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gravedanger 01-03-2014 04:40 PM

12 week old behavior with strangers
Hi all,

New GSD owner here. I have had my pup Eva for about a month now. She turned three months old on Wednesday.

So far it's been relatively smooth sailing. She is a landshark in the house, but I read that this behavior is completely normal. She seems to be thinking twice about biting my ankles...but not all the time ;)

We have just recently started going for extended walks. She is a very friendly pup and loves to have people we meet pet her and say hi. At this point, she has probably met over 100 people, with the large majority of that number being people at Petsmart, on our walks, at the park, etc. A good combination of old people, children, and people of other genders and races.

I have not once had her bark, be aggressive, or shy away from a person. She loves being petted and sniffing people. Sometimes she only sticks around for a couple sniffs and a quick lick on the hand before she is interested in something or someone else, but she is always friendly.

I think this is obviously good behavior, but I wanted to make sure she is on the right track with dogs/people off in the distance (before we've approached and engaged).

90% of the time, when Eva sees a dog or person off in the distance, she will either sit on the spot and stare intently or kick her back leg out and hold completely still. For example, on our walk today, a dog was off his leash on the other side of the street and ran towards us. Eva planted on the spot and stared at the barking or growling. The owner called the other dog back and he turned around before crossing the street. I held still and so did Eva as not to distract the dog.

She would probably sit there for quite some time, but I usually am able to tell her 'it's okay' and we continue walking. Just a few moments later, she saw some guys loading a mattress on to a car. She stood with her back leg out and didnt move from her spot.

tl;dr -- is this an appropriate balance of friendliness and protective behavior? I want to make sure she is a friendly dog, but also courageous enough to hold her ground and be confident. The only thing I have seen her really bark at or shy away from is the vacuum cleaner.

JakodaCD OA 01-03-2014 05:13 PM

she sounds like a nice puppy:) she sounds confident and happy..

I would say this, make all her interactions especially with DOGS, positive ones,,don't put her in any situations that another dog can bully/pick on her..

I wouldn't say she is protective, she's to young to even know what that means, It sounds more like she is curious/checking things out, no reaction, which is GOOD...confident:)

MaggieRoseLee 01-04-2014 11:14 AM

With a puppy we shouldn't expect any 'protective' behaviors at all. They don't have the experience for that and it's why we are socializing! Confidence and secure puppy becomes a thinking confident adult who will have a brain to figure out when something is a bit peculiar :)

I love that she just calmly stops and considers new things. It's key how YOU behave and YOU react at these times so she learns that you have her back and YOUR brain can be trusted to know good from bad. And, frankly, all meetings for the first year (or so) should be good. So you saying happy things, being calm, happy, welcoming and NORMAL when out and about is key to keep your leadership role and a confident, happy puppy!

Keep up the good work but don't put all the pressure on how SHE is reacting. You need to lead the way and SHOW her everything is fine. Don't push her but lead her. It's ok if you meet the 'whatever' first and she's behind to see you didn't get murdered :) so were right !!!

I always go out with my puppies armed with a ziplock of truly amazing treats that I use all the time when out and about. When a 'scary' person is giving out a chicken liver it turns out they aren't that scary after all !!

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