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I just created this account, so sorry if this is in the wrong topic. Pretty sure I got it right though. Anyhow, I have a 14 week old female DDR Shepherd (we’ve had her for 6 weeks). She’s been doing great on training, and even took her into the city to get used to noises, etc. Nothing bothers her, not even huge trucks and buses. But she’s terrified of other dogs. I’m obviously not a professional trainer, and this is my first shepherd, so I need help. We have a dachshund, so it’s not like she isn’t used to other dogs. And she hasn’t ever had any traumatic experiences with other dogs. If I new what the issue was, I could help her. But I don’t know what to do. The other day I was walking her and a lab came up to her and just smelt her and just stood there. But she was doing that blood curdling scream that dogs make when they’re utterly terrified. She also tried to hide under a chair when a dog just walked by with it’s owner. I don’t try to protect her cause I’ve read that it can make them feel it’s ok to be scared. But I do stay calm hoping she will stay calm as well and feel that. But nothing seems to work. We would bring her to dog parks to introduce her to other dogs, but she’s not fully vaccinated yet. And all of our friends dogs aren’t well trained and if they get over excited, they could make things worse. Any thoughts?
 

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Seems weird, that's my first thought! Could something have happened to her already, in her young barely-started life?

Rather than letting her meet dogs directly nose-to-nose, maybe start at a distance from a place with dogs (dogpark? petshop?) and hang out while playing and eating treats...?
After her shots, what about some kind of basic obedience class (if it doesn't freak her out too much)?

She may never be a social "dog park" dog but hopefully she should be able to walk by other dogs in a dignified manner...eventually.

You actually never have to meet another dog onleash, if you don't have to. Don't feel pressured. (offleash dogs kept by careless owners...that's another matter...)
 

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We never wanted her to be a “dog park dog,” I personally don’t really like dog parks, we only were gonna bring her to get used to other dogs. But I think I will do that. When she gets the rest of her vaccinations, I’ll bring her to a dog park and slowly “acclimate,” her with the other dogs. When she’s finally comfortable with the other dogs coming up to her through the fence. Then I’ll slowly bring her in. I think that would be a good start.
 

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We never wanted her to be a “dog park dog,” I personally don’t really like dog parks, we only were gonna bring her to get used to other dogs. But I think I will do that. When she gets the rest of her vaccinations, I’ll bring her to a dog park and slowly “acclimate,” her with the other dogs. When she’s finally comfortable with the other dogs coming up to her through the fence. Then I’ll slowly bring her in. I think that would be a good start.
We did this with our puppies. Our male was more vocal and cautious but our female was fine from the get go. We allowed her inside on leash at 1st and kept our male in the fenced off area until he calmed down, had time to sniff and bark it out a little. Then brought him in on lease and once we knew he was good, we let him go! It helps to find a dog park with a good group of people and dogs. The people who are at ours could see Chunk was just a puppy and was nervous, not aggressive and they welcomed him in even though his bark would have made most people scared.

I am not sure if we will continue to bring them to the dog park through adulthood, we will see how there temperament changes. Right now they are happy, loving puppies. They take command and listen to us very well. They are really good with other dogs and people... but I understand that may change with time.
 

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We never wanted her to be a “dog park dog,” I personally don’t really like dog parks, we only were gonna bring her to get used to other dogs. But I think I will do that. When she gets the rest of her vaccinations, I’ll bring her to a dog park and slowly “acclimate,” her with the other dogs. When she’s finally comfortable with the other dogs coming up to her through the fence. Then I’ll slowly bring her in. I think that would be a good start.
The best use for a dog park is training OUTSIDE its fence.
There’s absolutely no need for your dog to interact with other dogs, what you want is for your GSD to ignore them.
Start well away from it, arm yourself with treats, and do some training at a good distance. Get a little closer each time. Zero need to go inside. If she shows signs of stress, move farther away.
Your goal is for her to be comfortable, and for her focus to be on you.

PS— Stay away from the fence. The ones on the inside could get territorial and you could have a situation where they would bark at her and/or get ugly, and that is the last thing you want.

One more thing: do this when she is older. At 14 weeks, she is still a baby and should be exploring close to home. Dogs have no business coming up and sniffing her, especially if she has not finished her vaccinations.
 

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Couldn’t agree more with what @Sunflowers said. Going into a dog park with an already skittish dog is just setting them up for failure. Working outside the fence is the only reason I take mine to the dog park. We work on basic obedience with the pup with the distraction of the dog park, and on recall, stays, etc with the older dogs. I don’t get near enough to the fence line for the dogs inside to pay much attention, because of the barking and chasing and pacing that can happen with the dogs inside the fence line. Well, except with our senior, but that’s a whole other story and issue.

I would recommend taking it slower with outside activities that force her to interact with strangers and strange dogs. Drive somewhere less active and let her enjoy the walk, while creating a better bond with you before you start introducing all that noise, foot traffic, and strange dogs coming towards her. Let her build up her confidence with you. Have her focus on you, instead of allowing her to focus on the distractions around her and trying to make decisions on her own. When you get to the point where she trusts you will make the right decisions for her, slowly start introducing her to different circumstances and places. If she gets skittish again, restart back to the last place she was comfortable at.
 

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As well as following @Sunflowers good suggestions, I'd consider looking around for a (NON Petco) trainer who's very experienced at managing anxious/spooky puppies and adults. If you're lucky, the trainer can come to your house and guide you through exercises outside the dog park. Ideally, after the basics are installed, the trainer also might be able to incorporate the two of you into a group class.
 

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It's pretty normal for pups to do that shriek when strange dogs approach. It's a call for momma to come help. I agree that strange dogs should not be sniffing at her at this age. And I agree that the dog park is not where she belongs.
Shy puppies that get pushed, turn in to reactive dogs, or worse. Give her time and space and let her set boundaries that work for her.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Alright, thanks for all the suggestions and help. I’ll do the training outside the fence, but not go in. Thank you!
 

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It's not so odd. My pup last year when I first got him...would drag me back home if he heard a dog bark. In the beginning he would wait behind the storm door until the barking stopped before he went outside again. As he got older, he would run back to our front porch and not go inside. And then later, he wouldn't run, just hide behind my legs. He just slowly developed his confidence. Finally, he wasn't scared anymore. I never made a big deal of it. Just let him go at his own speed. I've watched enough National Geographic to know that young animals hang around the den when the adults go hunt for food. And the minute there's a noise or a threat, they run back into the den. So I figured that's just normal behavior. The dogs barking were a threat to him and so he wanted to run back to his "den."
 

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Observe from a comfortable, safe distance. Play with your puppy or feed it. Create a safe environment so your puppy gains confidence it won’t be harmed. Eventually you can close the distance then start walking your puppy past other dogs, no need to meet and greet unless you’re sure your puppy will be met by a friendly easy going dog.
 

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She's a baby. Don't rush things and don't ever force her in a situation that she's afraid. Also, don't take her around other dogs until she is fully vaccinated.
 

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When she's a little older and has had all her shots, I'd look for a good beginner obedience class. I took my puppy to one that was for all ages, but puppies had to be at least 5 months, I think. It was nice, because no dogs were allowed to greet each other, without the permission of the owner. The class was constantly moving, so the dog is focused on the owner and not the other dogs. Because the same dogs are there each week, they become familiar. Your dog might get used to being near other dogs - at least some of them. Perhaps that would help her in meeting other dogs, in the future.
 

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And just as a general note outside of the advice here: Some dogs are freaking drama queens and make way more noise than necessary.

Our dog carried on like he was being beaten or dying of a horrible disease when he was learning how to swim. What were we doing? Standing on the shore, encouraging him, after just having tossed a stick in front of his nose. "IT'S TOO DEEP I'M GOING TO DIE! But I want the stick D:...BUT I'M GONNA DIIIIIEEEEE"

I refer you to Hyperbole and a Half--her dog upon encountering snow:

 

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My now 4 y/o wasn't the most confident about other dogs as a baby. He was intimdated by the bigger puppies at puppy class and wanted to play with the the tiniest baby golden despite that he was the second to biggest in the class.

Besides a few very safe encounters at puppy class (was a good class) he had zero contact with any unknown dog until he was over a year old. He played with a habdful of boarder dogs that I knew really well. He has grown up to be very nice socially. Confident, not easy to anger, has interacted with a wide range of dogs outside my household.

I think less is more with a puppy like this. A single good experience....even with a calm dog 40 ft away, is better than a dozen nose to nose where the puppy is terrified.

They can still grow up to be totally normal if you dont let them get traumatized.
 

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Agree they can be dramatic. I think my puppy tended toward dramatic. My adult dogs accidentally knocked him down on the way to the door when he was teeny. He laid there and cried like he was mortally wounded. I knew he was dramatic by then so I comforted him a little and then asked him if he was ready to shake it off and get on with his life and he jumped up like nothing ever happened. He was not hurt in the slightest.
 

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I’d just like to add that labs (and to some extent Goldens) generally have no personal space boundaries. Herding dogs like GSD, borders and cattle dogs have large space bubbles.

A lab bouncing a GSD’s personal space will bother all but the most socialized dogs. It can take a lot of hours and effort to get a dog that socialized, like for therapy or service dog work.

Lab owners are often (usually) oblivious. They think their lab is friendly. Herding dog handlers see it as obnoxious.

I don’t allow it, period. Not with my beagles, not with my herding dogs.

Owners who ask if their dog can greet mine, I first greet the dog. If the dog is reasonably mellow, then I’ll let my dog say hi. Many dogs aren’t properly socialized to greet, especially on a leash, which is its own skill.

In other words, don’t hesitate to say “no, I’d prefer you don’t” if someone wants their dog to meet yours. You don’t need to offer excuses. Just say no and continue on your way.

One other thing. Young dogs that have an older dog at home tend to be shyer around other dogs, not more confident. It’s up to us to get them out and socialize them away from the other dogs.

Positive reinforcement training puppy classes are a great place to start.
 

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It's not so odd. My pup last year when I first got him...would drag me back home if he heard a dog bark. In the beginning he would wait behind the storm door until the barking stopped before he went outside again. As he got older, he would run back to our front porch and not go inside. And then later, he wouldn't run, just hide behind my legs. He just slowly developed his confidence. Finally, he wasn't scared anymore. I never made a big deal of it. Just let him go at his own speed. I've watched enough National Geographic to know that young animals hang around the den when the adults go hunt for food. And the minute there's a noise or a threat, they run back into the den. So I figured that's just normal behavior. The dogs barking were a threat to him and so he wanted to run back to his "den."
Hi sorry for stealing OPs thread but just a quick question @tc68 Was ur pup a shy or timid pup when he was young? Am asking cause my new pup is like that He lacks a lot of confidence Wont approach whn other dogs are barking and generally pretty shy... But he is very active and even pretty dominant at home So I really wish he gains more confidence like urs when he is older..
 

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Hi sorry for stealing OPs thread but just a quick question @tc68 Was ur pup a shy or timid pup when he was young? Am asking cause my new pup is like that He lacks a lot of confidence Wont approach whn other dogs are barking and generally pretty shy... But he is very active and even pretty dominant at home So I really wish he gains more confidence like urs when he is older..[/QUO

I got mine when he was 8 weeks old. With his littermates, he was dominant. With people, never timid or shy. When he came home with me,he was still the same except when I took him outside and he saw and/or heard foxes and other dogs. Those were the only things that made him hesitant. The large deer didn't scare him, but the foxes at the time were still bigger than him. Anytime he heard or saw dogs and foxes he would stop walking, turn around and drag me back to home. Took about a month or so before he gained his confidence. I think it was because he was in a new environment with a new family, and new rules, etc. He's never been shy or timid with people. Now, he's a boisterous, average, adolescent, male, intact dog.
 
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