nervousness is about to drive me nuts. - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 52 (permalink) Old 01-27-2017, 04:25 PM Thread Starter
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nervousness is about to drive me nuts.

Apollo is in all aspects a perfect dog. Except his nerves! I don't understand it. when I bought him home he was 4 months old. we went to vet, Big R, Lowe's. He seemed fine. Wasn't skittish let people pet him. But now, he acts like a basket case. He avoids people. Will stare people down. Non aggressively. we went to Big R last night. I seen a guy I know and was talking to him. He never tried to pet Apollo and Apollo was fine. Sat by my side acted like well normal. Except he has to know whats happening and who's doing what and going where. Imagine a criminal sitting there acting all paranoid. A lady came by and said what a good looking dog he is. asked if she could pet him. I said he's pretty shy so my guess is no but give it a try. she said "come here boy" he sat there she reached a little he sniffed her hand then walked away from her. She tried telling me he isn't weak nerved he's just cautious. well I ain't never seen anything that cautious. Said she used to train SCH, knew all the players around here including the club were in. said its just his lines. We all talked for about 10-15 minutes. By the time it was done she was able to take Apollo's leash and walk him a couple aisles over and back and he was fine. So in a fairly small amount of time a strange woman was able to take his lead and walk him away from me and back. He walked over to my friend and sat down in front of him. On his foot actually. Remember small group. He does best in small groups.
Took Apollo to the pet store today and he was paranoid, staring people down. Not aggressively just wanted to know where they were and what they were doing. If someone was an aisle over or if he could hear people we couldn't see he was worried about them until we could see them. Then he would focus and perform commands again. One girl walked up as we were paying and just give him a good boy and a pat on the head before he knew it was gonna happen so he didn't have time to think about it and was fine.
It is the most frustrating thing. He is otherwise a perfect dog. His toy drive, food drive are great. He loves to work obedience, loves to bite and play tug, demeanor is excellent, big teddy bear always wants to lay and love on people in the house. He acts totally different in the house. If the bell rings he's right there. If a new person comes into the house he's up sniffing them checking them out. If he wasn't so darn backwards away from the property I would swear he was the perfect dog.
I'll attach a short video of him playing outside with Athena and Rosko.
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post #2 of 52 (permalink) Old 01-27-2017, 04:27 PM Thread Starter
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post #3 of 52 (permalink) Old 01-27-2017, 04:31 PM Thread Starter
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A couple pics in the truck on the way home today. If only he was this calm and content everywhere.
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post #4 of 52 (permalink) Old 01-27-2017, 06:31 PM
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How old is he? Many pups become very aware of their surroundings at about 10 months old. Suspicion may kick into overdrive as well as reactivity.
Many higher threshold dogs don't become reactive but often try to avoid any interaction with people they don't know. It is part of the GSD's character to be aloof and I would say your boy is that.
The are not social butterflies for the most part. Gambit went through a stage where he clearly wanted nothing to do with strangers(we were in TSC) and he is a pretty bomb proof dog. If we passed people, it was fine, but if anyone approached him on purpose, he tried to avoid them.
Karlo never was interested in anyone he didn't know, but didn't avoid, he just gave a hard eye....and because of that he intimidated most that maybe would have asked to pet him.
I always advocate for my dogs, I don't really want them to be 'petted' by strangers, because they don't want it either. I don't think I would allow someone I didn't know to ever handle my dogs leash either(unless it is for vetting or grooming)

I read often how breeders say their dogs are great temperament, but never have taken them places to proof the nerves. One reason titling does hold value when it comes to breeding, if people are breeding untitled dogs, they have no clue if the dog can really withstand pressure.
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Last edited by onyx'girl; 01-27-2017 at 06:36 PM.
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post #5 of 52 (permalink) Old 01-27-2017, 06:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdwoodcox View Post
Apollo is in all aspects a perfect dog. Except his nerves! I don't understand it. when I bought him home he was 4 months old. we went to vet, Big R, Lowe's. He seemed fine. Wasn't skittish let people pet him. But now, he acts like a basket case. He avoids people. Will stare people down. Non aggressively. we went to Big R last night. I seen a guy I know and was talking to him. He never tried to pet Apollo and Apollo was fine. Sat by my side acted like well normal. Except he has to know whats happening and who's doing what and going where. Imagine a criminal sitting there acting all paranoid. A lady came by and said what a good looking dog he is. asked if she could pet him. I said he's pretty shy so my guess is no but give it a try. she said "come here boy" he sat there she reached a little he sniffed her hand then walked away from her. She tried telling me he isn't weak nerved he's just cautious. well I ain't never seen anything that cautious. Said she used to train SCH, knew all the players around here including the club were in. said its just his lines. We all talked for about 10-15 minutes. By the time it was done she was able to take Apollo's leash and walk him a couple aisles over and back and he was fine. So in a fairly small amount of time a strange woman was able to take his lead and walk him away from me and back. He walked over to my friend and sat down in front of him. On his foot actually. Remember small group. He does best in small groups.
Took Apollo to the pet store today and he was paranoid, staring people down. Not aggressively just wanted to know where they were and what they were doing. If someone was an aisle over or if he could hear people we couldn't see he was worried about them until we could see them. Then he would focus and perform commands again. One girl walked up as we were paying and just give him a good boy and a pat on the head before he knew it was gonna happen so he didn't have time to think about it and was fine.
It is the most frustrating thing. He is otherwise a perfect dog. His toy drive, food drive are great. He loves to work obedience, loves to bite and play tug, demeanor is excellent, big teddy bear always wants to lay and love on people in the house. He acts totally different in the house. If the bell rings he's right there. If a new person comes into the house he's up sniffing them checking them out. If he wasn't so darn backwards away from the property I would swear he was the perfect dog.
I'll attach a short video of him playing outside with Athena and Rosko.
He's confident at home because he feels safe there.

Keep taking him places and introducing him to new experiences. Genetics will set the outer parameters of how confident he can become, but socialization will make the most of what he has.

Also, keep up with his training--obedience is a confidence builder.

It sounds as if he was able to recover fairly nicely when you met the lady who took his leash and handled him. He didn't freak out being away from you--also good.

How old is Apollo again?

The main thing I look for with shy dogs is the length of recovery time. If they're still very young and they show avoidance to strangers, how long does it take for their natural curiosity to take over and drive them forward? Sometimes it's only a few seconds--a good sign and that pup may very well outgrow it in short order.

Apollo definitely does not sound like a basket case. He does need encouragement from you. When he does let people pet him, are you making happy talk? Let him know this pleases you.

And since you are lucky enough to have access to an IPO club, use it! Are you working all three phases? Tracking is another confidence builder for the dog and it's really fun for them.
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post #6 of 52 (permalink) Old 01-27-2017, 06:42 PM
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That's all pretty normal behaviour for a 10 month old. I agree with the lady you saw - nothing you share in your post indicates shyness or nervousness. Probably just going through a typical teen phase where he feels he is too cool for acting 'puppy-ish'.

When Keeta was still a young dog and I had her less than a year, she was like Appollo, hyper-focused on EVERYTHING! It just took time and consistent handling to get her to learn to ignore other people and noises and to chill.
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post #7 of 52 (permalink) Old 01-27-2017, 06:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onyx'girl View Post
How old is he? Many pups become very aware of their surroundings at about 10 months old. Suspicion may kick into overdrive as well as reactivity.
Many higher threshold dogs don't become reactive but often try to avoid any interaction with people they don't know. It is part of the GSD's character to be aloof and I would say your boy is that.
The are not social butterflies for the most part. Gambit went through a stage where he clearly wanted nothing to do with strangers(we were in TSC) and he is a pretty bomb proof dog. If we passed people, it was fine, but if anyone approached him on purpose, he tried to avoid them.
Karlo never was interested in anyone he didn't know, but didn't avoid, he just gave a hard eye....and because of that he intimidated most that maybe would have asked to pet him.
I always advocate for my dogs, I don't really want them to be 'petted' by strangers, because they don't want it either. I don't think I would allow someone I didn't know to ever handle my dogs leash either(unless it is for vetting or grooming)

I read often how breeders say their dogs are great temperament, but never have taken them places to proof the nerves. One reason titling doesended hold value when it comes to breeding, if people are breeding untitled dogs, they have no clue if the dog can really withstand pressure.
Different goals.

Aloofness toward strangers is absolutely correct for a GSD. Shyness is a disaster.

My Lexi mistrusts all strangers until they commit, then she loves them. Raff went through about a week of avoidance. It ended quite abruptly and he now loves all humans everywhere. Most of my GSDs, including my two K9s have been very people friendly. I like it, so it's encouraged.

Whether your GSD is a social butterfly or a more reserved type, he still needs a lot of self confidence. Genetics plays the biggest part, but don't underestimate the value of socialization and training.
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post #8 of 52 (permalink) Old 01-27-2017, 06:52 PM
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My concern for Appolo's confidence goes back to earlier posts about him falling out of drive on the IPO field and otherwise showing some signs of shyness.
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post #9 of 52 (permalink) Old 01-27-2017, 06:58 PM
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Different goals.

Aloofness toward strangers is absolutely correct for a GSD. Shyness is a disaster.

My Lexi mistrusts all strangers until they commit, then she loves them. Raff went through about a week of avoidance. It ended quite abruptly and he now loves all humans everywhere. Most of my GSDs, including my two K9s have been very people friendly. I like it, so it's encouraged.

Whether your GSD is a social butterfly or a more reserved type, he still needs a lot of self confidence. Genetics plays the biggest part, but don't underestimate the value of socialization and training.
Yes, different goals.
I don't want my dogs to be overly friendly, I want them to see me as their source of interaction. If someone does approach, I want them neutral, and not having them think that all people are there for the dogs to be entertained or a pez dispenser.
I try to keep my dogs neutral to other people and dogs. Where we train, the dogs need to focus on their handlers then when it is allowed they are fine to be petted up or played with by other club members. My dogs are cool with that.
I took Gambit everywhere when he was a pup, he was absolutely fine in all situations, but never ran up to people or pulled me towards other dogs thinking they were his besties.
When he was about seven months, we went to a car show and the teenage 'queen' of the village came up to him wearing a tiara and gown, gloves...arms open like a robot towards him. That was the first time he ever tried to avoid anyone, and I didn't blame him a bit, lol!
Confidence is always key, confidence in the handler that they are there for their dog, they have their dogs back so the dog doesn't feel the need to be 'on' all the time. I learned that with Onyx, who does not have strong nerves and is fear aggressive. I had to prove to her that I controlled her world so she could have that weight lifted off her shoulders.

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post #10 of 52 (permalink) Old 01-27-2017, 07:01 PM Thread Starter
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Apollo is 8 months and 11 days as of today. If he was just indifferent to people I would be like OK. He's just not a people person. But he will focus on people like his life depends on it. Hyper focus is right. Once they're gone and he can't hear or see them then he'll focus back on me. And avoidance. With Athena she likes everyone but she doesn't have to visit everyone anymore. Just today I took her to the vet, then stopped by the job for a few minutes. Two guys she has never saw before was outside the job. I was talking to them. She was sniffing and looking around. Walked through them didn't even acknowledge them. One of them reach down as she passed and petted the top of her head. She glanced up and continued walking. Totally confident in every situation. Same exact socialization as Apollo. He would have not walked around those guys. He would have sat right beside me with his stare. And if one of them approached him he would have taken a couple steps back. Idk. It drives me nuts. A little old lady today at the pet store came by with her walker and he walked behind me so as not to have to get too close to her. She said he's a cute dog. But he's a little skittish. I said yeah he's not a people person.
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