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Smith3 11-19-2012 09:08 AM

Getting around more dogs
 
Our puppy is about 5.5m old. We've been doing group training with her and all is going well. We've had about 4 weeks off between classes (puppy classes, started basic this week).

The only thing we've really noticed is she gets worked up when she gets within say 5' of other dogs. Like, I don't think it is aggression, probably more frustration she can't play.

When we are sitting in the circle with other dogs, she is an angel.

When we take her to national parks to do walks, she is fine near other dogs (though, we don't take her too close to other dogs usually, because we are working on loose leash walking).

Now, with training, starting next week, she will have playtime with the other dogs.

We barely know anyone with larger dogs (everyone seems to have tea-cup dogs, bleh), so it is hard to do "play dates"

What can I do to socialize her more to avoid any aggression issues. Would going and sitting OUTSIDE dog parks be beneficial so she at least sees other dogs?

Liesje 11-19-2012 09:36 AM

My GSDs both did the same thing around that age (5-10 months or so). I found that "flooding" (continuously putting them around other dogs) did not help. What helped was just keeping our distance from that distraction, developing a close bond, training the dog how to train and learn that training was fun, and letting the dog mature. In both dogs' cases at around age 10 months the problem had basically disappeared. Both dogs live with other dogs and passed their CGCs around the age of 10 months. I personally would not make a huge issue of it. They are young and their brains really immature at this stage so I would not ask very much as far as distractions. Set the dog up for success at home or in wide open areas and let the dog mature and gain confidence working with you. I do correct this behavior when it happens but at this age I don't try to work on this "problem" by seeking out other dogs, if that makes sense? At this age it's more important to me that the dog and I are developing trust and confidence in each other than the dog being an angel around other dogs.

At age 6 months Nikon was a terror around other dogs, I could not even walk him around the block b/c if he saw another dog he'd flip out and throw this amazing fit which ended in him basically howling and chattering his teeth. Now, he runs on flyball teams (a dozen dogs screaming and chasing balls and toys often jumping over each other and crashing into each other) and he is absolutely wonderful to all the foster dogs I've brought into my home including another male GSD and several very pesky puppies. He just went through this stage where he completely lost it around dogs he didn't know but honestly I think he outgrew it after a few months. I could not control his reaction once it started so I kept him away from dog distractions and worked on obedience at home. A few months later he passed his CGC.

Smith3 11-19-2012 09:43 AM

I guess we are just being paranoid. Most the other dogs are the same age and she was flipping out the most. I do chalk it up to her being immature and starting to go through adolescence.

I think we all worry too much. We've been doing a lot of training with her (this sets the stage for CGC), getting her around other dogs in classes (of to which, she is perfectly fine in the circle).

I guess I panic at the thought of having a dog aggressive dog.

Thanks for calming my nerves a bit!

Liesje 11-19-2012 09:56 AM

Oh yeah mine were always the worst! But then a few months later they were the best. If she's not trying to attack the other dogs I wouldn't be too worried, it's probably just a immature brain and frustration. I found that the more I tried to work on this directly, the more I lost control and got frustrated which only made it worse for my dog. If I focused on things that we could do really well, it helped build his confidence and "sureness" (not sure of that's the best word, but just being secure with himself and neutral to other dogs).

Smith3 11-19-2012 10:06 AM

Yeah the trainer just said "ignore the reaction and walk faster" when passing other dogs.

She is great when we take her to the national park and walk and see other dogs.

I just figured she was frustrated, wanted to play, etc. Poor babies!


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