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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-04-2012, 09:15 PM Thread Starter
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Meeting strangers

After Tyde's appt, I went to Petland to get him a new harness.

It's amazing to me how people have no worries about walking up to a dog, sticking their hands out to pet em.

Everytime I've seen a dog, I just really wanted to pet, (this may not be the correct way) but I would just stand there a while talking to the owner first... I never wanted to freak a dog out with my hand flying towards his head to pet him and get bit... Lol.

There was a man, who really wanted to pet him. So he approached, bent down, stuck out his hand and let Tyde sniff it. (I was standing behind him, and had the leash to where he couldn't go anymore forward if he tried to). Tyde sniffed his hand, then turned around and walked behind me and started sniffing the items in a basket (toys). They found it funny, I found it interesting. I offered the man a treat to give to Tyde, which he was ok with. Tyde walked back over, got the treat very gently, sniffed the guy again, the guy gave him a quick pet, before Tyde walked back behind me and back to sniffing the toys.

Was that the proper way to handle the situation? The ladies working acted like they wanted to get on the floor with him and cuddle, which wasn't gonna happen of course. But one lady, who was saying she and her husband have been discussing getting a GSD for a while now, was helping me with the harnesses, she put her hand out for him to sniff, which he did and then let out a very faint "woof". She didn't seem too phased by it though, as she got one and started to try it on him. I immediately bent down, talking calmly to him, saying good boy, it's ok, that's my boy, etc, while she touched him, etc. He paid her no mind, thankfully. Kinda like at the vets. The tech who tried to weigh him got one of those "woofs" too, but was able to touch him in the office when it was time for his exam.

Socialize, socialize, socialize... is what we're supposed to do. And I want to be able to take him places without worries, or reactive behavior.

So I want to make sure I do it right.

Do I stop everyone in their tracks when they look as if they might approach him, giving off apprehensive feelings of possible "reactiveness" or do I let them approach like it's no big deal, hoping that transfer to him, so he gets socialized.

Is socializing just supposed to be at a distance, or watching from a car, or sitting on a bench at a park? Or can it be actual socializing?


Help? Lol.

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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-04-2012, 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Jeven's Tyde View Post
After Tyde's appt, I went to Petland to get him a new harness.

It's amazing to me how people have no worries about walking up to a dog, sticking their hands out to pet em.

Everytime I've seen a dog, I just really wanted to pet, (this may not be the correct way) but I would just stand there a while talking to the owner first... I never wanted to freak a dog out with my hand flying towards his head to pet him and get bit... Lol.

There was a man, who really wanted to pet him. So he approached, bent down, stuck out his hand and let Tyde sniff it. (I was standing behind him, and had the leash to where he couldn't go anymore forward if he tried to). Tyde sniffed his hand, then turned around and walked behind me and started sniffing the items in a basket (toys). They found it funny, I found it interesting. I offered the man a treat to give to Tyde, which he was ok with. Tyde walked back over, got the treat very gently, sniffed the guy again, the guy gave him a quick pet, before Tyde walked back behind me and back to sniffing the toys.

Was that the proper way to handle the situation? The ladies working acted like they wanted to get on the floor with him and cuddle, which wasn't gonna happen of course. But one lady, who was saying she and her husband have been discussing getting a GSD for a while now, was helping me with the harnesses, she put her hand out for him to sniff, which he did and then let out a very faint "woof". She didn't seem too phased by it though, as she got one and started to try it on him. I immediately bent down, talking calmly to him, saying good boy, it's ok, that's my boy, etc, while she touched him, etc. He paid her no mind, thankfully. Kinda like at the vets. The tech who tried to weigh him got one of those "woofs" too, but was able to touch him in the office when it was time for his exam.

Socialize, socialize, socialize... is what we're supposed to do. And I want to be able to take him places without worries, or reactive behavior.

So I want to make sure I do it right.

Do I stop everyone in their tracks when they look as if they might approach him, giving off apprehensive feelings of possible "reactiveness" or do I let them approach like it's no big deal, hoping that transfer to him, so he gets socialized.

Is socializing just supposed to be at a distance, or watching from a car, or sitting on a bench at a park? Or can it be actual socializing?


Help? Lol.

Obedience school is a good place to start the socialization process. As your dog gets older things will change and you will find that most strangers will not want to pet your GSD Not that you want them to, but you don't want your dog to be fearful, barking, lunging, etc. My trainer always tells us that people should ask if they can pet your dog and the dog should be in a sitting position(not allowed to jump or bark) if allowed and we even practice every week I honestly don't get approached to often, my dog is 7 months, but she still likes people and is always happy to see them.

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Robyn- GSD CGC, TC, Midnite-GSD CGC,TC, Brennan-Golden Retriever CGC, Batman-Husky/Greyhound , Apollo-GSD
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-04-2012, 09:43 PM Thread Starter
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His first class starts on the 12th. I'm BEYOND excited!! Lol.

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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-04-2012, 09:48 PM
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His first class starts on the 12th. I'm BEYOND excited!! Lol.

It will be a great experience for you and your dog...you'll get different ideas and bond with your dog..Mine is in her 3rd class and I'm on the hunt for a different class with more levels I appreciate continued education

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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-05-2012, 01:55 AM
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Heck yes! Let everybody and anybody pet your puppy. If you have any concerns about your dog you can carry treats and hand them out to people. Watch your pup and if you pick up any uncomfortable vibes, you take your pup out of that situation.

Is there some reason you are so worried about your pup being reactive?

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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-05-2012, 02:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Jeven's Tyde View Post
His first class starts on the 12th. I'm BEYOND excited!! Lol.
Do you have a goal in mind for obedience? Are you going to shoot for Canine Good Citizen, Agility, Rally or anything like that? My dog is on the younger side in her last class and I'm hoping she is old enough to pass the Canine Good Citizen Test

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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-05-2012, 02:52 AM
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You're doing good! It's good that strangers ask. I know what you mean though, as you get anxious "how" your dog will react to that stranger. i think if YOU tense up with the encounter that will flow right through the leash to your dog. Assess each person and go from there. Remember also that socialization is more than just people, and more than just other dogs. We've brought our pup to the big airport twice now. It's a great place to introduce your dog to a lot of people, loud noises, hustle and bustle and baggage. Walter loved riding in te glass elevator and then the high-speed tram to the gates wing was lots of fun. He was very interested to observe how the bags dropped out the chute in the baggage area!

I read that a lot of people slow down on the socialization after 6 months because their dog is big now and certainly not getting as much attention as the 10-week old puppy did. But it's equally important to keep the socialization going strong for the net six months (and on).

So, keep up the good work and I like your approach of talking to the stranger 1st so your dog knows it's a friend and not someone who is dangerous.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-05-2012, 07:55 AM
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Stella is 9 months and the "can I pet your dog?" is definitely slowing down! Although I must say that a lot of people will still come up and talk about how they had a GSD growing up...etc etc I always allow people to pet her if they ask first.
But some people are just very very brave or just plain nuts.... I had taken Stella with me to get an oil change on my car. I pulled into the garage and was gathering my things to get out of the car. A man came up to the car window in the back (where Stella was), stuck his head in and said, "Gimme a kiss doggie." WHOA! At first Stella was like...WTH? But sweet girl that she is, she proceeded to wash his wash with her tongue. But if she was different, he could have lost his face! It all happened so fast. Crazy crazy people.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-05-2012, 09:21 AM Thread Starter
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Elaine: Not really... mainly... from reading the boards. Lol. And because he's a BYBred pup. And reading the boards. Lol. I thought I was somewhat educated when I choose a GSD, then I came here (after getting him) and some of what I've been reading just made me apprehensive about whether or not he would start behaving aggressively. I'm finding myself "on the lookout" for behaviors that would indicate some problems, because I want to be as proactive as possible in correcting them, if they're there.

I have to say though... I am in love with this dog and despite all that he has "going against him - byb, etc" he is amazing! I haven't seen one real aggressive bone in his body. I just want to make sure I'm understanding his behavior properly, so that I will know if he's being reactive in some way.

Llombardo: YES! I would love for him to get the CGC, most importantly. I am also interested in Agility, S&R or just a Seek & Find skill, etc. I just have limited funds, and bad location. Unless there are groups flying way UNDER the radar in my area, the closest place to get in on that stuff is 1hr+ away. Which probably doesn't seem like much to some, but for me, a single mom with a 2 yr old, etc... that's a long way away. I've thought about mainly backyard fun for him. Setting up an agility run, working on it with him, not to compete, but to have fun. Same with seek and find. I've read a little on those forums to get some instructions, but we're mainly working obedience right now, so I haven't moved forward with any of those yet. Classes >>> Stronger Obedience >>> CGC, then and probably during, some fun stuff like agility/s&f, etc.

Tyde will be at the top of the age limit for his puppy class. We started late. I hope she's old enough to test/pass too!! Good luck!!!

4score: I did get a little tense at the petstore yesterday. I had to consciously calm myself down. Lol.

Katdog5911: OMGoodness!! Crazy man!! I had a chihuahua/daushound mix who was friendly, sweet, great listener, etc. He was a GREAT dog. Way bigger than a chihuahua and way taller than a daushound. One day my daughter, who was 11 at the time, and I were standing outside my sister's place in IN. Some drunk man came wandering up. He was harmless for the most part, at least I thought so. But apparently Buster didn't, he started growling like crazy. The man was saying "Oh what a cute pooch, will he bite?" I honestly never thought he would... he just NEVER had that kind of temperment, or hints of protectiveness. But because of his growling and his intent gaze on this man I said... "Sounds like he will, might not want to get to close...." Dude didn't listen to me at all... and bent down, hand out towards my dog. Who lunged, growling, barking and trying to bite the man. I had him on a leash and reacted as fast as he did, while the slow man jumped back a little laughing and acting like my dog just wanted to lick him.... Since that moment, he because like a KING PROTECTOR of me and my daughter. If I said "it's ok Buster" he'd happily go back to the wonderfully sweet dog he was, but if I wasnt around and someone came to the fence, or house, they would think there was a 200 lb Mastiff in there.

There is NO WAY I would ever stick my head in a car window with a GSD, or any other dog for that matter, sitting inside. Holy moly... that guy needs to be told how differently it could have played out had it been a different dog with a different attitude! Goodness, some peoples.


Thank you all for your comments/etc. I just want to do right by my dog. Lol.

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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-05-2012, 10:18 AM
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If your dog is as sweet and outgoing as you say she is at this age, she isn't a reactive dog and won't be unless there is some bad event that happens to her or you keep overreacting to people. Trust your dog at this point and let her love up anyone she wants.

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