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Howdy! I just brought me home a great little GS female puppy. 4 months old, black & brown (FYI: I named her Chewy since she loves chewing on my fist and looks like a mini-Chewbacca!) Anyway, I'm sure these questions have already been asked and answered a million times but I'm a lazy sloth and would love a Plain and Simple answer for these questions/scenarios. I need input from veteran dog-owners who KNOW HOW TO RAISE AN INDOOR DOG!Any help would be GREATLY appreciated!
1. I leave for work at 9:00 in the morning, get home at 9:00 at night.
2. I don't have a crate, just a split-bathroom (one room for the tub/sinks, one room for the bowl. (only room in house not carpeted)
3. I have a seperate garage
4. I sleep from about 2:00am to 8:30am
5. I take her out to do her duty and run around for about 20 minutes before work. After work, I take her back out for an hour or so.

There's the current situation, now for the questions:

1. When should I feed & water her?
2. How much?
3. When is it alright to let her roam around the living room, other rooms
4. What is an x-pen?
5. If I leave her in the garage while I'm gone, she has about 1000 sq. ft. to roam around in, but she'll probably do her duty on the floor, which might send mixed signals (indoors vs. outdoor doodie/wee-wee)....what should I do abotu the time I'm gone? I can't leave her penned up in the bathroom all that time so...
6. what's the best place to leave her during the day while I'm gone so she'll know not do do her duty inside, but yet have plenty of freedom without being all couped up?

Sorry for the complexity, I'd just like some input from some veteran dog-owners who know how to raise an indoor dog! THANKS!
 

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Feeding - it is often recommended to feed young puppies about three times a day. Don't know how well this works for you, as you're gone for half the day. Not really sure how much.

It is alright to let her roam when you are confident that she knows where she is supposed to go to the bathroom. Also when you know that she isn't going to chew, eat things, etc

An X-Pen is kind of like a playpen for dogs. They're cheap and sometimes used to confine dogs when crates are not an option.
Those are rabbits but you get the idea. lol.

Honestly, you're not home ALOT to be housetraining a 4 month old puppy. I'm not saying it's impossible, but it's going to take a lot longer. I would probably put down wee-wee pads and train her that way for now. If you have a laundry room or large bathroom, those are usually safe places to leave a puppy.
 

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12 hours is a very long time to leave a puppy, even some adult dogs can't hold it for that long. Any way you can get someone to come in during the day for a potty break?

If you leave her in the garage you'll condition her to potty on concrete floors. I did that with Penny and, even now, she still poops on concrete floors. So if you don't want that, another solution would be best.
 

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Yes, I would be interested in the garage program as with your hours it appears to be the best solution. I would also advice crate work in home as this is a fine weapon to have in your arsenal. Depending on size of garage actually a portable kennel run could be setup. You would want to be careful as to excessive heat in garage in summer. I don't worry as much about cold as heat. Feeding twice a day will work as a lot of the dog foods are pretty high powered. Now is this advice the ideal setup for pup? No but it is functional and will work, just throwing options out there for you to think about and confuse you.

Willowy
is correct about the concrete but it beats the in home dumps and I am not a fan of the pads solutions.
 

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For food, follow the recommendations on the bag and keep an eye on her weight. If she looks chubby, cut back slightly, if she looks really thing, increase it a bit. Its ok for her to be a little on the thin side though. For water, while you are home she should have it available at all times. If you are going to leave her for 12 hours with no one to stop by then she should have it then too, and you could try to train her to puppy pads or something. If you can have someone stop by then I would take the water up about 20 minutes before you leave and then they can let her have some water when they stop to let her out. I would also pick it up about 20 minutes before bed.

I would hire a dog walker to come and let her out probably twice while you are gone until she is a bit older. Then drop it down to one visit while you are gone. A 4 month old puppy can really only hold it for maybe 4 hours. Usually the visit will also include a walk which would be nice for her. Once she is 6 or 7 months old you could probably drop it down to one visit halfway through the day as she would be able to hold it longer. 12 hours would be hard for even an adult dog to make it through the day so I would keep the single visit while you have such a long shift.

If you are able to hire a dogwalker to come by then the safest place for her would be a crate and it would also help with the potty training. I honestly wouldn't leave a dog loose in the house until at least 2 years old, but all dogs are different and some might be more trustworthy earlier.

If you can't have someone stop by to let her out then I would probably teach her to potty on puppy pads and then keep her either in the bathroom or the garage (as long as it doesn't get hot during the day). Or you could try some sort of indoor do potty and put it in the garage. Many basically have fake turf over a tray and the dog goes on that.
 

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Any reason why you can't get a crate? I just got my own German shepherd puppy, and he is already potty trained, thanks to the wonders of a crate!

But if you can't get a crate, I second the suggestion for a pee pad.

Now, why haven't we seen pictures of your new pup? ;)
 

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That is along time to be alone for a baby.
With so little time, do you plan on taking the puppy to puppy class so it can learn to play with other dogs.
Having her around just you could make her a dog aggressive adult.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks a BUNCH guys! THat helps me out a good chunk. For right nor, my wife is laid-off at work, so she can take care of taking Chewy out for walks, play-time, etc. for the time being, but that won't always be the case. The probable arrangement will be me and her both leaving around 9:00am, with her coming home around 6:00. That's still a pretty good while to be outside. I had another idea that might work while we're gone. I have a carport beside my garage that just has a boat in it, the other side could be cleared out and I could put in a chain-link setup for her to stay in during the day. That'd give her about 450 sq. ft. of roaming room, plenty of open air, and plenty of shade - and the floor is gravel. It'd be a little messy cleaining it up, but at least she'd know not to crap on a concrete floor. :D Would this mess up her indoor-training at all? Right now, she'll wee-wee in her bathroom during the night (about a 5x5 square room - seperate from the tub/sink room section). She just can't hold it for that long. Accoridng to this forum, 4hrs is max time to hold it, so I don't blame her for letting it go. She always holds her duty until we take her out in the morning, which is a good sign, but I want to make sure she doesn't get conditioned improperly to think it's ok to wee-wee inside. :( At what age will she be able to hold it all night (I take her out around midnight, and my wife takes her out in the morning 6-7am) ? The puppy pad sounds like good damage, stench control, but I agree that it might make the dog think its okay to wet the great indoors instead of holding it and whining to go outside. I knew a guy once that had a full-grown male GS that would go to the back door and whine for a couple minutes, letting the guy know he wanted to go out and do his stuff. That's what I want. :D REALLY, what I eventaully would like is to be able to let her roam around INSIDE the house while we're gone, but I agree she might not be able to hold it that long. ONCE MORE OPTION: I could leave her in the garage (it's vented good enough and partially in the shade) and use a puppy pad - would this be the equivelant of training a cat to go in a litter box? If that's the case, then I'd rather leave her in the garage during the day. All the chewables, chemicals, etc. are in cabinets, she'd have plenty of room to move around, and she wouldn't stink up the floor if she kne to use the pad. How long will a dog use a pad though? As for the picture, I'm charging my camera right now guys! THANKS AGAIN and SORRY for loading you up with questions, I just want to make sure I don't condition this dog to do its duty in the wrong places. As far as aggression, I'll admit that this may be an issue. BUT, to tell you the truth, I'm mainly getting this dog for my wife while I'm at work - for protection. A couple weeks ago a guy tried to break in through the kitchen window at 3:30 AM! I grabbed my shotgun and blew a hole through the window, they caugh thim two days later and he's in the slammer. But, the damage is done. My wife just doesn't feel safe alone in the house any more. SO, if CHewy is aggressive towards strangers, then GREAT. We're not training a killer, just a protector. Chewy's mom was like that. As long as the owner was around, she was cool, but don't come knocking if the owner's gone. ::eek:
 

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If I were you I would get an alarm system and not rely on the dog for "protection." This way when you go places the dog will go with you and you will have a ton of fun. You really do not want an aggressive dog. A dog that alert barks would be fine but an aggressive dog is a serious liability.

German Shepherds do not fully mature until about 3 years old. You have a nice slate with which to write on if you choose to take the time to write things well!

In all you have good ideas but I caution against leaving a dog loose in the house during the day, even when the dog is older. A loose dog can get into all kinds of things, some of which may be deadly. German Shepherds are high drive breeds and if they get bored, they will find something to do. It is unlikely what they find to do will be something you like. My GSD is crated ddays while I am at work. I do not, nore would I, crate a dog for 12 hours. That is IMO too long on a day to day basis even for an adult dog. Mine goes 6:00AM to 4:30PM MAX. I live alone and go to work and I reasearched this a LOT b4 getting a dog. Now you have your wife to let the dog out and walk her but as you note that will change.

I hope you like to walk a LOT. This breed of dog needs lots of ecxercise, and not just letting the dog out in the yard exercise, but directed exercise such as walking. Mine gets walked about 4-5 miles a day total.. PLUS training time.

As to the long days alone, a good, solid dog kennel as described by WVasko would work (in the garage). I suggest putting pine shavings at one end to encourage the dog to pee/poop in that area. Most dogs do not like to pee/poop on concrete. I would also suggest putting a rubber "cattle mat" under the pine shavings. The chain link keneel in the car port would also work out well. Again.. put a cattle mat down under the kennel so that you can easily clean up.

Beyond all of this I strongly reommend you go to two obedience classes AT LEAST. The first you can put her in NOW (get her vaccinated and vet checked.. I assume you already have done this). After puppy class, get her through at least Beginners Obedience. This will help socialize your dog and will help you learn how to train her. I would strongly recommend your wife go with you and work with this dog as well. Dogs do not generalize behavior locationally or between people. She may learn to come when called for you but she has to realern if from your wife. Just like location.. she may learn to do things for you at home, but she will need to re-learn those same commands in other places to make her reliable everywhere.

Again, I must reiterate, you do NOT want a dog that is truly aggressive towards strangers. This is a REAL liability and if the dog should bite any stranger (your neighbor's kid for instance.. or the UPS man) you could end up in a law suit AND your dog woud likely be PTS.

The German Shepherd dog was really bred originally to tend and herd sheep and other livestock. Protection training came out of that. True protection training is a very specialized discipline and one I would never recommend it as something you "do at home."
 

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I'm sorry, but as the owner of GSDs....our dogs are not weapons. They are deterrents and nothing more, and withholding IMPORTANT SOCIALIZATION on this breed is irresponsible. No two bones about it.

This breed is NOT supposed to be about aggression! It's about STABILITY! Dogs that are trained (note the word TRAINED) in bite work HAVE to be stable tolerant dogs. Don't make your Shepherd a liability for people.
 

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One thing I forgot to mention.. Get a Crate and Crate Train your dog. There is a book you can get from www.dogwise.com called "Crate Games" to help you crate train your dog.

Since you want to train your dog to go OUTSIDE and you know she cannot hold it all night, why not get up in the middle of the night and get her out to go? In anothe 8 weeks she will be able to hold it all night if she is last out at midnight and then out again at 6:00AM. Put her in the crate and she will hold it until she can go out. Just at this stage you have to get up in the middle of the night.. that is what alarm clocks are for (and you thought alarm clocks were so you could get up to go to work.. :p)

EVERY SINGLE TIME YOUR DOG PEES IN THE HOUSE YOU HAVE MISSED A CHANCE TO TRAIN HER TO PEE OUTSIDE. EVERY TIME SHE PEES IN THE HOUSE, PEEING IN THE HOUSE IS REINFORCED.

And yeah.. what Xeph said. Absolutely what Xeph said.
 

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By the way, on this forum, caps doesn't tend to be yelling....it seems to be easier for most of us to use caps to emphasize....we tend to forget about bolding.

Protection training is about one thing and one thing only....obedience:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nX3DUHBJ1LA&feature=related

People think that protection is all about the bite when it is NOT. It is about obedience and self control of the dog. The judge does not judge how HARD the dog is biting. The only thing the judge actually counts in terms of the actual BITE is the fullness of the grip (comittment of the dog in his defense of his handler). Other than that, the judge is assessing the dog's ability to maintain a clear head and release when told, as well as the dog's ability to maintain self control when in the fuss and the decoy is not being a threat.

Tracking is about obedience and biddability.

Obedience is about obedience and biddability.

Protection is about obedience and biddability.

Get what I'm saying?

A dog like Hawk that is withheld in socialization and "trained" through lack thereof is a detriment to the breed and menace to society. Hawk himself? The epitome of a sound dog.
 

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Oh Xeph.. I remember watching a show on TV a LONG time ago about someone training "attack" dogs and how he left the dog in isolation for months until the dog was litterally a freaking nut job. The dog was originally as sound mentally and physically as any really well bred GSD.. but putting the dog in isolation just destroyed his mind.

Mind you, he was a "guard" dog and they turne dhim loose to "guard" a warehouse at night when no one was there. Problem was getting him back in his pen in the morning. They litterally had to feed him in his pen and use a guillotine door that cloesd behind him. The dog was never touched by human hands.. He was that crazed.

It broke my heart to watch that program. I was only about 10 and never had a German Shepherd but I just felt that dog was in mental agony.

To the OP.. you don't want to wthold socializing your dog to any degree. You have an absolutely wonderful breed of dog. Like I said.. you have this slate you can write anything on. Write it well and you will be amazed. These dogs never cease to amaze me.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Well I'll tell you guys what, this dog is already a BRAIN! I left her in the garage today (while me and my wife were gone). I put up all the chewables (forgot about the paper-towel dispenser - that won't happen again - OOPS!) and put all the chemicals in cabinets. I laid some newspapers on the floor (the cow-mat and wood shavings sounds like a good idea, or maybe a puppy-pad?) and she didn't leave a wet spot anywhere! My wife let her out about 6:00 and she went to her favorite spot and took a leak (the dog, not my wife :D) and did her duty just like that! You're right, she's not fond of soiling the concrete. As far as socialization goes, the compionship she has right now consists of me, my wife, my Paw and Maw (and in-laws) and two big fat cats. The cats seem to like picking and pawing with her and are otherwise annoyed at her barking and jumping around, but they get along pretty good, which is great since I need my cats to take care of the mice poulation out in the woods! I dig what you guys mean about training an attack dog. I'm not going to raise a dog-of-death, but you will NEVER know how traumatic it is on a woman unless you'd seen my wife that night about to faint when she saw somebody trying to crawl through the kitchen window. I'm fine whether the dog's present or not. But my wife doesn't feel safe alone in the house unless I'm there. Now, if I have a dog that can add some extra muscle while I'm gone, then great. I'm currently installing an alarm sys and camera system, as well as enough outside lights to light up an airport, but having a big, noisy, hairy dog adds a little extra security. I'll have my buddies over every other week or so also (two of them have kids), so the dog won't be isolated from society or be anything like that guilletine-door-dog you mentioned. Anyway, so far Chewy's learned the following commands:
AHHHHTTT!!! (means NO, especially effective when she tries eating the cat food)
GIMME FIVE!!! (yep, she knows all about it!)
GOOD CHEWY!!! (after she does her duty in the right place, comes when we call her, etc.)
ROOOAARRRR!!! (the sound my Maine Coone cat makes when Chewy gets to close to his tail! :eek:)
STAY (still working on that one :D)
C'MAHNN!!! (unless she gets distracted, she comes right over when called - I LOVE this puppy!)
Thanks again for all your help guys. BTW, when talking about the crate, when is she old enough to let out of the crate at night? She'll be restricted to about 4 rooms (chewable-free) in the house, but she'll be free to roam and patrol. What's your advice? THANKS AGAIN!
 

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but you will NEVER know how traumatic it is on a woman unless you'd seen my wife that night about to faint when she saw somebody trying to crawl through the kitchen window
Yes...I do. Don't assume that just because we don't advocate what you want out of your dog that we don't know.

I most certainly DO know...but my dogs are not weapons, and I do NOT expect them to protect me.

Two of mine have, but I did not train nor expect them to, and even then neither needed to actively engage in terms of biting.

You need to get this puppy out and expose her to EVERYTHING. Black people, white people, Asian people, Hispanic people, other dogs, cats, kids, the elderly, the infirm, those with various disabilities...it is extremely important that you do so!
 

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Agreed. Socializing her with a handful of people and two cats really isn't going to make a "protective" dog.. it's going to create a nutcase.

Shepherds are supposed to be indifferent to strangers and aloof by temperament. They're supposed to form very strong bonds with their owners. Protection work and withholding socialization are two very different things and the latter is quite irresponsible, especially given the stigmas that GSDs are still recovering from as a breed.

The dog in the house is enough. I hate to be blunt.. but if someone's going to break in, they'll either do it anyway and have a weapon powerful enough to take down the dog, or they won't do it just based on the dog's presence, NOT the dog's temperament. A dog who bites can't stop someone with a gun.

You're in the critical period for socialization.. and I really suggest you do it. Puppy classes, trips to the park, EVERYTHING.. a few people here and there at your house just doesn't cut it. You'll either wind up with a dog who barks and lunges at everything or a dog like mine who's been scared s#!tless for two years of her life of everything.

Please.. take it from people who know.. and Xeph certainly knows her stuff about GSDs
 

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Look at it this way and see if it makes sense, the more socialization you do with your pup the chances are the braver your dog becomes. The braver your dog, the better protection dog you will end up with. Many years ago in the old school days police depts had some very crazy dogs that if let loose could and did go off on innocent people. These dogs were poorly trained and had little socialization because the thoughts then were to not let dogs meet strangers at all. It was thought by meeting people the dogs would then not bite when needed. They ended up with something in those days called sharp-aggression which meant scared agressive dogs, who sometimes turned on handlers also.

This does not mean that all dogs turned out like this but people here are trying to warn you of the possibilities. Forewarned is forearmed.
 

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I must, must, MUST reiterate again that THIS is what you want:


Otherwise you get this:


So not cool.

And without the first picture, you do NOT get "protection".

Most dogs when faced with fight or flight, INCLUDING schutzhund dogs, will choose flight if they have the option. Without training, the chance of fight is significantly less, however, when your dog is well socialized and bonded to you, your family, but can ALSO tell a static difference between friend and enemy, they're at least more likely to bark at an intruder.

It is the bond between dog and family that helps out bring territoriality and protection of said family...not lack of socialization. And it should NEVER be left up to the dog to decide who gets bitten and who doesn't...that is YOUR job!

When I was heading down to TN for a job, I stopped at a truck stop. People were not particularly friendly...it's the south...."my kind" still aren't always treated the best.

It was terribly hot (at least compared to temperate WI), so I had the windows rolled down for Strauss while I got out to stretch my legs. A rather surly and unkempt trucker was making all sorts of rude comments to me, but I ignored them....that made him madder, and I got "Hey, n*****! I'm talkin' ta you!"

I was going to get back in my car, but I was being approached rather quickly. Strauss was sitting stock still in the back of the car, laid out on the seats (he's not allowed to stick his head out of the window, regardless of whether or not the car is moving). The yeller didn't see my dog, but the leash was hanging out the window, so I held on to it.

He got closer, Strauss got pissed, and he leapt through that window before I could say a damn thing about it. He NEVER made any move to bite, but he stood in front of me and barked his (wonderful) fool head off. I immediately told him to fuss and sitz, and he complied....and he sat there with a low center and a forward stare that would have put the fear of God in anyone.

The man stopped, quickly reassessed his situation, and turned the other direction.

Strauss was only 18 months old at the time. He had never been trained in protection work, and, if push came to shove, I don't believe he would have engaged the guy....but he didn't need to. His presence was a big enough deterrent because while the guy was an absolute %*@#&(%&@#*%&#@ in all other regards he was normal...aka, the big furry thing with a mouth full of teeth wasn't worth messing with.

Dogs sense vibes....they know good vibes and bad vibes, and that guy definitely sent bad vibes to my dog.

My dog is not the norm....but he exhibited a Shepherd trait in coming to his handler's aid, and exhibited the even BIGGER and more IMPORTANT trait...IMMEDIATE compliance and being called off the threat.

I will say again that my dog was NOT trained in bitework at the time, but solid obedience saved that man from a possible bite, and it put and kept me in control of the situation.

Without this:


You have NOTHING!!!!!
 

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I know a couple of German Shepherds who were deliberately undersocialised so they would be wary of strangers and good protection dogs. Let me describe these dogs to you. When they're in the house and they see a stranger, they bark, growl and generally freak out. When guests are over at their owners' houses, they freak out. When they're on walks and they see strangers approaching, they freak out. But wait, there's more! Once the stranger actually gets within 8 feet of them, they're so terrified out of their wits that they're behind their owners piddling on the floor.

A well-socialised German Shepherd is a well-behaved, stable, loyal, confident dog. Just the kind of dog that crooks don't want to mess with.

EDIT: Xeph and I posted at roughly the same time... Erm, what she said.
 

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I'm not going to raise a dog-of-death, but you will NEVER know how traumatic it is on a woman unless you'd seen my wife that night about to faint when she saw somebody trying to crawl through the kitchen window.
Been there done that. I live alone. I have 5 cats and a GSD. My dog is well socialized. I also own, and can use effectively, a .12 ga Savage Pump.

The .12 ga is NOT well socialized.

I would suggest the same for your wife along with lessons in its use and effectivness.

Women should not feel the need for man or dog as protector. They have their own brains, skills and ability for that and man and beast should beware when those brains, skills and abilities are honed!

Anyway, so far Chewy's learned the following commands:
AHHHHTTT!!! (means NO, especially effective when she tries eating the cat food)
GIMME FIVE!!! (yep, she knows all about it!)
GOOD CHEWY!!! (after she does her duty in the right place, comes when we call her, etc.)
ROOOAARRRR!!! (the sound my Maine Coone cat makes when Chewy gets to close to his tail! :eek:)
STAY (still working on that one :D)
C'MAHNN!!! (unless she gets distracted, she comes right over when called - I LOVE this puppy!) !
Then, out of that love you will socialize her and get your wife the 12 ga....

BTW, when talking about the crate, when is she old enough to let out of the crate at night? She'll be restricted to about 4 rooms (chewable-free) in the house, but she'll be free to roam and patrol. What's your advice? THANKS AGAIN!
I confine my dog at night. Some do not. She is in an area, not in a crate, at night.

When I was heading down to TN for a job, I stopped at a truck stop. People were not particularly friendly...it's the south...."my kind" still aren't always treated the best.

It was terribly hot (at least compared to temperate WI), so I had the windows rolled down for Strauss while I got out to stretch my legs. A rather surly and unkempt trucker was making all sorts of rude comments to me, but I ignored them....that made him madder, and I got "Hey, n*****! I'm talkin' ta you!"

I was going to get back in my car, but I was being approached rather quickly. Strauss was sitting stock still in the back of the car, laid out on the seats (he's not allowed to stick his head out of the window, regardless of whether or not the car is moving). The yeller didn't see my dog, but the leash was hanging out the window, so I held on to it.

He got closer, Strauss got pissed, and he leapt through that window before I could say a damn thing about it. He NEVER made any move to bite, but he stood in front of me and barked his (wonderful) fool head off. I immediately told him to fuss and sitz, and he complied....and he sat there with a low center and a forward stare that would have put the fear of God in anyone.

The man stopped, quickly reassessed his situation, and turned the other direction.
This story makes my stomach curdle.. I hate prejudice. It bespeaks of small closed minds.

Strauss, BTW, (as you already know) is just awesome. GOOD DOG! WOW!!!

Dogs sense vibes....they know good vibes and bad vibes, and that guy definitely sent bad vibes to my dog.

My dog is not the norm....but he exhibited a Shepherd trait in coming to his handler's aid, and exhibited the even BIGGER and more IMPORTANT trait...IMMEDIATE compliance and being called off the threat.

I will say again that my dog was NOT trained in bitework at the time, but solid obedience saved that man from a possible bite, and it put and kept me in control of the situation.
Emphasis added because that is what it is ALL about in a bad situation.. whether it is a jerk at a truck stop or a jerk coming thru the window in the middle of the night.
 
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