12 week old raising hackles when meeting other dogs - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 02-24-2014, 07:06 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 12 week old raising hackles when meeting other dogs

Hi, just wondering if this is normal? It seems like her hackles are going up more out of excitement but I'm not really sure, she has met at least a dozen dogs or more and can be a little timid if the dog comes up too fast but other than that she seems completely normal.
Thanks for you input
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Old 02-24-2014, 07:08 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 02-24-2014, 07:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I would try to manage the greetings so she can learn to be confident. Dogs don't need to be rushing up on others...I'd stay away from such places that this happens.
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Old 02-24-2014, 07:21 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I would try to manage the greetings so she can learn to be confident. Dogs don't need to be rushing up on others...I'd stay away from such places that this happens.
I agree.

You don't want her to become conditioned to expecting that and as she matures possibly getting reactive in expectation. If that makes sense. My pup is five months old, I take him out all over the place. I want him to be completely neutral/ignore other dogs. I don't allow any of the nose-to-nose interactions you see so many people letting their leashed dogs pull them towards. I don't want any pulling to what he wants. I personally, want calm, neutrality. He gets to interact/play with our other dog, and any neutral/older dogs I know and trust. I want his focus to be mainly on me, even out and about (although I am doing sport, so I want that focus for other reasons as well).
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Old 02-24-2014, 07:39 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for the fast replies, very good info! Dani, that is exactly how I want her to be as well, do you have any info or resources so I can learn the correct way of getting to that point with her? Thanks
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Old 02-24-2014, 07:45 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I agree.
My dog's hackles and previous dog's hackles go up all the time, its just excitement, does not always mean a negative excitement.
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Old 02-24-2014, 08:04 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks for the fast replies, very good info! Dani, that is exactly how I want her to be as well, do you have any info or resources so I can learn the correct way of getting to that point with her? Thanks
Ya know, I don't really DO anything specific. I just do not allow him to meet other dogs I don't know, we don't do dog park stuff, he's naturally pretty aloof and uninterested. We deal with things as they come and as he shows me who he is and what situations we have.

On a night time walk recently a labrador about ten feet away from us started barking, lunging, and growling at my dog. My dog growled and moved towards the other dog and he got a correction for that (verbal and collar) and we moved along. The next day, at a hunting/gun store a big lab puffed up at him, and my dog barked once at him (first time he's done that), another correction (verbal and collar). We worked through it at the store. I moved away from the other dog, got his attention, did a little luring obedience with food. Then we walked by the other dog (10 feet or so from the dog), my dog started showing the mindset of attention towards the dog (ears forward, zoned in on the other dog, etc) and I gave him a pop (and a verbal correction), kept moving, stopped, did a little fun obedience, and that was that. It seemed to click with him then>>"OK I'm not allowed to do that."

Since then, he's walked past several dogs, with no issue and no attention paid towards the dogs. He's had one more that he barked at a week or so later, this time it only took the verbal from me and he completely ignored the other dog from then on.

Now...if he was showing timid/fearful (cowering, ears down, tail tucking, skittery) behavior, I would have been completely different. I would have kept moving, calling his name, possibly tried to do it over food or toy drive. Attempting to re-focus him on me.

GSD's are naturally aloof dogs, my dog seems to already show that, so I'm just reinforcing it and not letting other habits form (not letting him pull me towards another dog he wants to meet).

I'm totally different with people and kids. He's more social in that aspect. He doesn't run over to someone, but he sits and takes a nice pet and then comes back to me. Anyone who asks I let pet him. I don't let him pull me to anyone (he doesn't really do that). I also want him to be fine with people/kids petting him, so I'm encouraging that calm sit/neutrality when someone pets him...which he offers on his own.

So, for me it's just kind of...react to whatever the environment or the dog's personality throws at me....along with relaying most of it back to my trainer and asking tons of questions lol. But maintaining the common theme, neutrality/ignoring other dogs and accepting a nice pat from a stranger.

I should add, I don't force interactions with people. He goes up to them quite happily and just sits to be pet. He's always done this, I just reinforce it with a "good boy" when he does it. He's pretty focused on me when we are out and about, which I also try and reinforce....it's about me and him, no one else matters.
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Old 02-24-2014, 08:07 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I agree.
My dog's hackles and previous dog's hackles go up all the time, its just excitement, does not always mean a negative excitement.
I agree. In this situation, I don't know if it's fear or not...so I'd rather offer advice on the side of caution. However, I don't want an overly excited dog or a fearful dog when it comes to meeting anyone (human or canine) when I'm out and about with him. Sounds like OP doesn't want that either, so just advising what I do to try and achieve that goal. I could be way wrong...it's working for me and my dog, but every dog and person are different. :-)
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Old 02-24-2014, 08:13 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Pretty much what has been stated. Ignore and move on was my approach with people and dogs. My guy will accept contact from children and strangers ( in my presence ) but he doesn't look for people to pet him.
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