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Hi everyone!

I have two GSD puppies (brothers) who are almost 6 months old now. We've had them since they were about 2.5 months old. They've been socialized a lot since we've had time since we go on walks in the park twice a day with many people, kids, dogs, bikes, etc. Recently one of the dogs does not want anything to do with strangers. He doesn't show signs of being fearful around anything other than strangers. Our other dog is totally fine and very outgoing. My question is, is this possibly due a a fear stage? He used to be very friendly around strangers but not so much anymore.

Also, do you have any tips on how to deal with this? I try to give him treats in these situations so he associates strangers as a positive experience but he is too focused on the stranger(s) to even eat a treat.

Thank you so much!
Samantha
 

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Yes, it can be a new fear stage.

Hopefully you walk the dogs as much separately as together so they are learning to each look to YOU for leadership and guidance in life. It's a huge problem when we get 2 puppies at the same time (and why most responsible breeders won't sell 2 puppies to the same person) because we have to work them together AND separately.

You seen the new videos from leerburg about fear in puppies? May be some help there. Raising 2 pups at one time in a Family Setting has info as well as

YouTube - ‪leerburg's Channel‬‎
 

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I'd say that's probably a fear stage. This link is helpful for the various puppy stages... Developmental Stages

When mine was that age, she developed a fear of downed trees. As we do a lot of woods walking, this was something that needed to be dealt with. Mostly I just talked to her in an upbeat voice and tried to keep her attention on me if I saw the deadly deadly trees before she did. But in situations where she locked on and ignored me, I'd step between her and the tree, block her view, and keep talking. Once it was out of her sight, she was able to re-focus on me.
 

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Hi MaggieRoseLee and AngieRose!

Thank you for the information and links. We do walk them separately quite a bit. I've heard A LOT of bad things about having sibling dogs but we've had no problems what-so-ever minus the one being scared of strangers.

We got out dogs from a shelter so we rescued both.

Thank you both again!

Best,
Samantha
 

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Have you found a good set of dog classes yet? You can take both dogs at the same time (2 different handlers though) or separately and it will be a huge help for you.

Nice controlled environment that will help your pups while you learn the skills necessary to be their calm and supportive leader in life!
 

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Stosh- Thank you! We are very lucky to have them.

MaggieRoseLee- We haven't found any local dog classes yet, but we've been looking. I'm happy to say that today on our walk this morning that the skiddish one seemed interested in a few strangers walking by this morning. After they passed he tried to walk over and greet them/check them out. I'm thinking he just needs some more practice.


I really appreciate everyone's help! I'm new to this website and I love reading what everyone has to say!

Best,
Samantha
 

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Hi everyone!

I have two GSD puppies (brothers) who are almost 6 months old now. We've had them since they were about 2.5 months old. They've been socialized a lot since we've had time since we go on walks in the park twice a day with many people, kids, dogs, bikes, etc. Recently one of the dogs does not want anything to do with strangers. He doesn't show signs of being fearful around anything other than strangers. Our other dog is totally fine and very outgoing. My question is, is this possibly due a a fear stage? He used to be very friendly around strangers but not so much anymore.

Also, do you have any tips on how to deal with this? I try to give him treats in these situations so he associates strangers as a positive experience but he is too focused on the stranger(s) to even eat a treat.

Thank you so much!
Samantha
Maybe you can try giving the stranger the treats to give to BOTH pups - the idea that strangers are good for treats and the competition with his brother might help the fearful pup!
 

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Hiya Smithsam,

I am going through a very similar situation. My parents and I adopted a set of GSP brothers. I took mine (Rocky) home at 8 weeks, my parents took theirs (Guinness) home and 9 weeks. They are now 5 months old. Rocky is afraid of most strangers and will bark and lunge on walks. Guinness is very friendly and easy going. We are currently working with a trainer to curb the issue. But like you, i was walking Guinness twice a day at least and taking him EVERYWHERE with me. So i'm hoping with a little help from a very good trainer, we can get through this phase.
 

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Thank you Codmaster! We try that when friends come over to the house, and it only works about 25% of the time. But we keep trying! Thank you!

Good luck Canadianredd! If I find a trick that works, I'll pass it on :)
 

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what kind of treats are you giving them. It should be something they really like, chicken, leftover steak. Seems to work with my dog when he goes on alert.
 

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Hi Ruger! Usually just dog biscuits when out of walks but when we have strangers at home we give them lunch meat. I'll cook up some meat and take some chunks to let strangers give him on walks, maybe that would work. Great idea! I will try it!
 

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I personally wouldn't want to teach my dog to take food from strangers on a walk. At home, that's fine with your ok.

Another idea would be for you to give the puppy a treat when they are calm and accept the stranger being in close proximity to them.
 

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I personally wouldn't want to teach my dog to take food from strangers on a walk. At home, that's fine with your ok.

Another idea would be for you to give the puppy a treat when they are calm and accept the stranger being in close proximity to them.
I would be interested in why would you be reluctant to have specific strangers give your dog a treat that you handed to them to give to your pup.

Reason is that one of the members of a GSD group (we all got pups from the same breeder here in CA and we meet Saturdays) also would not allow his pup to even greet kids and strangers ever since he was a little puppy. I took the opposite approach with our male GSD and encouraged him to meet everyone as a puppy and had many strangers giving him treats that we gave to them. Our pup is very outgoing and friendly to kids and almost all strangers and people he meets in stores etc. Yet still VERY protective and suspicious of weird strangers.

His pup is (charitably) a psyco and not trustworthy around either strangers or other dogs. I always wonder if it was his treatment or just genetics that caused him to be like that. BTW, he is one dog that my dog does not get along with at all and never really has. (Maybe my dog knows something!????)
 

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There are a couple of reasons I can think of to not let your dog take food from strangers without teaching them to look to you first for the OK at the very least.

Not to think the worst of people but what if what they are giving your dog has some kind of drug in it? Now I know this is the exception and not the rule and I am not paranoid amd think that people are out to poison my dog but it happens. Two, I've had a foster that couldn't eat anything but his own food or he'd have explosive poo. I wouldn't want him accepting treats from anyone.

I think that to be on the safe side, teaching a word that tells your dog it is OK to take the treat from the stranger at the very least is a good idea. I also think that you feeding your dog the treats with the people, children or dogs around sends the same message: that these people are OK to be near because I get yummy treats but avoids the overally enthusiastic EVERYONE is my BEST friend mentality.

To be honest, my Raven is of the overally enthusiastic everyone is my best friend mentality. She has never met a person she doesn't like and there are very few dogs that she hasn't liked but she tolerates them unless they are super rude. She does take treats from strangers and I have had little girls feed her treats because she was afraid of them at one point. It is good that she is this way because I take her to a lot of dog events for the rescue we volunteer for and she is a great foster sister but if I had more knowledge then I would probably do it a bit different.
 

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Hi Ruger! Usually just dog biscuits when out of walks but when we have strangers at home we give them lunch meat. I'll cook up some meat and take some chunks to let strangers give him on walks, maybe that would work. Great idea! I will try it!
I should clarify. Strangers don't give my dog treats. I have good treats available for me to give my dog to keep his attention on me when he starts to go on alert. It helps snap him out of it. I have him sit and make eye contact before I give it to him. This only works if he isn't already really barking. I also take along his favorite toy and play with him before he gets to an anxious level. My dog is ok with people it's other dogs that he barks at.
 
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