off To see how far she will go.

Regardless if they knew the other dog was outside or not she had already displayed signs of being agitated & they just let her outside. She was already annoyed & nothing was done to calm her temperament.

The reality is just because they stop /leave her alone does not mean that she has fully calmed down. Just like humans animals hold feelings. So purposefully pissing her off isnt a joke. Even if they are just playing and testing her limits growls and barks are warning signals. If she does hurt one of them one day it would not be a flip or wild instincts it is simply her being fed up! Your kids are provoking her and unnerving on a regular basis. If they were not they would have been able to recognize that something was wrong and calmed her down.

On a serious note regardless of what they feel is A good stopping point or joking you can never assume the same for a dog. One day they could go to do their normal jokes and she just bites instead of her "usual" warning bark. Her only biting at the children wasnt playful it was a warning. If she was playfully biting she would do it ... (more)

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