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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys,

To start, I know what you're all thinking. I'm no longer NoGSD! I have a 4.5 month old baby and her name is Umbra. I don't have the usual problems you guys probably see here. Umbra doesn't bark, she doesn't bite, she's not aggressive, and she's not fearful. We've flown through basic obedience and the only real challenge left is distractions. She's playful, friendly, and eager to please. She has no health issues, either. Here's where it gets weird.

Umbra basically never had a nipping phase (barely ever nipped in the first place, bite inhibition set in extremely quickly). She is not even the slightest bit wary of strangers, in fact, she wants literally everyone she sees to pet her. She's ready to lick their face as soon as she sees them. She is not even slightly wary of other dogs, either. Umbra is not very velcro-y, and tends to be more excited by new people, places, and dogs than she is about me. We're working on building focus, but it definitely doesn't come from within like I expected. She's also really not a "one-person dog" in general. Maybe she will be after a lot of work on focus, but I don't think her innate ultra-friendliness will ever change.

She acts pretty much like I would expect a golden retriever puppy to -- but she's not only a GSD, she's a 100% DDR Working Line Shepherd from a very reputable breeder. I am 100% sure she is not a mixed breed, and she definitely looks extremely shepherd-y, she just acts... so... weird for a GSD puppy.

I see nothing but posts on here about puppy biting and it's just so weird to me. I love Umbra, she's a great dog, and it is very fortunate for me to never have to worry about introducing her to new people or animals, but I did get a working line GSD for a reason. I was hoping for a bit more drive, focus, and a bit of velcro. I was very much looking for a one-person-dog companion, which she just isn't. She's happy to be in rooms where I am not, and even sleep out of my eyesight.

I love Umbra very much, and we're definitely bonded for life, but I cant help but feel this is not the typical GSD experience. I was wondering if this seems as weird to you guys as it does to me -- I genuinely feel like I have a Golden Retriever sometimes, although admittedly she blows other dogs out of the water at obedience and learning commands when working one-on-one in a distraction free environment.

If you have any tips on getting her to focus on me more, I would love to hear them. Currently we're working on rewarding any time she makes eye contact on a walk, because heeling (let alone loose-leash walking) feels impossible right now. She is so distractable that maintaining control on a leash is difficult.

Do any of you guys have experience with a puppy who acts like this? Have you ever met a GSD puppy like I'm describing? Is Umbra as weird as I think she is, and any other GSD puppy would be harder? Umbra is so easy it feels like cheating, lol.
 

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Your GSD puppy sounds just like my 6.5-year-old Malinois (Fay Fay) when she was little. Bascially a confident dog that is environmentally and sociably stable.

As a puppy, every stranger/dog was a potential long-lost family member to Fay Fay. Teaching her to focus was a challenge because she wanted to meet/greet every living being around us.

She was also very slow to mentally mature but I just kept working with her. Took her to many different places to play/build engagement. She got better and better with time/work. By the time she was 2 years old, she pretty much learned to focus on me when working/training. By the time she was 2.5 years old, I could take her to any new environment and her focus was on me 100% when working. Her sense of curiosity towards people decreased with training/age. She is still people-/dog-friendly, but as long as I am around, she just wants to interact with me. I trialed her when she was 3 years old in a brand new field 2 hours away and she performed just like it was her home field.

In terms of “guarding"our house or giving warning barks, I can’t count on Fay Fay. She has quite a bit of defense in her but her threshold is high. Normal daily stuff doesn’t faze her. Strangers can come right up to our door, she will go and look, but she won’t bark because she doesn’t see them as threats.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Your GSD puppy sounds just like my 6.5-year-old Malinois (Fay Fay) when she was little. Bascially a confident dog that is environmentally and sociably stable.

As a puppy, every stranger/dog was a potential long-lost family member to Fay Fay. Teaching her to focus was a challenge because she wanted to meet/greet every living being around us.

She was also very slow to mentally mature but I just kept working with her. Took her to many different places to play/build engagement. She got better and better with time/work. By the time she was 2 years old, she pretty much learned to focus on me when working/training. By the time she was 2.5 years old, I could take her to any new environment and her focus was on me 100% when working. Her sense of curiosity towards people decreased with training/age. She is still people-/dog-friendly, but as long as I am around, she just wants to interact with me. I trialed her when she was 3 years old in a brand new field 2 hours away and she performed just like it was her home field.

In terms of “guarding"our house or giving warning barks, I can’t count on Fay Fay. She has quite a bit of defense in her but her threshold is high. Normal daily stuff doesn’t faze her. Strangers can come right up to our door, she will go and look, but she won’t bark because she doesn’t see them as threats.
This is very reassuring! I am proud of how well socialized Umbra is, and I am glad that she is confident and stable. I tried to do everything right, and during COVID, it was a LOT of work.

Umbra does want to greet every living being around us. She's so comically overly friendly that she doesn't bark at squirrels when she gets to their tree -- she does her play bow and bounds backward to try to get them to chase her. To Umbra, even the squirrels are potential friends. It's kind of adorable, but I wish she was less interested in everything else.

We do visit a lot of different places, and I'm working to build that engagement and focus. It's going to be a a long 19 months, lol. I hope she matures faster, but I assume any mal probably learns focus better than a GSD. I'm hoping her curiosity decreases with age, but that friendliness stays. That would be ideal :)

I'm not worried about guarding. Umbra has displayed basically no defensive drive, but that's not a huge concern for me. I just want her to want to interact with me more than she wants to explore.
 

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I wouldn't necessarily say that a GSD puppy with a Golden Retriever temperament is socially stable. There is a thing such as too much sociability. Neutral is best and proper. Expect to put in a lot of work and training to bring that under control. Do be aware that your puppy will probably also always be at high risk for theft as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I wouldn't necessarily say that a GSD puppy with a Golden Retriever temperament is socially stable. There is a thing such as too much sociability. Expect to put in a lot of work and training to bring that under control. Do be aware that your puppy will probably also always be at high risk for theft as well.
It's funny, because I never really did anything to encourage it other than try to socialize her. I never rewarded her for socializing, or tried to incentivize it. In fact, toward the end of the socialization period when she was so friendly, I changed up my tactics to trying to get her to socialize by ignoring strange people while being comfortable in their presence. I never aimed for this exuberance, and even tried my best to push toward less engaged socialization.

I know there is a thing as too much sociability, but her temperament is so weird to me. Never in a million years did I expect to even meet a working line GSD with a temperament like hers. I'm pretty much just trying to train against her temperament at this point, so I am expecting a lot of work.

I'm sure she will always be at high risk of theft, which is why I pretty much never let her out of my sight. Even still, she pretty much never takes commands from anyone but me, because my family is so ridiculously bad at training they've basically taught her that their commands are optional. Very luck break for me, but it's definitely not because she doesn't love them enough. She adores them all, even my brother who hates her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It's funny, because I never really did anything to encourage it other than try to socialize her. I never rewarded her for socializing, or tried to incentivize it. In fact, toward the end of the socialization period when she was so friendly, I changed up my tactics to trying to get her to socialize by ignoring strange people while being comfortable in their presence. I never aimed for this exuberance, and even tried my best to push toward less engaged socialization.

I know there is a thing as too much sociability, but her temperament is so weird to me. Never in a million years did I expect to even meet a working line GSD with a temperament like hers. I'm pretty much just trying to train against her temperament at this point, so I am expecting a lot of work.

I'm sure she will always be at high risk of theft, which is why I pretty much never let her out of my sight. Even still, she pretty much never takes commands from anyone but me, because my family is so ridiculously bad at training they've basically taught her that their commands are optional. Very luck break for me, but it's definitely not because she doesn't love them enough. She adores them all, even my brother who hates her.
Oh, and she's also microchipped.
 

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This is very reassuring! I am proud of how well socialized Umbra is, and I am glad that she is confident and stable. I tried to do everything right, and during COVID, it was a LOT of work.

Umbra does want to greet every living being around us. She's so comically overly friendly that she doesn't bark at squirrels when she gets to their tree -- she does her play bow and bounds backward to try to get them to chase her. To Umbra, even the squirrels are potential friends. It's kind of adorable, but I wish she was less interested in everything else.

We do visit a lot of different places, and I'm working to build that engagement and focus. It's going to be a a long 19 months, lol. I hope she matures faster, but I assume any mal probably learns focus better than a GSD. I'm hoping her curiosity decreases with age, but that friendliness stays. That would be ideal :)

I'm not worried about guarding. Umbra has displayed basically no defensive drive, but that's not a huge concern for me. I just want her to want to interact with me more than she wants to explore.
Umbra is adorable :love::love::love:

Yes, Fay Fay is practically friendly to anything that has a pulse :LOL: Makes taking her everywhere super easy after she learned she didn't have to greet EVERYONE, LOL.

I think it varies depending on bloodlines/genetics. I've seen some GSDs in our dog club that were very friendly as puppies and became much more aloof as adults, then some who remained friendly as adults.

Here is a video that summarizes Fay Fay's first 2 years.....Two years in 5 minutes
 

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It's funny, because I never really did anything to encourage it other than try to socialize her. I never rewarded her for socializing, or tried to incentivize it. In fact, toward the end of the socialization period when she was so friendly, I changed up my tactics to trying to get her to socialize by ignoring strange people while being comfortable in their presence. I never aimed for this exuberance, and even tried my best to push toward less engaged socialization.

I know there is a thing as too much sociability, but her temperament is so weird to me. Never in a million years did I expect to even meet a working line GSD with a temperament like hers. I'm pretty much just trying to train against her temperament at this point, so I am expecting a lot of work.

I'm sure she will always be at high risk of theft, which is why I pretty much never let her out of my sight. Even still, she pretty much never takes commands from anyone but me, because my family is so ridiculously bad at training they've basically taught her that their commands are optional. Very luck break for me, but it's definitely not because she doesn't love them enough. She adores them all, even my brother who hates her.
It's genetic so it will always factor in. I've been there a time or two. Good luck with your dog.
 

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There is a possiblity she might become more protective as she gets older. My WL was a very social puppy. He loved everyone except the vet. Then he became more guarded and just last week, I thought he was going to try to take down a man who was trimming a tree in my yard. If he met the same man in a different setting, he would greet him if I let him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Umbra is adorable :love::love::love:

Yes, Fay Fay is practically friendly to anything that has a pulse :LOL: Makes taking her everywhere super easy after she learned she didn't have to greet EVERYONE, LOL.

I think it varies depending on bloodlines/genetics. I've seen some GSDs in our dog club that were very friendly as puppies and became much more aloof as adults, then some who remained friendly as adults.

Here is a video that summarizes Fay Fay's first 2 years.....Two years in 5 minutes
Fay Fay is adorable too!

Once Umbra stops greeting everyone, it should be pretty easy to take her places. She's friendly enough I'm never worried about aggression.

It's very strange to me, because she's not just working line, she's 100% East German (DDR), and comes from an imported, well titled sire. I'd love for her to become a bit more aloof as she grows older, though. I feel like somehow her bloodline isn't really playing into her temperament, it's weird.

Your video is very cute! Fay fay is very advanced. Umbra and I are really only to basic obedience and a really solid stay :LOL:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
There is a possiblity she might become more protective as she gets older. My WL was a very social puppy. He loved everyone except the vet. Then he became more guarded and just last week, I thought he was going to try to take down a man who was trimming a tree in my yard. If he met the same man in a different setting, he would greet him if I let him.
Umbra loves the vet. Umbra even loves the cat that hisses and swipes at her. Literally comical-tier friendliness. I've never even heard her growl, and I've had her for nearly 3 months.
 

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You don't say how long you've had the 4.5 month old pup, maybe you just missed the worst of the bitey period? Mine were all basically done land sharking by 4 months, certainly 5. EDIT, I see you've had her for almost 3 months, why are we just hearing about this, I thought we were friends :mad:

Umbra is a very good looking sable girl. I wouldn't put too much emphasis on a "100% East German (DDR), and comes from an imported, well titled sire" as they can throw totally opposite temperaments, sizes etc in a litter. It just stacks the odds, doesn't guarantee clones as you know.

I have one dog that is much more naturally friendly/outgoing and the other that's very much more aloof but both alert the house to strangers. Both are great but the aloof one won't ever get stolen without a lot of the kidnappers blood left on the ground :sneaky: ..... maybe from the dog, maybe from me
 

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I know most people prefer aloof GSDs, but I'll take a super social dog any day as long as I've also got solid nerves, confidence, and good focus and drives. I wouldn't mind if Cava were more neutral (she really likes other dogs) but when we're at flyball practice she doesn't have any trouble working with me.

Does Umbra like to tug? Having something to do, such as playing with you, can go a long way to make you more interesting than the environment. Even better, you can teach her that the sight of other interesting things is the cue to redirect to you for some play. To get to that point you'll need to make the tug of very high value.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
You don't say how long you've had the 4.5 month old pup, maybe you just missed the worst of the bitey period? Mine were all basically done land sharking by 4 months, certainly 5. EDIT, I see you've had her for almost 3 months, why are we just hearing about this, I thought we were friends :mad:

Umbra is a very good looking sable girl. I wouldn't put too much emphasis on a "100% East German (DDR), and comes from an imported, well titled sire" as they can throw totally opposite temperaments, sizes etc in a litter. It just stacks the odds, doesn't guarantee clones as you know.

I have one dog that is much more naturally friendly/outgoing and the other that's very much more aloof but both alert the house to strangers. Both are great but the aloof one won't ever get stolen without a lot of the kidnappers blood left on the ground :sneaky: ..... maybe from the dog, maybe from me
Yeah, I got her at 7 weeks and 5 days. Not even quite 8 weeks! I hope those 48 hours didn't make a huge difference, lol.

She is a very good looking sable girl! She's so cute, my favorite coat color is black sable, but I actually just got that color by coincidence! She's definitely very different temperamentally than her lineage, that's for sure. I'm hoping I can train in the focus and she gets more aloof to others and velcro to me with age.
 

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Sabi was social and outgoing. It never affected her discernment one bit, and it never impacted her work. She was also a weirdly quiet and well behaved pup, trained stupid easy and seldom put teeth on any of us. Again, she was all good with doing her job and was cool with biting bad guys.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I know most people prefer aloof GSDs, but I'll take a super social dog any day as long as I've also got solid nerves, confidence, and good focus and drives. I wouldn't mind if Cava were more neutral (she really likes other dogs) but when we're at flyball practice she doesn't have any trouble working with me.

Does Umbra like to tug? Having something to do, such as playing with you, can go a long way to make you more interesting than the environment. Even better, you can teach her that the sight of other interesting things is the cue to redirect to you for some play. To get to that point you'll need to make the tug of very high value.
Umbra loves to tug! She's very toy motivated, and we play a lot. Anytime she brings me a toy and drops it nicely for me I play with her. I'll try bringing the tug on walks with me -- teaching her to engage with me when she sees other interesting things is a brilliant idea!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Sabi was social and outgoing. It never affected her discernment one bit, and it never impacted her work. She was also a weirdly quiet and well behaved pup, trained stupid easy and seldom put teeth on any of us. Again, she was all good with doing her job and was cool with biting bad guys.
She sounds like Umbra without the focus issues! And toned down friendliness -- I've never heard Umbra growl at anything, I don't think I could teach her to bite.
 

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Umbra loves the vet. Umbra even loves the cat that hisses and swipes at her. Literally comical-tier friendliness. I've never even heard her growl, and I've had her for nearly 3 months.
I wasn’t referring to your dog and the vet. Mine became vet phobic due to bad handling at the vet’s office. I doubt that would happen to your dog.
 

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She sounds like a fairly typical DDR puppy. She’s so young, she’s supposed to be friendly to everyone at this age. What is her pedigree?
 
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