Help With Barking At Other Dogs & Occasionally People
Two weeks ago I got my first dog. She's a German shepherd puppy who I renamed Henna who I bought from a man who didn't have enough time for her. She just turned 5 months old last week and she is an amazing puppy. I've been working with her everyday and she's been making amazing progress.
About a week ago we went to the park for a walk. There was a man there with his two dogs, a large lab mix and a large chocolate lab who were off leash. I made the foolish assumption that because they were off leash he had complete control of them and decided to get out of the car so we could begin our walk.
I led her in the opposite direction but she spotted the two dogs and barked. It wasn't an aggressive bark more of a hey look at me bark. She started pulling me towards them so I tried to correct her and lead her away. Before I could do so the dogs bombarded her and both started sniffing her simultaneously, she was obviously overwhelmed and became defensive. They got into a bit of a scuffle and there I was trying to shield my dog from these two large dogs and trying to get her away from them. The owner comes waddling over making no effort whatsoever to recall his dogs and pulls them away without a word to me. Luckily neither I nor my girl were hurt but the whole situation put us both on edge. I was too shook up to yell at the man but instantly regretted not doing so afterwards.
Since the incident Henna was introduced to a male dog who she got along well with. He was a bit put off by her rambunctiousness but they lived together in a house for four days in peace (with a few corrections from him of course). However she still barks at other dogs while on leash, and pulls and jumps towards them. It seems to be excitement as opposed to aggression and I've been working to correct this with the leave it command. She caught on very quickly to this command for ignoring wild animals but had not yet mastered it with other dogs or people. She's very friendly with people and loves to be pet and given attention. She's even able to handle attention from multiple people while remaining calm and well behaved. However she will occasionally bark at people for reason I'm unsure of. Again not an aggressive bark, more of a look at me bark. She's done it twice so far, once to a family setting up a picnic at the beach and another time to a couple at rest stop on our 4 hour car ride home from New York yesterday. In both instances they had food so I'm wondering if that was a factor. Her typical reaction to people is to lead me towards them which she did in these situations, only she usually doesn't bark. I'm using the same command of leave it to get her to ignore people. I want people to approach her not vise versa.
I plan to introduce her to a good friend of mine's shepherd mix and malamute to give her some more controlled socialization and eventually I want to take her to group classes with a trainer acquaintance of mine when his next sessions start and I like her to attend dog daycare ever so often (I feel this is more of a controlled environment than a dog park and will give her some experience being away from me as she is very attached to me).
Any advice on the barking and pulling would be lovely, or any at all. Thank you!