New member of the family - help!!!
Hey everyone, I just joined and figured to delve into the depths of knowledge on GSDs. I'm 21 years old and just returning from college for break. While I was at school, my family decided to take in Kaiser, a two month old now closing in on 7 months. I briefly met him over Thanksgiving break and things were rocky to say the least. We had him crated and on a leash when in the house. He supposedly has a distinguished background and quite the temperament. Over the 4 day break, not too much was resolved as he would growl and always stare at me. I was told to never look him in the eye and wait for him to come to me in terms of acceptance.
Move forward a month and now I'm in a similar situation. I've been home for a week now and we were actually all feeling comfortable on letting him off the leash while opening presents with the immediate family and myself on Christmas morning. He was well behaved and even was sniffing me. I was still apprehensive about the whole thing as I still can't fully trust him. During the Thanksgiving break, he took food out of my hand but would later growl and revert back to his old antics. It startles me that I cant fully trust him. I'm on edge 24/7 and can't take pleasure in the good times we have because in the back of my head, I think of how it could all change in an instant. Today, he was well behaved as well. He was off his leash the whole morning, seemingly very accepting and approaching, even though I didn't. Later during the day though I was sitting and he was on the rug about 15 feet away and all of a sudden he gave me that look of alert, growled and dashed towards me. He didn't bite me but it was very threatening, as he came within a couple feet of me barking, and growling.
I believe that he still doesn't fully trust me and that his aggression is due to fear. He probably sees me as a stranger because I wasn't initially introduced to him and our home and has his reservations about me as do I with him. I think it has to do with him being territorial and the fact that my mother doesn't handle him correctly. There is a night and day difference when my step father is home. He is on his best behavior and doesn't even dare to look at me - his ears are back and you can sense that he fears my step dad which probably isn't helping in the long run. I'm wondering what I can do to better the situation. I'm home until the 25th of January and wish to have him as more than a pet but companion.
Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.