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OK, maybe not insane, but his behavior is escalating and I don't know what to do to mitigate this.

My house is in the city, on a small lot, so we are close to our neighbors. Heinz, my 5 year old GSD is used to this - he'll bark at a dog walking past, but quiet down immediately. He tolerates the doxy that lives in the house behind us - they'll sometimes bark at each other through the wood fence, but no prolonged interactions. Basically, he is dog-interested, but not aggressive. His biggest issue is that, if allowed, he'll run up to strange dogs to say "hi". Needless to say, this is unacceptable, and I make sure the coast is clear before he comes out in the front yard with me.

BUT, my next-door neighbor got a puppy. Said puppy is TINY - a miniature poodle mix of some sort. For a few weeks, puppy stayed in the house or was out for only brief periods and Heinz either didn't notice her or didn't care that she was over there. Then we had a mishap.

I was cutting down a fallen tree limb, and Heinz was "helping" me off-lead in the yard. Puppy ran over from next door (I didn't realize she was out). Heinz was all "Oh hey! Puppy!" and pranced up to say hi. Puppy FREAKED, and ran away yelping. Heinz went into full on chase mode and I couldn't recall him (yeah, I know, bad training on my part). Chase ended when puppy fetched up against neighbors back door, pissing herself in terror, with Heinz sniffing her interestedly. I pulled him off, made him sit, and offered my neighbor the chance to let her dog sniff him. Neighbor didn't take me up on it, and the puppy ran into the house.

Since then, I've heard at least 3 other terrified yelping incidents, again precipitated by the puppy spotting a larger dog outside (the dog doesn't have to be close to her, she just needs to see it) and freaking out. Even if Heinz is in the house, he'll hear this and start up with barking, modulating to that strange half-howl half-bark that GSDs are capable of. For 5 minutes or so.

Clearly this is either upsetting or super exciting, and I'm not sure if it matters which. But how do I work with this? I can certainly redirect his attention when I'm home, but I'm getting worried that he's gone from interested in the puppy to "I think that's a squeaky toy".

Obviously I'm not planning on letting him anywhere near the pup if I can help it, but stupid things happen, the houses are really close together, and I want to try and prevent an accident if I can.
 

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5 minutes is excessive. I would probably up my training with the dog by 30 minutes a day. Change it up and keep it interesting. Take him out and walk him. Maybe go to classes. The point is to increase the level of training, so that you can teach the dog ENOUGH! and he will stop whatever he is doing, including barking.

And, you really don't want him getting fixated on a behavior like excessive barking. Instead, you want to add a new dimension to your dog's life. Beyond your 30 minute sessions, take three minutes here and there to train him in tricks and fun stuff.

At some point, you should be able to call him to you when you hear the other dog go off, and he will be all excited because you are going to do a fun training thing with him. Pretty soon, you should be able to just say, Enough! or Go Lay Down. And he will stop barking or go to his bed.
 

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you have your dog out off leash in the front with you? what if someone walks by with their dog on leash? you think its going to be fun if their dog attaches to your dog when he goes to say hello? You have to be more careful with your dog. Even if he is friendly other dogs aren't. They are on leash your dog is in fault.

Nothing worse than a suicidal barking dog running up to me and my dog while walking on the side walk.
 
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