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Old 05-06-2014, 11:13 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Scared puppy?

I got a 5, now 6 month old GSD 3 weeks ago. He has adjusted well to my house and everything, but I was worried about him because he is very, very shy with strangers.
I began taking him on walks, and he started hiding behind me or refusing to move, he would just freeze in place with his tail between his legs. This was with people that were completely ignoring him. I started by standing and letting him observe the people, I said nothing at all to him.
He now generally is able to walk past people without much issue, he even often sniffs them. His tail stays in a neutral position now. He even will take treats (that I provide) from strangers if they are gentle and allow him to approach. He would completely refuse to take treats from anyone but me before.
Sometimes though, he still freezes up or hides behind me around strangers. This is most often with men. I also noticed that he watches children in an alert fashion and I am not sure what to make of it. His tail is always down neutral, but still.
I am wondering, am I doing the right thing for him? Will he always be nervous, could he become a future fear biter? I just don't know what to make of it. His parents were fine, and liked strangers. He is having a hard time. What should I think of it? I want to do everything I can for him but I also do not want a possible fearful dog on my hands, as I do not have the experience to fix it if it turns in to aggression.
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Old 05-07-2014, 09:33 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Congrats you have come up with a great training program for helping him to get over his nervousness around strangers. At 6 months, he is still very young, so it will take time and practice. He is probably just curious about children and doesn't know what to make of them as they are small and run about. If you have classes in your area, that also may help him to be relaxed around strangers. I wouldn't worry about it turning into fear aggression as long as he isn't forced beyond his comfort level.
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Old 05-08-2014, 12:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
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You are doing a great job! Keep up the good work with the treats and strangers and exposing him to new things in an appropriate and not overwhelming way. His entire world changed 3 weeks ago and you just need to show him what a fantastic new place it is with you!

Make sure you are happy and confident on the outings. Bring REAL treats (from the fridge rather then the dog food aisle). Skip or lessen the meal before the outings so he's really hungry. And have fun!
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Old 05-08-2014, 02:31 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Awesome, thanks guys! I'm very happy to hear I am doing it right. I wasn't sure, and I wanted some reassurance because I love Thor so much, and I want him to succeed! He actually stopped staring at kids today, and just walks right by them now. And yesterday, he even wagged his tail when someone pet him!! I was so proud of him. Hasn't done it again, but it still happened, and it was great!
As soon as I feel he is a bit more confident, we are going to do puppy classes. I think that will help him a lot, too.
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Old 05-08-2014, 02:42 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Nice job, it sounds like you're doing a great job. It does take time but keep up the good work

My poodle was an extremely fearful puppy and has blossomed into a good dog, and seeing her succeed where she would fail before is a great feeling.
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Old 05-08-2014, 03:30 PM   #6 (permalink)
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You are pretty much doing "mostly" post 8: "Who Pets my Puppy or Dog" I allowed zero interaction with my guy and strangers for a very long while (months). When I finally let someone pet him I could read him like a book. He had no issue kept looking at me. My guy had serious "people" issues and the above approach has made him safe in public today!

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Old 05-10-2014, 04:47 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks for the thread link! I need all the help I can get, I want to be absolutely sure that thor will succeed! I signed him up for puppy classes today too, so that should hopefully help him big time!
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Old 05-10-2014, 05:04 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I agree you're doing a great job, he might just be unsure of everything in his life right now and may settle into more confidence with the help of you and a class.
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