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hi there,
im concerned about my 7 month old female GSD. she needs to be socialized because she barks and growls at strangers. i dont want her to be stranger aggressive. i normally take her to petsmart but everytime we go now, and she barks and does her thing when people approach her, the trainner lady comes over and tells me how bad of a owner i am and that i need her program. im looking for a more German shepherd oriented trainer and a more private one. where do you socialize your dogs? where would be the best place to socialize but at the same time make her feel relaxed. and is anyone else having this barking problem? she does it when she gets nervous. how do you handle it if you do?
thank you :)
 

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Just take your dog everywhere you can think of...Petsmart, parks, neighborhoods with other people walking around. If you work in an office with others, taking your dog to work with you, if its allowed, is a great way to socialize your dog around strangers. I did that with my dog when she was a puppy. If there are dog clubs in your area, whether they are GSD clubs or others, its always nice to take your dog there for just a basic obedience class. Lots of other people and dogs are around.
 

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The Italian One
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Sounds like adolescence stage. It's very common for females to become rather bold and pushy - ie. barking & aggressive. Yes, socialization is important but probably more important is training. Have you enrolled in any obedience training? I personally wouldn't recommend Petsmart classes but you might want a class with a group of other same aged dogs.

For socialization, I agree. Bring your dog where you go. Over to a family or friends house. Go for car rides. Take walks. Try to find new places and new sounds.
 

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What Vinnie said...those girls can be pushy at this age. I also would try private training or google 'obedience training club' in your area. I live in a rural area and there are several hunting clubs that primarily teach labs and other retrievers but they have basic classes for working dogs. I took mine everywhere, the office, Lowe's, farm store, the vet's office, I even was able to take them to the mall before it opened and walked with all the old lady mall walkers.
 

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My 4 month old does the same thing, if I give the person a treat to give her (I always carry a pocket full for just that reason) she will come close enough just to get the treat but them backs away and will not let anyone pet her. On top of the barking, the hair on her back stands up like a porcupine! I am basically doing what everyone else has suggested to you and if it makes you feel better, it is slowly but surely working! I also just found a small high end dog food boutique near me that has free puppy socialization/ playtime on the weekends...we plan on trying that this week, maybe you could look for something like that by you.
 

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The Italian One
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My 4 month old does the same thing, if I give the person a treat to give her (I always carry a pocket full for just that reason) she will come close enough just to get the treat but them backs away and will not let anyone pet her. On top of the barking, the hair on her back stands up like a porcupine! I am basically doing what everyone else has suggested to you and if it makes you feel better, it is slowly but surely working! I also just found a small high end dog food boutique near me that has free puppy socialization/ playtime on the weekends...we plan on trying that this week, maybe you could look for something like that by you.
At 4 months I think you're dealing with a different issue. Your dog probably hasn't reached adolescence just yet. It sounds more like fear, backing away, barking and hair raised which could still be very puppy.

However, I want to add. *I* personally would never encourage a stranger to give my dog treats or for my puppy to take treats from a stranger for any reason. I really want to caution people from doing this. But that's another topic.
 

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Your puppy's attitude is pretty much age appropriate. I would start by enrolling her into a basic obedience training class. I usually would not suggest a private trainer. A training class is much better because it will expose your puppy to other people and other dogs. I don't know much about the PetSmart training program so I can't really recommend it. There are many businesses that allow dogs in our area - PetSmart, Lowes, Tractor Supply, Walmart and Home Depot. These are great places to socialize.
:)
 

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At 4 months I think you're dealing with a different issue. Your dog probably hasn't reached adolescence just yet. It sounds more like fear, backing away, barking and hair raised which could still be very puppy.

However, I want to add. *I* personally would never encourage a stranger to give my dog treats or for my puppy to take treats from a stranger for any reason. I really want to caution people from doing this. But that's another topic.
My bad, I thought she was referring to fear issues as well (which I know I have)

May I ask why with the treat thing? Pretty much everyone has been telling me that I should have house guests and people I stop to talk to give her treats to try and have her overcome her people fear issues..... Mind you I probally worded it wrong, I don't solicit people in petsmart to treat my puppy, it's more friends/family who come into my home, neighbors that I talk with when out for our walks and the owners of the place I get our dog food from ( very small shop and I have gotten to know them well)
 

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My bad, I thought she was referring to fear issues as well (which I know I have)

May I ask why with the treat thing? Pretty much everyone has been telling me that I should have house guests and people I stop to talk to give her treats to try and have her overcome her people fear issues..... Mind you I probally worded it wrong, I don't solicit people in petsmart to treat my puppy, it's more friends/family who come into my home, neighbors that I talk with when out for our walks and the owners of the place I get our dog food from ( very small shop and I have gotten to know them well)


you shouldnt do it because there have actually been numerous cases where strangers who have been cool before suddenly have their own treats, wait for their chance and give the dog a poisoned treat. Honestly, i'm one of those who thinks my dogs shouldnt take any food item or toy from anyone except myself, my husband and my kids when they're old enough to understand WE buy the treats and dont get them from strangers. make sense? If its people you've known for a while and you trust them thats okay. Really it should only be used as a training way of letting your dog know you've accepted this person in the house and they're okay because YOU said so. She'll overcome her people fear with socialization and tons of positive reinforcement. She's at about the age of one of the fear stages i know about.

as far as the OP's dog goes.... currently at a loss. i'll get back to you on that one after i reread the post.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
thanks everyone for the replies. i will definately try those spots. im not looking for so much as a private one on one trainer. im looking for a private class. ive heard petsmart isnt very good, and my vet reccomended not using petsmart and having someone else do the training wether it be the trainer he (my vet) recommended or another. but thank you so much for the help. it is greatly appriciated.
 
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