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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My pup is an 11 month old intact male... He's had extensive socialization, group training classes, the works pretty much... He's always been very stable, handled any situation I put him in. He also doesn't react to things like fireworks and he thinks the vacuum is a toy when it's on, he paws it and play bows at it, etc. He also never had any sort of fear episodes that I noticed when he was younger. The only issue we've had is a bit of leash reactivity which we are working on with slow but steady success, off leash he is great with all dogs(though I've stopped off leash activities to see if it would help his reactivity at all because it didn't start until I let him play with other dogs).

Recently he's started acting a little odd with people, up until about 10 months old he loved people especially children like a golden retriever, he loved meeting new people, being fawned over and was very gentle with small children. Now he is maturing and is very aloof with people, he doesn't give a rats behind about them anymore. Except these last couple of weeks there's been two incidences of him showing fear towards people...

We were at Balboa park(the largest urban park in the US), it was crowded but he was doing fine as usual but at one point we were in the middle of a pack of people and a couple kids ran up to us wanting to pet him, they were polite and asked first so I said yes... Normally Ollie loves this but he shied away from them and wanted nothing to do with them at all. He didn't have any way to get away from them but it was still odd for him. The second time happened tonight, we were at my in laws and my father in law was trying to pet Ollie but he again shied away from him and hid under the dining room table... Ollie wanted NOTHING to do with him at all, he's been aloof to him but never shown fear before. Now my dad in law is a super nice guy but he doesn't really understand dog language and was talking to him in a really goofy voice and staring him right in the eye the entire time he was talking to him. He was aloof towards my mom in law but didn't show any fear of her.

Do you think this is something I should be worried about, just a stage and is there anything I can do about it? Thanks for reading if you made it this far! :)
 

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I don't have a ton of experience, and others here will hopefully chime in. I just wanted to ask if you could explain the leash reactivity a little more? Does he bark/growl/lunge, is it only at other dogs, people, kids, etc?? Might give some insight into his personality/temperament. You could also post his pedigree, there are several on here who are amazing at reading pedigrees. Of course no one online can give you the magic answer, especially since no one can see him react in person. It's possible that maybe he has shown "fear" in other areas that you haven't noticed? Or possibly the leash reactivity is the biggest indicator of all? Or maybe these reactions were all a fluke? It seems that if leash reactivity (I believe is based in fear?) is occurring, it may not be surprising that it is starting to show up in other areas now that the "fearless puppy" stage is starting to turn into a more mature adult?

Again, I am purely speculating, sorry I am not more helpful. Sounds like you are trying everything you can, and I wish you good luck. I would try and find a GSD trainer, or club in your area....possibly have him evaluated and come up with a plan.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Oh sorry for not clarifying! The leash reactivity is purely at dogs... He completely ignores people.
 

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Are you currently in training classes? If so have you mentioned your concerns to your instructor??
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Are you currently in training classes? If so have you mentioned your concerns to your instructor??
I am but since its only happened twice pretty recently I haven't had a chance to bring it up yet but I will.
 

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OT, but I live near Balboa park, too! :)

When Denali was a pup she loved people too. One day out of nowhere she started hiding behind me when people asked to pet her and getting growly at kids that were being unruly around my neighborhood.
She wasn't from the best breeder so it could have been weak nerves, but we continued to socialize her and she outgrew it.

I would just listen to the dog and try not to make a big deal of it. If he doesn't want people petting him, then don't force him to accept strangers. Let him do it on his own time. Also, while Denali accepted strangers again, she never went back to being a Golden Retriever (close though haha).
 

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Discussion Starter #7
We've been to Balboa park loads with him, in fact started taking him when he was a little fluffball pup.

I forgot to mention before this happened when were sitting on a grassy area by the fountain just relaxing a bit when a mom and her must have been 2 or 3 year old daughter approached us... She explained how her daughter loved dogs and asked if Ollie was friendly. Ollie walked up to the little girl, licked her face then came back to my side. I think 'possibly' the incident with the older kids could have been somewhat because of me, I tensed up a lot because the group of people we were surrounded by their culture isn't fond of dogs so I was worried about bothering or offending them by my dog being too close and that's when the kids ran up to us. Just thought it worth mentioning anyway.
 

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maybe your dog is just growing up and doesnt like to be touched anymore? did he tuck his tail and run under the table? if he didnt show any signs of fear then he just doesnt wanna be touched. my dog doesnt like to be touched. he'll sniff people but when they reach to pet his head he'll dodge it. only family members can pet him. everyone else he'd rather they just look.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
maybe your dog is just growing up and doesnt like to be touched anymore? did he tuck his tail and run under the table? if he didnt show any signs of fear then he just doesnt wanna be touched. my dog doesnt like to be touched. he'll sniff people but when they reach to pet his head he'll dodge it. only family members can pet him. everyone else he'd rather they just look.
Could be, I hadn't really considered that since it wasn't an issue before but he is maturing and changing. He didn't tuck his tail, he just moved under the table away from him then just laid down and ignored him.
 

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I think that he's growing up to. He has a good background, so I don't think its something to worry about. Robyn(female GSD) can take or leave adults, but never kids, she loves kids. We can walk right past a person and she will not even look at them. Midnite(male GSD) is pretty much the same way. He is still young and really never had much interaction with people(in the shelter for months), so he is still loving all people, but he knows who family is. I think he loves kids more then Robyn does. I've never seen a dog perk up so much when they hear or see a kid.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Could just be he's maturing and that's why... anyone else have any thoughts? :)
 

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Might be some hormonal changes causing some confusion. New feelings he is not used too. His natural suspicion of outsiders could be rising to the surface. He might be in the process of developing into a one person dog. Just some thoughts.
 

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I agree with robk and this age is when many dogs are dumped at shelters because the 'cute puppy' stage has worn off, and the dog becomes a bit harder to manage as they may become reactive.

GSD's are or should be naturally aloof, and not expected to love on just anyone.
I would just keep on with your training program(you are doing great!!), and add in some corrections when necessary.
The more you ask of your pup the more he will give, and the more he'll respect you and his confidence will grow. Be fair and make sure he understands what you ask of him before correcting though.
I think this is the hardest age for some handlers to deal with.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thank you everyone for your input! If that is the case that he is becoming less people oriented towards strangers(which I guess is normal for a GSD) is there anything I should be doing right now socialization wise or just leave it be since he's had such a good foundation? He's around people a lot, he just doesn't interact with them much anymore because he's not interested and because he's larger... People don't approach us to pet him as much. I don't need him to be social with people, he's just my first GSD and so this is all a new experience for me with this type of breed.
 

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I would just keep on with your training and do your normal routine, don't change it up unless you see him getting over his threshold.
If he starts reacting to people, redirect his attention in a happy upbeat manner. Use a tug or food and ask for postions to redirect (try to catch it before he starts in)
Correcting for that reactivity will sometimes backfire/dog sees what they are reacting to as the reason for the correction. Timing is key!
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
I agree with robk and this age is when many dogs are dumped at shelters because the 'cute puppy' stage has worn off, and the dog becomes a bit harder to manage as they may become reactive.

GSD's are or should be naturally aloof, and not expected to love on just anyone.
I would just keep on with your training program(you are doing great!!), and add in some corrections when necessary.
The more you ask of your pup the more he will give, and the more he'll respect you and his confidence will grow. Be fair and make sure he understands what you ask of him before correcting though.
I think this is the hardest age for some handlers to deal with.
Thank you! I can see why somewhat but that's so sad, I could never even begin to imagine giving this dog up. I am sold for life on GSD's and herding breeds in general! Truthfully he is a wonderful dog all around and so well behaved for an 11 month old teenager. The leash reactivity towards dogs is our only issue and he is getting better. He's never been reactive towards or had any issues regarding people.... He's just done such a 180 from being YAY HOOMANS to yeah I could really care less about you SO fast I just wanted to check in with GSD folk, I knew it could/would happen just wasn't expecting it so quickly and so dramatically.

**And I'll just point out again(and sorry for any confusion) that he has no reactivity towards people, only on leash towards dogs. My main concern was him shying away from people who were trying to pet him which he used to love.
 
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