5 month old is fearful of new people - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-05-2017, 04:58 PM Thread Starter
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5 month old is fearful of new people

my gsd puppy is good with dogs but reactive to people and will bark if someone comes too close or if they move past us too fast. he wont bite anyone but it takes a minute for him to get used to their presence and then he is fine with them petting him. i dont want to have people give him treats because i dont want him to think people are food machines especially because i am determined to make him a service dog. i just got him a few weeks ago and he is doing wonderfully with his rehab but i need some tips to speed the process up. what can i do to take his attention off of people walking by? how do i teach him focus?
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-05-2017, 05:05 PM
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I don't think you can speed up the process. You just keep taking him to places where you have a certain amount of control over how many people approach him. When people ask, "can I pet" tell them that this is a no petting dog, especially if he is being trained for service. As them to not look at him, either, as you have him sit by your side.

My she-pup does not like long eye contact with strangers. I have to establish the 3 second look. I may actually count to three and then ask folks to look up, then reward my gal when she focuses on me and ignores them. Kinda like the 3 second meet and greet my little rescue dog did. If someone wanted our dogs to meet I gave them 3 seconds to sniff and then said out loud, "that's good, lets go". That helped my other dog a bit with strange dogs. I am hoping it will help my gal with friendly strangers. It might work for your boy.

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-05-2017, 06:06 PM
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I sincerely hope the people who sold him to you didn't tell you he will be a good service dog. A dog that is that reactive to people is going to be very difficult to train as a service dog. I would try to look into a service dog organization and have them evaluate him for you if they will. There is no way to speed up his learning, to try to do so will only give you the exact opposite what you're trying to do. Look in your area and see if there is a group who help people to train their own service dogs.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-05-2017, 06:11 PM
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You don't know if a dog will make a good service dog at that age, unless they are bred and chosen for that by people who know what they are doing, and even then maybe not. Why are you trying to rush training? My dog started barkng at people at that age because he wanted to play, not out of fear. I began taking him to non threatening places and let him approach people, not let them come up to him.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-05-2017, 06:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deb View Post
I sincerely hope the people who sold him to you didn't tell you he will be a good service dog. A dog that is that reactive to people is going to be very difficult to train as a service dog. I would try to look into a service dog organization and have them evaluate him for you if they will. There is no way to speed up his learning, to try to do so will only give you the exact opposite what you're trying to do. Look in your area and see if there is a group who help people to train their own service dogs.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-05-2017, 06:34 PM
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High value food rewards can still be used to create a positive association around strange people....given by you! Initially high rates of reinforcement to keep her under threshold and focused on you, then progressing to rewarding for * insert desired behavior * by using the presence or proximity of the stranger as the (trigger) cue. Key is to feed before she has the chance to react, even very subtle reactions, otherwise you're rewarding the negative reaction or pattern.

Agree with Deb, find a group that trains or raises service dogs if you haven't already and begin teaching whatever methods of training you're going to use during the formal portion. Most likely some variety of positive reinforcement?

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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-05-2017, 06:38 PM
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Hmm ... you have to make some choices here. If your goal was a "Service Dog???" This dog sounds like a "poor" prospect??? If "Service Dog" is a drop dead goal for you and this dog?? It would be better to cut your loss now and contact a GSD rescue and find him a more suitable home.

But if your content to have them as a "Pet" ... that's a lot easier. See the two links here:
New Dog, Very Challenging

"Who Pets my Puppy or Dog" and "Five things to do with a fearful dog." And add this.:
Fearful, Anxious or Flat Crazy "The Place CommanD - Boxer Forum : Boxer Breed Dog Forums

You just keep people out of his and give him time to adjust, he will learn to "trust you." If you do those things he will turn out just fine as a "family pet" but a "Service Dog???" Seems like a most unlikely candidate???
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-05-2017, 06:40 PM Thread Starter
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i actually evaluated him myself. i rehabilitate aggressive and insecure pitbulls from the shelter near me and rehome them and it usually isnt too difficult, i just need tips this time because i have never dealt with a german shepherd, the breed's dynamic is a bit different but i assure you that once he isnt reactive anymore (which he definitely wont be) i will come back and post about his progress. im going to a conference im a week or two however and it would be nice if i could calm him down a bit more before then.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-05-2017, 06:42 PM Thread Starter
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service dog prospects are chosen as early as 8 weeks old actually. he follows commands beautifully and has absolutely no signs of aggression but he gets a bit frantic when people come too close.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-05-2017, 06:46 PM Thread Starter
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i dont have the money for that or the time to be on a waiting list. also he is a fantastic prospect, when he watched people from his yard no matter how close they were or how quickly they moved(we, 7 people, came in and were all over him with no problem)he was fine. he is just out of his comfort zone and needs time to adjust i suppose since he has been a backyard dog.
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