Hello there. My name is Ambre and I am new to this site. I apologize for the long post, but I am very sincerely asking for for advice.
We have two german shepherd puppies. Male and female, that are brother and sister. They are one week shy of four months old. We have had them since they were about 7 weeks old. I will also mention that we have two children: a six year old and a 3 1/2 year old.
I grew up always having dogs in my household. Upon reflection, I realize we never did anything special to train our dogs. We just had dogs and they interacted with us and the neighbors and there was never any issues. I mention that because it has been very different with these two and I am unsure what to do at this point.
Our two puppies are sweet dogs. They are smart and have been very good with the family. It has taken the male longer to get used to our son, and that is because our son is three and is still learning what he can and can't do with the dogs and so at times has been rough. So we have made it a point to teach our son how to treat the dogs. Our son has improved and the dogs, especially the male, Angus, does much better with him.
We have a fenced back yard and the dogs can see our neighbors and their dogs as well, so I did not realize there was an issue until I started teaching them to walk on a leash and started taking them for walks. I probably waited longer than I should have to do that, but I didn't realize there would be an issue.
The issue is they are scared of most everything. Actually the male is the worst. I think the female will get used to things easier. But Angus will panic and try to pull out of the collar if he gets scared. If someone tries to approach him, even slowly and quietly, he will raise his hackles, growl and whine and pee and try to back away. Even with some of our neighbors he still does that even tho he sees them frequently. I took him to the park today just to sit and watch the kids play ball and he was upset most of the time. Upon leaving, he would pull and pull on the leash and try to get away because he was so scared. It's to the point that I get frustrated because he just won't quit. Nothing has ever happened to him: no abuse, no attacks by other dogs, etc.
I am worried he will bite someone out of fear. He is not an aggressive dog, it seems to be fear.
I guess what I want to ask is this:
Is this expected behavior for a four month old male german shepherd puppy?
If I continue to take him to the park, for example, will this behavior improve, and if so will it be within a reasonable amount of time or are we talking months? Because, to be honest, I don't know that I can do that kind of intense training. I am willing to work with Angus, and I have been trying to do so. I try to walk them both every day and have them see other people and animals.
I guess I did not realize I would end up with a puppy that would be so fearful of other people and dogs because in all the dogs I had growing up, none were ever like that. So I wasn't expecting it.
I do like our dogs very much, but it have to be honest with myself and also think of what the dog needs and do I have the time to do it.
I hate to split the puppies up, but I may have to consider keeping just one.
I would appreciate any advice and suggestions.