Thank you Freestep - That makes a lot of sense. I removed him from daycare two weeks ago. I don't know which part of his DNA is expressing more prominently at this point, and I'm confused. any expertise you could provide would be greatly appreciated.
Here's more info: He is working lines and his parents have produced police dogs in the past. I went with working lines from a reputable breeder to (try) and avoid health problems I had over the years with my GSDs from American show lines. My breeder picked out a "low energy" puppy for me and cautioned me he was "sensitive", not a candidate for police work, lowest prey drive in the litter. He is very empathic, sweet, and non-alpha. (Our 30 lb Shiba Inu is the boss at home). He developed a play drive late(9 months and loves the ball now- but doesn't always retrieve it). and our cat and senior Chow are his best friends. Our Chow is grumpy and has a heart condition, and it chokes me up to see Kato adjust his play style and be so gentle with her. Our daycare is on the campus of a vet/rehab clinic and a training facility. Kato and I have been working one-on-one with trainers to prepare him for testing with Therapy Dogs International, and he learned everything on the test in a month as a 5 month old. The lead trainer is a GSD owner. He continues with refresh training, but at 10 months he challenges the leash and chain collar after dozens of corrections, and he's highly distracted by outside stimuli. Indoors, however, he is capable of sitting alone in a room with treats resting on both his paws for 15 minutes until he is released. I'm told now that his distractibility in training is a symptom of his anxiety.
My husband and I started reflecting on his behavior. In public, he is very curious, but so calm that people are surprised by it and comment. (pet store, hardware store, doctor's office, car dealership service bay, post office after hours lobby, etc). He is not afraid of loud noises, clashing steel, etc. He DOES respond differently to people and dogs by "alert" barking if they are more than a few feet away, even at a 100 yards away. Up close, and in the home, he approaches guests readily with a lick and a nuzzle.
We recently installed electronic fencing on our property (2/3 acre). The receiver collar failed after 2 days (don't ask, long story) and he ran to my neighbor's house. He was invited inside. He greeted her two crated Burnese Mountain Dogs, (they are not playmates, only met twice) grabbed one of their toys and laid down in my neighbor's living room like it was his home.
I am a lifetime GSD owner but this is my first working line GSD. I am hoping that when he is neutered and begins hospital visits (minimum age is 1 year) that he'll be fulfilled and less anxious. I'm wondering now if therapy is enough, and if I should consider agility.
Thanks for listening. All ideas are welcome.