Suggestions wanted for our weak nerved 8 month old GSD. - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-22-2012, 09:54 PM Thread Starter
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Suggestions wanted for our weak nerved 8 month old GSD.

My GSD is 8 months old, and showing weak nerves. Over the past few weeks, he has gone from lying down in the back of my Jeep to barking like a nut at every person, beast, or vehicle he sees. He sounds like he wants to kill everyone. He is good with people when we run across them on walks, and generally acts aloof when they greet him (no aggression), but when in or near the car, he's awful. I'm looking for a crate for the cars. He loves his crate at home, and maybe this will help keep him calm.

When we have people (mostly kids) over, he gets stressed, and has to be put away. It's hard for us, because our other dogs were very relaxed and social, and that's what we were hoping for. I stressed to our breeder (who was recommended by several members here) that our number one attribute in a dog was strong nerves. I take some of the blame because the first breeding we really were interested in didn't take, so we got on the list for the next one (same sire, different mother). I thought I asked the right questions about the mother, and only after we got our dog did I see the breeder fostering the mom out-and requesting home without small kids. Knowing what we wanted, and our family situation with kids, we got a dog from a weak nerved mother. I was expecting the breeder to be more useful to us in picking the right litter, and now it seems they cared more about selling dogs then taking the time or making the effort to properly place them.

What now? My dog has been taken out to busy public areas since he was 8 weeks old, exposed to kids, and dogs (he shows no dog aggression, but gets very nervous when there are more than a couple of dogs around him). Can a behaviorist help? He gets loads of exercise and attention, and is a pretty quick learner. We all love him, and he is loving to us, but we are a bit stressed by all this. We are a family used to taking the dog everywhere, and now we are sort of at a loss. Any recommendations, comments, or suggestions are welcome.
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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-22-2012, 10:02 PM
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You are in a tough spot. It's very hard to deal with a dog like this, even if you know what you are doing. I would be looking for a good trainer that has dealt with dogs with behavior problems before - I'm not a fan of behaviorists. I obviously haven't seen your dog in action, but suspect this is going to be a case of managing his issues and not fixing them.

As for the car, a crate is definitely in order and possibly keeping it covered so he can't see out might help.

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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-22-2012, 10:04 PM
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Over the past few weeks, he has gone from lying down in the back of my Jeep to barking like a nut at every person, beast, or vehicle he sees. He sounds like he wants to kill everyone.
This (or having people in your house) don't necessarily indicate bad nerves.
It can indicate that the pup needs more exercise as he's grown bored and is noticing things more.
Dogs, when bored, make up "games" and your dog's current game is "oh look, intruders!"
Gently discourage, and crate while in the vehicle.
And exercise the puppy more, especially before going places.
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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-22-2012, 10:06 PM
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Just some thoughts for you. 8 months old is about the time that it is common for pups to go through a fear stage. Is it possible to manage him for a few months, being aware of his surroundings to not put him into stressful situations, but also not make a big deal of it in front of him? This phase might pass as he matures some if you manage it carefully. Then again it might be just who he is but many dogs become fearful around this age and often it passes.
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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-22-2012, 10:07 PM
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Don't they go through a second fear stage right about this age?
Not sure this is so much weak nerves as it is the age and hormone rush that happens at this time.
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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-22-2012, 10:10 PM
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No, dogs do not go through fear stages. Pet people like to call them fear stages as an excuse for poor training, poor socialization, or poor nerves.

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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-22-2012, 10:11 PM
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He's at that age...gaining independence but not being able to really decipher what is and what is not a threat. Up your leadership(all family must be on board) with NILIF and keep on training him. Don't flood him with experiences, if you have to, stay on the fringe of things. When he reacts in the car tell him "OK I've got it, Quiet" so he knows he doesn't have to be in charge of the world.
As he matures he should slowly figure out that everything is not worth barking/reacting at.
Be firm, fair and keep building his confidence in a way that he knows you have his back....it will take some of his stress/anxiety away.

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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-22-2012, 10:17 PM
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I certainly wouldn't write him off as nervy quite yet...both of my boys were kind of "funny" at that age. Don't baby him and hang in there.

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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-22-2012, 10:19 PM
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Originally Posted by KristiM View Post
I certainly wouldn't write him off as nervy quite yet...both of my boys were kind of "funny" at that age. Don't baby him and hang in there.
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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-22-2012, 10:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Elaine View Post
No, dogs do not go through fear stages.
Just like in all the other threads, you state your opinions as facts, and they are not.
Studies professionals have done have shown that dogs indeed have fear stages, so really, your opinion is just that - an opinion.
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