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Ranger "17 weeks old" has shown some strange behavior lately...or maybe not so strange. I am hoping all the knowledge here will enlighten me.

(a little background)
Ranger goes everywhere with me. I got him @ 8 weeks, and he has only been left unattending once, for 2 hours when i went to a movie. I usually take him with me when i run around town "I leave him in the back seat of the truck most of the time unless I plan to be away more than an hour or so" I have the priviledge of taking him to work with me and he is exposed to many people, other animals, and all kinds of crazy sounds on a daily basis. He is currently in obedience school and doing very well except for walking on a leash. That part is frustrating me to no end. "What are your thoughts on a pinch collar?" anyway............

As of late, Ranger is quite leary of strangers on his stomping grounds. He is barking, growling and even showing teeth on occassion. He does all of this as he is backpedaling away from said strangers. He doesnt show this behavior outside of our home and our office. In public, he is very shy towards people. It doesnt take him long to warm up to them and start playing. On rare occassions, I have to sit near the person and call him over to me to show him evertything is OK. Only once has he refused to interact with a person. This behavior is only towards people. He loves any animal he comes across "especially our male cat and my dads 2 yr old beagle.

Ideas, Questions, Criticism?????
 

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He's a german shepherd. They are not fond of strangers on their territory. It's just the way it is. He's protecting his place and people.
He's telling them 'hey..I don't know you, I don't think you should be here...back off!'
So, yeah...pretty normal behavior.


As for the prong collar....I say do it. BUT...read about how to properly use it FIRST. It's a tool that can be very useful, especially if he fancies walking YOu instead of the other way around lol. Just make sure you know how to go about using it effectively before giving it a go.
 

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Looks like you're going to have to amp up the socialization for a while, because he's still afraid/unsure of strangers. Take lots of good treats, like chicken or cheese, and have everyone feed him when you're out. Same with people coming onto your property.

Don't worry, it won't make him any less of a protector if you do this.
 

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I wouldn't put a prong collar on a 17 week old puppy! The prong collar does NOT teach a dog how to walk nicely on a leash! That is your job! If you're not learning how to teach that in your obedience class then pick up a book that will help you.

I recommend Pat Miller's "The Power of Positive Dog Training" as a basic book on how to train.

I highly recommend Suzanne Clothier's "Bones Would Rain From the Sky." This book will help you better understand your dog, build a better relationship with her/him and more effectively train your dog (and yourself!).

As for the protective behavior, I don't buy the "that's a german shepherd" thing, especially if your dog is barking and backing up and a bit shy with strangers. I agree that more positive socialization is needed.
 

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Originally Posted By: BowWowMeowI wouldn't put a prong collar on a 17 week old puppy! The prong collar does NOT teach a dog how to walk nicely on a leash! That is your job! If you're not learning how to teach that in your obedience class then pick up a book that will help you.

I recommend Pat Miller's "The Power of Positive Dog Training" as a basic book on how to train.

I highly recommend Suzanne Clothier's "Bones Would Rain From the Sky." This book will help you better understand your dog, build a better relationship with her/him and more effectively train your dog (and yourself!).

As for the protective behavior, I don't buy the "that's a german shepherd" thing, especially if your dog is barking and backing up and a bit shy with strangers. I agree that more positive socialization is needed.
In my retardedness I neglected note age. Nice catch!

I think I shall refrain from replying until I've had my coffee
 

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i think it may be a little early to try a pinch collar, are you putting the collar right up under his chin? Their throat is more sensitive there, rather than having a flat collar low on their neck which actually encourages them to pull. Im not sure what the item is called but their is a collar out there that helps keep a choke chain, or flat collar up under their neck. it looks like 2 flat nylon collars attached by two nylon pieces vertically.


If he's barking and backpedeling, thats a sign of fearfulness, hes unsure of the people in his house, and even though you're doing a GREAT job exposing him to the outside world, be sure to remember to invite people to your house as well, so he can experience meeting strangers on his turf. When you have guests at your house tell them to walk in, and walk right past ranger. Tell them not to look at him or touch him, just to walk in and sit down. Your guests are there to see YOU, not ranger, so having them ignore him will show him their is nothing to be scared of, and that they are no threat. Ranger will approach them once hes comfortable enough, (you'll see him kinda creep up and sniff the person) and when he does approach your guest, have them give him a small treat and slowly pet him on his side, or scritch his butt, NEVER reaching over their head to pet them, that can cause him to be afraid. It sounds like a lot of work, but really its not. He will get more and more comfortable as more guests come over time.

Remember, even as a pup, GSD's arent particularly friendly to everyone they meet. So he doesnt have to approach and be friendly to everyone. He should listen to you and at least tolerate strangers in a polite manner.
 

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Too early for pinch. Keep going to training classes with your pup. One will likely not be enough, just keep going to more.

I agree with ramping up the socialization. Quadruple it. Don't just leave him the car, take him out and let him experience people. Ask the stores if you can bring him in a cart (some Home Depots and Lowe's allow this). He needs to experience and be around more people. Not necessarily play with strangers and be petted by them, but be around them, yes!! It's worrisome to see this behavior now, I'd wonder about his genetics, but it's definitely not too late to set things right.

No, GSDs shouldn't be everyone's buddy BUT they should not barking and growling and baring teeth while trying to run away. It sounds like a sign of weak nerves and fearful behavior. You need to socialize this pup like CRAZY!
 

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Originally Posted By: ReichsmomHe's a german shepherd. They are not fond of strangers on their territory. It's just the way it is. He's protecting his place and people.
He's telling them 'hey..I don't know you, I don't think you should be here...back off!'
So, yeah...pretty normal behavior.
No, it's not normal GSD behavior. Especially for a puppy.

He's not "protecting his place and people". He's afraid. Barking, hackles, growling are all defensive posturing intended to try to put on a big show to scare a perceived threat away. His backpeddling while doing it is further proof that he's very scared.

Ramp up the socialization and really work on making people good things. Having them offer him treats is a good way to start. Also having them crouch down so they aren't as imposing or bending over him (an intimidating body language to a dog). Don't overdo it, and don't let people walk up to him. Let him be the one to initiate contact on his own terms when he's comfortable. Ignore fearful behavior on his part (don't coddle him.. he will see it as reward for his fearful behavior) and encourage and praise confident behavior, even if he just takes a tiny step toward the stranger.

And no, no prong collar on a 17 week old pup. Especially one with fear issues. It will just reinforce his fear by proving that indeed there was something to worry about if he gets a correction with one while he's scared.
 

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First puppies go through different stages while they are growing up, there are fear stages. You have to continue to work through these stages, a prong collars isn't going to help, time and continuing to get the pup out is the key to having a well solcialized pup. While everything you are doing is great, you might want to find some time for you and your pup to attend some classes.
 

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What age is ok to start with the prong?

I think he is going through the second fear stage that puppies go through as they develope.
 

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i've never used a prong. my dogs never needed one. you know, socializing and training from a young age. i start training as soon as the puppy comes home. i bring them in house and let them hang out for 15 minutes, maybe 10 minutes and then right outside to that special spot. the pup we have now was never on paper. we took him outside every 1/2 hour, then every 45 minutes, then every hour and so on. we did this right through the night. he was house trained within a week and a half. house training i think is first step to training and it's all up hill from there. the prong, i'm not a fan.
 

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Yup. I wonder also about his breeding as mentioned above. Lots of squirrelly BYB dogs out there. I think getting one bred for temperment is critical, but also one that was socialized well by the breeder as well. But I'm very glad you're addressing this now before it gets worse.
 

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I spend countless hours with Ranger, both training at home, and going to obedience classes. He is phenominal in almost all other areas. He was house broken in 2 days...minus an accident or 2 (used same method as doggiedad + crate). He knows, and reacts immediately to several commands (basic stuff so far). He has been a joy to work with, accept for the leash training. He actually does 100% better when is is not leashed at all. The other day, i got a couple of training aids for this. A gentle leader that has a strap that goes over the muzzle and another that looks very similar to a shoulder harness. The muzzle leader did not work well. He concentrated on getting it off the whole time it was on, not to mention that is caused him to swell under his eyes a bit. "yes, it was fitted properly". The harness is great so far. He still tries to get out in front, but when he comes to the end of the leash and it squeezes his legs together, he stops "obviously", sits, turns, looks at me, waits for me to catch up, and with a "lets go" we are off again. We actually made it around the block with only a few stops.

As far as the "fearful" behavior goes. I have noticed over the past few days that he is getting a bit more aggressive. He is still barking and growling at strangers, but instead of backpedaling, he is now moving towards them. I have had several people interact with him to see what he would do...no biting or nipping...mostly smelling. After a treat is given to him by the person...all is well. Another discovery that we made was that he only reacts this way when myself, or my son is handling him. When my mother or father have him, he is calm and playful with just about everyone he has encountered so far. Im new to this and dont presume to know 1/4 as much as any of you here, but that sure sounds to me like he wants to protect HIS people.
 

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Originally Posted By: STINGER-LRSD When my mother or father have him, he is calm and playful with just about everyone he has encountered so far. Im new to this and dont presume to know 1/4 as much as any of you here, but that sure sounds to me like he wants to protect HIS people.
He does not want to protect anybody at this age. He wants to feel secure and he does with your mother or father. On the other hand, he doesn't trust that you or your son will protect him from scary things so he attempts to take the leader's role...
 

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As strange as that sounds to me, Im gonna keep an open mind and entertain the possibility. What could we be doing that would make him feel unsafe around us? Could it be because i am urging him to socialize more and more?
 
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