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Is there anything giving a general idea of behaviors to expect at different ages for the GSD? Or is each dog too different to generalize guidelines like that? The only reason I ask is because I have always walked Gunner around the town I live in - on side streets, neighborhoods, and the main drag. He has always been fine walking on the main road and the cars and such have never bothered him. Recently he has been startling at the diesel trucks and motorcycles passing by and has even tried to go after the vehicles by jumping up at them and trying to run after them. He is now about 13 1/2 months old. When he does this I get him settled in to a sit and then treat him for his nice, calm behavior. Should I be reacting differently when he does this?
 

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Hey Marti, i think you're on the right track with him, in getting him calmed down and out of an excited phase when a truck or bike passes. I had to do the same thing with Mya. She was fine with cars and regular trucks, but the motorcycles, and big rig trucks made a little to much noise for her. She usually just flinched and moved around on the end of the leash, but as long as i kept moving, it wouldnt give her a chance to really get nervous, i was showing her that I'm not worried or bothered and we;re just going to keep on walking. She quickly picked up on my lead and now she is ok with the noise, a little flinch here and there but nothing to the extent it was.

Make sure that you stay calm when you see one approaching. He can totally feel it if you see one and start to worry about his reaction. Keep moving forward, or you could continue to do what your doing now and ask him to sit, focus on you as they pass, treat, praise and move on. Once he seems to be focusing on you as they pass, i wouldnt stop him anymore, and just show him your not bothered by it in the least and your just going to keep walking enjoying the day. If you get nervous as a truck or bike approaches, go to your "happy place" and think of anything that makes you happy and calm. I always think of the great vacation we are going to take for the year and picture myself laying by the pool with the dogs, cracking open a beer, and just enjoying life. It calms me down so much, it relays down the leash to her.
 

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Thanks, Ailyn! I really never thought twice about the louder vehicles because we've been walking through town for quite some time now and this is diesel truck country, lol! So I'm fairly sure I'm not tensing up when they come and Gunner has only been reacting this way for the past few weeks. Thinking about it, though, I realize that we are walking with our backs to traffic (on a sidewalk). Maybe I could try walking facing the traffic so he can see the vehicles as they come and that might help him be more comfortable with it? Also, any ideas why he would start this now?
 

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i would start walking towards traffic, that helped Mya also. Loud noises coming up from behind would make most dogs flinch. Maybe he heard the airbrakes on them one day, or he could just be a little jumpy lately. I noticed he is only a year old, at this stage he'll go through what we tend to refer to as the "teenage phase" it could involve new fears, new alertness to things i.e. barking at people, dogs or things that didnt usually bother him before. Its more like a transitional period for them. He may be testing his limits with you, trying to get away with things he knows he cant, but feels the need to test it out anyway. He'll push all your buttons, i swear its a boy thing! Bear is at the same stage (he turned 1 in jan) its driving me insane! But you just have to stick to your guns and be sure to show him whos boss, and what is and isnt acceptable.
 

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luc had fear issues w/vehicles coming from behind after we had a car come up over the sidewalk at us once. GEEZ! so not totally coming from the same place, but....

i did similar stuff - if i could feel luc start to pull behind/stop, i immediately made him to an obedience routine so he was focusing on me and what i wanted, and we were doing something positive. he's gotten a lot better. he's fine w/oncoming traffic, and while i generally try to walk on the sidewalk that has oncoming traffic closest, we can't always, and i want him to be exposed anyways. as he got better, i started pushing him more, by letting the leash out but not stopping. if your dogs are at all competetive for your attention - i also started making sure teagan was always with us, and as soon as luc started to trail back and get nervous, i pretended he wasn't there, and started praising teagan and making a huge fuss over her....sorry, was there another dog with me? BAM! luc's desire to be praised equally to teagan and the competition for my attention (i give them both attention, but both can be a little possessive of me, it's something we work on, but here i used it to my advantage) outweighed his nervousness. suddenly, he'd be at my side, tail wagging, grinning 'hey did you see me? i'm up here too! ME!!'.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Originally Posted By: tibvixie101I noticed he is only a year old, at this stage he'll go through what we tend to refer to as the "teenage phase" it could involve new fears, new alertness to things i.e. barking at people, dogs or things that didnt usually bother him before. Its more like a transitional period for them.
This is what I was wondering his new behavior is attributed to. It would be great if there was a general timeline somewhere of what to expect at different ages!

Thanks to both of you for your responses. We will definitely start walking with the traffic coming toward us and work on remaining in a calm state around traffic.
 
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