Is it common for GSD to have a fear stage? - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 01-06-2013, 05:13 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Is it common for GSD to have a fear stage?

I spoke to a few people and they have told me that their GSD had a fear stage at around 7 months and now they are over it and don't react to every day things.Two days ago I had a meeting with professional dog trainer we met at a park when she came up to meet us with her male helper and her dog my dog was barking and growling at her for like 20 seconds and then she calm down and after the trainer started doing her evaluation. Basicallly she said that the dog has fear aggression and recommended walks with treats to distract her from seeing dogs and people, and she recommended to have structure in the house to make rules for the dog to follow. Im ok with all that except yesterday when I was walking her (she is 8 months old) and if dogs would be at distance off leash she would ignore them and be excited about treats but when people with dogs on leashes got close to us she didn't care and wanted to flip out towards them. Im scared to walk her because what if they get too close and she bites them when she is not intrested in food? I know that we just started the training but im so nervous. I also purchased prong collar because I just can't control her pulling anymore. The trainer said that she will be a good dog once she gets some training and its common for her age to go through this phase. She does rescue for GSD and she said she seen dongs MUCH worse than mine...Did anyone here experienced this phase and how long did it take for dog to mature?
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Old 01-06-2013, 05:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I don't think you dog's behavior is about a fear stage from what you are describing at 8 months. It seems to me that your dog is acting up when she sees other dogs. She wants to play, chase, etc. That is very common with adolscent dogs. But unfortunately, it doesn't go away by itself. It takes work and training. Talk with your trainer about your concerns and that your dog doesn't want the treat when she sees another dog and that you are afraid. In order to help you and your dog, your trainer needs to know how you honestly feel.
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Old 01-06-2013, 06:33 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Young dogs around this age can be a handful. Some call it the teenage phase. Others think it is total fear-aggressiveness, some say dog-reactivity. I really don't know. My suggestion would be to take your dog to classes and continue to take him to classes, where he is working in a class with owners and dogs -- try not to overwhelm, do not let people come right up at this point with their dogs, just get him used to seeing other people working with their dogs.

If you keep going, the dog learns a lot, gains confidence, and you gain confidence, and one day you wake up and say, "Wow, my dog is awesome!" I think it is one part natural maturation, one part continuous good exposure to common events without overwhelming the dog, one part improved leadership, one part improved handling, and one part training in the dog. The good news is that the training classes themselves can get you to the exposure, the improved leadership, the improved handling and the training in the dog.

Good luck with your dog.
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Old 01-06-2013, 06:38 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Onyx began showing reactivity at about 6 months. I think it is when the puppy pass wears off(adult teeth are mostly in) and the dog is now more independent. A confident dog won't show it, but a dog that lacks confidence or discernment will. Karlo never, ever showed a 'fear' or reactive or teenage stage....he has always been consistent in temperament.
As Sue posted, continue consistent training, show you are a good fair handler and most dogs work through this phase fine. I wouldn't over correct but redirect at this age, because you do want the dog to be confident at all times. Many people see reactivity as confidence but really it is insecurity that causes a dog to act out.
You can always squash confident behaviors, building it up is the challenge.
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Old 01-06-2013, 06:57 PM   #5 (permalink)
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when it comes to "stages" i think it's one stage with a
few compoments.

the stage is the Lack of Stage:
A> lack of training.
B> lack of socializing.
C> lack of consistentcy
D> lack of knowledge.

i think most problems with dogs fall within
the Lack of Stage.

train and socialize daily.
good luck.
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Old 01-06-2013, 08:38 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Yes definately will be taking her to the park every day to get her used to dogs on leashes. Just wish I had better control, trainer said to loosen the leash butif I do that she just gets closer and closer to people and dogs. She also suggested that I ask random people to give the dog treats but I don't think I can risk that just yet... How does everyone control their dog when the dog doesn't listen and keeps pulling and lunging while on leash? At the dog park she behaves perfectely, she was never a fan of people and when they try to pet her she just walks away and shows no intrest in them.
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:28 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Couple of ideas - to keep your dog's interest on you. Be unpredictable - do frequent turns - change your pace - jog a bit - then slow - curve around people and so on. When she comes by your side - praise - give her a treat. If she isn't paying attention at all - do a "drunken walk" zig zag, even bump into her. Go off the path - and have her suddenly sit - reward. Do the same only this time with the down/stay. Just hold the leash in both hands - left hand (she is on your left side) about 3 ft. up then in your right hand the rest. Give a command : let's walk. That way you'll have control and she can't go to the end of the leash and lunge when she sees something. But give breaks in quiet areas - say "go easy" and let the leash out so she can mark, sniff - but only for a little while - if she starts to want to lunge - turn sharply, say "lets walk" - keep going fast in the other direction - when she catches up to you - reward. I use a front buckle harness (the Walk In Sync) and the leash and walking method developed by Alecia Evans - Colorado trainer. The harness discourages the pulling - because dogs like to pull but not pulll against something. With consistent practice your dog will be more focused on you since she isn't quite sure what you're going to do next.
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:33 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Your trainer is right. Tightening up the leash is a signal to the dog that something scary is at hand. Now you have the dog where it can't move but a few inches, you have taken away any opportunity for flight so the dog must fight. Loosen the leash, but keep the other dogs farther away when you start out. Instead of tightening the leash walk out in the road or change directions and keep going.
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Old 01-07-2013, 01:26 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I ment when she is already reacting if I loosen it more she can bite people or other dogs.
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Old 01-07-2013, 01:12 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Tight or loose leash - there is the risk of a bite if she is able to make contact. But the risks are greater with a tight leash because that causes her discomfort she also senses your fear and that makes her fearful - so the chances of a bite increases. Especially as she starts to associate the tightening of the leash with another person coming. If you keep your distance from others and keep your dog on a loose leash but turn and curve and reward her for following - that will make her relaxed. As you both progress in your training, you can have her sit to by your side with you between the person and her and reward her for sitting - showing her the treat so she concentrates on that - then giving her the treat as the person walks by.
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