"Worried" puppy - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-03-2013, 02:23 PM Thread Starter
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"Worried" puppy

Sam is very shy in new surroundings - around places, people and other dogs. The term dog people have been using is "worried". She is not aggressive nor does she shake or anything.... She just follows me and is very hesitant to leave my side to explore other people, dogs, etc.

I've been taking her to family dinners, birthdays, trail walks, random places like outside the drug store and today to my job at a long term care facility.

Will she come around? What can I do to bring her out of her shell? She is no angel at home and once she is comfortable with someone she's totally devoted.

I give her lots of positive reinforcement! Lots of treats. Each time I try leaving the house with my keys she wants to come with me and she jumps happily into the car.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-03-2013, 03:43 PM
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You are the foster parent and you pup is your foster child. Give him reassurance, stroke him and murmur to him in a calming low voice - lower tembres would tell him that it is nothing wrong with those things, keep him as close to yourself as you can, stop and ask him gently to sit between your feet, walk with him in the busy places where are many other people and dogs - when there are many objects of distraction he would be confused, but not feaful; if isolated, he would be stronger concentrated on the objects in the distance. Continue your walks daily, try to avoid giving him bad experiences - don't allow people to touch him ( you can train "Meeting the strangers" later, and avoid staying with other dogs longer than 1 minute, just walk away and call your puppy after yourself. They are vulnerable at this age, he would be braver only you show him that you are capable to shoo away dangerous beasts. Train fireworks now, before this year New Year night, if your puppy is shy, one of reasons could be his ear drums - too sensitive.
But I can warn you. Fear in the early age might indicate agressive inclinations in the future. He is a puppy and has to be protected, than he would be a naughty disobedient teenager between, say, 7 months and two years of age, and would turn into a protector himself after - don't expect any real agression before he is two and half. Agressive GSDs need a lot of caressing, petting, praising. The only difference between fear and revelation of agression is amount of adrenaline in the blood, agression is simply a fear that dog has managed to overcome in himself. If you manage to keep him away from any dog fights and human agression ( including verbal agression ) before he is two, you, probably, would never know what does it mean - to have an agressive GSD.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-03-2013, 04:29 PM
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Check out this link, it changed the way I look at socialisation. I was taught to go out and do treat and greet, but we never forced the issue, the moment they acted uncomfortable, training was over. Are girls turned out great anyways, they are fine with meeting folks though they won't seek them out.

Leerburg | Socializing Puppies
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-03-2013, 04:48 PM Thread Starter
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I have read that article before and I think it makes sense for German shepherds. I am surprised (I probably shouldn't be!) about the threads on here about gsds that are too friendly.

I don't mind having my dog around other people and being aloof at all - she did great at Halloween. She barked at the first few knocks but then ignored the rest of the night (with the occasional sniff at a kid). I know what german shepherds were bred to be and when I move to my own larger property, I want to feel protected in the middle of the night.

I've been very strict about her physical interactions with anyone else - she hasn't had a flight or fight response yet.... She just doesn't seem to care for pets from other people. I only allow someone to touch her with my permission, and only for a few seconds. Same with dogs, and I make sure the dog is under control by the owner. I pick her up on the trail when I don't know the dog or owner.

So maybe I shouldn't push this issue. I don't think most of the people I know here are familiar with gsd personalities.


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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-03-2013, 05:07 PM
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I would continue taking her out and about making visits and interactions positive. Play games to build her confidence. Using a flirt pole and letting her win, tug too (not while teething) and we did this & Zoeys confidence took off.


Edit to my 1st post, our-not are! Lol!
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-03-2013, 05:11 PM Thread Starter
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Oops, I should add that I am not wanting her to be or training her to be a guard dog or "use" her for protection. I live in northern BC so the only threat is bears. I do want her to bark when there is a grizzly around as an alert so we know to skidaddle back inside ASAP and call the conservation officer. But I know it's my job to comfort, protect, and train her to the best of my ability.

But I know she isn't a lab or golden retriever and is, based on what I see so far, not going to be going up to strangers and giving them sloppy puppy kisses.


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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-03-2013, 05:13 PM Thread Starter
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We play with the flirt pole a couple times a day! She looks just like a horse when she catches it... Bobbing her head up and down in excitement. She either hasn't figured out or doesn't like tug though. When we play and train she gets a "puppy party" to build her confidence.


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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-03-2013, 05:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ubctress View Post
We play with the flirt pole a couple times a day! She looks just like a horse when she catches it... Bobbing her head up and down in excitement. She either hasn't figured out or doesn't like tug though. When we play and train she gets a "puppy party" to build her confidence.


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They are fun to watch as they learn and play. Their "tastes" in play can change as they mature so she may enjoy tug down the road. She may alert you to bears and other possible threats. I've only seen two grizzlies (wild) and the one time my dog was with me, my lab, I seen it before she knew it was there. To be fair it was a good 70 meters off the trail with the wind coming in from the side.
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