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I am still learning all the different aspects of a GSD. I had a question about how my 11 week old pup reacts to new people.

When we meet new people she is very cautious. She does not run, but she sits a little behind me or my family and watches the new person.

She does not bark or whine. She just watches them.

If they call her or reach for her she will back up a couple steps and continue to watch them. She does not bark or bite.

After a few minutes of observing she will approach the new person and sniff them but will still back away if they try to grab her.

After sniffing she will decide they are fine and will allow them to pet her or she will interact with them. Though she is not the same with them as she is with her family.

She is especially cautious around small children running around and depending on how hyper the child is she may not let them touch her if she can at all avoid it.

This may be becuase we have a 2 year old and she knows to be more aware of children. She does let our 2 year old touch her and she does try to play with our 2 year old. With them we just have to be very observant becuase she does not know that her nips hurt sometimes and I dont want our 2 year old to be afraid of her. Despite a few mishaps both the pup and our 2 year old do interact and try to play with each other.

With strangers she is never aggressive. The only biting she has ever done is nipping at people she knows in a playful way. I have never heard her growl except play growling with her toys.

What do you guys think? Is this normal behavior?
 

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I don't think it is that unusual, but it suggests a lack of confidence. IMO, the breed has a lot of temperament issues. You could try keeping some good treats like real food, not dog treats and hand them to strangers to feed her and help teach her that strangers provide good things. Tell them to squat down and hold out their hand and let the pup take the food. They don't need to be trying to pet her, leaning over her or reaching out toward her. If they are unable to squat for some reason (you will have to use your judgment such as with the elderly, morbidly obese, whatever) don't ask them to offer a treat. And you don't have to let people touch your puppy, just like you probably don't let all strangers come up and touch your child. Tell them you are socializing her and trying to get her comfortable with strangers, but don't want strangers intruding on her space.
 

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First, it is not someone's right to touch a dog.. I know that sounds weird, but if we want to put it into a social setting, if someone walked up and hugged you, how would you respond? For a dog, having just anyone assume it is ok to be pet is as intrusive. Tell people that come to your house to ignore her. Let her do her own investigation at her pace, as she gains confidence and learns human dynamics better, she will want to engage most likely.. But some dogs are just not touchy Feely and would prefer less fuss especially from non family... If you make sure that the dog is ok with the pet then you wont be setting up future behavior issues..
 

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and personally I wouldn't expect the pup to take food from strangers. Think about it like this: there is a creep at the bar. He wants you to come close so he offers you a free drink. You may want the drink but the guy is still creepy. If you want to use food, I'd rather they toss the food away so the pup feels free to get the food and not be concerned that he has to endure being touched to get it.
 

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At this stage I would expose her to people without interacting with them, kinda like as if they belong to the landscape. You can play and interact with her yourself in the presence of strangers but keep it natural and neutral. Your puppy is not as confident at this time and you need to give her some space and keep (frequent) sessions short ( 5 minutes is plenty) during exposure so she will learn that nothing happens to her.
Never will I allow others to feed my dog; it's how they learn to be pushy with strangers and regard them as treat dispensers.
 

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I too am curious about your puppy's pedigree.

Katsu is very observant in new places. Her breeder told me she would be the kind of dog that would like to sit back and watch for a bit before acting. She wasn't a puppy that wanted to be touched by strangers. Now at 18 months, she is aloof but will interact if we stand close enough for a short period of time (say I'm having a conversation with the person).

I would do what wolfy dog said - just introduce her to people as a part of the environment rather than having people pet her. If it's someone that is visiting your home, just tell them to ignore her.
 

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She sounds like a resilient but suspicious puppy. This is often normal GSD puppy behavior. Before you start teaching her that everybody is her friend, decide on whether that is something you wanted or not. Why did you get this breed? That can be a deciding factor.

Like others said, exposure without interaction is important. I would caution against forcing people on her, not saying that you are, because you may create some nasty reactivity that you won't really want to deal with.
 

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While the behavior described might be somewhat common, I don't think it represents desirable temperament in a puppy. It is analogous to so many people being overweight and obese that a person with a normal BMI is considered skinny.
 

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Suspicion should never be confused with a lack of confidence.

There is nothing wrong or not to standard about a puppy that stumbles on a snake and views it with suspicion and acts with caution. It can be a part of self preservation and there is nothing undesirable about that in the German Shepherd breed. I know, I bought that t shirt a few times while out in the woods and had my dogs block me from snakes rather than they not view them with suspicion and let me blunder onto them.
 

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A good question how is she in the home or in general? Pups do go through all kinds of stages to incredibly bold and curious to unsure. Some pups are really social when young pups and I found as they mature so does suspicion and also aloofness in regards to strangers. Some are cautious as young pups from the very beginning - this is when it’s important not to have strangers pet your pup but have plenty of exposure with the main focus being you. The fact that she wanted to check out the person despite any anxiety or caution she may have had is good. I agree if you force people on her when she is uncomfortable it may fuel her to react.
 

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and personally I wouldn't expect the pup to take food from strangers. Think about it like this: there is a creep at the bar. He wants you to come close so he offers you a free drink. You may want the drink but the guy is still creepy. If you want to use food, I'd rather they toss the food away so the pup feels free to get the food and not be concerned that he has to endure being touched to get it.
I almost fell over laughing when I read this! LOL!

I agree. OP, my puppy is overly friendly and it’s a huge pain.. Enjoy that your dog is focused on you and cautious with strangers! That’s the German Shepherd aloofness!
 

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Oh for heavens sake! This is a PUPPY! Still very young and showing a willingness to explore and interact on her terms, not to be mauled by every Joe on the planet.
OP your puppy sounds perfectly normal, GSD's aren't social butterflies for the most part anyway and it sounds like you have a discerning and selective little girl. I don't like strangers mauling my dogs and generally instruct visitors to leave them alone, or I crate them. Unless the guests are family or close friends who will be constants in the puppies life she does not need more then a passing acquaintance anyway.
My Sabi girl was a quiet and reserved puppy who screamed bloody murder if strangers touched her or tried to hold her and she was one of the most stable, steady dogs I have ever seen. She like to sit and watch, take it all in and then make her own decisions. She did not like to be pushed into anything.
Now if your pup is timid and cowering, afraid of random things in everyday life and running to hide when you start the dryer then yes you have a problem. But if she is simply moving away from strangers and assessing from a safe spot you have a thinker and they are amazing!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thank you everyone for your advice. I dont know her pedigree since she does not have papers and I dont know much about her parents.

I have been somewhat confused about how to socialize her, when she can't really go out in public since she still does not have all her shots.

Two weeks ago she did awesome when I took her to visit family. We stayed with her at a family member's house and she was exposed to a lot of people and even though she at first was cautious she eventually did well with everyone except hyper kids.

She also did awesome with not having any accidents in the house, despite it being all new to her.

Today someone came to give us a quote on a fence and did not see her and accidentally almost stepped on her. That did not help and she was pretty worried about that person for the rest of the time they were at my house. I probably should have put her in her crate but I didn't. Hopefully she forgets about that.

My parents are coming this weekend. Hopefully she does well with them and adjusts well.

I do need to give people better instructions. People see her and naturally say she is cute and reach out to pet her, etc. But I agree I need to tell people to ignore her and let her approach them when she is ready.

Thanks again for all your advice. It is helpful. GSD are way different from the other dog I had which was a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and was really mellow and extremely trusting of everyone. I am learning as I go and hopefully dont make too many mistakes along the way.
 

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Like others have said - your puppy sounds pretty normal. I would be proactive & either crate your puppy when you know people are going to be coming over or at least have her on a leash when others are over at this stage. Don't let your puppy get hurt but if she is acting timid or nervous do not reinforce the behavior with petting, etc. Honestly she sounds just fine.
 

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My parents are coming this weekend. Hopefully she does well with them and adjusts well.

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Glad you asked before they came over. Keep the little rascal on a leash and have some treats. Tell you parents that no matter how cute she is, and she is adorable, to ignore her unless she comes to them. Even then, allow her time to sniff before they reach down to touch her. Better yet, each time you pup looks up at you offer a tiny reward. If the pup goes to your mom or dad, have them toss a treat for the pup to go get. Pretty soon they will be pals.

And remember NAPS! This might tire your little gal quickly. After a pleasant visit put her down for a nap in her crate or a dog bed nearby. Like toddlers, over tired puppies can be unreasonable.
 

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She’s very cute. I think for your puppy maybe still adjusting to her new home -some pups take longer. I think once you establish a bond with your pup you will see her more comfortable. Personally I don’t think it’s good for puppies to be isolated until they had all their shots that’s a personal decision. taking her out will do her some good and having some fun with you. Just as long as you don’t have parvo in your area.
You want to make sure they are fun places like trails and hikes. I have always taken my pups out early and have exposed them to different things as long as they are all fun and my pups are comfortable and happy. All dogs have different personalities. Our last dog was last King Charles an amazing girl solid as an ox but very aloof now we have two very noses bodies lol and one who does not skip a beat. Lol! I had one pup automatically go lay down when people came over and one who jumped all everyone. There are place commands on the Internet. You can also crate you pup in the middle of things when your parents come over so she can just observe until she has settled. It’s also good to invite people over on a regular basis if you have a quiet house.
http://www.naughtydogge.com/blog/socializing-your-puppy-how-it-should-look
 
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