Ok guys (and girls..lol) I could use your help:
Mya, my 3 y.o. female is a great girl. She is obedient, has a great recall, and we practice NILIF training at home. She is extremely smart and understands a lot of what i ask of her.
My issue is, that per breed standard, she is extremely shy/nervous. This only happens in public places, anywhere besides home. At home, she will bark at the door when someone knocks (which i allow, because i rarely can hear it from the other end of the house) and then she happily welcomes guests into the house. But if we go anywhere she tends to shake, act paranoid, and refuses to allow anyone to pet her. For example: We stopped at petco for a few short minutes to pick up a few items, and standing in line, things got a little hectic for her. There was a woman in front of us, and a few poeple behind us in line. I asked her to sit, and focus on me, which she did (not happily, but she obeyed) but then refused a treat from me, and quickly stood back up. She kept looking around, and moving if someone in line stepped to close to her. She was shaking the whole time. I could tell she was very very uncomfortable. Then of all things, one of the employees walked up and tried to pet her. She is NOT a biter, even out of fear, she would rather duck and cover behind me. The woman laughed and told me "what kind of sheperd cowers back?" I was insulted by her and said, well if you didnt just rush her and try to reach over her head to pet her, she probobly wouldnt have hidden. So anyway, i kept a close eye on her, paid for our supplies and left as quickly as i could just to get her out of there and back in the truck where she is comfortable.
Mya was socialized as a pup, not as much as i should have probobly, but only since i've been on this site did i realize the amount of socialization needed for a GSD more than other breeds. We've had GSD's before, but growing up i just got to play with them and was never involved with training or socialization.
So what i need help with is ways that i can boost her confidence, and help her not to be such a nervous wreck....
Another example i think i should mention.. Ever since Mya was a pup she has been going to family picnics with us at my grandpas. (we're italian so the entire extended family gathers outside, approx 20 people or so) all of whom Mya has met and been known to. Still to this day when i take her, I tie to 20ft lead to the tree in the corner of the yard where she can lay in the shade and just hang out. She barks at family as they arrive (to which a firm quiet she stops) but she will not allow anyone to pet her, and she wont take treats from them either. If i have her leashed sitting with me, and a family member calls her to them, she will try and hide under my feet or chair and just look away from (avioding eyecontact) until they give up. A few of my cousins have dogs (blck lab pup 4months, and a chihiahah, and bishons) and Bear will play with them til he falls over from exhaustion, but she wants nothing to do with this and would rather hide under her mom.
I'm really at a loss with her, and i have no idea what i can do to help her. Otherwise i would say she is a "perfect" companion to me. I would even like to attempt a CGC, and maybe even therapy work, but she needs to get over this fear of new strange things...
Sorry for the length, but im desperate! lol