Another "Afraid Puppy" Thread - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-04-2012, 12:41 PM Thread Starter
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Another "Afraid Puppy" Thread

Hi All,

I've read through an number of threads on this topic, but I'm hoping for additional input from folks here, as my situation is slightly different. I will try to be as succinct as possible...

I have a 6 month GS female, purchased at 3 months from a reputable breeder. I've done a fair bit of basic training, and she (mostly) follows my commands. The problem is that she appears to be fear aggressive with dogs, and it manifests itself in one of two ways.

I want to say first that she has no fear of approaching another dog. In fact, she is very enthusiastic about it; however, it's not because she wants to play, but rather it appears she is trying to establish her "ranking" in some way. In any event, once she is nose to nose with another dog, here's what happens.

#1: She comes in contact with another dog, the other dog shows confidence, and she cowers and barks aggressively and continuously.

#2: She comes in contact with another dog, the other dog submits, and she aggressively barks right in their face. If the other dog continues to submit, she continues the behavior. If the other dog barks back or makes any sudden movements, she runs away and yelps.

As a result of the above, I do not let her off leash at all if there are other dogs around, EXCEPT in one situation. My friend has a Corgi, and these two dogs seem to get along fine. They play very rough, but it is playing.

We go to dog parks periodically, and she barks a lot when she sees dogs, although sometimes we can just sit together and she watches them. However, if a dog approaches us, she's on point and will most likely go into fear mode.

I've read the other posts about dog parks, and it sounds like I need to walk by dogs and not them interact directly with my puppy, and also occasionally sit for awhile away from the other dogs and play with her a bit to reduce her tension.

I'm trying to find a good behaviorist in the area to help, but in the meantime I'm wondering if what I'm doing is helping or hurting, and is there any possibility that this is just a phase she's going through? Genetically, she is very well bred, and the trainer assured me nothing traumatic has happened to her.

Any thoughts/advice would be welcomed! =)
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-04-2012, 01:16 PM
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maybe she needs more socializing. set up a few play dates. i use to train along the fence of the dog park. then we went inside the dog
park for a little more training and then it was free time.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-04-2012, 01:26 PM
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Do you know if she got any kind of socialization before you got her? That's one potential problem with buying an older puppy. The most crucial socialization window closes at 12 weeks old, (although socialization should be ongoing), so if she wasn't exposed to lots of new things in a positive way during that period she may be more fearful than she would have been otherwise. Genetic temperament also plays a role, of course. Here's some reading for you:

American Kennel Club - AKC eNewsletter

Cava 1/6/18
Keefer 8/25/05-4/24/19 ~ The sweetest boy
Halo 11/9/08-6/17/18 ~ You left pawprints on our hearts
Dena 9/12/04-10/4/08 ~ Forever would have been too short
Cassidy 6/8/00-10/4/04
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-04-2012, 02:49 PM Thread Starter
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I definitely want to continue at the dog park, but I will make more of an effort to avoid direct interaction for now.

I know she was allowed to play with her litter mates until 8 weeks, then one by one they were sold. Gretchen ended up spending more time in the breeder's house than out in the kennels because she was so sweet tempered and "mellow." She was around a lot of other shepherds, but I don't think she was in the same kennel as the others.

So, after 8 weeks, I'm not sure how much socialization she had. I'm trying to socialize as much as I can and as much as I think she can handle, but I'm just not sure if what I'm doing is correct or not.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-04-2012, 03:17 PM
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Continue working on her obedience. Her 'watch', recall and stay should become solid.

Also look at these links:

BAT Ahimsa Dog Blog

Behavior Adjustment Training (BAT) | Official site for BAT: dog-friendly training for reactivity (aggression, fear, frustration) by Grisha Stewart, MA

Look at That! A Counterintuitive Approach to Dealing with Reactive Dogs Dog Training for Dog Lovers Blog

Sometimes a more mellow pup may actually be fearful and it just isn't recognized or its really just mellow . Include an evaluation with a behaviorist to determine what behavior you are dealing with and training required for it.

As for the dog park, please reconsider that. It may be much more stimulation then she can handle at this time.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-04-2012, 03:24 PM
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My golden reacted like this with other dogs, for a short period after he was attacked by a Rott when he was 3-4 months old. He was in puppy classes at the time and was able to work through any fear. I know GSD's and golden's are different breeds, but are you 100% sure she was not attacked or put in her place aggressively by another GSD while she was waiting for a new home?

Misty- Samoyed Mix, Tannor- Golden Retriever CGC
Robyn- GSD CGC, TC, Midnite-GSD CGC,TC, Brennan-Golden Retriever CGC, Batman-Husky/Greyhound , Apollo-GSD
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