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I'm hoping for some advice on what to do with our GSD, Cynder. She's 8 months old and she seems to have a fear response when she sees a person she doesn't know, adult or child, and dogs. She starts barking, her hackles raise, but then if I'm there and encourage her to approach the person, she pees all over the place. I take her to work with me once a week, in the hope that she will eventually make a good therapy dog. I work in a nursing home as a speech therapist. She's great with the residents and staff members, however if an unfamiliar person shows up, like a visitor, she will let out a low bark, not real loud, just enough to hear and she'll back away. She's very sweet and loves attention and to be petted. She was exposed to the nursing home since she was 7 weeks old, has been around a lot of people, we have taken her to a dog park to socialize her, as well as my friends who has a 9 month GSD as well as other dogs in her home. I thought I had her pretty well socialized but I guess not? Or is this a puppy stage of stranger anxiety?
 

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We don't allow it, PERIOD.

From our earliest days with Zeus and starting in his 8th week of life we disciplined him lightly when he reacted to other dogs or to humans by barking. Whether it was fear-induced or aggression we didn't care. He just didn't have permission to bark at them, period.

In about a month's time he stopped and has never barked at them again unless on command. He's easily the most behaved dog in the neighborhood and he sits comfortably without reaction when dogs bark at him from behind fences and gates.

How, gentle correcting tugs on his training collar did the trick just like it did for every other bad behavior we wanted to control when we were out in the real world. He got the message quickly.

LF
 

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Oh I correct her when she does it. I either bitch critch her or if she's on her pinch collar I'll give it a tug. But she's so hard headed!
 

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Lol. Bitch critch is when u grab the skin at the back of a dogs head and give a small shake with a verbal correction "no!" It's the way their mommas corrected them as pups, except the verbal part. :). A vet tech suggested that as a disciplinary tool as well as the obedience classes we went to.
 

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I'm there and encourage her to approach the person, she pees all over the place. I take her to work with me once a week, in the hope that she will eventually make a good therapy dog.
Don't worry, that is her age. Human teens like to run away or opposite, advertise themselves as well. Some of them could be that brassy. Don't pay any attention to her barks, postures of a frightened dog, ask her to sit and walk 5-6 steps towards the person who want to pet your dog. Keep this distance during the whole session with strangers. Tell them they can do that, come to your dog and pet her, but they should mind she barks in order to greet them. Ask your dog to bark on command. She should keep sitting all the time, I repeat. The distance between you and her must be shortened with time, finally she will start to allow people coming close, and her agressive bark will become her greeting new people. In addition to this, it would be good idea to provide some gate for her negative emotions to whirl with the wind. Your dog would be as obedient as much of physical exercise you put upon her. They are healthier mentally when exercised and tired, otherwise, you know, devil finds job for idle teeth ...
 
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