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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,

I need some help figuring out whats happening with our puppy. I read the symptoms of separation anxiety here, but this doesnt seem to be it. And if it is separation anxiety then I would like to be able to help him with it right now.

Separation Anxiety : The Humane Society of the United States

I will explain whats happening with him:

He is 4 months old.

He doesn't follow us room to room. I do leave him in his play pen to go do groceries, pick up the kids, etc. This is a playpen that he can easily push aside and come out, but he doesn't. When we are around, he will either play with us or if we are ignoring him he will chew/chase/ ask to be taken out(sit at door and look at me) or take a nap.

The issue only comes up when we are all in the picture.

Like When we all go for a walk together. He walks okay if only one of us is walking him. But when we walk with the kids as well, he pulls ahead, and because I hold him back and make him sit, the moment I move he pulls heavily just to get ahead, panting hard. If the kids separate and go off to a playground, he will whimper, not walk and keep pulling back towards them.


When we are all exiting the house, (even though he usually waits at doors till we say 'come') he will sit but immediately start panting and pulling to get through the door. When I make him sit and stay while the kids and my husband exit, he starts panting and licking his lips, and is obviously distressed. I wait till he calms down and try to exit and its back to panting and pulling.

If my husband takes the 3 kids out, he will try to follow, then whimper for a bit then go back and lie down in his crate.

What should I do? If this is indeed separation anxiety, I would like to nip it in the bud.

A trainer pointed out that this might be separation anxiety plus a bit of domination issue because when she walked ahead of us with him, he was okay for a while till he realised we weren't following, then he turned and came back. But later at home, she had us all go to another room for a couple of minutes while she stayed with him holding his leash and he was quiet. No stress. He probably knew we were around, but still.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Right now I am thinking we should probably practise exiting the house several times a day till he learns to follows us calmly . Is this a good idea?
 

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He does not have separation anxiety....just normal puppy behavior!..sometimes our expectations of what we want from a puppy are not in line with what is natural for a puppy....smile!
 

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It sounds to me like he is just really excited to be going for a walk, sounds like a normal puppy thing. Overly excited is what it sounds like to me, and just wanting to be with his humans.
 

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Sounds to me like he is doing pretty good for 4 months. I would continue to do what you are doing and make him wait, etc. Don't stress about it, just realize he is a pup and not going to do everything right immediately. Practicing when you can is a good idea.
 

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I went through the same thing ...at 5 months it's much better. I think at the 4 months we had just brought her home recently and she was learning the behavior / routine of her new pack and family. Now that's she's settled in ..she still counts heads at night time to make sure we are all here and accounted for but the "herding" issue of the family has kind of eased up.
 

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Sounds like he's pretty attached to his pack and likes the pack to be together :) My previous GSD would stop in the middle of the sidewalk/trail/street if my husband was too far back and she couldn't see him. She wouldn't budge until he was accounted for. Your puppy pulling and panting sounds like normal stuff, just work on loose leash walking, it will take a while.
 

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My 5 month old did the same thing. If he was off leash hed wait for the last one (usually me) to catch up then he'd move on. He definitely does not have separation anxiety as he can be alone for hours in another room and when we leave (even though my maltipoo rescue has always had separation anxiety and cries at the door when I leave for at least 10 mins), My gsd pup doesnt care he will happily find a toy and a spot to lie down or play by himself til we come home. We dont even have to have him in a crate when we leave because he doesnt chew anything anymore.
Now thats hes a little older he will go ahead with the kids if they call him and go play but hes constantly still trying to herd us all together if were out of the house. hes getting better at it though, so I agree with others that he just needs more time.
 

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Remember this is a herding breed that likes to keep his flock together:)
This.

It's normal. You should work on it but it is normal. I'd also be very very careful about taking advice from any dog trainer that claimed a 4 month old puppy was having domination issues. They just aren't to that pack ladder climbing stage yet.

Your puppy could be following you in the walk 100% of the time and if someone with you separated from the group that was apart of the family unit the puppy would still react the same way.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I think you are right in that it is not separation anxiety or dominance issue. He is fine alone at home for several hours as we recently found out. He just seems to want to keep everyone together, and especially on leash it turns into bad behaviour. When we let him off leash on a recent walk, he did very well running ahead and back, making sure the last of us caught up.

The funny thing is yesterday my youngest had her weekly violin lesson. Our puppy loves the teacher. My youngest was walking around room to room searching for a misplaced music sheet while the teacher was waiting, and Frodo was definitely trying to herd her to her lesson. Or so it seems to me. Because he kept running after her and nudging her. When she finally went to her teacher, he sat watching them for a couple of minutes. and then went to lie down in his playpen.

If he keeps going this way perhaps I can retire from my motherly duties pretty soon.
 
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