Would like some information! New pup owner! - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-16-2019, 03:45 AM Thread Starter
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Would like some information! New pup owner!

I am a mother with a child, I recently got my first German Shepherd puppy! Cheers!! 🙂 I live in a sorta bad neighbor I get harassed by people a lot when walking my pup. I got him because I just wanted some extra safety when walking. I’ve had people who followed me.. I recently notice my pup doesn’t let anyone near me or barks crazy sometimes lunges but then doesn’t know what to do next? What should I do can I encourage this in a way I can get some security I love the behavior knowing I’m safe when I go for a walk with my child. Please help me I’m a new owner and could use all the help!
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-16-2019, 08:22 AM
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Oh boy, lots of thoughts going through my head based on what you wrote. Most very concerning. You really need to understand the breed and behaviors.

Sounds like you got him for protection, so I would suggest some protection training when he is of age.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-16-2019, 08:35 AM
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If you want a reliable protection dog, understand it first comes with genetics for it. Where did you get your pup? A breeder that specifically breeds for this in their program? Even if you did buy a pup from a kennel that breeds for personal protection dogs, not every pup in the litter will be "that" dog. No more than 2 parents who are mathematicians will automatically have all kids good at math. The odds are much higher, but genetics don't follow a rule book.

Did you communicate with the breeder your plans?

The next step if he has the genetics for it is to let him be a puppy. This is really important. You can ruin a good dog by putting to much defensive pressure on him at too young of an age. At a young age you want to concentrate on focus from your pup on you, and you get that by doing fun obedience with him, playing relationship games with him like 2 ball, tug. You need to be the best most reliable, and most fun resource in his life.

I also realize people vary on what age constitutes a "puppy" lol How old is your boy?

I am also guessing you are in the UK? Or a transplant (cheers!) if you are in the USA I am sure someone here can recommend trainers in your area. If you are not it could (depending where you are) actually be a harder task to find that type of trainer.

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-16-2019, 10:22 AM
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In addition to what's been said above...

If you're in the US, I recommend concealed carry. Or at least keep a keychain-sized can of mace on your person. I normally don't recommend that right off the bat with people, but you're in a crap neighborhood where you're being harassed and followed for no reason...while you're walking with your child.

If you're in the UK, get whatever is legal for you to possess and carry with you for self-defense.

Normal people don't just follow you around like that. Those people want something. Maybe you. Maybe your kid. Maybe your dog. Maybe your money. Who knows and it doesn't matter.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-16-2019, 10:31 AM
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GSD's are naturally protective of their owner. A normal GSD is enough to deter the average person. If you want a protection dog, then you have to have a professional do it. If you try to train your dog for protection (by yourself), it will only lead to problems/issues.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-16-2019, 10:55 AM
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Depending on the pup's age and temperament, you may not be seeing protectiveness per se, but anxiety ---some of which he may be picking up from you. It's a kind of "I'll get you before you get me" approach which isn't actually protectiveness and may well backfire down the road. Then too, unless your puppy is older (e.g., 6+ months), most folks, especially sketchy ones, aren't going to be intimidated. By contrast, an adult GSD can intimidate many people just by staring them down. Size matters, so does bearing.

For protection, I would think you'd need a more stable temperament in a trained, adult dog. I understand (don't do this myself) that there's some protection training one can do with puppies (again, depending on age), but that will take time and expertise/experience on the part of the trainer/handler. Do you have such experience or are there nearby trainers who could help you with this? If not, post your location and forum members may be able to make suggestions.

ETA. For now, I'd encourage you to carry some kind of personal protection that's legal where you are (e.g., gun, mace, pepper spray, bear spray, etc.). Depending on his age, I'd focus on teaching the puppy basic obedience (e.g., leash manners, sitting quietly on command, how to behave in public). Note that barking and lunging are not appropriate behaviors if neither of you is being attacked. So, you want to control that, teach him better options, and that you have his back. That, at least, can lay the groundwork for the kind of protectiveness you may be able to achieve later on.
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Last edited by Aly; 09-16-2019 at 11:01 AM. Reason: add'l thots
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-16-2019, 11:22 AM
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I am by no means saying I experience the same level of threat walking with my kids as you are saying you experience. But I often go to parks in less than ideal neighborhoods. I bring my larger dog, a boxer/pit mix, with me. She serves as a very good deterrent protection tool. I can noticeably see the difference in behavior from the less desirables. My dog, less now as she's aging, gets this response by being alert and steady by my side, not lunging and barking. (I'm not saying that your situation doesn't warrant more behavior than has worked for me. People following you sounds very dangerous and mace is a great idea!)

So I second what a lot of other members have said. The relationship with your dog is very important. It's also genetics, the dog I use as a protection deterrent has the right personality. My dog has solid nerves, is suspicious and has a very high need to be with her people. My other dog would be horrible at protection.

But also, obedience is necessary if protection (even just deterrent) is wanted. Obedience is a great way to bond too. Also, you need obedience if you are going to be walking a large, powerful dog and encouraging protective behavior all while also being responsible for your child.

I am by no means a professional trainer but I didn't have the money for a trainer when my dog was younger and trained by myself. I'm sure what I'm about to say can be picked apart by some of the more experienced trainers on this forum. 😁

I encouraged calm, alert behavior on walks with my dog, not barking or lunging. A good long glare from a defensive capable dog is a very powerful thing. It reads as in control and ready to act (even if the dog isn't trained to act). As said above, a puppy won't be too good at that glare yet but an adult will pack a punch. Learning control while in high alert is something I worked to obtain.

Here are some exercises I did to encourage, calm and alert suspicion. I started with toys, 'wait' while alert and then toss. Then add 'stay' after the toss. We then moved to the detested squirrels, nudging my dog, asking 'what's that?' and getting her to 'stay' and 'wait'. Eventually letting her chase the creature up a tree. Strange noises in the house got the same treatment. 'What's that' meaning, "I'm a little freaked out and I could use your help." Now if she sees someone near her kids that warrants her suspicion that's exactly what she does, stands alert and watches. My 'What's that' is a call to arms for her. She perks up and sends the glare, calm, alert and ready to act. I never taught her what the "act" is. Deterrent has always been enough. 9 times out of ten, that serious dog glare is felt clear across the street and works very well.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-16-2019, 12:27 PM
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For lack of better judgement, I am going to stereotype the OP. I would venture to guess there was no reputable breeder, at best a BYB and the OP has no clue about the breed and the investment it takes to get them where they need to be in terms of obedience, socialization and general behavior. This just feels like a case of - I'll take this free GSD re-homed pup, it will protect me.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-16-2019, 01:04 PM
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You will need a good mentor trainer. No doubt about it. Like the others mentioned you want a dog with a good confident mind baked in BUT you also have to be part of that team. You have to exude confidence. Not haughty but "we can handle things". That may calm your pup and the two of you will look strong enough that most people will simply cross the street and let you pass. Your dog will follow your lead. If you seem afraid your dog may think, "that person scares my human. I need to bark and lunge and bite" and then you are in a world of trouble.

Don't find a trainer who says, "I have all the answers" or someone who comes off tough. You and and your child need more of a watch dog, not a dog that is a weapon. If you let us know your area someone might know a good trainer.
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