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Hi i have a 5 month old gsd and i just have some concerns about how defence she is over me ... when out in public she will growl and bark and lunge at anyone who gets near me witch is conserning because alot of people try to come up and pet her and then she almost attacks them... with kids shes fine she lets them approach her without any problem and when new people come to the house shes fine its just in public with adults that she does this .. is this normal ... i know there known for being protective but just wondering if this is normal.
Also if this is a concern what should i do to get her more comfterbal around strangers
Thanks
 

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Could just be her temperament maturing and coming out. I don't like strangers in public places coming up to pet

my dog, although she's fine with it but I worry about liability just in case.

You might want to consider a muzzle or maybe a Vest with "Do Not Pet" on it.

As far as re-training her I'll let the experts chime in.
 

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Save yourself a lot of trouble and tell people that she is a No Pet dog, that she would rather just watch. We ask people to ignore my gal and talk to us humans instead. That gives my dog time to observe the person and she'll make up her mind to come in for a petting or not. Also teach your pup a calming action to do, like take a heel position near your leg or stand between your legs. In that spot nothing bad happens. Whenever we teach our dogs, if we give them a No Don't Do That (like lunge) it is always best to follow up with a Do This Instead.

My gal is 3 years old and trains in Man-trailing. She'll go up to club members with no issues because the picture is different. Instead of random folks wanting to touch her, it is her job to find a person and is rewarded for that. I give her the treat, not the other person, unless my gal asks them for a treat. That way there is no pressure of having to get close to a stranger if she is unsure. It would be like a creep in a bar offering you a drink to get you to come close...yikes! But if a pleasant person offers you a cup of coffee you might say yes.

So bottom line, have strangers keep their hands off. Insist that they ignore the pup unless the pup asks for attention. No asking stranger to feed her. Give the pup something positive to do instead. And let maturity happen. It takes a couple of years for our dogs to be all grown up.

And hiring a trainer is excellent advice. They can see mistakes that you may not realize you are making. I was having an issue and one suggestion from the trainer made a huge difference.
 

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Just my opinion: Locate a trainer that is very experienced with GSD. Do this by calling a local GSD club, a responsible GSD breeder and verify the experience. If you post what area you are located in, someone may be able to recommend one as well.

All the suggestions you have received are excellent. I would like to strongly add to the suggestion of a trainer. The behavior you are describing could actually be a number of things. Without putting eyes on the pup and seeing the rest of the body language it would be difficult to say what would be best for the pup.
 

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I agree, find a reputable trainer.

As for a "Do Not Pet" vest, I have mixed feelings on this. If the dog is out in a public place and there are a bunch of people around and especially children, the general expectation is that the dog is friendly. Slapping a "Do Not Pet" vest on the dog does not in itself create a barrier between the dog, and, for example, the well-meaning hands of a 12 year old. It's kind of like running in and out of traffic while wearing a "Don't Hit Me!" vest. I see it as risky and ill advised. If the dog is a bite risk, they don't belong in a place where you can not control the variables and protect your dog from unwanted petting, guaranteed.

Sure, we all wish people would leave our dogs alone, but that is not how the real world (at least in US) works.

A muzzle is a good idea, but a muzzle punch can do damage, too.

This could be a lot of different things, so seek out a good trainer to address it while she is still young.
 

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The other issue is obedience and you get to decide when your pup shows aggression, not her. I'd learn how to fit and use a prong collar, teach her what sit means, and then correct any unwanted aggression and command her to sit.
 

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Leash reactivity like you're describing is very common at that age. Your puppy is not defending you, she's indicating her unease with the situation.

That being said, there is no "quick fix", your puppy just has to learn that people - generally - are not a threat to her even though she's restricted on a leash.

Finding a good trainer is a great idea, because they can help you with your timing of corrections, and any body language on your part that might be contributing to the issue. But in the meantime, pay close attention to your response when she acts this way. If you're getting upset by her reactivity it's confirming for her that there really IS a threat! It's important to remain calm and matter of fact, and to keep people away from her on leash while she figures it out.

As Chip pointed out, training is all about showing a dog or puppy what to do! It's easy to teach a puppy to do something, but very very hard to teach them *not* to do something! Teach your puppy to sit and/or to heel. Then preemptively, when she begins to show signs of unease (but before she's barking and lunging), give her a quick pop on the leash and a command "to do" something else. I personally like heel for this situation, because it keeps them moving and so diminishes the tension. Consistency, along with time and maturity, will get her over this.

Just my opinion, but at 5 months I wouldn't resort to using a prong collar yet. A flat or Martingale collar will work just fine...just be calm, consistent, and matter of fact, and praise profusely for good behavior!
 
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