Hello, I have an 8 month old Shepherd mix puppy (mother is GS, no idea what dad is, background info here: Loki - 8 month pictures/follow up
Anyway, he's shown to be a bit skittish at times of people. There will be no rhyme or reason to it. Because of his size, my 7 year old nephew is frightened of him and somehow my pup seems to sense that because he will bark at my nephew. He's been around kids since his birth, my kids are 11 and 7. My other nieces/nephews come over and he's never barked at them (ranging in ages from 2-12). When my mother met him for the first time he sniffed her and she pushed his nose and loudly said no. Ever since then, he cannot stand her, he runs from her and will just bark at her if she dares look at him. I've had both give him treats and he will take them (although he does on his tip toes when my mother hands them out, he won't get closer than 3 feet). I have so no when he barks and have also used a spray water bottle to spray (we also use that if he tries to chase the cats if the leave it command doesn't work). My mother has never had a dog not like her so this is a new experience for her.
I just want to make sure that I handle his behavior appropriately, I don't want it escalating. I don't know if it's aggression, fear, territorial? We try to take him places when possible, such as our kids' softball and baseball games, petsmart, walks. Last week, he was at a practice and someone's child asked him to pet them. I said yes, Loki licked the child, tail was wagging, everything was fine. But when the child walked away about 10 feet, he turned around and pointed at Loki and said something incomprehensible and Loki started barking at him. Does he want to play? Is it a warning? I've never seen him snarl or grown or anything, it's just barking. At 8 months, he's about 80 pounds so people tend to be leery around him and if she starts to barks, I start getting the looks.
He's been through puppy training and passed with flying colors. He is very smart and a quick learner. He was the biggest of the class and a little bit dominant with the dogs but nothing overly aggressive.