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My pup is 17 weeks old now and I’ve had him for 4 weeks. He’s very calm and follows me everywhere. He will play with toys. He’s perfect in every way but he will not let me touch him. He was not socialized at all by the breeder.

Should I continue to wait for him to approach me? I understand he will lick me or put his head on my lap when he trusts me. How long could this take and should I do anything to accelerate this process? He needs a vet visit but he has not had a collar or leash on him to date.
 

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If you are new to GSDs, normal behavior is that they want to be touched all the time and will find some way to touch you even when you are sitting down ignoring them. A GSD head on your foot while you surf the web is entirely normal. I don't think I have ever seen one that really didn't want to be touched by its own family. Also standard behavior is wanting to walk between your legs repeatedly -- a full body hug from their point of view.

It could be the same thing my male showed. I got last pick of the litter and he (the largest) was the last because he was shy when approached by strangers. People picking out puppies usually go for the eager ones first. He was shy and hesitant with me for a while when I got him home. Now, of course, it is quite different. I have to move his 100+ pound body out of my lap in order to write this.

It took a few weeks for my male to get over it. I don't remember how long but it could have been a month or a little more. There are times when the dog must be touched, so you have to get them used to that as quickly as possible. My approach is to just act like I normally would with a dog. There are times that I have to wash him or groom him, so I did that as I normally would, and still do today. If he protests, I simply talk to him and tell him that it isn't that bad, like you would do with a kid. It didn't take long before he understood that me touching him was never going to be unpleasant.

I would probably also do something like sit quietly on the couch watching TV and occasionally randomly offer him a treat, if he wants to come get it. First, he has to come to my side. Then, he has to touch me, put his paw on my leg or something. And finally, he has to crawl into my lap (even at 100+ pounds) to get it. He will get the idea. Mine is still quite shy with strangers, but a typical GSD to the family.

As always, be careful what you want, because you may actually get it. Now let me push this beast out of my lap so I can post this message.
 

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Some dogs like to be touched and others don't. My last female was selective. she liked to lay tight to my legs on the ottoman but not on me. when she wanted attention she would bark at me. My male, even though he seeks attention more would be on the floor somewhere near me until the new puppy came and then he wants to lay on me for a few minutes before going off to lay on the floor. My 10 month old? She's a tornado but again when she's done will go find her place that she wants to be on the floor somewhere. I don't find any of them "cuddly" except for first thing in the morning when they want attention. After that they want to be near me but not on me.

But they all LET me touch them. What have you done to build engagement with him? Any games like tug? Do you work on just general handling with him and treating me?
 

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None of my dogs are overly affectionate. They like to be near me but not on me. I think that is fairly typical of the breed.

What have you been doing to form a bond that you both enjoy?
 

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Think about getting down physically. Sit on the floor. When outside, lie on the grass (and roll around and be silly). Humans on the floor or ground seem to be very interesting to dogs. I guess the two leg bit is boring?
 

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Sometimes playing with them puts a lot of focus on your hands, so there's a period where maybe they aren't real sure about your intentions. Maybe a little expectation in them of some play, so its confusing when you reach out. Try to keep play focused on a toy and step by step practice just touching him calmly and briefly. No petting or grabbing at first, just a calm hand.
 

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None of my dogs are overly affectionate. They like to be near me but not on me. I think that is fairly typical of the breed.

What have you been doing to form a bond that you both enjoy?
Please tell that to my 100+ pound boy, and his 90 pound sister, who are both trying to sit in my lap as I type. I have had several. They were all the same. I had one that I had to tie up to take pictures of him because he wouldn't get far enough away for me to focus the camera.


I agree that they are aloof with strangers. I disagree about their relationships with their families.
 

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Think about getting down physically. Sit on the floor. When outside, lie on the grass (and roll around and be silly). Humans on the floor or ground seem to be very interesting to dogs. I guess the two leg bit is boring?
I always recommend getting on the floor with a dog. It conveys the idea that you are willing to play on their level. I have two GSDs in the 100 pound range and a 12-pound terrier. The dogs have the most fun when the terrier pins the big ones to the ground. That's because the big ones are signalling to the little one that they want to play bad enough that they will be careful not to hurt her, and won't overpower her as they could do without even trying. They signal that they are actively trying to have fun with the little one.

Also, it provides a lot of full body contact, which is good for relationship building.

Not to mention that is fun to be on the bottom of a puppy pile.
 

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Please tell that to my 100+ pound boy, and his 90 pound sister, who are both trying to sit in my lap as I type. I have had several. They were all the same. I had one that I had to tie up to take pictures of him because he wouldn't get far enough away for me to focus the camera.


I agree that they are aloof with strangers. I disagree about their relationships with their families.
I never said that they don't want to be near you. If you reread my post, I clearly said that they want to be near me but not on me. They don't make pests of themselves.
 

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I never said that they don't want to be near you. If you reread my post, I clearly said that they want to be near me but not on me. They don't make pests of themselves.
Mine have all wanted to be in physical contact pretty much 24/7/365. Like the big one I pushed off of my lap who now has his head on my foot. That's after I pushed his head out of my lap. If I sit on the floor, or lay on my bed, they will both immediately come and get as much full body contact as they can manage. That's not to mention the fact that they are constantly walking between my legs.

Maybe it has something to do with your use of the word "pests". I would call it "amusing" when 200 pounds of dog wants to sit in my lap. I view it as "affection" not "pests". Dogs pick up on things like that.
 

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None of my dogs are overly affectionate. They like to be near me but not on me. I think that is fairly typical of the breed.

What have you been doing to form a bond that you both enjoy?
This is my experience as well. The only time any of them really climb on me is in the morning. They'll come over periodically if I'm sitting for attention but always lay on the floor near me. All the shepherds I know, mine and my friends, are like this. Seems pretty typical.

I'm more concerned of the statement that the dog "won't let me" touch him. That is not typical. I hope the OP better explains is it that he "won't" be touched or he's not craving contact and attention like a Doberman would. Now THAT is a velcro breed.
 

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This is my experience as well. The only time any of them really climb on me is in the morning. They'll come over periodically if I'm sitting for attention but always lay on the floor near me. All the shepherds I know, mine and my friends, are like this. Seems pretty typical.

I'm more concerned of the statement that the dog "won't let me" touch him. That is not typical. I hope the OP better explains is it that he "won't" be touched or he's not craving contact and attention like a Doberman would. Now THAT is a velcro breed.
There have been several threads here where people posted pictures of their dogs laying on their feet while they played on the computer. It is a common joke, velcro on the foot, so to speak.

I don't know where people get any dog that doesn't crave to be touched. They are the exception with almost any breed, in my experience. Most of them have some velcro in them. But maybe that's just me.
 

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There have been several threads here where people posted pictures of their dogs laying on their feet while they played on the computer. It is a common joke, velcro on the foot, so to speak.

I don't know where people get any dog that doesn't crave to be touched. They are the exception with almost any breed, in my experience. Most of them have some velcro in them. But maybe that's just me.
Dude...I'm not engaging. This thread is not about you or your dogs. You aren't the only one on this board to own this breed and others can share their experiences without you hijacking the thread to continuously argue your experience and opinion.
 

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Dude...I'm not engaging. This thread is not about you or your dogs. You aren't the only one on this board to own this breed and others can share their experiences without you hijacking the thread to continuously argue your experience and opinion.
Back at ya. Here's a clue. If two groups of people report wildly different experiences with the same breed, it's probably the person.
 

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My pup is 17 was old now and I’ve had him for 4 weeks. He’s very calm and follows me everywhere. He will play with toys. He’s perfect in every way but he will not let me touch him. He was not socialized at all by the breeder.

Should I continue to wait for him to approach me? I understand he will lick me or put his head on my lap when he trusts me. How long could this take and should I do anything to accelerate this process? He needs a vet visit but he has not had a collar or leash on him to date.

Back on topic....

He was 12 weeks old when you got him? I originally read that as 17 months old? But he's 17 weeks?

What does "not socialized at the breeders" mean? What did the breeder not do that you think they should have done?

What do you mean he won't let you touch him? At all? He's not pushing you for attention? You say he follows you everywhere, which is engaging with you so he's not avoiding you.

Is he struggling when you try to hold him? Perfectly normal reaction. They want DOWN. Is he trying to bite you when you try to touch him? Again, perfectly normal. How are you playing with him?

After reading your post again, I'm not really sure what you are expecting from a puppy in terms of being touched and held.

And get that collar and leash on him. He needs to get used to that.
 

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Back at ya. Here's a clue. If two groups of people report wildly different experiences with the same breed, it's probably the person.

What you have described is more of the lab/golden behavior or personality. I despise a dog that is all over me. Needy, nagie, attention craving. Not for me! I like the aloofness of the breed. To me, velcro dog is more of where I go he goes...but never literally stuck to me. If a dog is that sticky, it is a bad thing for me. Don't forget, the breed was used for herding, they needed to be able to work on their own, not stuck to their masters butt.

My boy Remi did not like to be held at all. Did not want to be fondled or smothered at all. He would be laying down, I would go lay next to him and he would move. This was as a tiny pup. Very "independent", maybe that's not the best way to describe him. They say not to let the dog go up and down steep stairs as a puppy. Well, at 3 months, he refused to be picked up and carried downstairs. He started to get really annoyed...so we stopped. Even now, he comes over, gets some attention and leaves.

To the OP, if your dog really won't let you touch him, you need to build trust and engagement. Do force it, some dogs just aren't cuddly. You should be able to pet the dog, brush him, etc. If you are unable to do those basic things, you will need to follow the good advice that you are getting.
 

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This is my experience as well. The only time any of them really climb on me is in the morning. They'll come over periodically if I'm sitting for attention but always lay on the floor near me. All the shepherds I know, mine and my friends, are like this. Seems pretty typical.

I'm more concerned of the statement that the dog "won't let me" touch him. That is not typical. I hope the OP better explains is it that he "won't" be touched or he's not craving contact and attention like a Doberman would. Now THAT is a velcro breed.
I agree. Clarity would help. I have a female here that adores me. She loves when I pet her but don't try to hug her as she will buck like a wild bronco. She is not a "huggy" kind of gal. I wonder if that is more what the OP is talking about.
 

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Back at ya. Here's a clue. If two groups of people report wildly different experiences with the same breed, it's probably the person.
I've had what I would say are wildly different experiences with the 3 German Shepherds I've owned, but others may not view them as all that different. I think its mainly how the op chose to describe what they're asking about, so like Jax and Mawl mentioned, some context is important. Not to sidetrack this, but I thought you had mastiffs? Or did I mistake something you posted?
 

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..... Very "independent",...., he refused to be picked up and carried downstairs. He started to get really annoyed...so we stopped. Even now, he comes over, gets some attention and leaves.
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SO much depends on the breeding and genetics. Exactly my young girl. She had other things to do. Did not want to be restrained. As she's matured, I can flip her on her back and clip her nails while she lays there like a noodle until I tell her I'm done. At 12-17 weeks? She was busy chasing the cat and imaginary butterflies and unicorns and she has a high amount of suspicion due to her genetics. She had to mature and learn to trust. BUT she never avoided us touching her. She was just busy and would settle on the ottoman at night while we watched TV. Now at 10 months she comes out for attention but then will go lay in the other room or kitchen instead of with us. My male is usually on the floor in front of the ottaman. I wonder if working lines are more prone to this behavior than other lines and breeding? Just more independent.
 
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