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Hi everyone! My husband and I have a GSD, Riley, he's now a little over 2 years old. Riley has this thing that he does now where if we come home (generally me) he will be very happy to us/me (if it's just me or the whole family or husband, etc.). He'll wag his tail come up to you be super excited. Then all of the sudden will sit or lay down and lick at his penis. A few days ago it has extended to if I'm walking by where he's sleeping at or is up, he'll wag his tail and be friendly. I'll say, "Whose a good boy" or "Hi, good boy" type of thing and lean down to pet him. He wags his tail but then sometimes will lift his leg and go to lick. Yesterday he started a new thing where it looked like he pulled his tail into him. This morning, for the first time ever, he pulled his tail in between his legs! I'm super super concerned about this. I feel like he's afraid of me and I have some ideas but don't know if that's it or otherwise what else could be causing it? I have some ideas, maybe, but I don't understand how it could cause him to feel this way. :( I'm hoping by sharing this and saying what's been different recently that maybe someone can help me/us understand what could be going on? And suggestions on what I/we can do to help him out?

(1st idea) We had a baby at the end of February. The type of greeting (happy but then licking at penis) started not long after bringing baby home. Maybe a week or two. I was on bedrest since about August through beginning of February. Strict bed rest.

(2nd idea) We have a 5 year old daughter (turning 6) in May as well. We've been having some issues with other kids at her school and through that some behavior that we've been trying to nip in the butt since it starting. (Same time frame) Such as lying, listening, doing things you know you're not supposed to but do anyways. My patience, I'll admit, has been some shorter than usual. A little back story there is that for almost the entire pregnancy was on strict bed rest. Was not able to even vacuum the floor, do the dishes, cook, etc. I'm wondering if his behavior is in part because I've been more vocal (raised voice more or at times I yell but it's been just a hand full of times)? I am a very quiet person generally. I am told quite often to speak louder as people can't hear me.

(3rd Idea) We've been working on leash training, not jumping up when greeting, more on manners. He seems to have become lax on some of those. He's gotten much better on leash, doesn't pull hardly ever, walks on it loose. Listens when we say sit (which has been pretty good at since a pup). If off leash he now comes when you call and will come up to you and then you're able to leash him again. More training with door so when we go to go on a walk he sits and doesn't try to go out the door when he knows we are going on a walk. It's only at those times when he does that, any other time he is NOT a door bolter. For the walks he just goes out the door and stands in front of it waiting for you. He's not a runner (like door bolt and runs type thing). I've been working with him on when we come home or someone comes over, don't jump up on them. You can stay all four paws on the ground or sit and we all greet but no jumping. Another thing is for dinner he used (still tries) to come up to husband and nosey his way up to him. He'll beg for food. I've told him no and tell him to go lay down in which case he does. Is it because I'm trying to do these things, he doesn't like it?

(4th IDdea) I had him get a toy to play with yesterday. He brought me a rope. I was walking out of the room not long after throwing it. He was running back as I was walking through the door and he wasn't watching where he was walking. You know when they're doing the side to side movements with their head, playing with their toy. I moved to the side to let him through. He ran past me but then turned around to go the same way as me and in doing so ran into my hand that was at my side. It was pretty hard. It startled him and me. I didn't hit him, obviously, but the look on his face was like, "0.0". I immediately was like, "Are you okay" type thing. Was worried he might've not understood it and thought I hit him on his nose :(

(5th Idea) I'm generally a really quiet person. I'm often told to speak up because people can't hear me. I don't yell, rarely ever raise my voice. BUT with all the things going on with our daughter my patience has been super trying and so I've been raising my voice more, I haven't HAD to at times but I have yelled. I admit that. It has been more than usual. It's something I'm very aware of and am working on vigilantly. I think it's gotten better since trying to work on it daily - literally. Which is why in part I'm confused if it's because of raised voice/yelling as it hasn't gotten worse, it's been better - but yet it seems like Riley is more uncomfortable? :(

These are all the things I can think of :/ I am super concerned. I've heard that body positioning means he's afraid or unsure. That makes me feel so sad as I have nothing but love for him. I don't want him to feel that way. I feel bad/sad as I feel like it's in response to something I'm doing. I wonder if it's a combination maybe of the things above. As I'm writing and thinking about it, the out of character raising voice/yelling more than likely is not helping things. Could the training be making it worse? I'm coming off too strong? It's so hard to write this :( Thank you guys
for taking the time to read this and for your responses!


ETA: Since late morning/early afternoon (a few hours after when I went into the bedroom and I saw him tuck his tail completely for the first time) he's been his friendly happy self. No tail tucking or licking at his genitals. Brought me his toys to play, has been doing the happy puppy running around. Came over to me, gave me lots of kisses, and is a leaner. Likes to be petted. It's weird because this is the Riley I know, super happy. Smiling all the time. But like I've said, out of the blue will do the tail thing and/or genital licking. So far none since early morning today, but still.
 

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It could be a combination of things, new baby, your lengthy bed rest and I'm sure the yelling can't be good. I would sqash the yelling completely and then work to improve your pups confidence. Make some time and play some games with him, tug is nice and letting him "win" might help, regular training is a good idea too.

Also, if you're focusing on him more with the "noticed" changes, it could be a contributing factor.
 

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Ignore all the weird behaviors. The minute you watch him or give him any attention, you have rewarded the behavior and reinforced it, so it will continue. My dog humps our other dog. I very quietly ignore and leave the room, or pick up a book and start reading it, anything but look at him, talk or react. She usually flips him over and off of her right away so he stops, but I knew the first time he did it, if I reacted at all, it wouldn't stop. Your dog needs a lot of obedience and reinforcement for calming behaviors and self control. The more you can redirect to good behaviors, the less you will see of the others.
 

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Not being there to actually see what he's reacting to,this is just a guess.From what you describe,Riley sounds confused.Not sure how he fits in and what you want him to do.With all that's going on with your family maybe you aren't being clear to him when he's doing right and when he's doing the wrong thing.He can't quite figure it out and he gets anxious.
Try to use the same word every time for a specific command,same tone of voice.Show him exactly what you want,then reward.
Sounds like you've got a lot going on since the new baby arrived,definitely not easy:)
 
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