German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 20 of 33 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
147 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys I apologise beforehand if this might seem a ridiculous question but I had to know to keep my mind at peace ? I have a gsd pup 3 1/2 months old.. He's super active and loves people very curious and everything... But sometimes he gets so frightened of people... Its just momentary till he recognises them properly but he would cry and try to hide... Even when we open the gate he'd bark from afar but never come to the front... Are puppies usually fearful when young? My previous gsd was the perfect guard dog She was never afraid of anything and I'll admit that besides trying to fill the hole she left behind Even slightly we really wanted a guard dog... I just need some reassurance he'll grow out of it ?
If so at what age?
Sorry for the long post ?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,175 Posts
It's possible that he's going through a fear period, which some puppies do go through, or it's possible that he has nerve issues. Either way, take things slowly with him and don't ever force him to do anything he's afraid of. Keep your tone encouraging and upbeat, but don't try to comfort him when he's afraid. That only rewards the fear.

I have found that with my dogs, going up to the scary "thing" (be it a trash can, fire hydrant, horse statue in a yard, etc.) and acting like it's cool and no big deal, the puppy often follows. Do things to build his confidence as much as possible, and he should get over it.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
4,671 Posts
The more you keep your pup focused on you the less important the rest of the world is. I let my dogs experimentally bark at new things (not people), then we walk away. The next day that new thing was usually ignored. Keep things light and fun. I tell strangers to ignore my dogs. Once your pup realizes that not every giant stranger in the world is going to try and touch him, the more fun he will have. If my dogs seem curious about the stranger, then I allow a meet and greet. This is just basic stuff but I find that it helps fend off problems later.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
147 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
The more you keep your pup focused on you the less important the rest of the world is. I let my dogs experimentally bark at new things (not people), then we walk away. The next day that new thing was usually ignored. Keep things light and fun. I tell strangers to ignore my dogs. Once your pup realizes that not every giant stranger in the world is going to try and touch him, the more fun he will have. If my dogs seem curious about the stranger, then I allow a meet and greet. This is just basic stuff but I find that it helps fend off problems later.
Thx for the reply! But its not exactly what i meant... These aren't 'strangers' he's afraid of they are everyday people he has met from the day he came to us... In fact he once got scared of my mom cause he couldn't recognise her at first! He simply can't recognise them immediately and gets really scared then when they come closer and calls out to him its fine... Am just concerned if this timid behaviour continues or he will grow out of it.. ?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
147 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
It's possible that he's going through a fear period, which some puppies do go through, or it's possible that he has nerve issues. Either way, take things slowly with him and don't ever force him to do anything he's afraid of. Keep your tone encouraging and upbeat, but don't try to comfort him when he's afraid. That only rewards the fear.

I have found that with my dogs, going up to the scary "thing" (be it a trash can, fire hydrant, horse statue in a yard, etc.) and acting like it's cool and no big deal, the puppy often follows. Do things to build his confidence as much as possible, and he should get over it.
Thx for the reply ? I do hope its just a stage he's having like u mentioned... He's not really afraid of objects particularly (Except the hose he gets mad at it lol) but very curious about everything hehe
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
4,671 Posts
Thx for the reply! But its not exactly what i meant... These aren't 'strangers' he's afraid of they are everyday people he has met from the day he came to us... In fact he once got scared of my mom cause he couldn't recognise her at first! He simply can't recognise them immediately and gets really scared then when they come closer and calls out to him its fine... Am just concerned if this timid behaviour continues or he will grow out of it.. ?
That doesn't seem typical to me. They can go through a phase when they realize that things in the world can hurt and they become more cautious. Let's hope that is all it is. I wonder if you should have your pup's eyes checked, just in case.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,052 Posts
Hi guys I apologise beforehand if this might seem a ridiculous question but I had to know to keep my mind at peace ? I have a gsd pup 3 1/2 months old.. He's super active and loves people very curious and everything... But sometimes he gets so frightened of people... Its just momentary till he recognises them properly but he would cry and try to hide... Even when we open the gate he'd bark from afar but never come to the front... Are puppies usually fearful when young? My previous gsd was the perfect guard dog She was never afraid of anything and I'll admit that besides trying to fill the hole she left behind Even slightly we really wanted a guard dog... I just need some reassurance he'll grow out of it ?
If so at what age?
Sorry for the long post ?
While it is common for a puppy to use caution in certain circumstances, to me this doesn't sound like a fear period, or even an eyesight issue. If this were my puppy and having a guard dog later on is your primary goal, I'd be talking to your breeder about it! I'm not one to blame nerves or genetics quickly, but this sounds to me like a puppy on the lower end of the spectrum. Could be this puppy would be better suited to someone who didn't want or need a confident watch dog later on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
147 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Hi guys I apologise beforehand if this might seem a ridiculous question but I had to know to keep my mind at peace ? I have a gsd pup 3 1/2 months old.. He's super active and loves people very curious and everything... But sometimes he gets so frightened of people... Its just momentary till he recognises them properly but he would cry and try to hide... Even when we open the gate he'd bark from afar but never come to the front... Are puppies usually fearful when young? My previous gsd was the perfect guard dog She was never afraid of anything and I'll admit that besides trying to fill the hole she left behind Even slightly we really wanted a guard dog... I just need some reassurance he'll grow out of it ?
If so at what age?
Sorry for the long post ?
While it is common for a puppy to use caution in certain circumstances, to me this doesn't sound like a fear period, or even an eyesight issue. If this were my puppy and having a guard dog later on is your primary goal, I'd be talking to your breeder about it! I'm not one to blame nerves or genetics quickly, but this sounds to me like a puppy on the lower end of the spectrum. Could be this puppy would be better suited to someone who didn't want or need a confident watch dog later on.
****... Now am really concerned ? But there's nothing to do now cause we're become really attached to him now and in my country 'breeders policies' 'returns' are Not a thing... I'll talk to him and the Vet just in case to clarify properly... Thx for the replies guys
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
547 Posts
****... Now am really concerned ? But there's nothing to do now cause we're become really attached to him now and in my country 'breeders policies' 'returns' are Not a thing... I'll talk to him and the Vet just in case to clarify properly... Thx for the replies guys
If what Tim says is true, then it means you'll have to be a serious, confident, sure, and demonstrative leader to this dog. I'm not saying you can't have fun. I'm saying you're going to need to be on point as he grows up and make sure he engages in activities that challenge him* and be there to tell him what to do in all situations**. You need to do that anyway for all dogs, but this is going to be especially true for your pup.

*A challenging activity could be something unrelated to what he's afraid of. It's something new he hasn't done before, but learns he must do because you told him to. For example, climbing on a moveable object like a dolly, swimming for the first time, jumping over an obstacle, and other experiences that are fun for both of you and show him he can be competent at other things. This kind of success bleeds over across other aspects of life and helps with general confidence and trust in you. You told him to do a new, slightly scary thing; he did it; he was unharmed; his leader is pleased and proud of him; his leader's judgement was reliable.

**By this I mean teaching him very specifically what to do when meeting people (since he's afraid of people). For example, maybe you tell the person to wait, make him sit, then specifically tell him to go greet the person. That may help, and he may just end up being the kind of dog that needs that step-by-step procedure for a lot of things.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,052 Posts
If returning him to your breeder is not an option, read and reread Kyrielle's excellent advice. There are many many things you can do to help any dog be the best that they can be!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
147 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
****... Now am really concerned ? But there's nothing to do now cause we're become really attached to him now and in my country 'breeders policies' 'returns' are Not a thing... I'll talk to him and the Vet just in case to clarify properly... Thx for the replies guys
If what Tim says is true, then it means you'll have to be a serious, confident, sure, and demonstrative leader to this dog. I'm not saying you can't have fun. I'm saying you're going to need to be on point as he grows up and make sure he engages in activities that challenge him* and be there to tell him what to do in all situations**. You need to do that anyway for all dogs, but this is going to be especially true for your pup.

*A challenging activity could be something unrelated to what he's afraid of. It's something new he hasn't done before, but learns he must do because you told him to. For example, climbing on a moveable object like a dolly, swimming for the first time, jumping over an obstacle, and other experiences that are fun for both of you and show him he can be competent at other things. This kind of success bleeds over across other aspects of life and helps with general confidence and trust in you. You told him to do a new, slightly scary thing; he did it; he was unharmed; his leader is pleased and proud of him; his leader's judgement was reliable.

**By this I mean teaching him very specifically what to do when meeting people (since he's afraid of people). For example, maybe you tell the person to wait, make him sit, then specifically tell him to go greet the person. That may help, and he may just end up being the kind of dog that needs that step-by-step procedure for a lot of things.
Thank u so much! I shall heed your advice and try to build up his confidence gradually... Its quite strange actually.. He's not afraid of objects like i mentioned He was at the hose but now he just tries to bite it lol and he's very confident about climbing jumping We had a really hard time preventing him from doing those... Even with new people he's confident to approach them when we are near and stuff... But this behaviour would occur sometimes when he cant recognise them from afar... I will ofc heed every1s advice but maybe i should check his eyesight as well..?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
547 Posts
Thank u so much! I shall heed your advice and try to build up his confidence gradually... Its quite strange actually.. He's not afraid of objects like i mentioned He was at the hose but now he just tries to bite it lol and he's very confident about climbing jumping We had a really hard time preventing him from doing those... Even with new people he's confident to approach them when we are near and stuff... But this behaviour would occur sometimes when he cant recognise them from afar... I will ofc heed every1s advice but maybe i should check his eyesight as well..?
I'm sure his eyesight is fine. Could be he doesn't know how to recognize people from far away yet. Why don't you try "Look at that" when you see someone he should know. "Look at that! It's mom! Hi mom!" You'd be making him look at the person from far away and connecting the sound of their name with that person so that person now becomes a distinct object. They stand out from the background noise and from strangers. Eventually, he'll learn to recognize them from the way they move around, their smell, and the sound of their footsteps.

I've noticed puppies have "systems" that turn on at various stages. You'll notice that with a sudden change in behavior and attention. Like suddenly he notices birds in the air or squirrels or cats where he didn't before. Suddenly that fire hydrant is a different object from the background, which is why it looks alien to them.

I think that's why fear periods happen. Suddenly, a new system has turned on and the puppy has no idea what's happening or what to do with the new information they're getting. That's why we have to teach them what to do.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
147 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Thank u so much! I shall heed your advice and try to build up his confidence gradually... Its quite strange actually.. He's not afraid of objects like i mentioned He was at the hose but now he just tries to bite it lol and he's very confident about climbing jumping We had a really hard time preventing him from doing those... Even with new people he's confident to approach them when we are near and stuff... But this behaviour would occur sometimes when he cant recognise them from afar... I will ofc heed every1s advice but maybe i should check his eyesight as well..?
I'm sure his eyesight is fine. Could be he doesn't know how to recognize people from far away yet. Why don't you try "Look at that" when you see someone he should know. "Look at that! It's mom! Hi mom!" You'd be making him look at the person from far away and connecting the sound of their name with that person so that person now becomes a distinct object. They stand out from the background noise and from strangers. Eventually, he'll learn to recognize them from the way they move around, their smell, and the sound of their footsteps.

I've noticed puppies have "systems" that turn on at various stages. You'll notice that with a sudden change in behavior and attention. Like suddenly he notices birds in the air or squirrels or cats where he didn't before. Suddenly that fire hydrant is a different object from the background, which is why it looks alien to them.

I think that's why fear periods happen. Suddenly, a new system has turned on and the puppy has no idea what's happening or what to do with the new information they're getting. That's why we have to teach them what to do.
Thank u very much once again I am now farely convinced it has nothing to do with eyesight my pup is actually pretty fearful i guess... Today a guy came to fix a electric pole n his ladder was leaning onto our wall and my pup ran away crying and wouldn't come out a long time after. I dont knw if its possible for him to change when he matures but for now he really lacks confidence ? He's not afraid to bully little animals like frogs or cats but he is afraid of approaching other dogs or humans when they appear suddenly.
Sorry for being such a bother but can u tell me how I should behave when he's like that? For eg: whn am passing a dog and he starts barking should I try to force Kaiser to approach him or walk away? The same with people? Also do their senses get more attuned when theyr older?
Thx again ?
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
4,671 Posts
if you look at some of the Jaak Panksepp's work, he mentions that we have "systems". Three of them are Fear, Seeking and Play. Sometimes you can over ride one with another. If your pup is worried about something you can encourage the pup to investigate but don't force it. Your pup will just go deeper and deeper into fear. If you reward the attempt with some treats (seeking food) or a nice game (play) you might override the fear. You'll just have to do some trial and error.

I had an odd experience today. I walked my very confident 5 year old male down a street and he saw an unopened bag of mulch under a tree near the sidewalk. He didn't want to go near it. Odd for him. He eventually chose to sniff the bag and decide it wasn't dangerous but he clearly didn't like it. We moved on and I forgot about it. A little later I walked my 3 year old female along the same sidewalk. She stopped short of the bag of mulch and actually barked at it. I didn't force her to investigate it. I just gave her time to figure out how she wanted to pass it without detouring into the street. The point of all that is this: I have NO IDEA why that bag of mulch bothered my dogs. Sometimes we just have to honor their sense of things and give them space to figure it out within reason.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
547 Posts
Thank u very much once again I am now farely convinced it has nothing to do with eyesight my pup is actually pretty fearful i guess... Today a guy came to fix a electric pole n his ladder was leaning onto our wall and my pup ran away crying and wouldn't come out a long time after. I dont knw if its possible for him to change when he matures but for now he really lacks confidence ? He's not afraid to bully little animals like frogs or cats but he is afraid of approaching other dogs or humans when they appear suddenly.
Sorry for being such a bother but can u tell me how I should behave when he's like that? For eg: whn am passing a dog and he starts barking should I try to force Kaiser to approach him or walk away? The same with people? Also do their senses get more attuned when theyr older?
Thx again ?
You are the unflappable rock. So you don't worry about it. It's no big deal. It's just a ladder. Just a person. Just a dog. Whatever.

I wouldn't force anything. Let him approach if he wants, and reward the effort. By effort, it could be something as simple as turning towards the thing in question and leaning forward as if to take a step. Or even just looking at it. Or a single step.

If he's showing fear, find the distance from the object/dog/person where he stops reacting and starts just looking. Reward for looking and not reacting negatively. Take a step forward. Reward for not reacting negatively. Rinse and repeat. Give bigger rewards for curiosity and any decision of his to investigate without your assistance or reassurance. Give a HUGE reward for conquering the fear. Make that the best thing ever.

Also teach him how to sit so he has something to do while he's doing all this not reacting and looking.

Yes, their senses get more attuned as they grow. Which is good and bad.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
147 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Thank u very much once again I am now farely convinced it has nothing to do with eyesight my pup is actually pretty fearful i guess... Today a guy came to fix a electric pole n his ladder was leaning onto our wall and my pup ran away crying and wouldn't come out a long time after. I dont knw if its possible for him to change when he matures but for now he really lacks confidence ? He's not afraid to bully little animals like frogs or cats but he is afraid of approaching other dogs or humans when they appear suddenly.
Sorry for being such a bother but can u tell me how I should behave when he's like that? For eg: whn am passing a dog and he starts barking should I try to force Kaiser to approach him or walk away? The same with people? Also do their senses get more attuned when theyr older?
Thx again ?
You are the unflappable rock. So you don't worry about it. It's no big deal. It's just a ladder. Just a person. Just a dog. Whatever.

I wouldn't force anything. Let him approach if he wants, and reward the effort. By effort, it could be something as simple as turning towards the thing in question and leaning forward as if to take a step. Or even just looking at it. Or a single step.

If he's showing fear, find the distance from the object/dog/person where he stops reacting and starts just looking. Reward for looking and not reacting negatively. Take a step forward. Reward for not reacting negatively. Rinse and repeat. Give bigger rewards for curiosity and any decision of his to investigate without your assistance or reassurance. Give a HUGE reward for conquering the fear. Make that the best thing ever.

Also teach him how to sit so he has something to do while he's doing all this not reacting and looking.

Yes, their senses get more attuned as they grow. Which is good and bad.
Thx! Sorry i understand am being such a bother but this behaviour is very troubling for me cause it was very unexpected.. I did contact his breeder tdy He assured us both parents are quite aggressive when need to be and that over 10 years he has experienced such behaviour These puppies will turn out to be the sort that'll just go ahead and bite chucks off instead of barking n intimidating He's still a pup and needs plenty of socialising n his protective behaviour will start showing round 6 mos ish he said. I am actually quite reassured tht hopefully he won't run in the face of danger but nervous too lol In any case evn if i get a big lovable cuddly teddy bear instead of a fierce guardian we'll love him jzt the same! ❤
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
While it is common for a puppy to use caution in certain circumstances, to me this doesn't sound like a fear period, or even an eyesight issue. If this were my puppy and having a guard dog later on is your primary goal, I'd be talking to your breeder about it! I'm not one to blame nerves or genetics quickly, but this sounds to me like a puppy on the lower end of the spectrum. Could be this puppy would be better suited to someone who didn't want or need a confident watch dog later on.

Our experience has been sort of the opposite. Our previous Shepherd was a timid pup and would stand between my legs at the dog park a lot. As an adult he was over protective. No one, and I do mean no one, he didn't know could come within 20 feet of us without him lunging for them unless I had him in a sitstay first. If he knew them from before he turned 1, he was their friend for life. If afterward, he didn't want to know them under all normal circumstances (had to muzzle him and let him be in the company of that person for a couple of hours until he accepted them). So, if you're going to keep him, train him well before he gets to the reactive stage of the fear. With people he considered a friend, he was a pussycat. With everyone else, a terror.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
147 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
While it is common for a puppy to use caution in certain circumstances, to me this doesn't sound like a fear period, or even an eyesight issue. If this were my puppy and having a guard dog later on is your primary goal, I'd be talking to your breeder about it! I'm not one to blame nerves or genetics quickly, but this sounds to me like a puppy on the lower end of the spectrum. Could be this puppy would be better suited to someone who didn't want or need a confident watch dog later on.

Our experience has been sort of the opposite. Our previous Shepherd was a timid pup and would stand between my legs at the dog park a lot. As an adult he was over protective. No one, and I do mean no one, he didn't know could come within 20 feet of us without him lunging for them unless I had him in a sitstay first. If he knew them from before he turned 1, he was their friend for life. If afterward, he didn't want to know them under all normal circumstances (had to muzzle him and let him be in the company of that person for a couple of hours until he accepted them). So, if you're going to keep him, train him well before he gets to the reactive stage of the fear. With people he considered a friend, he was a pussycat. With everyone else, a terror.
Thxx I believe this is what his breeder ment when he said my pup will be sort who'll react out of fear not confidence It makes sense now i guess lol We'll do our best to train him properly ?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
381 Posts
I don't know where you live, but in the USA this kind of behavior is a huge liability and big responsibility for the owner. It is also not a desirable characteristic for a GSD.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
147 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
I don't know where you live, but in the USA this kind of behavior is a huge liability and big responsibility for the owner. It is also not a desirable characteristic for a GSD.
I live in SL and I know a lot of friends and people who own GSDs and not one of them are 'fearful' some of em are downright aggressive others more calm but overall very protective when need to be... I honestly cant remember how they were when young but i cant be the first to have a fearful gsd r8 lol?? Both the breeder and our Vet assured us he'll grow out of it when older since he's still a pup now... Perhaps am exaggerating his behaviour He's simply afraid of people so we'll just wait and see how he turns out ? Hopefully i can update on his progress ❤
 
1 - 20 of 33 Posts
Top