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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello! First time posting here, abs looking forward to the help.

We have a three year old female Anatolian Shepard. She’s a good dog, but has one issue, especially towards men, myself included. She’s REALLY good about being protective of our daughters, (13 and 11), and will get between any guy and them.
The problem is, she’s that way towards me also. If I’m wrestling or chasing them, she’s on me nipping at me and barking. If I just go into their rooms, she’ll follow me and has that look like “don’t think about getting close to them...”
Her other issue is when I get up in the mornings, she’ll sneak into our room and get up on our bed. I don’t allow that, but when I try to move her, she’ll growl and this morning she actually nipped at my hand. Im worried one of these days she’s going to go farther.
Any suggestions on how to show her she’s not in charge without spanking her, (which I know does nothing).

Thanks in advance!
 

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Well, it is part of the breed, although it really shouldn't be directed at family members. It's difficult to tell if she's just being the "fun police" and wanting to be a part of it or actually concerned without seeing it, but I would consult a behaviorist for advice in this matter. In the meantime, if you're going to rough house with your children, it might be best to put the dog up to avoid any accidents...

As for not wanting to get off the bed, I would teach an "Off" command. Lure her off the bed with a treat, then lure her to her own bed. Many dogs don't like to be pushed or shoved or physically moved, so luring them with a treat is the best bet for all involved. Praise and reward her for staying on her own bed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Great advice, thank you. That actually worked this morning when she snapped at me. I said let’s go outside, and she got up.
It’s unfortunate because she’s a good dog, and I like that she’s protective of the girls. I brought this on us by “training” her the wrong way when she was little. I’d wrestle with the girls and when she’d growl or get close to me, I’d compliment her... I was trying to get her to be a protector of the girls, but it worked the wrong way. That was wrong, so I don’t blame her. Now I just need to figure out how to keep her from nipping because it’s getting worse.
And yes, I knew it’s part of her breed. It was crazy how protective she was a few weeks ago with a friends newborn we were watching. The baby was laying on the floor and our girls and two of their friends were sitting around her. Zoe had never been around the baby, but anytime any of the girls would move towards the baby, Zoe would actually sit on them keeping them from getting closer to the baby....
 

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Okay, since you're asking for advice - no baby should be lying on the floor in the same room with a large dog. I don't care how wonderful, protective, gentle or whatever other adjective you want to use for the dog it is. Maybe nothing would ever go wrong. If it does, it will be devastating and irreparable.

For your other problems, I second Lillith about manipulating the environment. Don't roughhouse with your daughters with the dog present. Put the dog outside, shut her somewhere she won't see, etc.

Bed. I'd do something so she can't get on the bed. You say she sneaks into your room, so she's not sleeping there. Keep the bedroom door shut, get a baby gate across it if you don't want it shut, etc.

Lastly, yes, to the behaviorist. You have a large dog whose very breed makes her prone to too intense guarding behavior. Make sure you consult a certified veterinarian behaviorist, not just someone who has decided to put the "dog behaviorist" label on themselves. It's not a regulated profession.
 

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Based on what you are saying she needs clarity and boundaries. This means consistent handling with no grey areas.

Use a crate.

Crate her at night. No sneaking on the bed. Eliminates the entire bed conversation.

You must be consistent with boundaries and training including your own.

When you tell us this dog places himself between your daughters and other people, you are describing a confident dog. The rest of what you describe sounds like guarding, not protecting. There is a difference.

You need a knowledgeable pro to help you understand this dog. This is not a Labrador or a Golden Retriever. You need to understand what you have and what you need to do.

The problem is, she’s that way towards me also. If I’m wrestling or chasing them, she’s on me nipping at me and barking. If I just go into their rooms, she’ll follow me and has that look like “don’t think about getting close to them...”
This has to stop. The dog sees you as aggressive and dangerous and does not trust you. If the dog bites you it is entirely on you although the dog will pay for it with his life.

Again, you need to know what you have and it is not a Labrador or Golden Retriever.
 

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We have a three year old female Anatolian Shepard. She’s a good dog, but has one issue, especially towards men, myself included. She’s REALLY good about being protective of our daughters, (13 and 11), and will get between any guy and them.
Good dog. lol

A lot of advice here already is great. The word you want to search for is "resource guarding" in addition to the protectionism. My puppy does this with objects he finds while walking and will hold on to them with the rightious fury of his forefathers, often attacking (he's from a herding breed which survived by guarding its food in the fields). Until recently, when it got out of control, I accepted this as an animal instinct we couldn't train out of him.

Now, however, I routinely practice "trade", "leave it", and others. I block off access to the house arbitrarily unless he's been behaving exceptionally well. I regularly trade toys away from him and swap them with different ones for no reason other than for the sake of doing it. He's told to wait/sit until I issue a release command when I feed him. And I make him wait at the front door for me to first walk through until he can go outside. The effect all of this training had was that he sees me as someone who can give or take away his resources and he respects me as alpha dog enough to where I can overcome his resource guarding instincts when they happen. All of the small things added up, and the problem is getting manageable.

He might see your family as his resources that he has a duty to protect instead of you. Maybe something I said here will be helpful for coming up with creative solutions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the suggestions and advice.

Storyist- I appreciate you bringing up the baby on the floor discussion. I’ve raised enough kids to know what’s safe, and what isn’t.... I’m noticing I’m becoming the “Safety Officer” at home.... I would never leave a baby on the floor alone ever. The girls and my wife were sitting around her doing what girls do to babies; cuddling, cooing, etc. I only brought that up to describe how protective she is even to kids that aren’t hers. But seriously, thank you, I should have expanded more on that.
As far as crating her at night, I like her out in case someone makes the bad decision to break in. She would be all over them, and her bark for even those that come close to the yard would probably make someone think twice.
For those saying to put her away when I’m playing with the girls, I’ve quit wrestling with them because I do t want to encourage her behavior. The problem is even if I walk into their rooms, or I’m giving them a hug, she’s right there, staring at me, basically daring me to do something...
Again, I like that she’s protective, but I’ll follow any advice given in the previous posts to make sure it gets better.
 
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