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MoosesMama 07-08-2014 07:43 PM

Having a party - nervous about how to handle puppy
I am having a party in a week and I'm expecting about 20 people. This will be a new experience for my 8 month old male GSD. He already knows many of the guests, but some will be strangers. He is great out in public (away from our home) - has never barked or growled at a stranger. He is a typical GSD however and is reserved with strangers, it will take him some time to warm up to a new person and I do not push him to do so.

The tricky part is that he is a different dog when it comes to our home. He will bark and growl at strangers coming to our house. Sometimes even at friends if he hasn't been exposed to them very often - especially small children.

My current way of handling this is that I always have him on a short leash and in my control when I answer the door. He is too young for me to trust off leash during these times. I've also tried going outside with the dog to greet the person and walking them in our house but that did not make any difference to Moose, he barked like crazy as usual. I will give him a few minutes to see if he gets used to the person and if not, I will crate him. Then I just have to listen to him howl :(

Sometimes he warms right up to the person (random guy to do a termite inspection) and other times he has to be crated and will snarl at the person (my little 5 year old niece) every time he gets a glimpse of them. Maybe he is just not comfortable around kids? I had her feed him some high value treats through the door of his crate, which he accepted but then started barking and growling again.

This party is for my daughters 21st birthday and we don't want anyone drinking and driving, so there will be a few of her friends that are planning to spend the night. Obviously I will have him crated safely in my bedroom for the night, but does anyone have suggestions on how to handle the party and guests in general?

I'm hoping he doesn't have to spend the whole day & night in the crate :help: That won't be any fun for him or me!

Cara Fusinato 07-08-2014 08:30 PM

Crate and keep him separate from the party. He's too young and inexperienced to be around a huge group and if he has shown protection around the home and strangers already this could to be just too much and it's better safe than risking an incident like a bite or something that leaves him with long-lasting fear. If the party dwindles down to a smaller group and you are comfortable, bringing him out leashed is certainly fine, but while you are in "host" mode and distracted by the whole party, it's best to just keep him safe. Perhaps when he is older, more experienced with strangers, in a smaller group, etc. might be different. Best wishes. Better off safe.

MoosesMama 07-08-2014 08:46 PM

Thanks Cara, that's pretty much what I thought. Just needed to hear it from someone more experienced!

Twyla 07-08-2014 08:51 PM

Agree with crate,and with people spending the night, boarding for the night may be something to consider as well.

Stosh 07-08-2014 09:46 PM

I agree- either keep him crated or board him.

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