10 Months and timid of strangers - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 04-05-2010, 12:20 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2009
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10 Months and timid of strangers

Hi all,

I haven't posted in a while as I have been busy with my GSd as well as my second child. Both of them are doing great!

I finally got a foot hold of Sawyer's housebreaking issues. It took a lot longer than normal but I did finally reverse the situation. I had an issue where Sawyer would relieve himself in his crate making my preferred method of housebreaking a useless method for this dog. I ended up removing the crate from the equation and giving Sawyer a partition in my kitchen. This ended up with me having some chewed furniture but ultimately served it purpose as I was finally able to show Sawyer what a clean dog was. He still relieved himself in the kitchen but he no longer had to sit in it. This went on for quite a while until I finally felt I was ready to introduce the crate again. This time around he respected the crate as a home that was to remain clean. He hasn't had an accident since. I'm glad that issue has been addressed for it was getting very frustrating.

On the other hand, I have made only a little progress with his timidness towards strangers outdoors. I finally am at the point with him where I can have people come in to the house and he will bark as he runs to the door but does not get aggressive with the guests. He walks up sniffs then I tell him to go about his business and for the most part he does; however, outside we cannot be approached. I have been able to close the distance gap significantly. People can for the most part walk across the front of our house and he is okay with it but if they were to approach us head on he would still have a problem with this.

Will he bite in fear? No. One night I was outside and a small pomeranian got loose from his owner and decided to come over and meet both of my dogs. When the GSD turned around and saw a little white foreign animal next to him he flipped out. Jumping around like a mad man and crying like he the little dog was harming him. He was definitely startled over it but he didn't attack the little dog he just wanted no part of it.

I have taken him to shopping malls and stood at different distances while giving treats and that whole method of desensitizing but he is still wont have any part of it. I know if I were able to get him into the mix of things he would snap out of this spell after seeing that strange people and dogs are not always a bad thing but how do I do this without scaring the community?

Should I muzzle him and take him to more parks and continue the high value treats and get up close and personal? I have never used the muzzle before and most people are not willing to walk up to a barking dog that is not wearing some sort of muzzle.
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 04-05-2010, 03:20 PM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: California, US
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Have you thought about taking your pup to a good obedience class? Could be a great place to also socialize him with people who would or should be more likely to help you with socializing him?
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 04-05-2010, 03:26 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Southeast PA, USA
Posts: 606
Try having people approach from the side.
Have him in a good sit/stay and have the stranger move in from the side, but not make eye contact.
This is much less intimidating then straight on with eye contact.
Once he is accepting, treat him and move on. Not away, just on.
Practice over and over again.
You can even start off slower by sitting at the park but safely away from traffic. Each time he looks at a stranger, treat and good boy him. Then move in a little closer and do the same thing until you are able to be as close as possible.
Then have a stranger approach with what I explained above.

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