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post #1 of (permalink) Old 01-14-2014, 11:43 AM Thread Starter
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Jumping/nipping at strangers, barking - 8 months

My 8 month old GSD has some behaviors that I'm worried about -- not sure if this is typical puppy behavior or not. This is my first puppy I've owned as an adult -- I grew up around GSD's but I don't remember ever encountering these behaviors -- so I'd like to know if these are considered normal phases or not... And please forgive my ignorance on some of this, I'm still learning and just want to be a well-informed dog owner! We've gone to puppy obedience training as well as one-on-one training with a dog trainer (who wants me to use an e-collar which I have done but not consistently -- I am nervous about making her fearful of people or other dogs when using the collar -- maybe I've read too may conflicting posts on these boards since it's such a touchy subject and people have very strong opinions -- either way -- about e-collars...).

My concerns/questions are:
- she constantly barks when she's out in my fenced backyard -- from the moment I let her out, she starts barking. She also barks at any person or dog that passes by on the sidewalk. But she doesn't bark when she's inside. I know that GSDs are known as vocal dogs, but is this normal?

- I've posted about this before but it's not getting better -- she has leash reactivity issues when we go for walks -- she barks and lunges at other dogs. I keep her away from them, tell her to look at me, give her treats when shes does...but is this something she'll grow out of eventually?

- When she sees people other than her "people" at home, she gets a little crazy. She is usually squealing and wanting to greet them, although there have been times when she barks at them and seems nervous. But 90% of the time it *seems* like excitement and she jumps on strangers and nips at their coats or sleeves. She's done this at my home when a potential dog walker came to meet her, at the vet to a woman in the lobby and at doggy daycare when I've brought her in to drop her off and we walk passed people. This HAS TO STOP -- I don't want her to hurt someone -- and obviously people get very nervous with a big dog that they don't know jumping and nipping. How can I get this nipped in the bud?

- when she sees my 7 year old daughter after being away from her, she circles her like crazy. She also squeals, wags her tail and has her ears down -- basically she gets very excited and happy around my daughter. I know she wants to play because she always runs for a toy and brings it to my daughter. I know she adores my daughter, obviously, but what is the circling business all about? She did it yesterday too -- when the potential dog walker came by...what does that mean?

Any advice is much appreciated. I'm very concerned because I was hoping to hire a dog walker to come by 2x a week for when I can't get home from work early enough to take her out for a walk, but if she's going to jump up and nip, I am afraid perhaps she isn't ready for something like that (and perhaps we need to stick to doggy daycare on those days instead).
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