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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

New here, and I admit we got a GSD without knowing much about the breed up front. However, we are determined to work this out and my wife and I are both more stubborn than our GSD. I'd rather not here anything about how we should have researched more before getting a pup of this breed. We love our Niko and do not regret getting him one bit.

Niko is 4.5 months old and he is well over 40 pounds, probably closer to 50. His feet are huge and he is unbelievably strong. Without a choke collar on, I can barely hang on to him and I am 6 foot 210lbs. When we take him on walks, if he sees another dog or somebody walks near us, the hairs on the back of his neck stand up and he barks and pulls like crazy. He is not aggressive at home aside from the landshark teething stage. We trust him fully with our 3 and 4 year old boys.

My question is this: Is Niko's behavior normal? How do we curb this behavior. We anticipate he is going to be very large, and we don't want people being scared of him. Has his protective instincts kicked in already? He gets plenty of exercise, but not much for socializing with other dogs. We live in a very cold part of the US, and our winter continues to drag on. Any help or guidance would be appreciated. Thanks.

Gabe
 

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Know how it can be living in a cold area with lots of snow months and only a few summer months. Lily went through a phase like that where she was very scared of people or other dogs, she would bark and get all bad and if that didnt scare them away she would start submissive peeing everywhere.
We have a dog park in our area and I took her there every chance we got. I just socialized her as well as I could. I took her for car rides and let her see other people and animals that way. I walked her around the neighborhood and she would get to see other dogs in their yards, I wouldnt let her stop to get agressive, I just kept walking and collar corrected her if she started raising hackles or started to bark. I learned that the calmer I was in those situations the calmer she was.
Lily was never aggressive with my kids either, though I did keep a close eye on her when she was playing with my younger kids, 2 and 4, I still do.
I guess what I am saying is the more you socialize her the better it will get and even though its hard in the climate you are in, that every chance you get no matter how small, take advantage of it.
You could also look around your area and see if you can find a puppy class for her.
Good luck!
 

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We had a similar problem with Lily at that age. Socialise him as much as possible take him to as many places as possible. Make sure he is aware that you are the alpha dog.
As for the lead issue the way we got Lily to stop pulling and to pay attention to us more that the people on the street was as follows.
day one we did not give her breakfast then at dinner time we got a clicker and everytime we clicked it we gave her some of her food.
day two again fed her breakfast by using the clicker on the evening we took her out, not on a choke chain, after a few steps we pressed the clicker when she looked at us we gave her some food. We continued to do this for a very short walk.
the next morning and evening we did the same thing fed her breakfast using the clicker during her walk.
We now just take a small treats with us and if she ignores the dog/human we click the clicker and she gets a treat. She is so busy watching us and waiting for a treat she now walks nicely at our side and ignores the people and dogs passing.
I dont know if this will work but you can try it.
samantha
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the response! I get worried sometimes that we jumped in too quick, but he really is a good puppy overall. We have done the "training" ourselves (clicker trained with sit, down, leave it, get it, kennel, shake, etc.), and he no longer pees/poops in the house so I feel like we are off to a good start! I too, watch him with our boys. At 4.5 months a 50 pounds (we just weighed him for an updated weight), he outweighs both of our boys and although he is just playing, sometimes that's too rough for them.

When you say collar corrected, I assume you mean pinch collar?
 

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yeah you can use a pinch collar. I know lots of people do.I never have. I was just talking about when I was walking her, and having this issue I would give her a collar pop when she started to pull or become aggressive with people or dogs. Just to refocus her on what I want her to be doing not what she wants to be doing.
 

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For Lily it was a very short lived stage, maybe two months at the most. Before that stage she loved anyone and everyone, then one day she kinda decided she didnt like anyone very much, but with lots of socialization she breezed through it. Its a phase and as long as you dont let them get stuck there, then they come out fine.
Then they become teenagers.:rolleyes:
 

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Cant really help with the whole barking/aggression issue that you might have to see a behavioral trainer...

As for the pulling, as soon as he starts to pull whip around and go the opposite direction, keep doing this, it may take doing it 100 times but he will soon learn "oh I really have to watch what this person is doing" he will start to walk by your side after doing this repeatedly and again its not going to be a miracle fix and you may only get up one street and back in like 30 mins to an hour but dont let him pull infront of you anymore your just enforcing the bad behavior try keeping the sessions short to make sure he doesnt become saturated. Doing this you will see a difference and I bet within a few weeks he will be walking no problem by your side
 

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'Sociaize socailize socialize.' Do a leash correction and say BEHAVE when needed, it takes while but they learn what is okay and what is not as far as barking. Be relaxed while you walk your dog and do not send out signals that you are ever stressed.
 

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Good for you! I'm glad your not giving up..I feel any dog can be a sweetie if in the right environment
They are extremely strong I agree. When my girl was that age I actually stopped taking her on walks because I couldn't hold her. She is now 11 months old and has grown out of it. I also have a huge boy who is 5.5 months almost 70 pds and is very powerful as well. We are working on it with him, he barks at everyone but most if the time he's just trying to get attention "like look at me I'm over hear" I try to expose them to as much as possible, I take them to work everyday so they see people all the time. I did get the easy walk harness for both of them. Huge difference I can take both of them in my neighborhood together...haven't tried them together downtown yet, waiting until I'm sure ill have complete control so for the time being its one at a time.
The barking and jumping--- I was just told to try a spray bottle with water only--if they jump/ bark at anyone at work to spray in the face with a strong No---we'll I tried it today and its amazing that it seemed to work. Lets see what tomorrow brings.
Enjoy your little one!


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Niko is 4.5 months old and he is well over 40 pounds, probably closer to 50. His feet are huge and he is unbelievably strong. Without a choke collar on, I can barely hang on to him and I am 6 foot 210lbs. When we take him on walks, if he sees another dog or somebody walks near us, the hairs on the back of his neck stand up and he barks and pulls like crazy. He is not aggressive at home aside from the landshark teething stage. We trust him fully with our 3 and 4 year old boys.
At 4.5 months, this behavior is called 'Fear Aggression'. When your dog sees another dog or a person walking by he's thinking "That person/dog has me worried! I'm not sure what to expect! I don't know what I'm supposed to do! I'm going to make myself look big and loud so they don't come any nearer to me!"

Your job is to show your dog Leadership. You'll let your dog know when he needs to be worried. You'll let your dog know when to be quiet, walk calmly, ignore, or say hello. It isn't up to your pup.

You can use training aids. But it isn't fair to the pup if you're correcting a behavior that he doesn't even realize is wrong.

Taking your pup to puppy training classes really helps alot with socializing with other dogs & people, but in a controlled environment. Not only do you get to reinforce the basics, but you'll do a great deal of behavioral modifications with your pup. You'll learn just as much as your pups does!!!
 

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Having same issues with Max- he's 5 months. Growls, barks, hackles up... Seems only with large dogs. He's ok with small dogs.
 

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At 4.5 months, this behavior is called 'Fear Aggression'. When your dog sees another dog or a person walking by he's thinking "That person/dog has me worried! I'm not sure what to expect! I don't know what I'm supposed to do! I'm going to make myself look big and loud so they don't come any nearer to me!"

Your job is to show your dog Leadership. You'll let your dog know when he needs to be worried. You'll let your dog know when to be quiet, walk calmly, ignore, or say hello. It isn't up to your pup.
Good post!!
 
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