Not sure why it is but on occasions I get the same problem coming up three or four times in a week. This last week it has been growling and lunging from German Shepherds. Usually created from a nervous, uncertain temperament where growling backs people off, and then lunging backs them off even more. In two cases last week the owner had attempted using treats to distract and then reward to stop the behavior, but in both cases the dogs became worse. In fact one owner had reinforced it to the extent that the dog would wag its tail and not just lunge but run towards an intended victim. If the victim turned their back then their butt got bit. So much for – you cannot make mistakes with treats.
Too often these days we are not giving enough attention to temperament. At one time a dog with a tendency to bite was not bred from unless that was its intended job. And even then the Protection Breeds as such were bred to be balanced so they could be trained and controlled. Unless working dogs are trained for work and worked in some way if only retrieving, it can be very difficult to assess temperament. Dogs like to work even if only in play. Training to work also means that they do become better dogs as you are using their inherent energies. The dog feels more complete doing what he was born to do – with a working partner, his owner.