Over protective? New rescue behavior

We've had Mindy for about two months now, our latest adopted female OES who spent her first five years in a pen having 6 litters of sheepadoodles.

She has quickly made my wife and I her family and her personality has emerged fully. She is quite different from all of the recent males who we had recently but is still the sweetest, most affectionate little thing. She walks well, never gets into things, and always comes running when we call her. She is even a ball player, unlike my other sheepies, often catching a ball on the fly and then bringing it back and tossing it at my feet. She seems quite protective of us and our home, although never toward other people. I had been told she is an "alpha-female" but when we ran into other dogs on our walks she hasn't seemed very interested in them, maybe stopping for a mutual sniff, but quickly wanting to continue on our way. So I decided to take her to the local dog park to see how she is around other dogs off the leash. I had stayed away from dog parks with my other dogs after seeing quite a bit of mis-behavior and inattention by other owners, but I wanted to see how she behaved in what is essentially a neutral environment with lots of other dogs.

Mindy joined the group nearby, sniffed a few dogs and let them sniff her but then returned to my side. She wasn't at all fearful but didn't seem to want to run around or attempt to play with any of them either. Just wasn't very interested. When a Giant Schnauzer tried to hump her, she whirled around and snapped once in a loud warning but didn't react further when the Schnauzer backed off, not wanting to mess with this sheepdog who made it quite clear she wanted no part of his advances. I guess dogs know that "no means no" better than some people.

Mindy hardly left my side the whole time we were at the park. When I walked off to an empty part of the park, she followed right along. I found a tennis ball and we played ball together a little, and then rejoined the group. I shared my story of her recent rescue and that she had only been with us for two months with some of the other owners including a woman who said he had three sheepdogs at one time. At one point while we were talking, Mindy sitting calmly at my side, another dog ran toward us suddenly. Mindy immediately jumped up and blocked him off, issuing a low warning growl. It was sudden and ended just as quickly. The other owner said Mindy seemed like a real nice dog but remarked that she seemed to be strongly protective of me. I realized that was true.

It is interesting to me that Mindy has so quickly adopted us. I thought it was the other way around. I wonder if she might even be a bit over-protective, although apparently not with other people, just other dogs. She seems quite self- assured but not aggressive in the sense that she started anything herself, but also not about to put up with any nonsense from other dogs—not while I was there anyway. Interesting I thought leaving the park with a better understanding of my new sheepdog. My males have always been big goof-balls around people and other dogs, but this little female seemed to be all business and a tough little thing who isn't about to let anything mess up her new life.
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I can't answer your question, but :hearts: :hearts: :hearts: :hearts: :hearts: :hearts: :hearts: :hearts: :hearts:
I guess on one level her apparent acceptance and devotion to us is good to see, but I do think she may be a little too protective. We don't get many visitors but what will happen when we have friends or family come to visit with their dog? Is she going to misbehave? I guess I'll have to find out.

Since her life to this point has been weaning and protecting litter after litter of her puppies, maybe that has something to do with it.
You might be assuming that this behaviour is because she is a rescue. I had two full sisters, both as puppies, so same parents, same reputable breeder, same me and my husband raising them (they were not little mates, but were two years apart in age). One, Mady, loved the dog park. Her younger sister Gracie often acted like your dog. A wise sheep herding trainer told me that dogs do come with their own personalities. Mady was clearly an extrovert. Gracie more cautious. Gracie could see animals on television, and would growl at them. Mady, and then later their mum Virginia, who came to live with us, never saw animals on television. Never noticed if a dog walked in front of the house. Maybe some dogs are just more sensitive/perceptive? Or maybe she just needs some time to get confident in her role in your household. I love that she has found such a caring forever home. :hearts:
I agree with Kim. Dogs have different personalities. Rescues are a little different. You don't really know what their life was like b/4 they were adopted, maybe a few things but certainly not all. I have had 4 Rescues. Obviously Mindy has claimed you as hers and she will protect you. She may have thought you were in danger the way the other dog was approaching. She probably needs a little more time to adjust. My girl, Macie Grace, loves to go to the dog park, can hardly wait to get there. She is good with the other dogs and will play and run for a small amount of time then will come and sit by me. If she doesn't move from my side in 10 minutes, I ask her if she is ready to leave. MG heads for the gate. Something she really doesn't like is when a group of dogs hit the "PACK MENTALITY" and start running blindly, she gets out of the way and wants nothing to do with them because she was hit very hard once and was kind of stunned. She goes most places with me and does a great job. I believe one of the best things, especially with a rescue, is going to school. (I don't call it obedience) It is a great bonding experience plus socialization with other dogs in a controlled situation. There is training and play. I have had Macie Grace for 5 years and it has only been in the last 2 years she has absolutely blossomed and become VERY social. She also earned her AKC CGC. Nobody will ever really know what these dogs go thru b/4 they are lucky enough to be adopted into their Forever Homes. I have had 7 Sheepies and the last 4 were through Rescue. Congratulations and lots of fun and happiness to you and Mindy. :clappurple: :cheer: :yay: :ghug:
Mindy has been with us for a little about 8 months now. It's pretty clear that I have to recognize her over protective behavior isn't going to go away completely. It's only directed toward other dogs though, never people, so since she is an only dog I guess she will have to stay that way.

Last weekend we took her for a 3 day, 400 mile trip to a large family gathering where we stayed in my brother in law's guest room. It was the first time in her life she had gone anywhere except for the time we brought her home from the back yard breeder we got her from. My brother in law and his wife have two female Golden Retrievers, one about 10 and the other Mindy's age of about 6. Nice dogs and well behaved— better than our new sheepdog anyway. At one point, a pair of male French bulldogs came over all day for a large, noisy family gathering of about 40 people there for a baby shower. Lots of kids and dogs running around and it was pretty hectic so Mindy just glued herself to me the whole time. Outside of an initial sniff, she wasn't too interested in the other dogs but would lift her lip and issue a low growl whenever once of them came to me to be petted. The dogs mostly figured out to leave Mindy and I alone except for one 3 year old French bull dog named Mr. Pig (which turned out to be an apt name) who was a bit too interested in Mindy's behind and got snapped at for his repeated advances a couple of times.

It wasn't that Mindy was bad for the three days we stayed there but her over-protectiveness left me on the sidelines the whole time which was kind of annoying. She was good riding in the car for 6 hours though.
I actually want that in a dog. She clearly wanted space and didn't over aggress for it. I would have crated her away from the festivities so I could mingle, or practice some long downs.
Not all dogs are social butterflies, and with her past, I think you are lucky she doesn't have anxiety or poor nerves.
Be happy, as Harry barks, flails and never shuts up around people. He has to be put away when company is over, as he demands attention rudely.
Guard Sheepdog.

Despite the fact that a party is going on and the room was full of people and dogs who all want attention, we have the sofa all to ourselves.

<3 :hearts:
Pretty dog...interesting and very surprising picture. Good that you continue to own Old English all these years later...
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