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Insights to 10 month old Female Aggression

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  • Insights to 10 month old Female Aggression

    I'm looking for some possible insight about what may be causing my female Dane's increasing aggressiveness towards people who visit our home. We have taken her to a basic training class and we have a trainer and behaviorist coming to our home for an initial assessment/consultation this weekend, however, I wanted some thoughts on what could be going on with her.

    Gracie is 10 months old and we got her from her sire's owner at 15 weeks old. She has always been skiddish and generally more fearful of things compared to other dogs I have had, but she has always been very sweet and trusting of my parents and I, who she lives with. When we initially got her we had family come over and visit and she would back away from them and duck away when they went to pet her (especially if they went to pet her on the head), but she would be willing to take treats they offered to her. We never forced her to be pet if she didn't want to be. We have taken her out in public and she has never been aggressive, but we can tell she is nervous, so we try to get her out, but not overwhelm her. The aggression with anyone who comes to the house really came on our radar about 2-3 months ago after some incidents when people have come to the door and she barks, lunges, and the hair on her back stand up.

    While this behavior is clearly something we cannot- and will not- tolerate and will be getting help from professionals this week, I wondered if other factors could be playing into this situation. She has not had her first cycle yet and I wonder if some of this is a sign it might be starting. I've also read on other threads in this forum that some dogs go through some stages of fear and/or protectiveness around their first birthday.

    Does anyone have any thoughts or experience with this? If you have experience with this type of situation, were you able to get your dog to co-exist peacefully with visitors in your home? Thank you for any and all thoughts!
    Last edited by Olivia.B; 11-06-2019, 08:03 PM.

  • #2
    your girl is at the right age to be experiencing some fear but what you are describing seems to be over the top especially since you indicate she has always been skittish. temperament can be, and very often is, genetic. do you know anything about the sire and dam as far as temperament?

    when people are greeting dogs, reaching over the top to pet their head can be intimidating to an already fearful dog (or any dog, for that matter). it's better to reach down and pet the dog's chest.

    until you get the behaviorist involved, i would try to keep her interactions with people outside her immediately family to a minimum. the last thing you want to do is to perpetuate her reactions by exposing her to people she will likely react to. this includes having others come to your house, if it's possible to avoid that.

    the behaviorist will likely give you some training methods to lessen her reaction to people coming to the door, i.e., having her sit and wait instead of charging at the door. i hope you get some answers and that the behaviorist will be a big help.


    • #3
      Totally agree with Charlene.. In dog language reaching over the top of the head or directly at the head/face is considered rude.. It is best not to allow people to do this or to try to pat her at all at this point.
      Dale AKC CGC Evaluator
      Associate Member GDCNE
      Member GSPCA
      Member NAVHDA
      Member Central Maine Kennel Club
      High Hopes Great Danes & German Shorthairs


      • #4
        My Lily, now 15 months, mirrors yours pretty much. She showed those same signs at about the same age...and still does, but getting better. She was spayed at 1 year and that has made no noticeable difference. What has helped is that she is now in her 6th week of obedience class with our local kennel club. Lots of dogs, lots of strangers. I was afraid she would act out, but she really has been pretty good. I also take her, almost every day, for walks downtown and at our local camping site where there are lots of people and dogs. She is not cured, but doing better. I must admit though, that I am retired and have plenty of time to work with her. That, I think, is the real difference. She is at my side almost all the time now.