New GSD mom - help needed - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-16-2019, 05:33 PM Thread Starter
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New GSD mom - help needed

Hi everyone! I’m so happy to be here and to see all the great info here.

I can really use some guidance from experienced German shepherd owners. My puppy is four months old and we got him from a breeder 2 weeks ago. At first, Fin, our puppy, was scared to walk with us but within a day or two,he adapted even though he would zig zag from left to right. We,ve taken walks around the neighborhood and even enjoyed ball together at a local park.

Over the last week, he is petrified to go out anywhere. I’ve tried everything from different times to different routes but it doesn’t work. He starts biting on the leash, , goes around me like a wild dog and tries to jump on me. His eyes get wide like he’s scared to death and he pulls me with all his might to go back in the direction of the house.

He LOVES when people stop to pet him and when he see others dogs. Yesterday we drove him to a local 5k race and he was a superstar! Any thoughts on why he doesn’t let any of us walk him in our neighborhood?

Thank you!
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-16-2019, 07:54 PM
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It sounds like there are too many smells to process. Maybe he feels he's 'trespassing' and it's fear of other dogs? Not being a dog, I'm guessing, but he sounds apprehensive about something in your neighborhood or he's searching for the pack he's smelling. You might try watching to see what else is walking there. Have you talked with the breeder? We had one spent the entire first year trying to run away. Mine zig and zag but they are checking scents on both sides of the driveway at once. Once they decide it's okay, they settle down and go straight. Takes time, especially with a little one, before you don't feel like you are walking behind a Tasmanian Devil. Remember, he's stronger, he's smarter and you are his human status symbol. Try learning to do things his way. Good luck with your new bestie.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-16-2019, 08:28 PM
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He is four months old and you just got him form the breeder. What has the breeder provided in terms of socialization and training between 8 weeks and the time you got him? What was the reason the pup was still available at that age?
Take some steps back and take things slower in a way he can handle it.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-16-2019, 08:30 PM
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Congratulations on the new puppy, that's very exciting. Reading your post, a several things occur to me. First, he's still a baby who just left home and what/whomever he knows. All those exciting aspects of coming to you also can be overwhelming, especially if the breeder didn't socialize him well or at all. By socialize, I mean gradually expose him to new surfaces, environments, people, objects and gradually teach him how to respond to those new things. Whatever may/may not have happened with the breeder, I always think it's a good idea start over with that socialization whenever I get a new puppy/adult. He may have been the star you described at the 5K OR he may have been a stressed puppy who, because he's unsure of you, looked for reassurance from everyone he met. Reassurance-seeking behavior and sociability can look very similar. Finally, it doesn't sound as though he's been taught how to walk on a leash. Zig-zags are understandable at 12 weeks; in a 4 month old, it says to me there are some holes in his basic training. Mind you, I'm not saying he should execute perfect heeling. But he should be able to walk reasonably quietly along with you.

My advice would be to slow way down, start over as though he knows nothing, and slowly teach him all the things that you want him to know (e.g., his name, come, sit, down, place, when/where to potty, etc). Limit his exposure to crowds, strange dogs and dog parks until he's more sure of you. I suspect that he's not right now, so focus on building a relationship with him. He doesn't know what to expect from you (hence some of the "wildness," I'd bet), so you have to teach him. Short, happy sessions throughout the day would be a good place to start as well as establishing a predictable and structured schedule for meals, walks, potty and play time, etc. Make it all fun! Not wildly exciting, but certainly enjoyable.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-16-2019, 09:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brooklynmomontherun View Post
Hi everyone! Iím so happy to be here and to see all the great info here.

I can really use some guidance from experienced German shepherd owners. My puppy is four months old and we got him from a breeder 2 weeks ago. At first, Fin, our puppy, was scared to walk with us but within a day or two,he adapted even though he would zig zag from left to right. We,ve taken walks around the neighborhood and even enjoyed ball together at a local park.

Over the last week, he is petrified to go out anywhere. Iíve tried everything from different times to different routes but it doesnít work. He starts biting on the leash, , goes around me like a wild dog and tries to jump on me. His eyes get wide like heís scared to death and he pulls me with all his might to go back in the direction of the house.

He LOVES when people stop to pet him and when he see others dogs. Yesterday we drove him to a local 5k race and he was a superstar! Any thoughts on why he doesnít let any of us walk him in our neighborhood?

Thank you!
In addition to the great advice you've already gotten from others, I would add that trust and respect are a two way thing. Don't ever distress your puppy, respect his signals. If he's telling you that he doesn't like walking in your neighborhood right now, so stop walking him in your neighborhood. Later on he'll likely be fine with it, but showing him that he can trust you will pay HUGE dividends throughout your lives together!
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Tim
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-18-2019, 03:55 PM
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New dogs, especially puppies, *bond* to us quickly. That does not mean they learn to trust us quickly.

My guess is something happened on that walk that you didn’t notice. Because you barely know your dog, you didn’t see it...and sometimes with dogs we do know, it’s hard to see anyhow.

There is a critical period of socialization for your pup that largely has closed, but he can still be socialized *slowly.*

Get from your breeder a list of what he was exposed to. You can send them this list as a check list.

http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hub/13722/fi...zationlist.pdf


This way, you know what he has not been exposed to and you can go extra slowly with those, but keep working on the others.

At home, keep it positive (positive reinforcement training only). Training book I use myself and highly recommend: https://www.amazon.com/Positive-Pers...2506/ref=nodl_


Make it fun. Be soothing. Build a relationship. Build trust.

Your pup no longer looks so much like a baby puppy but he very much is a pup. Be aware of that and be *appropriately* (not overly) protective for now.


Ed to add:
Oh, here’s a great book for being able to see when your dog might be stressed.
https://www.amazon.com/Talking-Terms...8836641&sr=8-1

Once upon a time, many years ago, I was 3K9Mom...But then, I got another dog.
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Last edited by 4K9Mom; 09-18-2019 at 03:59 PM. Reason: Added another resource
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-18-2019, 09:42 PM
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Yea, I also thought something must have alarmed him on your neighborhood walk?!
( Are there barking growling dogs behind fences, etc? Or maybe there was a rumble of thunder while you were out walking? )

Yet it's not good for him mentally to just stay in your house all the time...
what would happen if you pop him in the car and drive a few blocks, and let him walk there once a day?
I often load my dog up and drive 5-10 minutes to the trails.

You could try letting him play in yard on a long line, and when he wants to leave the yard, walk along with him...
my suspicion is that sooner or later, he'll smell something interesting across the street or down the street,and decide to head out of "safe" home territory! Hopefully he would gather courage and gradually want to explore further and further.
As Tim says, I wouldn't force him to go further than he is comfortable...I would let him take the lead to explore.
Giving him a few treats when out & about won't hurt either!

( Dogs can be weirdly superstitious. My dog got a static shock once from my husband when they were standing in the kitchen, and then he detoured around that spot for about 2 weeks. He had associated the shock NOT with my husband, but with the location by the kitchen trashcan! Gradually he seemed to "forget" his fear of that spot. Hopefully your pup will gradually "forget" also. )

Rumo ~ rescue shepherd/husky mix
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