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Got a question about our 2 3/4 yo male GSD, Baron.

He is generally a very nice dog - a little bit of DA toward other big dominant dogs that we are working on. Usually very good with people, puppies and kids.

Anyway, my question is this - How can we make him a little less suspicious and watchful?
He is extremely watchful wherever we are. For example, I belong to a group of GSD owners who meet with the breeder every saturday (about 12 -15 dogs usually) in a large field at a local university to socialize and do some obedience training. baron is usually the only dog among all of them to notice EVERYONE who walks by or thru the field (and at the university that can be a lot of folks) and trys to keep an eye on them whether they have a dog or not.

Or, I just had him out in the cul-de-sac that we live in and someone came out of their house to check the mail and Baron was riveted on them the whole time they were out until they went back into the house.

This is the common behavior for Baron - extremely watchful and almost paranoid everywhere.

Now he is not fearful because most of the time if he does get to see the people he is watching then he will go right up to them and get petted.

Anyone have any ideas about how i can get him to be a little less watchful at least some of the time?

Anyone ever have this same problem when the dog is so interested in their environment?

We are working on the "Watch me" command and making some progress but slowly.
 

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I'm doing watch me with Zoe too,lol If your dog is not hackling up and barking like a mad man his watchfulness shouldn't be a problem:)
 

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I'm doing watch me with Zoe too,lol If your dog is not hackling up and barking like a mad man his watchfulness shouldn't be a problem:)
Nope, usually just watches and watches whatever is going on around him. Once in a while he will react a little more with a few barks but not usually.

Does make it more interesting to train him in our obedience work, I must say.

And this suspicious son of a gun is a strictly US show lines dog from a very major CA show kennel - not from a protection oriented line.
 

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My girl is the same way- she can be midair going for her stick and land immediately to look at someone. I call her and she is very responsive luckily- then we watch me and indulge in 20 or so treats until they pass. She's now at the point she still stops to look at them, but then immediately looks at me and comes without me having to ask. I wish this worked for guests in our home since that is where our major issue is. She's a working line dog, but still overly watchful of her environment- it's a double edge sword but if he's under voice command you've already won the major battle. Now just fine tune watch me and he'll skip the barking for the treats and eye contact:)
 

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Codmaster, how much time have you spent marking and rewarding him for attention without asking for it? Especially in more distracting environments?

It's something I do a lot of around the house from early puppyhood, and then I start taking it out on the road to a variety of different circumstances. If he's really just not going to look at you at ALL, back it up and find someplace that he will. I have a rec center around the corner from me, and I'd walk Halo over there and put her in a down outside the fence during softball practice. I'd take her over to the building where they had exercise classes and put her in a down as people walk by on their way in and out, or over to the basketball court. I'd take her to each of the strip malls in town and do the same thing. Over and over again, to new environments. I'd wait for her to look at me and mark it with a clicker and toss her a treat. We'd do that awhile and then we'd leave.

If you don't already have a very strong foundation of "auto watch", that might be too much for him right now, but you can always find somewhere to work with him if you look around. Also - time, patience, and maturity. :) Keefer is SO much better about that than he was two years ago. By 3 years old he was not nearly as hyper-vigilant as he used to be, and now, at 5 years old he is noticeably more easy going and blase about stuff going on around him.
 

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Thanks to all! I actually feel better about Baron. He is seemingly getting better as he does get a little older.

Sometimes it is hard to see any improvement, but he really is paying more attention to me now than he used to.
 
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