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I like to see a puppy that can bounce back from a scary experience. I think it is okay if they startle, but I want to see my puppy bounce back quickly and shake it off and go on with life. I would work on building her confidence at home since it should be a familiar and comfortable environment for her. Give her novel experiences and challenges. Set a tarp on the ground and scatter some food over it, put out some boxes for her to check out, take the lid off a plastic bottle and put some of her kibble or treats inside and let her get it out, provide unstable and surfaces with height for her to navitgate, be creative and expose her to a variety of sounds and surfaces. Let her do the activities at her pace. With my pup I took a kiddie pool and put some plastic bottles in it and scatters some kibble for him to find and everyday I added in more bottles for him for push around. I also made him a puppy play box https://www.instructables.com/id/Puppy-Play-Box/ with a bunch of different things for him to interact with with. Puzzle toys will also build confidence and teach a puppy how to overcome challenges, they can be as simple as putting her food in a paper bag and letting her figure out how to get it out.


I don't think there is a one size fits all socialization routine. You have to customize it for your puppy and your goals. What some who plans to do bitesports does will differ from someone who plans to do therapy work. A puppy who is social will need something different than a puppy who is not.



Socializing Your Puppy: how it should look | Naughty Dogge - Monique Anstee
https://denisefenzi.com/2018/08/socialization-and-early-training/
https://www.collared-scholar.com/more-harm-than-good-3-reasons-why-i-never-socialize-my-puppies/
 

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Suspicion should never be confused with a lack of confidence.

I think that is oversimplifying things. With a puppy like we are discussing, the pup is too young to actually determine if the pup is lacking in confidence or has the trait of mistrust. Certainly, adult dogs with the trait of mistrust can be very confident , strong dogs. But it is too early to say if this pup is showing mistrust or cautiousness due to a lack of confidence. With a pup, I prefer to see an open, confident pup, not one who is unsure around strangers. It sounds like the pup's odds of turning out okay are decent, but it doesn't sound like she will be a strong dog, and that is probably not what the owner was looking for when she bought the puppy.
 

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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?
She sounds fine. All pups are not run up to everybody with tail wagging at this age. Some are, some are not and both will often turn out to be fine as they mature. It also doesn’t mean they have nerve issues or temperament issues...from the description of your pup, most pups like this grow into fine upstanding adults.
 

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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!
THANK YOU! I so tire of people desiring to see THEIR opinion of correct. This pup sounds like a nice pup....
 

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I think that is oversimplifying things. With a puppy like we are discussing, the pup is too young to actually determine if the pup is lacking in confidence or has the trait of mistrust. Certainly, adult dogs with the trait of mistrust can be very confident , strong dogs. But it is too early to say if this pup is showing mistrust or cautiousness due to a lack of confidence. With a pup, I prefer to see an open, confident pup, not one who is unsure around strangers. It sounds like the pup's odds of turning out okay are decent, but it doesn't sound like she will be a strong dog, and that is probably not what the owner was looking for when she bought the puppy.
From what I read, I would respectfully come to another conclusion....but either way I think the pup sounds very normal for the breed.
 

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I hear you Cliff. But to me, the definition of normal is what most dogs do. And if you take the breed as a whole, including working, show, BYB, etc., I would say the majority of dogs in the breed have temperament issues. You have seen a lot more pups than me, but my experience has been that pups I have seen that show what I consider excess caution in various areas, usually turn out to have some deficit in their temperament which is on a continuum from mild to severe. That is not to say, all pups who show caution will be faulty in temperament. Caution can be an indication of future sharpness and that sharpness can be desirable or too fear based. I am not expressing so much my opinion of what is correct as expressing what I prefer.
I will add that defensive aggression is simply based on fear. But it is more complicated than that. There are thresholds, other traits that help relieve the stress of fear, how a dog is raised, the temperament of the handler, training, etc. So I understand that signs of insecurity/fear in a pup is not always bad. It can be the catalyst that gives a GSD an edge. I prefer to see some edginess at an older age and for other reasons.
 

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I hear you Cliff. But to me, the definition of normal is what most dogs do. And if you take the breed as a whole, including working, show, BYB, etc., I would say the majority of dogs in the breed have temperament issues. You have seen a lot more pups than me, but my experience has been that pups I have seen that show what I consider excess caution in various areas, usually turn out to have some deficit in their temperament which is on a continuum from mild to severe. That is not to say, all pups who show caution will be faulty in temperament. Caution can be an indication of future sharpness and that sharpness can be desirable or too fear based. I am not expressing so much my opinion of what is correct as expressing what I prefer.
No problem,Chip!
We have had this discussion before, and we agree on far more things than differ on. I think the OP will have a good dog from her description....I have yet to see the perfect one.
 

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@Paigika if it makes you feel any better Shadow was the most outgoing puppy I have ever seen and at about 4 months old she decided that she was scared of everything. Overnight. No warning. Signs, people, flashing lights, traffic. Full out panic response. Shaking, drooling, moaning, closing her eyes, sometimes trying to bolt but usually just absolutely frozen in fear. We thought for a while she was going blind because her responses were so skewed. Prior to this she was chasing feet, attacking ankles, climbing the other dogs, jumping off of things, racing up to strangers. She was absolutely fearless.
My point is that behavior is not always indicative of what it will be later. And caution is a survival instinct for most baby animals. They may not live long if they raced up to everything they met.
 
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