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Discussion Starter #1
My puppy is 4 months old (tomorrow!!!) and during walks, she wants to meet every person and dog and acts like it’s her new best friend/long lost cousin. I love that she’s friendly but I don’t necessarily want her to think every stranger is a friend for her own safety. (Had an awful experience in the past where my families cat got out and was too friendly and got kicked in the stomach. Leading to life long issues). What should I do? I’ve been letting a few people say hi just because I want to socialize her right now so she won’t have issues later. Should I be ok with the friendliness or take action?
 

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I would allow some interaction on a controlled basis. I would also use food or toys whichever she likes best and when people approach distract her with the toy/food and when she focuses on you not the stranger reward. You may have to get some steak or something at first to keep her focused on you and the reward. eventually she should just ignore strangers.
 

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Friendly puppies tend to be confident as adults.The aloofness will (usually) start to take over after the six month mark.It's a good idea for every temperament type to encourage ignoring people and other animals unless you decide she can greet occasionally.Their are lots of threads here about excited greeters dragging their owners while howling in frustration:)
 

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Friendly puppies tend to be confident as adults.The aloofness will (usually) start to take over after the six month mark.It's a good idea for every temperament type to encourage ignoring people and other animals unless you decide she can greet occasionally.Their are lots of threads here about excited greeters dragging their owners while howling in frustration/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif
that’s so great to hear because she gets a little scared on walks right now. We’re working on it and it’s much improved but I was worried she’d be a nervous walker forever! She absolutely loves every dog she meets and person. Most of her socialization right now comes from our walks. Should I still let her meet a few people a day but ignore the majority?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I would allow some interaction on a controlled basis. I would also use food or toys whichever she likes best and when people approach distract her with the toy/food and when she focuses on you not the stranger reward. You may have to get some steak or something at first to keep her focused on you and the reward. eventually she should just ignore strangers.
I’ll have to try steak. Right now even with her highest value treats, she’d still rather meet people. I guess I should be happy she won’t have issues about friendliness later on. Hah.

Do most German shepherds become aloof? I was hoping for more aloofness!
 

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I would allow some interaction on a controlled basis. I would also use food or toys whichever she likes best and when people approach distract her with the toy/food and when she focuses on you not the stranger reward. You may have to get some steak or something at first to keep her focused on you and the reward. eventually she should just ignore strangers.
I’ll have to try
steak. Right now even with her highest value treats, she’d still rather meet people. I guess I should be happy she won’t have issues about friendliness later on. Hah.

Do most German shepherds become aloof? I was hoping for more aloofness!
Yes they should become aloof with age. With exceptions I guess. When my female was a young pup she was everyone's BFF, I myself never really discouraged it. Just didn't let her jump on people. Now at 2 1/2 yrs old. She ignores most people. Example this morning in home depot, numerous people asked to pet her. I said if she's cool with it sure. She no longer gets excited. She now just sits there looking at me like "I'll get you back for this".
The exception, at least with her is young females 16-25. As we were checking out, a young female cashier walks up and says "hi puppy" and she went into her BFF mode. Does every time a young girl approaches her. Older females or males, and very young children she ignores hoping they'll walk on by.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I would allow some interaction on a controlled basis. I would also use food or toys whichever she likes best and when people approach distract her with the toy/food and when she focuses on you not the stranger reward. You may have to get some steak or something at first to keep her focused on you and the reward. eventually she should just ignore strangers.
I’ll have to try
steak. Right now even with her highest value treats, she’d still rather meet people. I guess I should be happy she won’t have issues about friendliness later on. Hah.

Do most German shepherds become aloof? I was hoping for more aloofness!
Yes they should become aloof with age. With exceptions I guess. When my female was a young pup she was everyone's BFF, I myself never really discouraged it. Just didn't let her jump on people. Now at 2 1/2 yrs old. She ignores most people. Example this morning in home depot, numerous people asked to pet her. I said if she's cool with it sure. She no longer gets excited. She now just sits there looking at me like "I'll get you back for this".
The exception, at least with her is young females 16-25. As we were checking out, a young female cashier walks up and says "hi puppy" and she went into her BFF mode. Does every time a young girl approaches her. Older females or males, and very young children she ignores hoping they'll walk on by.
That’s so great to hear. I hope she will become a little more aloof. I get really nervous with her acting like everyone is her best friend. And so funny that she has a demographic she loves! I had a shepherd mix once just like that!
 

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IME, most dogs that I have met who are social or overly so tend to be weak nerved, but that does not mean there is a link between the two traits. She may or may not grow more reserved with age. I would start working with her on some basic obedience and start teaching her to ignore other people. It won't be cute soon as she gets bigger, and she won't be welcome in most places, if she continues to approach strangers who don't want a large dog coming up on them regardless of her intention.
 

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IME, most dogs that I have met who are social or overly so tend to be weak nerved, but that does not mean there is a link between the two traits. She may or may not grow more reserved with age. I would start working with her on some basic obedience and start teaching her to ignore other people. It won't be cute soon as she gets bigger, and she won't be welcome in most places, if she continues to approach strangers who don't want a large dog coming up on them regardless of her intention.
oddly she won’t go anywhere near a stranger unless they acknowledge her. She’ll look but she won’t want to greet them until they are like “omg puppy!” So I guess maybe I shouldn’t be so nervous. She’s only interested when someone wants to meet her too.
 

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I've had my pup since he was 7 1/2 weeks. He's always been a confident, friendly dog. I was even suspicious that he was a golden retriever stuck in a GSD body.

First things first, your pup WILL get big, 65lb at the minimum (generally). Right now, people and dogs might find him 'cute' but it won't last long, in a few weeks he'll look like a big, GSD dog. Hate to say it but GSDs are one of the breeds that are stigmatised just because the LOOK like that. So, please practice early on that he has to SIT and stay whenever he wants to say hi to other dogs or people. I went through a period where my dog wasn't allowed to say hi to other dogs, UNLESS he sits and waits for the other dog to come and greet him. It's been working well till now.

About the friendliness, like I said I thought he was a golden retriever at heart. And then slowly, he started being this protector/guardian to me. There were more than several occassions where my dog 'picked up' that I was in distress. One example was when the 2 of us were in a car, at a fast food drive in. My dog was sleeping on the back of the car. When suddenly the car in front of me started going back and forth and almost hit my car so I honked and shouted 'Where the heck are you going?!' and the man started yelling and yelling at me. My dog literally got up, puts his face through the window and started barking and barking at the person in the other car (he was still yelling at me as he was moving back and forth). Until finally the man managed to get out of the drive in, came across my car and said 'stupid dog' to my face. And after he left, my dog literally went back to sleep. I laughed big time I praised and praised and praised and praised. Did I train him to bark/alarm me like that? Not really. It was just him. Almost everytime when it's the night time and someone approaches me (like the security or neighbour) he will bark at them, but if I tell him 'She's okay' with a 'stop' hand gesture, he will immediately relax and sit down. And will let the person pet him if the person asks me. Honestly, walking at night with my dog is a lot safer than with a gun!

DON'T WORRY. Your dog is a GSD and their dog intuition WILL kick in as he spends more time with you. You are his person. Do him good and he will be your protector for as long as he lives.

From my experience; Now that he is pushing 90lb at 17 months, I have come across people, especially those with small dogs, who deliberately try to avoid my dog saying hi to them. They other pick their dog up or just turn the other way. And that's ok, makes your job easier. Just make sure he knows that he needs your permission whenever he wants to greet people/dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I should have clarified that she only gets excited when she sees someone who wants to greet her. But ANYTHING she sees right now, she does a dead stop and wants to figure out what they are. She wants to greet dogs, or people. But once a person walks by and clearly doesn’t want to greet her, she doesn’t do anything. She just stands still. It’s not a dominance thing, just scared.
 

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I've had my pup since he was 7 1/2 weeks. He's always been a confident, friendly dog. I was even suspicious that he was a golden retriever stuck in a GSD body.

First things first, your pup WILL get big, 65lb at the minimum (generally). Right now, people and dogs might find him 'cute' but it won't last long, in a few weeks he'll look like a big, GSD dog. Hate to say it but GSDs are one of the breeds that are stigmatised just because the LOOK like that. So, please practice early on that he has to SIT and stay whenever he wants to say hi to other dogs or people. I went through a period where my dog wasn't allowed to say hi to other dogs, UNLESS he sits and waits for the other dog to come and greet him. It's been working well till now.

About the friendliness, like I said I thought he was a golden retriever at heart. And then slowly, he started being this protector/guardian to me. There were more than several occassions where my dog 'picked up' that I was in distress. One example was when the 2 of us were in a car, at a fast food drive in. My dog was sleeping on the back of the car. When suddenly the car in front of me started going back and forth and almost hit my car so I honked and shouted 'Where the heck are you going?!' and the man started yelling and yelling at me. My dog literally got up, puts his face through the window and started barking and barking at the person in the other car (he was still yelling at me as he was moving back and forth). Until finally the man managed to get out of the drive in, came across my car and said '****ing dog' to my face. And after he left, my dog literally went back to sleep. I laughed big time I praised and praised and praised and praised. Did I train him to bark/alarm me like that? Not really. It was just him. Almost everytime when it's the night time and someone approaches me (like the security or neighbour) he will bark at them, but if I tell him 'She's okay' with a 'stop' hand gesture, he will immediately relax and sit down. And will let the person pet him if the person asks me. Honestly, walking at night with my dog is a lot safer than with a gun!

DON'T WORRY. Your dog is a GSD and their dog intuition WILL kick in as he spends more time with you. You are his person. Do him good and he will be your protector for as long as he lives.

From my experience; Now that he is pushing 90lb at 17 months, I have come across people, especially those with small dogs, who deliberately try to avoid my dog saying hi to them. They other pick their dog up or just turn the other way. And that's ok, makes your job easier. Just make sure he knows that he needs your permission whenever he wants to greet people/dogs.
thank you!!! That is so great to hear. We already practice sit as “please” and she’s good about remembering it. But only 4 months so still working on greetings everyday. She’s oddly a super polite jumper when she does get excited and sometimes jumps. She won’t put any body weight into it.

That is so awful that people actively avoid greeting your dog sometimes if they have a small dog. ? I’ve only had Shepherd mixes in the past that oddly looked very non Shepherd so I’ve had some poor reactions from people but not that bad.
 

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My puppy was very friendly and outgoing as a puppy, not the least bit afraid of anything or anyone. She was like that until about 6-7 months, then almost like a switch flipped and she stopped greeting anyone. Even if they talked to her, she'd run or trot towards them and then veer off just out of reach. It was funny to watch. And this wasn't just with strangers, she started doing that with people she'd known for many months.

At 9 months another switch flipped, and she decided that wrestling or rough housing with other dogs was beneath her...and she just abruptly stopped, again even with dogs she'd known and played with since she was little. At around 14 months she broke down and actually played with another dog, and she does selectively play with other dogs still at 23 months.

So OP relax, your dog will likely become much more aloof as she matures. If she just stands still and watches people walk by, why do you think she's scared?
 

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My puppy was very friendly and outgoing as a puppy, not the least bit afraid of anything or anyone. She was like that until about 6-7 months, then almost like a switch flipped and she stopped greeting anyone. Even if they talked to her, she'd run or trot towards them and then veer off just out of reach. It was funny to watch. And this wasn't just with strangers, she started doing that with people she'd known for many months.

At 9 months another switch flipped, and she decided that wrestling or rough housing with other dogs was beneath her...and she just abruptly stopped, again even with dogs she'd known and played with since she was little. At around 14 months she broke down and actually played with another dog, and she does selectively play with other dogs still at 23 months.

So OP relax, your dog will likely become much more aloof as she matures. If she just stands still and watches people walk by, why do you think she's scared?
Interesting how things just flip like that! I hope that happens for us. Not that I want her to be some solemn mean guard dog at all, but if we wanted a retriever, we would have gotten one! Hahah.

She doesn’t like going on walks. We’re working with a trainer and things have improved dramatically. But she acts very scared and nervous on walks. When someone greets her, she’s super happy. But besides that, she’s more nervous and fearful. We keep walks super short, tons of treats, usually in a larger group, toys, etc. And it’s improved. But lots of fear when leaving the house and during the walk.
 

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Make outings as fun and positive as you can to build her confidence, sounds like a reasonable approach! Good luck with her, she'll surprise you I'm sure as she matures.
 

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I just started taking my lil 12 week old out for short walks. She does great at the house but she get so scared on a walk. In my neighborhood we have ducks and and one house has barking dogs behind a fence, at least 150 feet from the street. She does fine until we come up to them. I've never had a puppy be scared liked that so I'm learning too and feel your concern. Thanks for all the helpful advice you all!
 

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I just started taking my lil 12 week old out for short walks. She does great at the house but she get so scared on a walk. In my neighborhood we have ducks and and one house has barking dogs behind a fence, at least 150 feet from the street. She does fine until we come up to them. I've never had a puppy be scared liked that so I'm learning too and feel your concern. Thanks for all the helpful advice you all!
At 12 wks who can blame her! If it were me I'd avoid taking her around those barking dogs for a few months! You need/want to build her confidence, not terrify her! Walk her the other direction...
 

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I totally Agree! I tried her twice and see it's something she needs a little more time on. I'm taking her tomorrow to hike in the woods, she enjoys that and will wait on the more excitable journeys. As she is learning me, i too am learning her.
 

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I just started taking my lil 12 week old out for short walks. She does great at the house but she get so scared on a walk. In my neighborhood we have ducks and and one house has barking dogs behind a fence, at least 150 feet from the street. She does fine until we come up to them. I've never had a puppy be scared liked that so I'm learning too and feel your concern. Thanks for all the helpful advice you all!
Thank you for posting! This makes me feel less alone! I've never had any kind of dog that was scared of walking! And oddly she's SO confident in gated areas, friends yards, other people's houses. I hope it improves for both of us soon! :)
 

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Glad i can help. I have good news, today she wanted to go walking so i took her. She was cautious but not in fear and actually did quite good. I didn't push just gently asked her on with a pet from time to time and assurance and she did it!!!! I almost teared up, silly me. We will walk the woods tomorrow and hopefully when we try it again she will do even better. There is hope !!!
 
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