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My German shepherd is 4 years old now, male, and neutered. As of recent (in the last year or so) when I visit family he has turned to randomly barking at them. For instance, I will be visiting my dad (who we see maybe 3-4 times a year) and whom Rhett knows. We will come in, he'll get petted, and we will be sitting in the family room. Then at some point my dad will walk in the room and Rhett will suddenly stand up and start barking wildly at him as if he has no idea who he is. I am pretty sure it is not a vision thing because he catches sticks in the dark and has good coordination catching tennis balls when I throw them. I am not sure if it is a protection thing, because he will be sitting by me but as i said it seems to have intensified in the last year.

He has done this to my uncle, brother and grandfather as well. Which would lead me to think he greatly distrusts males but he has also done it to my sister although not as much. I am worried because he has started to scare my family members and i don't want it to get to the point where he is no longer welcome. Any ideas?
 

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I had a male who would do this at times. I attributed it to some nerve weakness. He was not the most sound.

When it occurred,I would do something to distract him so his mindset changed. I also had him do his obedience like a down stay.

Without being able to see your dog it is difficult to say exactly what is going on.
 

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I would have his eyes checked before ruling that out. I knew a dog with pannus who did that exact thing.

It can also be a nervy thing. If the eyes are ruled ok by a vet then I would start counter-conditioning using LAT (Look at That!).
 

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Yes, one has to wonder about vision first. Especially if it is new and unexpected behavior.
 
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