as you know, I have two rescue rotty shepherd mixes. I've had them since they were 8 weeks old. They are now seven months old. They had a rough start to life but have been doing really well. They are two of five dogs. They have had heaps of socialisation with other dogs and people and are responsive to directions from the children and I. They are walked every day and I am always in training mode with my dogs.
I had my sister and family visit yesterday. They have not seen the pups since they were a few months old, but the pups responded in a friendly way and then went on with their day, which is how they behave around guests generally. Everyone else left and my sister and I spent a couple of hours together, including taking all the dogs for a walk and then coming back to eat dinner.
I went out to pick up some of our older kids from town, leaving my sister behind with all the dogs, who were sleeping (it was fairly late, about ten, when I left).
I have a new puppy on trial and she was crated and sleeping.
My sister was reading in the lounge and when the puppy got up, she stood up to take her outside to go for a wee. When she did, the two shepherd rottie pups woke up and started barking and growling at my sister.
She said they looked fearful, but defensive and stood a fair distance from her, but she thought they were behaving as though she was an intruder. She got pretty scared and she told them repeatedly to go outside, which they eventually did. They barked at her from outside for a few minutes and then when they had stopped and calmed down, she let them back in and they reverted back to their usual behaviour and slept.
I feel terrible, as they have never done that before. I can only assume that they got confused when they woke up and I wasn't there and she was, but it has got me really worried. The only similiar behaviour I've seen in them is at the dog park when they bark at people/dogs they don't know, for which they are corrected and they then carry on as usual. They have never growled at anyone at all and if anything, they are reserved around other people.
I am pretty intolerant of any unstable behaviour in my dogs and I am devastated that the first time my sister was looking after them, this should happen. I can't blame her for being scared and upset.
I want to take absolute responsibility for what happened and I don't want to make any excuses for the dogs just because they are rescues either.
In all the years of owning dogs, I've never had this happen and I feel like they are untrustworthy until I address the behaviour. I need training advice on how to teach them that this is undesirable behaviour and I certainly wouldn't want to have them keep on doing this kind of thing.
What does everyone think?