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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
lol i guess i worded it wrong... i meant to say she is no where near breed standard when it comes to behavior. lol typing to fast is my fault!

When we go out i try to bring them both with me, because Bear (for a year old) is such a great influence for her. He willingly accepts anyone petting him, and will always drop and roll for a belly rub. Mya on the other hand would rather stick by me and watch him take in all the attention. The only problem is, Bear is somewhat hyper (as your usual 1 year old male is) lol and its hard for me (tiny tim over here) to handle the both of them together when im trying to help mya over her fears. Bear will see something that needs investigation and head that way, while what he sees mya sees and she runs in the other direction, so my arms are spread out trying to get this one back here, and this one over here to show her theres nothing to be worried about. So taking them both usually requires assistance from the DF.

I will from now on when i bring her, make sure no one does the usual "Hi Mya, what happening pretty girl, aww your so pretty" crap they give her after i've told them a million times just to ignor her and let her get situated. Other than my dad, my family is more of a foo-foo type of dog, so when they see her i want her to be a good example, and i wish they could see her at our home, where shes in her finest figure, being the model GSD everyone wants to have. Instead they get a bag of nerves that trembles in their presence.. lol.. I know its a serious situation and i'll continue to try all of your advice to make her happier and more at ease during rough situations.

I do have one more thing though that i thought i would add... When we go to the park for a hike, she is usually off leash (she has a 99% recall, with the 1% being she was in the midst of a potty before running back to me) But if she is offleash and we go to pass someone on the trail, she will take off and run in the opposite direction to aviod the stranger. The trails are tight, only wide enough for one or 2 people to pass at a time. Usually, when she does this, i walk back a few paces, and call her to me. She almost does a combat crawl towards me, then i leash her, and she is fine walking past the person. Its almost as if she has to be leashed to me to walk by someone, even if they are completley ignoring her and just enjoying their walk.

We've been working on people watching, where we pick a bench and just watch them walking along. I can see her focus in on a person, and she lets out the tiniest growl, I'm talking barely heard, more of a grumble under her breath making her lips push out the air, but i calmly tell her Shh and then i talk to her in a calm voice silly things to make it appear to her that i am not bothered or concerned for our safety as they pass.... things like "look at that silly man wearing that hat? what was he thinking, it doesnt match his outfit" LOL things like that, so she hears the tone in my voice is calm, but asserting to her that their is no need to worry. Its helping alot she'll actualy give up and lay down (ears back.. yay!) and just look around and as people pass us, i give her a jackpot of cheese cubes (her fav!) lol.... I think we're ready to take the next step there and ask some passer byers to give her a treat. The only problem there is finding someone who is willing to walk up to this "scary GSD" they've never met and give her a cookie. But i honestly dont think she'd take it anyway.
 
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