Meeting new people during walks - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-25-2012, 07:25 AM Thread Starter
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Meeting new people during walks

We were told our newly adopted 9 month old pup did not have an aggressive bone in his body. On our first walk along our country road, as 2 ladies I knew approached on the other side of the road, first he slowed, became cautious, then started to pull and barked. I crossed the road to say hello, but the ladies were too afraid to pet him and I didn't know what he would do. He continued to pull and bark so I didn't allow them closer and they passed by. What should i do next time? They pass by daily. He obviously stayed home most of time and needs socialization. He is quite smart and will work for food treats. Please advise. Thank you!:help
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-25-2012, 08:16 AM
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Personally, I don't let my dog greet strangers on a walk. Since your pup is young and his history isn't fully known I wouldn't allow him to either. Walking with you is enough for him to focus on for now. He most likely was afraid rather than acting aggresively
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-25-2012, 08:24 AM
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Agreed; it sounds like he was nervous about these two people approaching him, and so he reacted with barking and lunging. I'd gradually ease him into more controlled encounters with strangers (people you know and trust) and teach him to associate positive rewards with new people coming up to him. In time, perhaps he will learn to greet people calmly on walks.

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-25-2012, 09:33 AM
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the pulling and barking. was it aggression or was he excited
and wanted to say hello? start slow with introducing him to people.
i would start by having a lot of people vist my home. i would also
have someone standing on the sidewalk in front of my house for
my dog to meet when we exit the house. a few feet away from the
1st person i would have another standing by. the more people
you can line up the better. i would do this often, several times
a day if possible. let the people offer a treat. you have judge if you
can do this exercise with your dog. you don't want anyone getting bit.
find a trainer and be consistant in your training. good luck.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-25-2012, 09:46 AM
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He works for soon as he shows interest and before bad behaviour (you have to look ahead), put in a sit, treat. repeat. If won't sit (too excited), grab w/both hands on either side of mane, enforcing him to look at you as you move forward and he backs into a sit. mark with a yes!

Teach the dog "look at me"...or just "look"....take a treat, show the dog, bring the treat to your nose, as soon as dog looks you in the eye...treat...eventually keep treat at side, say look, treat...

Whenever you approached by passersbye....sit. look. treat...until they pass...and continue can put in down, stand on the leash "settle", talk to person, if dog remains calm then the reward is to meet person, if dog is ill behaved, no attention and keep in settle until dogs gives in...treat

He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion. - Unknown
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-31-2012, 01:38 PM
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We have had the same problem with our new male 6 month old. We have had his litter mate (Samantha) since she was about 7 weeks old. She is very socialized and loves people! Crixus on the other hand, wasn't socialized at all. The first time I took him on a walk he barked and lunged at EVERYBODY that walked by. We live in a neighborhood where there is always someone walking, or walking their dog down the sidewalk. Once we started walking daily, he has started to get used to different people. He is now to the point where some children can approach him. We do not let small children approach him because they act so scared just as they walk toward him. That will freak any dog out. He is FANTASTIC at home with us and our children. He is a big ole teddy bear.

After much socialization, people can now enter our home and he is excited to greet them instead of acting aggressive toward them. As a PP suggested, have new people that you trust enter your home for him to meet. We made sure that the people who came in weren't going to be afraid of him and freak him out just with their body language. He has made a HUGE turn around in just 1 short month. My husband is in the military, so the K-9 handlers are about to start training with our dogs with us. I am hoping that with professional training he can do even better!

His first vet appointment was about a month ago. He had to wear a muzzle because he was so frightened of new people. He went for his second appointment yesterday and we had the muzzle on him, but we were able to take it off. He saw the vet and finished his vaccinations without any sign of aggression. He didn't even need the treats from them to stay put to check his temperature!

Just keep socializing daily. Take him for a walk without letting him meet new people. Just take him to places where he can watch people, but not approach. I hate to tell people that they can't pet our dog when they ask, but it is what is best for them at this point. I take Crixus, with our son, to the playground and just let him watch children and parents run around.


Samantha (GSD) 1/10/12
Crixus (GSD) 1/10/12
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-31-2012, 02:33 PM
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I don't let my dogs near strangers or other dogs. Both out of courtesy for other people's feelings (they may be afraid of dogs, uninterested etc) and out of fear that my dogs may not react as they are trained to do. I only work with my family and people that I know who aren't afraid of my dogs. That's just my opinion.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-31-2012, 03:05 PM
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This behaviour is why we had to stop being a Therapy Dog Team. Scarlett would not stop the barking at people who approached her, but were nervous. If someone runs up to her all excited to meet her, she is fine. If someone is slightly cautious, she takes the opportunity to give them three LOUD, DEEP barks (to scare them further). People who are nervous make her nervous.

I have tried taking her to all sorts of places to let her meet new people in situations other than on walks or at the hospital. No joy. She STILL does this. I have to let TDI know that while she passed their test beautifully and was so perfectly behaved, in real life therapy dog situations, she is not so good.

Fortunately, my ego does not depend on whether or not Scarlett is successful as a therapy dog. It would have been fun, but it's just part of who she is and trying to train the behaviour out of her is probably more than I want to do.

You will probably get some great advice on how to train your dog out of this tendency and to avoid situations which trigger the barking. Good luck...knowing when and why your dog does it is half the battle.

Scarlett WGSD 2/07 CGC TDI(retired)
Paige Husky/GSD mix 2/95-12/08

If you are going through hades, keep going!
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