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Okay Salem is such a sweet puppy (doesn't listen well but we are working on that).....but I have noticed lately that when she encounters new things (last night it was a shadow from the stairs outside) - her hackles go up and she "zones" out. I have owned an older GSD before and never saw this behavior so I am puzzled. Why is she doing this?
 

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My dogs do it when they are alert and excited!
 

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My dogs do it when they are scared, also. Like the other day on our walk we discovered a blown down plastic Santa. Ciana had her hackles up and very cautiously investigated it.
 

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This is something you need to work on so he doesn't become a fear bitter. Build his confidence. I found one of the best ways to do this is taking them on a run in the streets because you are in control and you are moving so fast that they can't stay focused long enough to be scared. After a few runs they learn to trust you and ignor trucks, jack hammers, lawnmowers, whatever.
 

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Hackles up usually mean either nervous or tense. She "zones out" because she's so tense, she's focusing on whatever is causing her to act this way.

What you want to do is refocus her attention on you. Hows her focus? Does she have a command to focus on you... specifically with her eyes on your eyes?

My advice is to keep socializing. New experiences everyday and always make everything fun. At 6 months, she's probably just going through a fear period. Just keep doing what you're doing with the socializing and when she starts to hackle and zone out, you want to redirect and have her focus on you. When she does that just carry on like nothing happened and of course praise or reward for the refocusing.
 

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Hackles go up at anything exciting. Whether it be a good exciting or a bad exciting, which is why the hackles are often associated with aggressiveness.
 

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Hackles go up at anything exciting. Whether it be a good exciting or a bad exciting, which is why the hackles are often associated with aggressiveness.
Hackles don't always go up with everything exciting. Do you mean hackles go up with everything exciting with your dog or dogs or just in general?

Raised hackles are usually triggered by some kind of stimulation, but they definitely don't always go up with every kind of exciting experience for a dog.
 

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Your dog is at the right age for fear stage. Keep working with her and introduce her to new things. Keep it all positive! Pups will go through about 2 of these stages.
 
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