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Commercial-Free German Shepherd

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9 months old and thinks the world is against her! - 02/01/2005
We have a 9 month old Shepherd bitch.We have had her from 9 weeks. we have been and still attend classes. We socialise and walk often in the village where we live.After advice we altered the layout of the garden because she was showing signs of agression to visitors.she is now happier in the garden (still barks but is fine with friends and family & dosn't like the window cleaner).However she is very anxious when we are out walking,she barks at bikes ,buggys, umbrellas and any thing unusual. People that know her say she is lovely and just a puppy & will grow out of it. I am sure now she is picking up on my anxiety. do i as a friend has sudgested get a soft muzzel?

Replied - 02/17/2005
Hi Wendi! I had a similar behavior experience with my bitch at about 1 year of age. We tried a muzzle but she got really worked up with that so we just started using her walks to work on her attention commands. we positively reinforced "attention" for as long as she would give it and when the distraction became overwhelming and the barking and carrying on started we took her home and gave her some alone time to calm down and reflect. Initially it meant A LOT of very short walks through out the day but we saw an improvement after only a few days a were able to take her without any major freak outs to the pet superstore on a busy saturday after 3 weeks ! She is 2 now and seems to have completely gotten over this particular testing behavior but we still work on attention for the first 10 minutes of excursions and use it to maintain focus in potentially stressful situations. Good luck!

Replied - 04/21/2005
hi there...we have the same problem with our gsd.he does the exact same thing as yours does...the difference is that we have only just got him but from what the previous owners said he has always been like this. he is still getting used to friends and family so he still barks and growls at them but he is fine with my husband me and the children. have you had any good advice since you posted on here and if you have would you share it with me? the last thing i want to do is make him feel uneasy and my visitors and would like him to be a friendly dog but also a good guard dog!!! thanks xx

Replied - 05/20/2005
Likely your young bitch is lacking in "confidence" and therefore is not comfortable around "things new" or anything she does not "like" or understand.

Socialization here is the key but it must be "controlled."

Young dogs with "nerve" issues can develop into "fear biters" so this requires addition help from you the owner.

I see people "reward" their dogs all of the time for "nervous" behavior. When your dog cowers, gets behind you, hides, tucks the tail or reacts aggressively, please don't fall into the trap of saying "good dog" (trying to calm it) as that is a "reward" for unwanted behavior.

Removing the dog from things it does not like is not "education" but avoidance. Address the problem, correct the dog on leash w/pinch collar, put them into a down. Once the dog calms on its own then you "reward" the wanted and "good/proper" behavior.

Avoiding a problem & running away from the problem is not a solution that you will like. Those kind of problems will only escalate to a higher level.

Replied - 05/20/2005
You are right on target! Good advice!

You are in control and your dog knows this and respects you for it.

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