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Hi everyone, our five month old working line german shepherd barks at everything. Literally everything. Just today my cousins came over and there was a baby seat she saw and just would not stop barking at it. When someone comes over she just does not stop barking at them. For the past month and a half we've taken her to the dog park and on walks in busy neighborhoods and also puppy classes. At the classes she is cool at observing from a distance but as soon as someone approaches her she starts to bark. She has never had a bad expwrince with another dog or person since we've got her at 8 weeks. Is this due to a lack of early socialization? her personality? Lack of confidence? Fear stage? Any help is greatly appreciated once again.
 

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Surely this puppy didn't just start barking, so how have you been handling it for the past few months? Are you training her outside of the class? How much exercise does your puppy get? Excessive barking is often caused by boredom, frustration, or fear.

But if she's barking at any and all people that she sees, perhaps she's been overwhelmed a bit with the dog park, the busy neighborhood walks and the group classes. It's important to pay close attention to your puppy's body language, if she's carrying her tail low or tucked in she's scared. If you continue to expose her to scary things before she's ready, she could be handling that the only way she knows how, by trying to scare it away by barking.
 

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I did want to respond to your question about a possible fear stage as well. My puppy had one at 5-6 months, and another brief one at 9 months, so yeah if her barking just started then it very well could be a fear stage! The best thing to do in that case would be similar to what I suggested before, scale back on the socialization, no dog park, walks in more quiet areas, and few visitors until she's back to "normal". But fear period or not, continue (or start if you're not now) with her obedience training at home, and make sure she gets plenty of exercise daily.
 
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She does obedience training everyday. Before this I would definitely call her a barker, but it was maybe for a minute or so then when she would be let out of the crate she would just smell the guest at our house and stop barking. Now its barking non stop till she doesnt see the person anymore. I would say she definitely gets lots of mental and physical stimulation daily.
 

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It can be hard to determine what is causing this kind of behavior when you can see the dog, much more so with a brief description online. But I'd go with slowing down on the push for socialization, and YOU learning to be more in tune with the dog's body language and other signals. If she's overly stressed, for any reason, she's still learning...it's just that she won't be learning what you're intending. Work with her in a quiet setting, then slowly introduce more distractions. But watch for signs of stress (like licking her lips, or hackling head to tail, tail held low or tucked etc., and back off a bit if/when you see them. Fear periods don't last long, a few weeks is normal, but if you're in tune with your dog, and she is experiencing a fear period, you'll notice when it's over. Don't push her during this, and avoid any situation where ahe might be stressed too much...
 
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