Description of your first forum.


Post by Barbara Simpso » Sun, 22 Nov 1998 04:00:00

I have a GSD puppy that is 5 months old. He shows no aggression with people
but raises his hackles and barks when he sees other dogs (even when they are
fenced and no threat to him.) I have just started taking him for walks
outside the yard to give him exposure to other stimuli outside his
territory. I've had other GSDs but have never encountered this with them. He
even did this yesterday when he saw our female that he knows on the other
side of the fence. You could tell by the look on her face that she was
really confused by this. Can anyone give me some tips on how I can get a
handle on this? We have other family members with dogs and we all camp
together a lot and bring our dogs with us. I've been waiting to take him out
in the "world" until he had all his shots. I'd lost one dog to Parvo and
didn't want to risk this one, but I really need help on this. BTW, when he
sees other dogs (which has only been a very few) he is not aggressive, no
charging just raises his hackles and barks menacingly. Please let me know
what I can do to make this more comfortable for him. It really startled me
when I saw this behavior in him. I am going to check into an obedience class
for us, but I want him to be a little bitter behaved than this before I take
him. Thanks in advance for all the good advice I know will be coming my way.

B Simpson
Dogs are people too!!



Post by Brew » Mon, 23 Nov 1998 04:00:00

>I have just started taking him for walks
>outside the yard to give him exposure to other stimuli outside his

I hope this is just a incorrect statement.  If this is the first time in taking
the GSD out of it environment, no wonder you are having problems.  Your dog
should have been exposed to different stimuli from a young age. I would be
class the type of aggression you are seeing as "fear" aggression.  Your puppy
is reacting defensively to things outside of its experience namely other dogs.

I know you were worried about Parvo but once your puppy had it's full slate of
vacinations it would have been allright to start the socialization process.
Waiting for the puppy to become better behaviored before starting an obedience
class is not a practical idea.  You need the atmosphere of introducing your
puppy to different dogs in a controlled enviorment such as an obedience class.
I would talk to the instructor of the class and set up a schedule of training
to enhance the socialization needs of your puppy.  

The important thing to remember in socializing a puppy of this age showing
these signs is SLOWLY.  You do not want to go beyond the comfort threshold of
the puppy in strange dog encounters.  Start from a distance and when you notice
the puppy being somewhat comfortable with the situation then you can decrease
the distance to other dogs.  Also try not to comfort and disipline the puppy.
Allow adjustment on the dogs terms not your.  It can be a slow process but with
time even the most dog aggressive dogs can learn to be tolerant of other dogs.
Notice I said tolerant.  that does not mean becoming buddy buddy with other

If you have access to a dog behaviorlist so much the better.  The most recent
innovation for dog to dog difficulties is "growl classes".  I think your puppy
is not at that level just needs the intervention of slow introduction to allow
the puppy to develop coping mechanisms in regards to other dogs.

Good Luck




Post by Barbara Simpso » Mon, 23 Nov 1998 04:00:00

I did not say this was the first time. I have been taking him different
places since his last round of shots was finished. We have taken him camping
and on walks. Today I took him to a large park with a track. The first 3 or
4 joggers that went by he growled, barked and his hair stood up. I just kept
walking and didn't acknowledge his behavior. After that, he just ignored
them when they went by. Some kids wanted to pet him and he was fine with
them. He did really great. I was so proud of him. Guess I was just
overreacting and transferring those feelings to him. He's extremely smart
and realized quick that there was no threat to him. I think he will be fine.
I'll just keep working with him and be patient. I definitely will take him
to obedience classes.

B Simpson