First time GSD adopter looking for some hints & tips! (5 m puppy!)
My name is Bex. I live with my boyfriend, and just under a fortnight ago we were given the opportunity to foster this young chap;
This is Odin, a five month old GSD. A childhood friend of my boyfriend's breeds them, and she had Odin returned to her after finding out he was currently in an unsuitable (and potential abusive) home. My boyfriend is a life long fan of this breed after growing up with one as a child, so jumped on the opportunity to offer some TLC to him. He is now living with us!
I'll admit it has been a bit sudden, but I am a huge dog person (I grew up with border collies) and we have both been thinking of taking the plunge and getting one for a while, so I've just rolled with it!
He is, in short, an absolute sweetheart. Surprisingly he came fully house trained, and has adapted to our routine very quickly. We are able to leave him home alone when we need to (he has two days a week at most where he is alone while we work, and my boyfriend visits him on his lunch for a toilet break!) He has boundless energy, loves a cuddle and is very food motivated (goodness does this boy love his chicken!)
We live in a countryside village and are able to play frisbee off-lead as well as walk on-lead around the houses a few times a day... And that's where my only issue comes in...
As expected, he is a very boisterous, playful dog. But this can get him into trouble when we are off on a walk and he sees someone (dog or human) that he doesn't like the look of. The sight of a man walking directly toward me sends him into guarding mode, and he will stand infront of me and growl until the stranger has passed us on the pavement. It is nice that he has become instantly loyal and protective of me when we are out alone, but I need to teach him that strange men walking toward us is not something to be feared.
The other thing is dogs. His recall off lead is pretty good for his age, and we can control him 95% of the time when playing frisbee. The only exception is another dog in the area - he will immediately make a b-line for them and ignore us until he has had the opportunity to sniff and say hello (he is ALWAYS friendly and playful, never aggressive, but I can understand dog owners with toy breeds being alarmed at a huge GSD bounding toward them from the other side of a field). This behaviour is a million times worse on-lead. When on a lead, and he sees another dog, he pulls and lunges and whines and barks like a madman. If I allow him to go over, he quietly and politely says hello (sometimes accompanied by an offer to play), but it's frustrating to be dragged across the pavement by such a powerful dog when he sees another.
Because he is only five months old, he obviously hasn't been neutered yet, though I can tell his sexuality is starting to show (if he gets worked up in playtime, he starts gyrating and humping the air). A couple of times he has tried to mount other dogs - both male and female too.
When his turn to be neutered comes around, will this help curb this behaviour? Also, does anyone have any ideas on how to control his impulse to say hello to others? Has anyone experienced anything similar? Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Sorry for the massive post, there was quite alot to explain! Can't wait to become an active member of this community. I'm very excited about turning Odin into a perfect dog for me & my boyfriend.
Welcome to the site!
Great info on ---> Welcome to the GSD/FAQ's for the first time owner - German Shepherd Dog Forums
Specially http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum...s-puppies.html and http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum...imer-tips.html
He is beautiful! He looks very much like my dog :)
That is great you were abe to rescue him.
In addition to reading the supplied link , I would stress that given his age and given the short amount of time you have had him , you need to keep him on lead when you go anywhere. It is great that he is good with other dogs ( even though mounting is NOT really "good with other dogs" ) ..but he may really frighten someone which they do not deserve , and/or he may bound up to a dog that is very dog aggressive.
In a nutshell , it is not good dog owner etiquette to allow a dog off lead unless he is 100% in your control. My dog has been "pretty good" off lead since he was 5 or 6 months old , and now at 9 months old he is what I would "solid" off lead - but I still keep him on lead in public due to the fact that at 9 months old, though he has not shown it , he can still possibly be unpredictable ( just like kids - they may know the rules but are not mature enough to occasionally get selective hearing and break the rules when the reward is high enough - like seeing another dog ) .
Do you have a fenced area where you can do training ? Do everything on lead first , and when you feel like testing recall and such do it in a fenced in area if possible , or get one of those extremely long training leads.
Also , 5 months old is a bit young to be showing apprehension of strangers ..and you say it is particularly men and may have been in an abusive home. With all that , and considering the rather young age he is to be apprehensive of strangers approaching , I would say definitely focus on socializing him now , on lead , in allowed places. He needs to have positive encounters with trusted male friends of yours he has never met. Ask friends to help both with people socializing ad dog greeting manners!
If available in your area , an intro to obedience puppy class is a great way to socialize him , learn manners , and make friends.
Good luck , again he is beautiful. Love the name , I had a GSD i my life as a child and his name was Odin too. He was one of the great ones :)
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