Those of you that have read my previous posts know how proud I am of my boy, Sarge... and who wouldn't be proud of their gsd? right? But sometimes he just has me scratching my head.
Last night, we made a quick run to our local big-box pet store to buy dog food (which is a topic in itself) and decided to take Sarge and our little Yorkie (his best pal) Chloe. Things got off to a rocky start as we got out of the car he started pulling - which is new for Sarge, he's usually on heel without command now. I FINALLY get his attention and get him on heel to go in the store, but he is still not quite 'with the program' like he normally is. trying to wander away, etc.. this is the first time I've had to wrap his leash around my wrist to keep him from running off... it's was very weird.
We manage to pick up the dog food and head to the registers when a number of people come in the store, each with a puppy. there was a beagle, a very young lab and a scrappy terrier mix. - all of them pulling like mad, running in place on the tile, tails wagging, tounge out... typical puppies.
Sarge went nuts
He wasn't being agressive, he was wanting to play. Barking his head off, pulling on the lead, wetting himself, "prancing," and generally being what I call a "bad dog" - I managed to grab a treat off a nearby shelf and got his attention back (and yes, I bought the treat), but not until after everyone recoiled in fear, yanking their poor puppies by their leads - the only owner that didn't seem to have a problem was the beagle owner, he simply said. "oops,we've got him all excited, lets go..." and turned and dragged his little dog away.
Of course, barking your head off for a 5 month old gsd puppy who is already bigger than most dogs sounds like you've jumped the fence at the local junkyard andthe guard dogs found you. He's a noisy guy! I could tell by the look on the other owners faces that they were afraid their dogs were about to become a snack.. Meanwhile, Chloe is hiding behind my wife shaking like a leaf in her little harness. poor girl.
So my question is this: first, I dont' want to discourage Sarge alerting to the presence of 'unknowns' - but I want him to know the command "cease!" - basically to make him stop what he's doing, go to heal position 1 (sitting at my side) and SHUT UP!
Anyone with some good training advice on how to get this to happen, please let me know. It's never been an issue until now, and I've always been told that training is based on circumstance (wait for the good and reward, wait for the bad and redirect)
I know it was the other dogs that got him excited - we went to a Lowes right after this - FULL of people, and didn't have a single issue, not so much as a whimper out of him. he was on heel when we were moving and sitting at my side when we were still (or laying on the ground)... back to being... well... "Sarge"... for all practical purposes.
I'm really not that interested in taking him to a dog park as I'm concerned over disease and other poorly mannered dogs... so socializing him there isn't an option. does he just need more experience with strange dogs, or is this something he will grow out of?
Here's a fun pic of him: (I know, unrelated to the post.. but still)