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Canine Behavior/Dog's behaviur


Our 18 months old German Shepherd has been stolen. After 20 days, we retrieved him, but he seems to have been extensively used for mating. He constantly is licking his private areas. We have another older dog  and from the moment we put the two dogs together, the older dog has been around him sniffing his private areas. Is this normal behavior. How can I stop my younger dog from playing with himself all the time and how can I support him to go back to normal??

The first thing that needs to happen is that your GSD gets a thorough veterinary examination, including a urinalysis to check for infection.

Are you certain a human intervened to steal him from you? If he's intact (not neutered) and smelled a female in heat within a mile radius, he may have been motivated to get out of a space he's otherwise respected as a containment. This is very normal for intact male dogs when they smell a female ready to mate. Very little fencing is able to hold them back if they're that determined. But either way, there's no way to know if he mated once, or 50 times or not at all. He is paying close attention to his genitals and your other dog is also paying close attention to his genitals. That suggests that something may be wrong, but is it due to mating? Without an exam it's impossible to know.

I don't know if it would be normal or not for a dog to suddenly be overly interested in his genitals (or for another dog to be interested in his genitals) simply because he mated. I've never had anyone make share observation before - intense self interest after mating - but I've not spoken with the owner of every male dog who has mated, so I can't say for sure. And, you may be more aware than others, and so I can't rule it out. But I've not heard of it.

If this experience (disappearing for several days, then returning and showing excessive interest in his genitals), I would be at the vet discussing all of the possible medical reasons for this: Infection, irritation, growth, etc.

If he shows no signs of infection, inflammation, swelling or abnormal growths or any other medical condition, then we begin to look at emotional motivations - it's a self-soothing behavior. Perhaps he began tending to himself out of boredom or anxiety where ever he was and has developed a habit, and his interest is leading his housemate to be curious - either seeing him tend to his own, or his licking at it is leaving a change in the odor which is catching his housemate's attention...

I can't say with certainty what is going on here, but the first thing to rule out is a medical condition. So, once you've seen the vet, if they rule your dog in perfect health, then we can brainstorm about the emotional motivations and how we might address it.

Good luck. Let me know what the vet says.

Jody, APDT
Los Angeles Behaviorist

Canine Behavior

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Jody Epstein, CPDT- KA, APDT


IF YOU BELIEVE YOUR DOG IS ILL OR INJURED, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR LOCAL VETERINARIAN IMMEDIATELY. THIS IS NOT THE FORUM TO ADDRESS URGENT MEDICAL ISSUES. I AM NOT A LICENSED VET AND HAVE NO DIAGNOSTIC SKILLS. ***I have been answering questions on All Experts for over 5 years now. I enjoy being able to offer assistance in this forum. I do need to be clear, though. If you’re looking for free advice about a specific behavior question, you MUST submit your question to me via All Experts. If you bypass All Experts and write to me directly through my website, I will ask you to submit via All Experts. On the flip side, if you’re local to Los Angeles and you wish to speak to me privately about an in person consultation, please go through my website. I appreciate your assistance in keeping my volunteer work on the volunteer site.*** I can answer questions about the following canine behavior issues: obedience, timid/fearful & fear-based aggression, nuisance behaviors, families that are expanding with either new human or new animal members. If you have potty training questions please first read my trio of blogs at If you still have questions after reading the blogs you can post your specific questions here. PLEASE be as specific as possible when asking a question. Give me a detailed example of the situation - dog's behavior, body language, circumstances surrounding the issue, what the consequences are (another dog's response, your response), etc. I can only provide insight if I can get a picture of the whole scenario. If I ask for further details, please provide them. In person I would normally observe for at least 90 minutes to assess the situation and the dynamics before offering tools and suggestions to modify it. In writing it is ever so much more difficult. Thank you for your participation in the process.


I have been professionally modifying behavior and training obedience for 7 years. I have owned dogs my entire life. I have just changed the name of my business. It is no longer Good Dog! Dog Training. The new name is Nutz About Mutz!. If you see previous questions with the Good Dog! website information, that is my response.

I am a Certified Profession Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA), #2133301 ; I am a member in good standing with the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT), #77763 ; I am an AKC certified Canine Good Citizen evaluator (CGC), #71253

Publications ; ; Multiple articles in the local pet magazine Pet Press (found across Southern California)

I have a graduate education in animal behavior and learning. (While I completed my coursework and did the requisite research, I did not defend a dissertation. I am qualified, but not certified and so technically not a doctor. This is commonly referred to as Ph.D.-ABD which means All But Dissertation.) My educational focus was with non-human primates, but my personal interest is with domestic dogs and their relationships with humans and other animals. I continue to educate myself to canine-specific behavior through extensive reading, online interactive workshops, vidoes and attending canine behavior conferences.

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