Are GSDs in general harder to get along with other dogs? I am getting slightly worried that she won't be friendly with other dogs and want to correct it before it gets worse. Any thoughts or advice is welcome.
I'm new to GSDs too and have a puppy about your's age.
I can tell you that our Jack gets nervous around other dogs, especially if they stare and pull towards him. His hackles go up and he starts to bark. To get him to relax around another dog, it requires the other dog to be calm and patient (and for us to be equally calm). Jack needs to pluck up the courage to even sniff the other dog. If that means hiding between our legs before he does so, then that's what's required at the moment. Usually, if the other dog is calm and moves non-energetically, he's more comfortable greeting and wanting to play with that dog.
That said, Jack, also, is capable of being calm as long as the dog is staying out of his 15-foot bubble.
We have had success doing the following things, though:
1. Let him hide and give him time to come out and be brave. Give him lots of encouragement and praise when he decides to be brave.
2. Treat him with something really delicious (chicken sausage or bacon is our treat of choice) every time a dog comes up to him and he doesn't react. Or every time a dog passes close to him and he doesn't react. Yesterday, we did this along the following pattern: Both dogs see each other. The moment Jack notices the dog, treat. Not sooner or later. If we do it fast enough, we can catch him before he reacts. This seems to give him a little more courage.
3. Keep walking by other dogs and put one of us between him and the other dog if the other is too energetic and focused on him.
4. Bring a tug toy with us and play tug while we walk. This seems to help keep him focused on something more fun. It's also helping him learn to heel.
I think it'll take time, though, for your puppy and our puppy to get over being scared. One day, they'll realize they're not the littlest dog on the block.
However, everywhere we've gone, we've noticed German Shepherds in general don't seem to like being bothered by other people and dogs. I've never seen one just run up to us or our dog to say "hi". They mostly ignore everything else in the world unless their people are interested in it, too. In fact, most owners we've come across have politely asked us to not come up to their dog, who is sitting by them calm as a cucumber.
Maybe GSDs just have a larger "personal space" bubble. I guess if I had to peg them, they seem to be a largely introverted breed. Don't like to be bothered unless they're friends and family are involved.