Puppy's First Bad Day
Fawn is 17 weeks and hasn't done anything concerning or exciting behaviorally... until today. :help:
Our usual walk is with my old dog Daisy to the coffee shop, through the hardware store and back past a gated park for some off leash time before heading home. Fawn walks fine with Daisy and I but if I leave the old lady at home to rest, my GSD pup spends more time being alert and seems concerned about distant dogs barking.
Today I not only left Daisy at home, but tried a new walking journey with Fawn past the gated school and through two blocks of residential area to a natural preserve to look at birds. I've taken this route with Daisy and recalled there is an unstable GSD in a small run in one of he backyards we'd have to pass. I just planned to be on the other side of the street.
The walk started out well, but when we crossed the street to avoid the unstable GSD who spins and barks loudly in his kennel, a pitbull wandered to his gate to see what the fuss was about. The pitbull was young himself and seemed friendly but Fawn lost her mind. Started barking wildly with her hackles up all the way down her back. The pitbull continued to be good and only barked back a little while I just kept walking while Fawn was trying to either bolt or put on her breaks. She was overly alert after that for a block and then was back to normal. On the way back, I picked her up as we passed the same pit pup and she didn't react while I was carrying her. I set her down after and the rest of the walk was uneventful.
Clearly I've mis-stepped somewhere. Have I walked her with Daisy too much and now she's uncomfortable walking with me alone? I don't let her meet strange dogs and am hoping for indifference or at least for her to be less impressionable when she starts to meet dogs. I hope my lack of dog on dog socializing isn't backfiring.
A few hours later we went to get her rabies vaccination. There were a ton of dogs waiting in line and Fawn was trembling a bit. She sat and went into a down voluntarily but would jump up and start barking her head off and have to be quieted down several times. She's been at the vet several times and just sat in my lap, I was unprepared for her to at this way. I picked her up again to quiet her down. Good decision?
We are starting beginning obedience in a few weeks, I'm hoping to have her meet other pups in this controlled setting. I also hope she won't be shaking and barking through the whole thing.
Lastly, also to my surprised, she likes to bark at people on the street now. She wants to go see them to lick them and probably piddle on their feet and that's usual for her but the demanding attention barking isn't. How should I curb/correct this?
Thank you so much for reading and let me know what you think so I can make this better and/or not any worse! :confused:
She is a baby still. What she is doing is very common at this age with GSD, at least in my personal experience.
Had it been me, I would have pulled out some yummy treats, held one in front of her nose and kept moving forward. No reassurance, just, " come on let's go". The bigger deal YOU make of something, the bigger deal she thinks it is. She looks to you for guidance and how to respond.
At the vets, same thing. I would have kept her moving and thinking, not allowed her to focus on the other dogs, as best as possible. Lots of yummy treats to distract her, had her doing "sits" and "watch".
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Thank you for the advice, I'll try harder to distract her next time. :)
She is still a young pup, I'd work on engagement/focus with you, she will learn to ignore people/dogs and other distractions.
Don't feel bad I had the same issue yesterday with Bella at 17 weeks. She must be getting hormones because everything was out of order. I relaxed when we went about our walk. She was so off kilter, looking around fast head bopping from side to side, sniffing everything, not healing, jumping up on me, not paying attention, stumbling around. She was so off kilter, I just though oh' well it's starting early and I best not get upset, the walk was 30 minutes instead of 60.. This morning a neighbor dog was howling at 6:00 AM. Maybe she's putting off scent, I just don't know. Will get her rabies and 2nd, Bordetella on the 11th.
There big, but there still a baby and you need to keep your cool, every step of the way. Just thought I would let you know, your not alone out there.. We be in a retard mode, know the mods. don't like that word, but nothing else describes the condition...
There's another day tomorrow !
I'm looking online for resources on working on engagement aside from teaching "watch me". I see the Leerburg Engagement training video is popular. Does anyone else have any other suggestions on games or methods to help Fawn pay close enough attention to be to ignore something that scares her so much? I understand it's not going to happen quickly but I would like to start working on it.
I hope Bella gets her act together as well, haha!
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