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This is my first post to the forum, but I'm am excited I have a reason to be posting!

My Wife and I, and our two cats, adopted a 6 month old, male, GSD in March. He has been neutered about a month ago. His name is Chuck.

Chuck came from a husband/wife breader and while Chucks two sisters were adopted fairly quickly, Chuck spent 6 months with his parents and the breaders (not sure if relevant).

Initially, my wife was uncertain about getting a dog as she had never had one before. I have always wanted a GSD and was happy to have the opportunity to get one. Needless to say, we adopted him and he has taken to her extremely well, and that is the issue.I work nights and she typically works from home during the day and it seems that he acts completely different when I am not around.

When I see Chuck and approach him, or try to engage him in play, his ears are back and his tail is tucked under him. He won't play tug of war, or run around in the backyard with me.

If I am walking through the house he will try to avoid me or hide behind my wife. If I am sitting on the couch and he has to walk by me, he will speed up when passing me, all with his ears back and tail tucked. He won't eat his evening meal untill I leave for work.

My wife tells me he is completely opposite when I am asleep or at work.

He will play with her in the house and outside. She says his tail is wagging and ears are up and completely happy-go-lucky. He will play bark at her. As I mentioned, he will eat with her but not with me.

Is this something that he might grow out of? I obviously spend less time with him than she does, ie; she typically walks him, and can play with him, just due to the convenience of her schedule, so should I be putting in more effort to get him to bond with me?

It doesn't bother me that they have this relationship but I would like to be able to play with him instead of him feeling the need to hide or inhibit himself when I'm around.

Any help is greatly appreciated!!
 

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It sounds like your dog is a result of breeding and lack of socialization. Lack of socialization will not create a dog like this in a well bred sound dog. But a dog that genetically is disposed to unsureness, and weak nerves has it intensified by staying with breeder past eight to ten weeks. Your pup over time may grow to know and trust you to a much greater degree....but he will probably never be carefree around you like your wife.
 

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Don't give up! I don't have much experience, but my pup had some shyness around men initially, and at almost 6 months that is completely resolved. What worked for me was having a friend arm himself with high value treats, and ignore her until she had approached him, had a good sniff, and started trying to get his attention. Then he really calmly gave her some treats. We did this a couple times, then upped it to once she came to him, he'd play with her and lots of treats. That, and continued tons of socialization we were doing anyway, has worked.

I think if you dial back the interaction with your dog until he looks comfortable, (even if that means ignoring him at first, and dropping treats toward him) and then bit by bit up the level, but never go beyond what the dog looks like he's enjoying, he'll learn he can trust you. Start with having a really yummy treat ready as he scoots by you, and don't look at him or move it toward him - wait till he can't resist and comes to get it himself. Do this a couple times without upping the interaction until he comes by acting normally. When he acts comfortable with that, take the time to hand feed him several meals. Just don't push past the point he feels comfortable, even if it tries your patience, because it's important that he not fear you or men in general. Good luck and have fun!
 

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Sounds like my GSD with my current boyfriend who has no qualms or fears about any other people. They can't be in the same room together or Frag is all but peeing on himself and it has not gone away, they've been living together on and off for almost a year.
 

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I just got my puppy Jude a couple weeks ago and he had the same problem at first. When I brought him home he would follow me around and play but when I introduced him to my boyfriend (who works from 10pm to 6am) he ran away and hid. He did this for a few days until a friend suggested a similar solution to kjdreyer's. I bought meaty treats and hot dogs and cut them up into bite sized pieces, then I had all my guy friends offer Jude treats when they came into the house. Now every time he sees a guy he runs up to them because he thinks he's gonna get something tasty! Lol, sometimes he does. Keep working on it and remember he's still pretty young so you have time to shape him into a more confident GSD.
 

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Be calm around him and be patient. This is a new home and rescues often pick one person as their protector until they feel confident and that they can trust other family members.
Identify a treat he REALLY likes and carry it in your hand when you are around him. Don't give it to him unless he asks for it. Take him on lots of walks. Don't be overly friendly or move too quickly around him. He has to learn to trust you.
Dogs especially like a routine. If you can do certain things on a schedule every day he will become more comfortable and relaxed.
 

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this is too dynamic for this dog "When I see Chuck and approach him, or try to engage him in play, his ears are back and his tail is tucked under him. He won't play tug of war, or run around in the backyard with me."

Scale back . Don't focus on him , stare at , try to play with an inhibited dog , not play tug which puts him in opposition to you and not play chase which is too active , too dynamic , where he is either chased , (victim) , or chaser (doesn't have the confidence) so can't possibly be comfortable so he shuts down with stress and confusion.

When you can't come in the front door sometimes you have to come in the side door.
If the dog is so good with your wife , then you go for that walk with your wife and the dog . The dog on left , wife in the middle . Saying this so that you get the idea that the dog is not the middle . If the dog wows out on the leash feeling your presence , your wife should pay no attention to the dog. Not reassure or baby talk -- keep on walking . Be normal . The dog will associate your presence with a pleasant walk with his favourite family member, your wife.
After doing this for a few days and seeing , feeling the dog relax then you can quietly change places while in motion. Wife hands you the leash and quietly slips back and then trades position with you. The dog will sense the change and look at you , you smile , and keep on walking.
You can do things like go for that walk and every once in a while you leave your position beside your wife and walk an orbit around the dog and wife - in motion -(as if the dog can't walk and think at the same time) and return to where you were . Surprise elements.
 

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so should I be putting in more effort to get him to bond with me?
yes you should walk your dog more and spend more time with it. The dog needs to get over it's issues and needs you to train it up and give it confidence. You first have to gain it's trust and work with it from there.
 

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Thank you for all the great feedback, everyone. This is our first dog so every bit of information and best practices are helpful.
 

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yes you should walk your dog more and spend more time with it. The dog needs to get over it's issues and needs you to train it up and give it confidence. You first have to gain it's trust and work with it from there.
One thing about getting an older dog is you don't know what happened earlier. And for some of our softer dogs, all they need when young is to have a BIG MAN yell at them for having an accident in the house.......... and in the future all BIG MEN are to be avoided.

I'd make an effort to keep my voice soft and higher pitched if you can. Try not to do any more yelling (I'm talking even shouting at the tv during a game kind of thing) for awhile cause that loud yelling will confirm SCARY!!!!!!

You should be feeding him. NO FREE FEEDING. Mealtimes should be a highlight of the day, try to add something yummy if you only feed kibble (and egg? cheese? small leftovers?). You may need to be quiet during mealtimes initially so he can focus on the joy of eating and smell, but YOUR smell will start being part of the joy.

You should be walking him too. Take him for car rides and hikes in the woods. Tell him he's wonderful and brilliant in a happy higher pitched voice.

If you could bother to teach clicker training I think you'd be amazed how this progresses. You can sit on the floor with the clicker and treats and since all the earlier training doesn't really want you talking it's ideal for a dog that is probably NOT into mens voices right now.

--- > http://www.germanshepherds.com/foru...0-intro-clicker-training-perfect-puppies.html

Time and patience is key. Getting frustrated (normal reaction) will only make things worse. So make sure you have TIME when you are thinking about dealing with him. And come up with a plan.

Great news that he's more normal with your wife because you should be able to turn him around IF you start on this now.
 
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