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We’ve had our gsd puppy since he was 9 weeks old. He is now 5.5 months old and around 55lbs. He’s proved to be pretty fearless in many situations. He’s always been extremely friendly with people and other dogs. Is always thrilled to have attention from people and is super playful with other dogs but as of a couple of weeks ago he has become reactive on walks in our neighborhood. Anytime he sees people walking their dogs or coming out of their homes he stops in his tracks and begins to bark. It’s difficult to pull him away. He’s also begun barking when people ring the door bell or knock on our door but is extremely happy when visitors walk in. It’s strange because if we take him to the park or if we’re out at shopping centers/in parking lots he is not reactive at all and is very relaxed, it’s literally only in our neighborhood. It’s embarrassing and nerve wracking because we can’t control the environment and I feel like people assume that a barking dog is an aggressive dog and we don’t want problems when he reaches 80-90lbs in a few short months. A little background information I guess is that our neighborhood is very quiet and not many people are out all of the time (people are out walking way more now with the social distancing/stay at home). Is it because he gets spooked that we’re outside alone and then suddenly people/dogs pop out of nowhere? Is he not spooked at shopping centers because there’s plenty of people and cars all over? Could it be frustration that he can’t just go up to dogs and people and sniff them out when he’d like? We noticed that if he has the chance to sniff out things/dogs/people he’s very friendly right away. Any training tips? Thank you in advance.
 

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My boy went through this same thing. He could go to stores or busy places and be perfectly fine, but was extremely reactive to people in our neighborhood. I simply stopped walking him in the neighborhood for a couple weeks to give him a break, then resumed again and played Look At That constantly. The behavior has passed.

A lot of dogs go through a reactive phase or two as they mature, and as long as you handle it properly (like playing LAT) it’ll pass no problem. It absolutely could be that he’s frustrated he can’t say hi to everyone and everything if you’ve built that expectation in him. That’s one of the problems with people’s assumption of what “socialization” is. You should be able to read his body language to see if he’s frustrated or scared pretty easily.
 

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To build on that just a bit, it really doesn't matter where it's coming from, what matters most is how YOU react to it!

Don't be embarrassed, and don't get flustered! The more you can remain calm and matter of fact about things, the sooner your puppy will!

Just keep on walking!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
My boy went through this same thing. He could go to stores or busy places and be perfectly fine, but was extremely reactive to people in our neighborhood. I simply stopped walking him in the neighborhood for a couple weeks to give him a break, then resumed again and played Look At That constantly. The behavior has passed.

A lot of dogs go through a reactive phase or two as they mature, and as long as you handle it properly (like playing LAT) it’ll pass no problem. It absolutely could be that he’s frustrated he can’t say hi to everyone and everything if you’ve built that expectation in him. That’s one of the problems with people’s assumption of what “socialization” is. You should be able to read his body language to see if he’s frustrated or scared pretty easily.
This is really helpful. I’m gonna try this today. Thank you!
 

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To build on that just a bit, it really doesn't matter where it's coming from, what matters most is how YOU react to it!

Don't be embarrassed, and don't get flustered! The more you can remain calm and matter of fact about things, the sooner your puppy will!

Just keep on walking!
Thanks for the encouragement, I’ll start being more aware and controlling my own reaction to it. I hadn’t thought of it but I’m sure that my embarrassed and flustered energy also is contributing to the behavior.
 
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