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arroyotello503 01-07-2014 09:06 AM

Puppy is not very friendly to strangers
I have a 5 month old male Shepherd and I am concerned for he is beginning to develop signs of aggression,I think. He does not do to well when it comes to meeting strangers. When we go on walks he barks at EVERYBODY he sees. There has even been some growling involved. The problem gets worse when he is at home. Whenever anybody comes over, he quickly reacts by barking and growling especially to children. There is no small children at home so he does not have much socialization with them. I know that this breed is known to be extremely protective and I don't mind that, but I am concerned that this will lead to bigger issues later on. I don't know how to handle the situation this is my first time owning the breed. He does well with other dogs. I have take him to puppy socialization classes and he does fairly well with dogs and people there and at parks. I take him everywhere I can and the problem mainly seems to be at home.
He was a very shy and timid puppy I got him at 8 weeks. Could it just be a fear phase he is going through or is he developing signs of aggression?

carmspack 01-07-2014 09:19 AM

I doubt this is a phase , especially since "He was a very shy and timid puppy I got him at 8 weeks." The best advice anyone could give is to find an honest and knowledgeable trainer so that you can manage the dog to the best of his and your ability. The aggression is not protection -- only his self protection , fear . He is what he was at 8 weeks .
unfortunately you have a long and hard road ahead of you -- you must be realistic "he quickly reacts by barking and growling especially to children. There is no small children at home so he does not have much socialization with them"

prevention - prevent liability to yourself and danger to children --

MichaelE 01-07-2014 10:17 AM

From where did you get your puppy?

arroyotello503 01-07-2014 11:03 AM

I got him from a breeder up in the state of Washington. He came from good parents, both AKC registered and I got to meet them. They were both very well behaved but the mother had a more timid personality like him, but she was definitely not aggressive.

DutchKarin 01-07-2014 11:07 AM

That he does "okay" at class is a sign of hope in my book. Get ready to invest, invest, invest in the next year. Keep him in classes and work with the best trainer you can find and afford. Think about doing a few private lessons as well if you can. I have a bit of a wild child (not aggressive mean just wild) and private lessons were very very helpful with someone who knows the protection breeds.

My mantra is to invest heavily in the first year or two to get the best payoff in terms of a manageable dog and good companion.

Also crate train him!!!!

wolfy dog 01-07-2014 11:10 AM

I agree with Carmspack. I am curious how the breeder raised the litter. Your pup's behavior points to minimal socialization during the time he was at the breeder. His basic personality has formed by now so all you do now is try to get the best out of him by gently exposing him, making sure he cannot hurt anyone especially when cornered or feeling cornered.
It is very hard to turn a shy pup around after twelve weeks of age.

carmspack 01-07-2014 02:18 PM

agreed , this is going to be difficult . there seems to be a genetic basis "but the mother had a more timid personality like him"

MadLab 01-07-2014 03:30 PM

Found this site recently and think it is relevant. Explains some perspectives on fearful dogs etc
Fearfulness in Dogs: Find Out How To Help Your Dog Enjoy Life Without Fear

Discussion on fear periods in young dogs with Michael Ellis from Leerburg.

Tyler Muto - YouTube A real good trainer with minimum effort on youtube

I wrote this up in another thread. Might as well post it here and not try to rewrite.

""When dogs bark at visitors they end up being the center of attention. You don't want that. You want to show the dog the visitor is there to meet you and the dog is shown he is not really involved as it is human business.

It's good getting them used to going to a place, it's bed or another room and staying there when a visitor arrives. When the visitor has entered and sits down let the dog out of it's position and it should go and check put the person. Important for the visitor to continue to ignore the dog for a while until he gets comfortable.

Also go through the routine of ringing the door bell and knocking over and over with the dog when there is no visitor at all. Open the door over and over to get him totally used to the noise of the door. Basically his behavior has built up over time so you now need to desensitize him to all noise associated with the door.

You may find the dog acting nervous around the door when it's open. In which case it's good to get him to sit and not allowed to cross the border. You go outside, come back in a few times. Then bring him out on leash and then back again a load of times. Bring treats and feed when the dog is calm. You start to show the dog the boundary to the house is not a source of stress.""

ozmo 01-07-2014 10:19 PM

Hey there,

I'v had the same issue with my OZ since I got him at the age of 3 months, mean SOB.. my wife joked it was hitlers dog reincarnated.

He was total opposite of shy or timid though, I couldn't, and still cant see him being fearful..more like brave and bold and over-confident.. solid nerves too, we sit and watch fireworks together, he loves vacuums, and my wifes hair-dryer... hows yours with those things??

He would lunge at people and bark on walks, ran after the mailman after he got out of the house stalking him in the windows, ran right up to him and started barking viciously at the age of 5 months..

I had him off leash in my neighbourhood at 7months at 10:00PM, and he spotted two teenage girls and ran right after them..( I never saw them) scared me ****less, poor girls were screaming for their lives, and oz cornered them and was jumping up and down as if someone had him trained in biting.

Man o man, I knew I was in for a treat with this special guy.. lol

Anyway, fast forward he is 15 months right now and I have done a lot of socializing ESPECIALLY at dog parks.. introduced him to a lot of dog owners, doesn't care for them at all..more like don't touch me, I just want to sniff your dogs ass and wrestle. I also walk him in conservation parks and have him off leash now., he knows to HEEL when people walk by, or approach us and he just stays on high alert.. he has become very obedient and trustworthy over time.

He is still very territorial though, when someone walks by the house.. EVERYBODY KNOWS... he goes bananas.. I like that quality though, my wife.. nope. If new people/strangers come in... its a 1 minute bark session... and he lies down with his eyes glued, sitting in the corner where I taught him to sit in... one sudden move and he's UP...(ask my drunk friend who gave me a drunken hug...) lol

There is a cool website on german shepherds and different bloodlines and their uses, working lines, personality traits used for breeding, some specifically for aggression (these dogs would be used at borderlines in Europe) etc... I believe every dog has great qualities and an individual purpose.. my last American bloodline gsd was a 130lb lapdog that would lick the person knocking on the other end of the door..

Give it some time, and do a lot of obedience work and have total control of him.. stop making him think he has to protect you all the time, maybe that's what he is trying to do.

carmspack 01-08-2014 11:17 AM

visit this thread and read some of the other links

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