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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Would love some advice! I have a 13-week old female GSD puppy who has recently started to struggle when my husband or I can't be present for every moment of every outing. Basically, she wants all three of us, all the time.

For example...

1 - If my husband and I are both at home, she'll refuse to walk unless both of us come out with her. If one of us gets her out the door on the off chance, she'll take every opportunity to go back home and collect the missing person.

2 - When we're all out walking and one of us walks out of sight (goes into a store or public restroom) she can't help but bark until the person comes back.

Food used to distract her though that was short-lived (even though she LOVES food). Some other distractions have worked on occasion (little kids stopping to say hello, birds, carrying her in the opposite direction/around the corner) but I guess I want to keep her calm rather than distracted.

Oddly she doesn't seem to have separation anxiety when we leave the house e.g. she might bark once or twice and/or whine a little but easily settles herself within a minute or two. No destruction or panic either when we come home. I have had other herding dogs both with and without separation anxiety but this habit seems different to me, maybe something unique to a GSD?

She is extremely social (with both people and dogs), very adaptable in all other situations and trains like a dream so I'm not sure if this separation anxiety or just a pup with a pack mentality?

Any advice or training methods greatly appreciated!
 

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It could be that using food to "distract" her was actually reinforcing the bad or undesirable behavior. From my perspective, it doesn't really matter what her motivation is, it's undesirable so dissuade her and help her learn to get over it!

Sometimes the best way I've found to stop an undesirable behavior is by teaching what to do instead, rather than just trying to correct it away as that's confrontational.

Does she know "heel"? I'd practice that more at home initially, then work your way up to getting a good heel outdoors. Practicing walks with only one of you present.

It's hard to focus on staying in the correct position while barking and carrying on.
 

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Shepherds are just born to keep groups together :)
At 13 weeks I wouldn't worry the least about this, this is not "separation anxiety". Separation anxiety refers to a disorder (impacting the dog's well-being as well as yours).
The behaviors that may be bothering to you will shape into new/mature behaviors as you progress with basic training/obedience.
So, as Tim said, your dog won't just go away to fetch a "missing" person because she'll learn she has to stay close/walk with you when asked.
She'll stop barking because you will have taught her a cue for that, etc.
All basic stuff she'll learn with time.
 

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There will be lots of unique situations that COVID and owners/both owners being home 24/7 will bring to light over the next year. We had to purposefully leave our pup alone at home at times even when we didn't need to go out, just to mimic a normal work day routine, although I work from home 4 days out of 5 most weeks
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That all makes perfect sense, we'll start working on more obedience commands including heel. Thank you all for the advice.
 
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