Barking, growling, and hackles up - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-14-2010, 11:40 PM Thread Starter
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Barking, growling, and hackles up

Hi all. I am sorry to keep bothering you all so much, but I am really getting worried about Major, my 13 week old german shepherd pup. He has always been kind of barky towards some people, but at this point it has progressed beyond that. Now he is barky, growly, and hackles raised towards some people. It is people that come up on us unawares, or that look different, or are carrying things. Tonight my son and I were walking the dogs and I was walking Major while he walked my other dog. A man came out carrying his trash to put on the curb for pick up tomorrow. The man didn't do anything wrong at all. Major started growling really deep, and hackles raised, and sounded like he was going to tear the man apart.

This is my first german shepherd to have from a pup that I have trained myself. What am I doing wrong? What do I need to do to help Major to be confident and okay around people?

I had hoped to raise him as a service dog, but if I can't get a handle on this, that will never happen. I have had him out socializing some, but now I am afraid to take him out a lot as he keeps on barking and growling at people.

Please help me?
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-15-2010, 12:23 AM
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asking questions is always good

puppies are not aggressive. You have to get him out and socialize him. You have to teach him these strange things are nothing to fear. He may bark and raise hackles but you have to get out there and be around those things and teach him that its normal. Redirect his attention to you, its going to take work and consistancy.

Did you get your pup from a reputable breeder who's dogs had good temperments?

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-15-2010, 08:04 AM
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he's at an age, where everything new might be kinda scarey and he's unsure of it.

If mine was 'bugged' by something, like I remember Masi, at my mom's, she had one of those life size deer statues in her yard, masi basically ignored it , but at one point, it was like she realized it was THERE and WHAT THE HECK IS THAT?

I didn't drag her up to it, but kept saying, "oh get over it, it's no big deal", and I would go up to the deer, pet it, make a big deal over it, and she soon followed and realized WOW it's nothing ! LOL..

Always take a good yummy treats with you,,hand them off to anyone who's willing, and have them drop them on the ground for him,,if he's food motivated, he's soon going to learn people = treat dispensers) They don't have to pet him, fawn all over him, just drop treats,,let him approach and go from there

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-15-2010, 08:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JakodaCD OA View Post
he's at an age, where everything new might be kinda scarey and he's unsure of it.

If mine was 'bugged' by something, like I remember Masi, at my mom's, she had one of those life size deer statues in her yard, masi basically ignored it , but at one point, it was like she realized it was THERE and WHAT THE HECK IS THAT?

I didn't drag her up to it, but kept saying, "oh get over it, it's no big deal", and I would go up to the deer, pet it, make a big deal over it, and she soon followed and realized WOW it's nothing ! LOL..

Always take a good yummy treats with you,,hand them off to anyone who's willing, and have them drop them on the ground for him,,if he's food motivated, he's soon going to learn people = treat dispensers) They don't have to pet him, fawn all over him, just drop treats,,let him approach and go from there
That. Your dog is way too young to label the behavior as aggressive. Exposure, exposure... Try to keep his attention on you, not the other things going on. Firmly say "attention" and if needed, use your hand to flag his attention, quickly bringing it towards your eyes to direct him. A short tug sideways on the leash during that exercise can help too.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-15-2010, 10:21 AM
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SOCIALIZE SOCIALIZE SOCIALIZE! That way what is weird now (man with trash cans) will be boring and ordinary later.




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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-15-2010, 04:23 PM Thread Starter
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he did come from a wonderful breeder with dogs with wonderful temperaments. I think you all are right, and that it is more a matter of socialization than anything else. I had actually found some posts here on this forum about others having the same, kind of, problems as I am having at 13 weeks old, and learned there that it was not aggression. I will be getting him out more for socialization. I love him and want him to be healthy and happy.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-15-2010, 05:13 PM
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Have lots of yummy treats with you on your outings, when he acts afraid, redirect his focus back to you and mark it-clickers work great for this.
Immediately give him a treat as reward. You can even say Look at That (LATgame) in a happy voice when he starts his body posturing.

Are you in contact with his breeder?

Puppy classes are safe for him at this age now, too-maybe get into a class for fun. Don't worry about the strict obedience training at his age, just go for fun and exposure to others.

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-15-2010, 07:48 PM
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He is in his fear stage, thats why in every GSD book they will tell you that at this time it is the most important time to socialize!
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-01-2010, 11:11 AM
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Hello! I'm having the same problem but with a 11 week old pup! She barks at EVERYTHING! I have a hard time redirecting her attention to me and sometimes she won't even take treats. What can I do?

Some situations I can't avoid, like when she's out for a potty and the neighbour across the street comes home (BARK BARK BARK BARK). She doesn't stop until the person is gone.

Any help would be great!!
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-01-2010, 08:31 PM
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As the folks said earlier - Socialise, Socialise, Socialise, Socialise, Socialise, Socialise, Socialise

Teach the puppy that a lot of things and people are normal so he gets used to as many people and things as possible. if you can get strangers to offer a treat in a kind of gentle ho-hum manner that will also help.
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