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Discussion Starter #1
Hello again everyone! The last time I asked for help I got some really sound advice that actually helped quite a bit. I was hoping I could pick your brains once again.

My WL puppy, now 4 months old, is doing well. The other day I took him to the park to meet up with my friend and his GSD puppy and for the first time ever he seemed scared. Not of my friend but of his dog. The other pup was quick to bark and seemed confident. Mine tucked his tail and tried to walk away. Eventually he did get comfortable and played a bit, but it got me thinking about how I can start to build up his confidence. Eventually down the line I was considering training him as a personal protection dog. And even if I were to decide not to, at the very least I would hope he would be confident enough to bark and act as a deterent to strangers at home. How can I start to build his confidence in a healthy and safe manner? Is this the right age to do so or is he still to young? Is he maybe just slower to mature than the other younger pup and this will just come naturally? He only recently started going on walks because he just finished his puppy vaccines so he hasnt been exposed to a whole lot.
Thanks in advance guys!
 

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So many things I want to comment on, but I’ll start with this one. What makes you so sure the other puppy was confident when it was barking at you and your dog? To me, that seems more like a fear response. My puppy barks up a storm at things constantly, and confident is absolutely not what I would call him. He’s barking because he’s afraid. Actually, I would prefer your puppy’s response. Not necessarily cowering, but simply ignoring the other dog and not reacting? That’s great.

Also, yes, your puppy is still very young. Just because he isn’t barking at things now doesn’t mean he won’t bark at people coming to the house when he’s older. They often don’t come into any protective instincts until they’re older. Puppies, in my opinion, are supposed to be happy-go-lucky, relaxed, and carefree. They shouldn’t be barking at things like that so young.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The other puppy wasnt barking in an aggreaive way, just excited because he wanted to play. Thats kind of why it didnt come across as a nervous or scared bark. But I see your point. He is very good at ignoring other dogs and isnt aggressive towards anything/anyone. I guess a better question might have been, how can I make sure I am sociolizing him as best as possible? What kind of reactions should I expect from him with strangers and other dogs at this stage in his life? Like I said, I only recently started taking him out due to vaccines, and I just want to know what to look for.

If happy go lucky is how he should be with everything right now, then he is EXACTLY as he should be haha.
 

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Ah, I see what you’re saying. I thought you meant the other puppy was barking in a “protective” way and you were wondering why yours wasn’t.

I suggest you take your puppy to safe places and just let him watch and interact with the world. I personally don’t let my dogs meet strange dogs. Too many opportunities for things to go wrong. I do, however, take them places they may see a dog and give treats for ignoring or calmly watching. I do that with pretty much everything. I never force interactions with people, dogs, or the environment. My dogs simply need to learn to coexist with most things and focus on me. Work on engagement with you in all kinds of environments, and you’ll be fine.
 

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Yeah in that situation specifically I was wondering about the shying away from playing, since he had never shown fear before. Which got me thinking about why his instinct to bark hasnt kicked in yet. just wondering if that is something that would develop later or something that has to be worked on. But you answered both! So yes I will continue to take him out to new places and just let him experience things. And as far as the more protective instincts, he is still rather young, so thats good to know. Thanks Pytheis!
 
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