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Hi folks,
I have, what I think, is the beginnings of an aggressive dog and would like some suggestions.

My 6 mo. old is generally pretty good when she "meets" someone new, but I'm still very cautious. When I introduce her to someone new, I keep her on leash and gradually let her come close to the "stranger". As long as I feel she'll mind her manners, and she generally does, I let her sniff and make friends with the stranger. She's generally pretty good with "people", but strange dogs (puppies or adults) are becoming a concern.

She will most often bark and, I'm sorry to say, show her teeth and lunge, at other dogs. If the other owner is willing to very carefully let the two dogs come closer and let them sniff, etc., she'll generally be O.K. But, her initial reaction is to growl, bark, etc. and I'm concerned about this behavior.

I'll give you a little background on her environment.

We brought her home from the breeder at about 8-9 weeks of age. We have about .50 acre backyard so she has plenty of room to play. As soon as she had most of her shots, we started walking her to a nearby shopping center where we have coffee, and she can sit on the sidewalk as watch the passers-by and an occasional dog owner. My wife is home with her all day and keeps her out of mischief; as well as she can with a puppy, right?



For the most part, she enjoys the attention from people (although she does occasionally bark at someone). My concern is her behavior toward other dogs.

Comments? Suggestions? I welcome them all.

Thank you all.

Craig
 

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I think now is a PERFECT time for you and your pup to sign up for training classes! Why? Because it's a controlled environment for getting used to working around strange people and strange dogs AND you learn obedience together, build the bond, and understand each other better. This will help a lot in the long run.

When you meet people, make sure to keep a loose lead (tightening up the lead signals to your dog that you are worried and she will worry more), keep a good posture, and be enthusiastic when greeting the person. Do NOT force her to go up to people! GSDs are aloof by nature and they are not everyone's friend. If your dog is content to stay by your side while you shake hands and talk to a stranger, that's all you really need. Don't allow the other person to pet your dog- explain that she is in training, than the person can talk to your dog, but please, no petting. Do this with everyone you meet and your dog will be well socialized. Well socialized does not necessarily mean your dog will accept petting by everyone as many GSDs just prefer NOT to be petted by everyone in sight, but a well socialized dog will stand, sit, or lie down politely while you meet with people on the street or not take much notice when walking through crowds.

Regarding dogs, training classes is the best means to socialize around other dogs. The dogs are (hopefully) under control by their owners, it's a controlled environment, and your dog learns to pay attention to YOU. Your dog does not need to play with every single dog it meets. Some dogs do well with this, many do not.
 

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Have you had her to any group obedience classes? It is possible that she just isnt around enough dogs to know either how to act or how to remain calm and focused on what she is supposed to be doing?

Group classes would be a good start to work on these types of issues.
 

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i agree you should sign up for an OB class. It gives them confidence when they are meeting new dogs, and how to properly "meet" one another.
 
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