Here`s another great article:
I have a 6 month old GSD, Navi. Shes a sweet dog and very smart. She has most of the basic commands down (sit, lie down, stay, leave it, drop it). She is also bell trained to ring a bell when she needs to go outside to go potty. And has learned some phrases like "it's time to say goodnight". She'll go to each kids room and hop on their bed and say good night. Also knows "it's time for bed" and will go into her kennel at bedtime. On walks she wont pull and stays near.
I've been trying to socialize her as much as I can. She tends to be nervous and stressed in public. Normally it's just her and I out and about. She stays by my side, gets lots of treats, all that fun stuff. I will also have strangers give her treats to help with the process. For the most part shes been great and gets it quickly.
About two weeks ago I took my kids with Navi to the pet store. She was perfect until I went to pay. I handed the leash to my stepson, turned my back, and a couple with a large dog walked fairly close to where Navi and the kids were. Navi lost her mind. Lunged forward at the dog, was doing her "I'm gonna eat your face off" bark. I quickly got it under control, but not the experience I wanted.
From there its seemed to amplify. Weve been traveling a lot more. Going hiking, to the beach. The weather is finally nice and we as a family are doing outdoors stuff.
Navi is a giant stress ball the entire time. At the beach she just did circles around the entire group and lost her mind if anyone came within 50 feet of us. On hiking trails she loses it if anyone passes. Some of it I do recognize as herding behavior. She keeps a close eye on the kids and the circling behavior definitely was her checking the perimeter of her "herd".
I know socializing is key. Any suggestions to getting her more relaxed with being in public?
Normally I keep her close. If she starts getting stessed/excited/agitated I'll have her sit by my side. I'll talk calmly to her. Praise her and give her treats for calm behavior.
I know I need to get this under control. Shes 50lbs at 6 months. If shes still have this behavior full grown, it's going to be a nightmare. Any creative advice would be greatly appreciated. I've never had a GSD before. Have had border collies, and recognize the herding behavior. I'm more concerned by the crazy protective behavior. I want her to be protective, it's why we chose this breed. But having her be this protective in public is not safe. Plus she is so stressed and just looks miserable.
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