German Shepherd Dog > Would you consider this normal for his age? (27 replies)
Would you consider this normal for his age?
by GSDguy08 on 27 June 2012 - 03:15
|So, I haven't taken Auggie out much at night, but we went to town tonight around the Main Street area. We were walking around, he was doing pretty well. At one point we walked past this car that was just blaring out loud music (horrible rap music at that) and Auggie was slightly nervous about it at first. We walked past it one more time and he was fine after that. Well, later on I was walking and these two people walked past us. It was fairly dark at the spot we were at, and Auggie acted extremely suspicious and slightly nervous about them as well. I walked off the sidewalk before they were beside us, and went a few feet out so he'd have space to be more comfortable, but he still tried to back away even more. Is this normal for some pups at this age? Have any of you guys had pups do this, and did they overcome these things later on? In all seriousness I'm use to much, much more confidence about a situation like this with a pup. I've been working on his socialization more and more, I just know the breeder he came from did squat for the first 12 weeks with him as far as socializing goes. He's very social anywhere when Buck is with him, but if Buck is not with him (Buck almost always is) I've noticed Auggie seems more aloof at times, more suspicious, and often times seems somewhat shy. That's actually the reason I started taking Buck out with him, to help him with that, I just didn't take him tonight. Thoughts?|
Editing to add, the "normal for this age" part is referring to the suspicion/nervous reaction at night like that.
by Hundmutter on 27 June 2012 - 09:15
|Don't know that I'd call it 'normal', but I can think of explanations for why it happens and they are not rare.|
The lack of early socialization / habituation by his breeder between weeks 7 and 12 is fairly important to this, so now you have him you need to be compensating for it (as you seem to be, keep up the good work). Secondly there's the "down the lead" factor - the circumstances you describe are a bit un-nerving for humans too - even if you like to think you are tough and not bothered, maybe your body language does not lie. ANY degree of tension in you will be picked up by the dog (and IMO GSDs are particularly good at 'reading' us). So then they get tense too.
As ever, recovery time is the important indication really. He's still a pup, he won't start taking new things and situations
always quickly / without reacting & backing off until he's older and has seen a lot more / been exposed to the same
articles or situations more than once or twice. So long as he gets over it quickly when he's passed the strange thing, I would not worry too much. If he spends like a whole 5 minutes looking back over his shoulder, THEN you worry ! LOL
The other thing is that although you've tried to help Auggie by taking Buck out with him a lot, this may have been a bit
counterproductive. Just as trainers caution us not to tell dogs what good boys they are at the point where they are showing fear or some other reaction we don't want, so always having a confident adult around can slow down a puppy in learning to rely on its own reaction to scary things. It just defers to what the older dog is doing.
And finally, (and I bet others have said this to you) keep well in mind that you are dealing with a GSD this time - particularly intelligent, and sensitive, and with guarding qualities, a mix that means the approach has to be a bit more subtle than with other breeds, so what works for your Huskies may need re-thinking for Auggie. Wishing you all the luck.
by NigerDeltaMann on 27 June 2012 - 13:02
|GSDguy, though u didn't state the age of ur puppy but i think, you're on the right track. That pup, i guess, needs "confidence build" in the form of "socialisation". Your routine with him or her will pay-off, . . . just d patience. Goodluck.|
by Blitzen on 27 June 2012 - 13:47
|GSDguy, I guess I'm not feeling very confrontational this morning, so will be kind to you and say - if any one posted this question about a SL dog I am pretty sure what YOUR response would be.|
Puppies go through many stages in their young lives including several episodes of what some behaviorists call "fear stages". Doesn't mean there is anything whatsoever "wrong" with that puppy, it is just a normal part of growing up. I think your puppy will be fine if you continue doing what you are doing with him. You seem to have a sensible approach.
Been there myself with a few pups (not GSD's) and they overcame it quickly with a little help from me.
by Conspicuous on 27 June 2012 - 14:03
|I was a bit concerned with my girl when she backed off a few things. Mind you, I just got her this weekend, but I was concerned that almost everything new caused her to back off the first day or two I had her.|
One example is when I took her to the barn, the stall doors sliding and banging shut made her take a step back, and the hose spraying (high water pressure, so it's loud) as I watered down the horses grain made her hide around the corner (while she peeked out). I was worried about her nerves and asked the breeder about it. She said it is normal for a pup to show some caution when approaching new things until they learn that they are not going to harm them. It's just a survival instinct. She said what is more important is how she recovers from it and how she does the next time, and I'm happy to say the next day she looked, but did not back off, and by this morning, she couldn't have cared less.
I think it's jsut a matter of keeping at it and letting them see things different ways.
It's kind of like our horses, they can pass something 100 times, but if you move it, the light is different or you approach it a different way, it becomes a whole new thing to them.
I'm sure he'll be ok, just keep taking him out and exposing him to things
by minro on 27 June 2012 - 14:14
|Both of my dogs went through this. One is actually still a spook, but I attribute that to purely genetics. Anyways, I agree with Hundmutter. I would advise you NOT to take Buck around with Auggie when you go out. Auggie needs to learn to deal with things himself - without his safety blanket around.|
What I used to do that really seemed to help - and this may sound weird to a lot of people - was to utilize treats everywhere I went. If my pup spooked out on a statue, I would put a treat right on top of it and if he wanted to eat it (he always did), he would have to go get it. Also, if he spooked out on a person, I would ask them to feed him a treat. Everyone I asked was more than happy to help once I told them I was trying to socialize my pup. Sometimes I would just set aside a few hours to walk around downtown and look for strange and new things (grates to walk on, loud construction sounds, park benches to jump/walk on, etc etc.)
It may seem counterintuitive, but to actively put Auggie in strange situations (not anything too crazy that he can't handle yet, obviously) and show him that he can handle it alone - without coddling him - I think may help.
Lastly, from my experience with numerous trainers, it's my understanding that dogs are indeed more suspicious at nighttime. So considering all the factors, to answer your question simply I would say your situation is certainly not abnormal.
by GSDguy08 on 27 June 2012 - 14:53
|Thanks everyone. Hundmutter, minro, I'll take that into account and not bring Buck with him so he can get use to it on his own. |
Blitzen, I realize pups go through fear stages, I'm just use to the ones who when in fear, confront the (one of them in the past was a WL GSD pup) fear very quickly (like if their hair spikes and they're nervous about something.....If I was to walk towards it they would run towards the thing causing their fear, check it out, and immediately not care anymore) Don't get me wrong, Auggie isn't doing what hundmutter said to worry about if they're spending 5 minutes looking over their shoulder. He may look for a second or two if we pass by it already, or he may take a little bit longer when investigating what he's afraid of. We did come upon an air unit in the dark (odd I know, it was in an alley) that was really loud. He was nervous about it, but cool enough it turned off when I walked up to it.....Auggie sniffed it, checked it out, and seemed ok after that, I guess it's like I said.....I'm just use to kind of the opposite response, as in a much faster confidence towards something.
minro, I may start doing that. Typically I do carry treats with me everywhere, last night I had a ball on a string. When he went through the fear issues though he wasn't paying much attention, but when we were over at the "park" he was going for the ball, would run and fetch it, etc. Not really a park, just a big grass area with a sidewalk going around it, lights, this concrete thing with water in it/fountains in it, and a pavillion as well. Auggie did want to go play in the water though lol. I will struggle with the fact that the heat is going to be so extreme for a good while that walking him will have to be very early......or very late. Our lows are around 70-72, and our highs are all about 100 or above for the rest of the 10 day starting tomorrow.
NigerDeltamann he is 25 weeks old.
Conspicuous, interesting about the horses. And maybe I'm just the same way, worrying about "nothing" lol. Well, what really might just be "nothing" but a temporary thing.
by TingiesandTails on 27 June 2012 - 15:33
|....just have to bug you about your last comment on my post on socialization ;o)....this is exactly what happens when you don't socialize your dog with anyone and anything available....|
it doesn't "ruin" the dog to be around as many dogs, people, situations etc as possible...puppies need to be immersed in new adventures...under supervision of course.
by DebiSue on 27 June 2012 - 16:19
|I think he is using common sense in being wary of something strange. He'll grow more confident the more you expose him to different things. My girl is almost 4 and she is not spooky but she noticed a rock in the flower bed and "snuck" up on it because she didn't know what it was. She never goes on this side of the house normally and it did kinda look like something crouching there in the grass (yes I need to weed my flower bed) I just stood there and watched her "bob & weave" as she snuck up on it until she could actually smell it and lick it just to be sure it was ok. LMAO A little caution is not a bad thing. Give him time and keep taking him out to experience the world outside your yard.|
by Nans gsd on 27 June 2012 - 17:40
|When my boy was your boys age, my trainer told me to work him at night; do his basic obedience at night and to work at night around our cars on our property at first, then move on to maybe someplace at night like Wal Mart of a store where you could be a reasonable distance from the cars but still do your basic obedience and that would be your lesson for that day. But start at his home (your home) where he is confident and then go from there to another strange place after you feel he is confident; you know there are boogy bears at night so night time is a good time to build confidence. Slowly and surely, by himself. Best of luck Nan|
by guddu on 28 June 2012 - 00:50
|Just lack of socialization. You might try taking him out late in the evening when its light, and then staying out until its dark in the areas where he was frightened.|
by alboe2009 on 28 June 2012 - 03:00
|For me.............. I would think mostly normal. IF, and if it was his first time experiencing that experience he is going to step back and put it all together...........he just experienced it for the first time. Without seeing the action(s) I would not even think of him being afraid.|
For the RAP music, one if it was loud, then you have the loudness he is trying to put a finger (paw) on. But if the bass is kicken then you have the vibration. Ever sit at a red light/stop sign and the vehicle next to you or behind you is thumping??? And you're getting a massage? That, I would think plus the loudness is what happened. Another thing.....................Remeber what a pup is seeing at their eye level not yours and maybe it was darker than he's used to be out?? But as a pup they're taking everything in in curiousity and he could have been on one side of your body/legs looking smelling something and then walked around/behind you and BAM right in front of him are two large objects......and he has to take a step back to take it all in. I would not worry one bit. When my latest pup and I would be out at night, (on a farm) and all the noises of the wild were around/about and if she heard an animal she wasn't sure of she would backtrack to Master and stay near him. Not a problem in my eyes whatsoever!
by Chaz Reinhold on 28 June 2012 - 03:08
|I would be concerned.|
by Denis B on 28 June 2012 - 03:17
|This is an interesting topic. I got a male GSD when he was 6 months old. He is now 18 months. An intelligent awesome pup. He loves people. However, there are a few people (Men) that he backs away from and will NOT go near to this day. Sometimes I think he is just a great judge of character, but I wonder why he does this. I didn't see his first 6 months of life and don't know what he experienced. Any thoughts?|
by Chaz Reinhold on 28 June 2012 - 03:19
|Denis, while you're at work, does he get crated when they come over?|
by Denis B on 28 June 2012 - 03:24
|No, he is not crated. It could be someone completely new as well. Especially men. But the next guy he meets he is all over them.|
by Denis B on 28 June 2012 - 03:31
|There are 2 people in particular, he will not let them touch him. He is not aggressive with them, he just doesn't want them near him. One of the men desperately wants to be his friend, but it just will not happen.|
by GSDguy08 on 28 June 2012 - 03:40
|Denis, you need to allow your dog to go up to them, have them ignore your dog and pretend he doesn't even exist. Let your dog get use to them on his terms. A dog I worked with in KY one time, the owner told me no one other than her had ever pet her dog before.....ever...... Within 5 minutes I was petting her dog. I got down on the dogs level, let it approach me, get comfortable, then I closed a treat in my hand.....it got closer and more comfortable..... I gave the treat, a couple of treats later, I was scratching under the chin as it tried to get the treat out of my hand. And a couple of minutes later I was petting it on the head without using treats.|
by Chaz Reinhold on 28 June 2012 - 03:51
|That's some dog whisperer shiznit there.|
by Denis B on 28 June 2012 - 03:55
|I should clarify. I have helped him like many others that he has backed away from and he will now run out the door to see them. He just will not open up to these two|