Most likely I am the one who is abnormal, I'm sure I'm screwing up somewhere, but since I'm a first time GSD owner, I want the advice of those more experienced who may be able to shed some light. My pup is 12 weeks old and he seems very timid/shy/afraid of leaving his "comfort zone", i.e. our house, our car, etc.
I take him outside frequently to attempt a walk but he only wants to play in our yard. Whenever I lead him away from our yard he pulls and bucks on the leash as if I were leading him into the pits of ****.
He is enrolled in puppy obedience class and we've attended only 1 session. The trainer told me to "be a tree" when he pulls on the leash so he knows that pulling will get him no where. They also told me to do this when he is afraid of something so that he knows that even if he is trying to run from the scary thing, if I am not running, that means I'm telling him it is safe. I get worried he's going to choke on his collar though when I do this because he bucks so hard and sounds like he is coughing before he finally settles down and sits.
The other day I put him in the car and drove a couple blocks away fromour house and walked him home on the leash. He did much better than I expected, he was very carefully looking at each house - studying it to see if it was his - when he recognized our house (i have no idea how he did that - must be the smell) he ran towards it with great gusto
Then after a rest period I lured him back to the car with highest value treats - canned tuna - i smelled wonderful btw and so does the car - and it was still a bit of a struggle. I felt that overall it was a pretty good experience for him and tried it again the next day hoping to be met with less resistance but to no avail - same fear of leaving yard.
There are a few dogs in our neighborhood that are very barky that walk past our house occasionally. Even though he is much bigger than them, he runs to the front door if he senses them coming. I have not been able to socialize him much with other dogs because he doesn't have all his shots yet, although he did GREAT at puppy class with the other dogs last week, once he relaxed and stopped trying to run back to the car. Sadly enough he can't go to puppy class tonight, he got a stomach bug and the vet told me today to keep him home until he is feeling all better
There is one event that gave me hope - we brought him to Petco over the weekend and he encountered a HUGE black poodle. I expected him to turn and run back to me in a panic but instead he walked right up to the poodle and barked at him. I was astounded. Our next door neighbor's dog wants nothing more than to play with our pup but when she barks to get out of her fence and come over, my pup runs for the hills and the dog is much smaller than this huge poodle was!
Will my pup grow out of this fear stage? Is there something I can do to help him be more confident?