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Hi all,

I just got my new 9 wk old male GSD three days ago and wanted to start desensitizing him to new and different sites and sounds since he came from a quieter farm/type area. He seems really good so far read in unbothered with the usual outdoor noises such as cars, trains, lawn mowers (obviously most of these noises just naturally happened while he was outside).

I decided to bring him along to petsmart when I had to buy a few things for him because I didn't want to leave him home alone. He did well at first. He encountered another puppy pretty quickly when we arrived and sniffed, seemed friendly, etc., but about 15 minutes later as I was looking at the dog food he started barking at an adult small dog. After that, he kept barking and growling at dogs (and occasionally people) until I brought him home.

My instinct is that he was just overwhelmed by a new setting, other animals and people but in the back of my mind I'm a little worried he isn't dog friendly. I wanted to see if others had recommendations for ways to ease him through these types of situations. Have you had similar experience? What do you recommend?

Thanks ahead!
 

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Be careful taking him to public spaces til he has all his puppy shots.

Yeah he was probably overwhelmed by all the new sights and smells and strange dogs.

BTW, we all love puppy pictures if you have any.

Welcome to the forum!!!
 

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Yes, it was! The first interaction was with the puppy about 5 minutes into the outing which I thought went well (I kept it short like 20 seconds). The second encounter was the adult puppy that didn't go as well, haha. I didnt approach the dog. He saw the dog first and started growling/barking so I let him stay where he was (about 10-15 ft away) for maybe 30 seconds until I moved along.
 

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Be careful taking him to public spaces til he has all his puppy shots.

Yeah he was probably overwhelmed by all the new sights and smells and strange dogs.

BTW, we all love puppy pictures if you have any.

Welcome to the forum!!!
Thanks!! :) Any recommendations how to ease him into busier situations? Puppy pic coming your way!
 

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Yes, it was! The first interaction was with the puppy about 5 minutes into the outing which I thought went well (I kept it short like 20 seconds). The second encounter was the adult puppy that didn't go as well, haha. I didnt approach the dog. He saw the dog first and started growling/barking so I let him stay where he was (about 10-15 ft away) for maybe 30 seconds until I moved along.
Gotcha. My personal opinion is that this a new environment to him in many ways and he's probably overwhelmed. All dogs react differently when overwhelmed (my puppy Lilah gets more nervous and hides behind me in those situations, sometimes nervous pees), but I wouldn't let it worry you that he will always react that way. My advice for meeting new dogs would be to set up play dates with puppies or friendly, tolerant older dogs that you know for a fact are vaccinated and will very receptive to a puppy. It's hard to balance the vaccinations and socialization dance, but that's what worked best for us. Lilah has become much more confident now that she has a few go-to friends she meets up with, but it wasn't always that way. Your pup is also very young and new to you, so the more you spend time with him and begin to create a bond, he will start to trust that he's safe in an environment with you. Another method that some people use is positive reinforcement when a puppy is in an environment they maybe don't prefer (ex: Lilah is very scared of the garbage truck and all the noises it makes. I could sit with her outside while it passes and feed her treats and give her positive feedback from a distance so she knows what's going on is okay). It's a gradual process and you shouldn't force your dog in an environment they are really uncomfortable in, but introducing new, scary things from a distance and keeping the atmosphere positive could be a good place to start.

Hope all of that is helpful :)
 

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5 minutes of exposure a few times a day is plenty for this age. The other dog he barked at could have given off signs thta your puppy understood while you may not have seen or recognized it. There is a lot of communication going on with eyes, ears and facial muscles. Or if the other dog is weird looking, like Pug or Eng Sheepdog, to a GSD pup who has only seen GSDs. Enjoy his puppy hood and take it easy. Don't force him if he is uncomfortable but keep enough distance where he is comfortable, yet being able to experience the novel things in life. Give him a treat once in a while during these sessions.
 

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Thanks all! I appreciate the feedback! Although I grew up around big dogs (my family has always had Rottweilers) this is my first time owning my own dog to raise and train on my own and my first time with a GSD so I want to do it right!
 

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559591


Meet Oso! Don't let this photo fool you! He's a big boy already- 21lb at 9wks. His dad was quite large (mom slightly on the smaller side I'd say). I would post more pics but it just took me 15 minutes to figure out how to post this one! :p
 

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something I've done w/ both my rescue GSds. Go to a store like Walmart where' there's a bench to sit and watch the
people go by. Just sit quietly w/ you pup and let him observe things. 5 or 10 min. is plenty. They learn a lot by observing.
Some people will stop and chat, some will want to pet him, others just walk by. They also see all kinds of cars, motorcycles, trucks, store carts, etc. Quiet learning about their new world.
 

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something I've done w/ both my rescue GSds. Go to a store like Walmart where' there's a bench to sit and watch the
people go by. Just sit quietly w/ you pup and let him observe things. 5 or 10 min. is plenty. They learn a lot by observing.
Some people will stop and chat, some will want to pet him, others just walk by. They also see all kinds of cars, motorcycles, trucks, store carts, etc. Quiet learning about their new world.
I like this idea... I’m definitely going to do this! Thanks!
 
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