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Discussion Starter #1
So, I took my 9 month GSD to the public field in our development (on a long line) to play fetch and get some energy out. In between throws we were practicing commands, her recall was fantastic, I was super happy with the night. I was being vigilant about other dogs/people passing by when I see this young girl throw her bike down and start running at us. I think she said I like your dog, as she was running so I yelled back to her please wait you are going to make her nervous. At this point my dog is still by my side as I tell the girl to wait so I can gauge my dogs reaction. Girl doesn't wait and my dog nips her on the leg. When I looked at, it looked like a scrape and I didn't see any blood. The parents told me later on it was bleeding and she was on antibiotics. I of course feel terrible and the last few days have been extremely hard on me. Some other neighbors know about it and I don't want to face backlash or worse have someone try to hurt my dog. I've had a number of other great experiences with neighborhood adults and children being able to pet her after I have given them instructions to wait for her to approach them and then give the okay if she is not afraid. I know I need to go back to building her confidence around strangers/children and trust in me. This is the sweetest dog ever and I can't bear the thought of this happening again or what would happen to her. I guess I just have a ton of anxiety right now looking into the future and what will come of everything. A day at a time...
 

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Is she normally reactive to people/kids? Has she been nippy at others? Did your dog lunge at her while she was running to you? Sorry lots of questions to fill in the blanks
 

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My puppy is the same way. Those damned kids man they run full speed at her and she gets scared... And rightly so while she is a puppy she is still fragile and growing. You got something quite large running full speed at you getting ready to jump on you and hug you ( which gsd's hate anyways. they prefer a bump ) of course they will be timid. My advice to you is to train her on how to react and also practice bite inhibition. There are some really simple tricks you can do to inhibit a gsd's bite so that when they do it at least doesn't break skin. Their nips can be quite hard. They are like little pinches. A trick I learned was to take a small treat and when i rewarded her during training i would use my index finger to apply pressure with it on the upper inside of her mouth. Then you slide it forward. The idea isn't to cause her pain just to show her how to restrict her jaws. she won't be able to bite your finger if you do it right.

Because I practiced so much bite inhibition she rarely tries to bite me anymore ( or my damned bare feet! ) and one time she snapped at a kid and the kid didn't get hurt. Good luck!


Oh I also highly recommend checking out some of the bite inhibition articles online... and not just use my example. I learned my trick from a private trainer :)


Here is another article that i really liked. There are 3 games that you can play with your gsd every day which will help calm them.

https://pethelpful.com/dogs/German-Shepherd-Puppy-Bite-Inhibition-Games
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Is she normally reactive to people/kids? Has she been nippy at others? Did your dog lunge at her while she was running to you? Sorry lots of questions to fill in the blanks

I wouldn't say she is normally reactive, we pass people all the time on walks and she ignores them but is timid if people try to approach her which is why I instruct them to wait and let her approach them if she wants to. She doesn't bark at people, growl, stare or try to hide. When she was much younger she jumped at someone who came at her but since then had many positive experiences with children and adults. She's never been nippy towards anyone. When this all happened she was sitting by my side as the girl ran towards us and once she got closer and stuck her arm out (after telling her she is making the dog nervous and to wait) towards her face she lunged. I know I should have been a better advocate and sternly told the girl to stop and leave us be. Sucks, but it is a learning experience.
 

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Please know that I’m not being snarky or putting this out their for sake of argument or discussion.

When a dog bites a person Especially in the actual presence of the owner/handler the bite/injury is the owner/handlers fault.

And it’s especially important to keep children safe from being bitten or frightened or hurt in any way.

It’s okay to be assertive. Raise your voice. Put your Hand up and say something like...
Stop. My dog is not friendly.

Best not to stand there and hope for the best.

Your neighbors will respect you for Taking full responsibility.
 

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Please know that I’m not being snarky or putting this out their for sake of argument or discussion.

When a dog bites a person without provocation and Especially in the actual presence of the owner/handler the bite/injury is the owner/handlers fault.

And it’s especially important to keep children safe from being bitten or frightened or hurt in any way.

It’s okay to be assertive. Raise your voice. Put your Hand up and say something like...
Stop. My dog is not friendly.
All of this. I also step in front of the dog to actually block these people.
 

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Please know that I’m not being snarky or putting this out their for sake of argument or discussion.

When a dog bites a person without provocation and Especially in the actual presence of the owner/handler the bite/injury is the owner/handlers fault.

And it’s especially important to keep children safe from being bitten or frightened or hurt in any way.

It’s okay to be assertive. Raise your voice. Put your Hand up and say something like...
Stop. My dog is not friendly.
All of this. I also step in front of the dog to actually block these people. I had a lady wanting to put her older Chihuahua on the back of my pup! She wanted them to say hi. :mad: Honestly happened in a pet store. So I told her plain "NO!" and again when she tried to get her way. I stepped between her and my pup and turned away from her. I am sure the Chihuahua was relieved as that poor dog's eyes were bulging from worrying when she made that attempt. Crazy people.
 

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All of this. I also step in front of the dog to actually block these people. I had a lady wanting to put her older Chihuahua on the back of my pup! She wanted them to say hi. :mad: Honestly happened in a pet store. So I told her plain "NO!" and again when she tried to get her way. I stepped between her and my pup and turned away from her. I am sure the Chihuahua was relieved as that poor dog's eyes were bulging from worrying when she made that attempt. Crazy people.
I've got a 11 week old(edited age) puppy that I am trying to socialize. People just seem to lose their minds when they see a cute puppy, and forget all social norms about personal space. I've had to physical protect my dog and remove her from people grabbing at her. We'll be at an outdoor cafe, with my pupper sleeping under the table when a passerby spots her and makes a sudden dive to start petting her. Wtf? Adult women running down the street towards us waving arms, and yelling puppy! puppy! puppy! Even instructions to people on intros in a controlled situation is difficult. They seem to disregard all instruction. So frustrating!! People get really pissy when you deny them access to that cute thing they want to pet, because dang, aren't GSD pups adorable?!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Please know that I’m not being snarky or putting this out their for sake of argument or discussion.

When a dog bites a person Especially in the actual presence of the owner/handler the bite/injury is the owner/handlers fault.

And it’s especially important to keep children safe from being bitten or frightened or hurt in any way.

It’s okay to be assertive. Raise your voice. Put your Hand up and say something like...
Stop. My dog is not friendly.

Best not to stand there and hope for the best.

Your neighbors will respect you for Taking full responsibility.

I agree, I know regardless of the situation I have the responsibility to protect my dog and others. I did not expect that large of a reaction. First shepherd, first time experiencing something like that. I have definitely learned a lot.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
It really is frustrating! You've worked hard to gain their trust and confidence in terms of being the pack leader and handling things and having people come up (or in my case, run at you) or disregarding instructions is asinine! This kind of situation is the very last thing I ever wanted to happen or deal with. Especially since she is so young and we only moved to this neighborhood last fall. Now we are those people.
 

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Make sure to keep your dog out of these kinds of situations during this crucial during these confidence building times. Hold your dog on a tighter leash and physically block the person from your dog.

Kona also does not like people approaching, but with confidence and her trust in me she now knows I will keep her safe. Now running children at her and adults aren’t a problem. I never let strangers pet her. Ever since I completely stopped allowing that things have gotten MUCH better for her. There is zero need to have strangers pet your dog.
 

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Wow. I know right, its so rude when they don't ask permission. I've only ran into that a few times, I try not to show the annoyance on my face, lol.
 

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You know that authoritative, commanding voice you use with your dog when you want to let him know you're serious and mean business? It works on people too! Things happen, and hindsight is always 20-20, as the old saying goes. But now you know your dog's reaction, so don't be afraid to be more commanding with people...it works!

On the flip side, you'll need to get beyond this mishap, so that your own anxiety isn't traveling downleash to your dog! Learn from the experience, but try not to let it make you overly anxious in the future!
 

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This-On the flip side, you'll need to get beyond this mishap, so that your own anxiety isn't traveling downleash to your dog!

Tim is spot on with this advice. It has taken me months to learn to be calm when people approach and assertive when they keep coming at us. I learned to breathe, 5 in, 5 hold, 5 out, 5 times. When my boy has to be handled (at the vet) I stand next to the doctor, not the dog, and he is 100 times better about things. I guess he just follows my cue, knowing I have it under control and all is well.
 

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I posted this in another thread, but yes, being authoritative with people works wonders. It may ruffle some feathers, but ultimately you have to do what's right.


The other morning I was out walking my two GSD's. A person I haven't seen in a long time comes peeling around the corner in their car, slams on the brakes, gets out of the vehicle in the middle of the street, and starts running full tilt toward me. My GSD's have never seen this person before, and quickly took up a defensive position between me and the incoming person. I quickly shouted "stop!" in a loud voice. The person stopped. I then explained it wouldn't be a good idea to do that as my GSD's may be interpreting that body language as something not friendly.


The person was a little annoyed, but understood and backed down. Apparently since I'm moving to Florida, they wanted to give me a "goodbye hug", and thought that was good timing for it. Needless to say....not good timing.


Children, however, are another matter entirely. If they see a dog, they will hurdle toward it like a guided missile, and nothing you can shout at them usually stops them. At least in my experience. Fortunately I've been able to quickly move across the street or into a position they can't reach me.
 
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Children, however, are another matter entirely. If they see a dog, they will hurdle toward it like a guided missile, and nothing you can shout at them usually stops them.

It’s likely that children behave this way because they see GSDs as super heros.
The movies they see often depict the GSD saving the day. Being a reliable, loving family member, out and about with the kids keeping them safe from strangers and other dangers.
Kids see GSDs as friendly and approachable.

Some adults also have this same impression of GSDs for the same reason.
 

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Just step in front of the dog and say No. Shes in training. End of conversation.

One time I was having lunch at a picnic table with my GSD, brother in law and niece. Inga had some kibble on my bench and she was tied to it. I looked down at the ground behind us and saw the shadow of a person hunched over, slowly creeping forward with hand extended to Inga. He said Can I pet him? Without turning around I said No, shes in training. Oh. As a therapy dog? he asked. No, I said, Attack dog. We all tried to keep from laughing. Bad I know but I had had it with people. Shes not to handled by random strangers. They don't like it and neither do I.

Not to excuse biting a child. That is positively unacceptable and must be avoided at all costs. Hurt feelings? Or lawsuit or having a dog with a bite history? I'll take hurting someone's feelings.
 
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One time I was having lunch at a picnic table with my GSD, brother in law and niece. Inga had some kibble on my bench and she was tied to it. I looked down at the ground behind us and saw the shadow of a person hunched over, slowly creeping forward with hand extended to Inga. He said Can I pet him? Without turning around I said No, shes in training. Oh. As a therapy dog? he asked. No, I said, Attack dog. We all tried to keep from laughing. Bad I know but I had had it with people. Shes not to handled by random strangers. They don't like it and neither do I.
Just thought of another one: tell them, "No, because I forgot to to muzzle him today".
 

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Discussion Starter #20
All of this. I am not an assertive/confrontational person by nature but I will 100% do whatever I have to now. Thanks for all the great tips and suggestions!
 
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