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.