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Old 05-01-2014, 10:15 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Hello there. My name is Ambre and I am new to this site. I apologize for the long post, but I am very sincerely asking for for advice.
We have two german shepherd puppies. Male and female, that are brother and sister. They are one week shy of four months old. We have had them since they were about 7 weeks old. I will also mention that we have two children: a six year old and a 3 1/2 year old.
I grew up always having dogs in my household. Upon reflection, I realize we never did anything special to train our dogs. We just had dogs and they interacted with us and the neighbors and there was never any issues. I mention that because it has been very different with these two and I am unsure what to do at this point.
Our two puppies are sweet dogs. They are smart and have been very good with the family. It has taken the male longer to get used to our son, and that is because our son is three and is still learning what he can and can't do with the dogs and so at times has been rough. So we have made it a point to teach our son how to treat the dogs. Our son has improved and the dogs, especially the male, Angus, does much better with him.
We have a fenced back yard and the dogs can see our neighbors and their dogs as well, so I did not realize there was an issue until I started teaching them to walk on a leash and started taking them for walks. I probably waited longer than I should have to do that, but I didn't realize there would be an issue.
The issue is they are scared of most everything. Actually the male is the worst. I think the female will get used to things easier. But Angus will panic and try to pull out of the collar if he gets scared. If someone tries to approach him, even slowly and quietly, he will raise his hackles, growl and whine and pee and try to back away. Even with some of our neighbors he still does that even tho he sees them frequently. I took him to the park today just to sit and watch the kids play ball and he was upset most of the time. Upon leaving, he would pull and pull on the leash and try to get away because he was so scared. It's to the point that I get frustrated because he just won't quit. Nothing has ever happened to him: no abuse, no attacks by other dogs, etc.
I am worried he will bite someone out of fear. He is not an aggressive dog, it seems to be fear.
I guess what I want to ask is this:
Is this expected behavior for a four month old male german shepherd puppy?
If I continue to take him to the park, for example, will this behavior improve, and if so will it be within a reasonable amount of time or are we talking months? Because, to be honest, I don't know that I can do that kind of intense training. I am willing to work with Angus, and I have been trying to do so. I try to walk them both every day and have them see other people and animals.
I guess I did not realize I would end up with a puppy that would be so fearful of other people and dogs because in all the dogs I had growing up, none were ever like that. So I wasn't expecting it.
I do like our dogs very much, but it have to be honest with myself and also think of what the dog needs and do I have the time to do it.
I hate to split the puppies up, but I may have to consider keeping just one.
I would appreciate any advice and suggestions.
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Old 05-01-2014, 10:22 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm no trainer, but if he were mine, I'd give him some one one one and take him out by himself. At the same time, I'd set him up for success by provided some high value treats and ask ( strangers to him) others to give home treats and, when willing some positive attention.

Good luck
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Old 05-02-2014, 09:49 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thank you for your suggestions.
Anyone else have any advice?
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Old 05-02-2014, 11:37 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I would consult a trainer if you find you can't get them under control yoruself and see what they think. He is only 4 months old, and I fully believe he can be worked with.. which may be time and money for you. If you decide to rehome him in the end, you are doing what's best for him, but I still think you guys can work through this

I had a 4 month old boerboel that was scared of a lot of things too on walks. With her I made the walks super fun. I had lots of treats and sometimes we would just stop and play games with the treats. "touch" was a good one for her. I trained her to touch her nose to my fingers when I held them out, wherever they were she had to try to touch them. She was scared of cars, so we would sometimes go up to the end of the street where there was more traffic. We would sit and she'd watch the cars go by while I played games with her.

I'd definitely do some one on one. The problem with 2 pups at once is that it's hard to train them both equally. Take your male out for some training. Then the female later. They need to build a bond with you seperately IMO. I think too, this may display a trust issue with you and your pups. They should trust that you are going to protect them, but something is missing. I think building the foundations with one on one training will help strengthen the bond. Sometimes I ask Titan to do things and he looks at me like "um do what??" and this "you're a craazy lady!" look, lol. but he does them because he trusts that I wouldn't ask him to do things that would put him in harms way.

I digress. In the end I think one on one time.. especially walking one on one to start would be better for them and you. You will be able to focus on that one without worrying about the other. Also, stay calm. They feed off your energy.

Also, where did you get them? if from a breeder, are any of their littermates this way?
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Old 05-02-2014, 12:15 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Four months old is the closing door for socialization. I got my first German Shepherd at four months old, completely unsocilazed. He is five years old now, and has Fear Aggression. He is terrified of people and loud noises.
You need to find a professional trainer.
I wish you and your pups the best of luck!
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Old 05-02-2014, 12:32 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Also, don't allow anybody to corner him; this could turn him into a fear biter, or just make his fear more extreme. And don't pull him towards people or force him to approach; this will hurt his trust in you.
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Old 05-02-2014, 02:18 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AmbreK View Post
We have two german shepherd puppies. Male and female, that are brother and sister. They are one week shy of four months old. We have had them since they were about 7 weeks old. I will also mention that we have two children: a six year old and a 3 1/2 year old.
Good Lord! Do you wear a cape and have super powers? That is a whole lot on your plate!!! I run out of energy with just ONE puppy, and I have an empty nest!

It might be an unpopular vote here, but I'd seriously consider finding a good home for the male pup. He is going to require a lot of work. You've got a female pup that might start picking up on his behaviors. Sounds like she's already border line. It would be much easier finding a stable home for the pup now, then to wait till you've pulled all of your hair out, or find his behavior is beyond your capability to handle. I'd start with the breeder. See if they'd take the pup back.
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Old 05-02-2014, 03:10 PM   #8 (permalink)
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It might be an unpopular vote here, but I'd seriously consider finding a good home for the male pup. He is going to require a lot of work. You've got a female pup that might start picking up on his behaviors. Sounds like she's already border line. It would be much easier finding a stable home for the pup now, then to wait till you've pulled all of your hair out, or find his behavior is beyond your capability to handle. I'd start with the breeder. See if they'd take the pup back.
I'm inclined to agree, unless you have dedicated time to work with him every day, multiple times a day, for months.
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Old 05-02-2014, 03:17 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lilie View Post
It might be an unpopular vote here, but I'd seriously consider finding a good home for the male pup. He is going to require a lot of work. You've got a female pup that might start picking up on his behaviors. Sounds like she's already border line. It would be much easier finding a stable home for the pup now, then to wait till you've pulled all of your hair out, or find his behavior is beyond your capability to handle. I'd start with the breeder. See if they'd take the pup back.
I agree.
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Old 05-02-2014, 03:29 PM   #10 (permalink)
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quote "Four months old is the closing door for socialization"

there actually is no moment when the door slams shut. Socialization is accumulative and on-going .

Two pups related to each other is probably the most difficult combination to raise up properly. They become very dependent on each other . That and having identical needs and possibly going through a stage at the same time .

Some of the most important socialization occurs while the pups are still at the breeders . What is missed there is the most difficult to make up for later on.

That is a lot of responsibility that you have . Contact the breeder and see if they can help you.
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