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My 15 week old. Female GSD pup is weary and afraid of other people and dogs. We got her at 6 weeks and have been socializing since day 1, she has always shown this behavior. She is getting better with people and will happily approach some, but will often back away if someone tries to pet her. She doesn't hide, but moves backwards


As far as other dogs, she loves our three year old pit mix and plays with him all day long. We've been taking her to puppy playtime at Petco in an effort to get her used to dogs and she has never been a fan. She typically hides under my chair and avoids the other dogs. She was getting better by venturing out more and sniffing the others, but never once played. Yesterday the others found her interesting for some reason and we're all pouncing on her. She let out a growl and a snap with no contact. We removed her immediately. I'm okay if she doesn't like other dogs, I just want to prevent reactive behavior when out on walks and around others.

She's great with us and our two kids, but this behavior seems odd for a puppy. Most puppies I've met eagarly approach and seem happy, but she's more aloof. I'm concerned that she may develop behavioral issues as an adult. Does anyone have tips on what to do to get her more comfortable? We have been reinforcing all good behavior with treats and can't really afford a training class at the moment. Does this behavior seem concerning, or am I just overly nervous? I just want her to grow to be a well balanced dog, especially with two rambunctious toddlers in my house.

It's important to note, that while she will alert bark if someone's at our door, she greets them happily when we let them in. Her fearful behavior is exhibited outside of our home

Thank you
 

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Aloof is the breed standard.
 
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Hi, and welcome to the forum! If it were me, I'd stop pushing her beyond her comfort zone! She's too young to be able to play and hold her own against older puppies and dogs! Wait until she's a few months older and has more coordination and confidence. For now, I'd focus on exposure to new surfaces, climbing obstacles, going in elevators, walking on different textures, going into a variety of buildings, etc. Exposure. Every time she meets a new thing and comes away unscathed she builds confidence. She also builds confidence in you as you take her through and around and over these things and she sees that it wasn't so scary after all. But be careful not to overwhelm her, it's not at all confidence building to push her beyond her threshold. Keep it fun and entertaining, go on exploration adventures, in the yard or out in a more remote location where other dogs don't frequent since she's not fully vaccinated yet!

Honestly, it's much more important to focus on your puppy and respect her feelings now, than it is to worry about what she might become. Be kind and loving to your dog, respect her feelings (without babying her!), and just have fun together! She'll turn out fine!
 

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Thank you for the advice. We have been trying to just bring her around people for the experience and not allowing them to pet her. I say that she is in training, I just want her comfortable around people. I did not get her from a breeder, she was the puppy of my stepsisters GSD, she may have some weaker nerves. She doesn't spook easily but is definitely timid. I've learned a lot from reading posts here that not forcing a dog is the best approach and I plan on bringing her around people without contact unless she initiates. Having two kids in my house, I just want to make sure I have a well balanced dog, she seems very tolerant of their behavior though, my oldest is only three. I just want to do right by the dog and make sure she's comfortable, that she doesn't become reactive to people or other dogs. She's my first GSD and I'm so excited to finally have one, such intelligent animals.
 

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OP, it doesn't sound like your dog is weak nerved to me. She may be, but she's also still a baby, in many respects, and as MAWL pointed out, reserve is a breed characteristic. I agree with other posters that you should back off your (well-intentioned) socialization attempts and focus more on building her confidence thru structured and limited exposure to new settings/people.

There also are lots of things that you can do at home or on walkies. Obedience is key (you need a common language) but you can fold those lessons into confidence-building exercises. For some interesting insights and really useful tips, you might want to look at articles posted on the Collared Scholar about building your dog's confidence: https://www.collared-scholar.com/

Aly
 

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Also, keep in mind at 16 weeks, she could just be coming into her first (second?) fear period. Just take your time with her. I would just let her see/hear/smell/feel new things and work on engagement for now. Things she seems frightened/wary of I would try to "show" her it's okay by either going near it or touching it myself. Not sure if that's a recommended way, but it seems to work with my two when they were younger. Collared-scholar is definitely a good reference. I know Leerburg has a few free puppy lessons on their site as well.


We did a puppy class with Katsu where the first 5-10 minutes was play.All Katsu did was sit next to me and look at me like "why am I here?" She still doesn't really play with other dogs except a select few (2-3) of close friends. I am fine with that. As stated before aloof is part of the breed standard.
 

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My 15 week old. Female GSD pup is weary and afraid of other people and dogs.

??? Do you mean wary? Weary means tired, worn out. Wary means cautious, guarded.
 

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At 15 weeks, most puppies are very forward and seeking attention. Even the ones that grow to be aloof and have higher suspicion would be forward as puppies. She certainly sounds like she has some fear.



I would not immerse her in people and other dogs. Please do NOT take her back to that puppy play time thing. She obviously does not enjoy being there and if she was growling then you will only cause more issues but continuing this. But I would take her places where she can observe from a distance.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Yes wary, I'm not sure why it was spelled the other way lol. I will definitely take your advice and not take her back. In busy areas she will approach people happily if it's on her terms, when they approach her, she seems more uninterested. Her tail is never between her legs, she simply backs away
 
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