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My girl is intact and almost 7 months old. Every time I take her anywhere where she spots other dogs, she starts barking loudly. She never used to do that before. During her obedience classes, she would only get anxiety and bark at other dogs who were whining or barking, otherwise she was quiet and calm. But now, as soon as we get to PetSmart or to the park, she starts barking profusely (the dogs do a nice job at ignoring her). She doesn't pull hard on her leash and doesn't try to "attack" or go after them but I try to walk the other way instead... but maybe that's the wrong thing to do? Should I let her sniff them to satisfy her curiosity or keep her away until she passes this stage? Is this maybe the onset of her first heat? She's a wonderful dog and very loving but her tough-guy attitude is a little frustrating to someone who hasn't owned a dog in 20 years. o_O
 

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Without seeing the behavior, is the barking sounds reactive/defensive, the barking could be out of insecurity. If it is a more high pitched, happy bary, she is wanting to play with the other dogs, but you said she had a history of anxiety with other dogs. I wouldn't let your dog interact with an unknown dog if she is having dog aggression issues because you don't know what a strange dog will do. If you can find a dog that you know is good with other dogs you can let her meet the other dog, but only if she calm.
 

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Agreed with Chip. What kind of bark is it? My girl will do an excited / frustrated type bark at dogs, she basically wants to go over to the dog to play or whatever. Has she ever been off leash around other trusted dogs? This might be an idea if you know anyone with a solid dog-friendly dog. I personally do not trust strange dogs around mine, there are too many badly behaved and aggressive dogs out there, especially small dogs! At the end of the day she might just not like dogs, but she will need to be taught not to bark and just settle down. I wouldn't say it would be anything to do with the on-set of the first heat personally, but you never know!
 

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Her bark is a frustrated bark...like she wants to get close and investigate. Like you said, Kari01, I don't trust other dogs and I'm afraid they might perceive her barks as aggression and retaliate. I will work on teaching her not to bark at other dogs but at this stage she's in, it'll be tough. She reminds me of my middle school students...one minute they are hyper and happy and the next minute they are calm and sleepy.
 

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To your question, "should I let her?". Do you like her doing that or do you not want her doing that?
To me teaching dogs to behave and control impulses around other dogs is important to me.
 

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To your question, "should I let her?". Do you like her doing that or do you not want her doing that?
To me teaching dogs to behave and control impulses around other dogs is important to me.
Since I've never owned a GSD before, or owned a dog in many years, I am a bit rusty as to how to handle certain situations. That is why I like this forum. I get lots of useful information and advice from people who have had tons of experience with their dogs. Any advice as to how to control impulses around other dogs when I take her to the park, Jorski? I appreciate any feedback. Thanks.
 

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@BluNyxMom there are many ways to train, and probably even more opinions. Here is an example of what I would do.
When my pup finally had all of his shots, I took him to a local park with hiking trails. Lots of dogs at this park. Immediately my guy was pulling at the leash towards other dogs, barking quite aggressively.
My strategy was to give him a little leash pop to get his attention, then call him to me and I gave him a treat. ( this is to get the dogs attention and break his focus on the other dog...not to punish)
I probably did that a dozen times and he stopped the lunging and barking. Following that as we walked into the park, I would call him to come and sit before the dog got close, and he would sit there while they passed. After they passed, big pat and a treat.
The behaviour was completely extinguished after a few days.

Basically, you are looking to achieve three things:

1) desensitize the dog to the stimulus ( the other dog)
2) teach him to look to you for guidance when he is unsure
3) to listen despite distractions.

I would start a fair distance away from other dogs, and slowly get closer. If your dog barks, move further away. If you work at it long enough, you will get the desired results. I suspect that as you progress your dog will gain confidence and bark a lot less.
 

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@BluNyxMom there are many ways to train, and probably even more opinions. Here is an example of what I would do.
When my pup finally had all of his shots, I took him to a local park with hiking trails. Lots of dogs at this park. Immediately my guy was pulling at the leash towards other dogs, barking quite aggressively.
My strategy was to give him a little leash pop to get his attention, then call him to me and I gave him a treat. ( this is to get the dogs attention and break his focus on the other dog...not to punish)
I probably did that a dozen times and he stopped the lunging and barking. Following that as we walked into the park, I would call him to come and sit before the dog got close, and he would sit there while they passed. After they passed, big pat and a treat.
The behaviour was completely extinguished after a few days.

Basically, you are looking to achieve three things:

1) desensitize the dog to the stimulus ( the other dog)
2) teach him to look to you for guidance when he is unsure
3) to listen despite distractions.

I would start a fair distance away from other dogs, and slowly get closer. If your dog barks, move further away. If you work at it long enough, you will get the desired results. I suspect that as you progress your dog will gain confidence and bark a lot less.
Now I am excited to go to the park! Thanks!
 

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I think that not barking at dogs is very important. The most important thing you can teach a big powerful dog is self-control and a willingness to look to you for instructions.

I think Jorski is spot on.
1) desensitize to the stimulus.
2) refocus on you when he is unsure or if you ask for his attention.
3) listen despite distractions.

For Ole, leash pops just enrage him.

We are not at the sit quietly while a dog passes, but we are making progress. We have been working for two weeks, 2-3 hours per day on it.
 
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