Today was a good day! Puppy with aggression to strangers

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Long story, but I'm happy after a long day working with puppies and none of my family likes animals, so I want to share my excitement with y'all 🙂

We got a 10 month old husky pup a few months back and due to coronavirus we haven't been able to get him out to meet anyone or keep up with dog interactions, especially since we live rurally and don't have many friends/no family in the area. We have had the occasional passerby on walks but mostly on the other side of the street.

He is 99% perfect now – crate trained, great with our cats and kid, house trained quickly with only two weeks of accidents, learns tricks fast, and walks without dragging me. He can sleep uncrated without incident and the only thing he destroys are rose bushes (I guess he likes the extra zing of the thorns). The only issue with walking is that he wants desperately to pull to other dogs to play, and he will jump on strangers who want to pet him. We decided that once things reopened and we got him into obedience training to smooth out the socialization issues, we would get another dog so he would have a friend (and because two dogs are more fun than one). I wanted a german shepherd since they are my favorite dog and I was really attached to a few in my past.

A few days later, someone through the cat rescue I work with contacted me personally, saying that they had a pair of German shepherd puppies, 12 weeks old, needing immediate rescue. They were akc registered but the breeder and her family all lost their jobs due to corona and had to move to an apartment, meaning they could no longer breed. They had the parents fixed, and of the last litter, all but two were sold, but it was crunch time on the move so they were going to literally give the puppies to a shelter if there was space since they knew no one who was willing to take them in immediately. Shelters around here are still full and not accepting intakes in most cases due to corona. Even the ones that reopened are now full because people immediately flooded them with pets.

Husband and I discussed, and since we doubted we would find a rescue GSD with 90% of her vetting done falling into our laps like this again anytime soon, we decided we may as well take the opportunity. We met the two pups and decided to take in the female, just a bit earlier than we had originally hoped.

This puppy is a sweetheart– we met her and she immediately started licking our hands and leaning against us for scratches and cuddles. Great around the cats, our husky (who LOVES her), and kid, doesn't bite or nip at all, hasn't had a potty accident in the house in a week (never once pooped indoors), fully crate trained, and the only issue with chewing is that our cats keep bringing their toys to her which she isn't allowed to touch lol. She is halfway to knowing the drop it command.

We finally got all clear from the vet to let her meet other dogs this week, so we started walking her around the block both alone and with our husky. She walks so well and sticks right next to me. Our husky does better around other dogs behind fences now, even when we walking him alone, because he isn't dog-starved.

We took her for her first real trip to the nearest truly populated park (2 hours away) and she did great — barked at other dogs a bit but we could move past them and I got a few people to give her treats. Wary, but seemed to have fun and got a lot of regular treats.

Then, yesterday evening, one day later, we took her around our rural town and ran into one other couple, who I proceeded to ask to feed her a treat to get her used to strangers. They said sure and then when they took the food got really weird and nervous. She just starts barking and growling at them and they fling the food to her feet and scurry away before I could tell them not to.

That incident left me SO SCARED that our GSD would be aggressive. Our last GSD was very sick as a puppy so she missed some early dog socialization too, but she was only anxious — and once she got a sniff she was fine. I had never seen barking and growling in my dogs!! I had full on puppy blues and regret and panic and researched for hours last night when we got home. I just knew she would end up attacking my family when they come to visit or we would end up never being able to walk our town since there are so many off-leash dogs we cannot avoid. They are a pain with our excited husky, but I dont want a GSD who will rip their faces off and get us sued by their irresponsible owners.

I had a long-standing puppy date planned for today for our husky with my one local friend (1 hour away) with a slightly older puppy (5 months) since quarantine was lifted, but I went into it so scared that I would have to turn them away because my puppy was too aggressive. I was scared she wouldn't be allowed into dog training classes whenever those finally open because she wasn't socialized enough and aggressive dogs aren't allowed. Two weeks ago she had met us and was totally friendly and brave!! She is still a cuddle bug with us. What had happened??

but guys


Husky was hyper and bouncy but so was friend's puppy and after a half hour of treats and training, both were laying on the ground together and he would look away from her when I said his name.

GSD was…. less good immediately, but it didn't last long. We started without the other dog around — just me holding her on leash, my friend armed with fresh chicken crouching on the ground. Puppy barked and growled for a minute but I lured her close with chicken until she took it out of my hand next to my friend's, and then straight from my friend's hand. She could pet her a little and stand without any barking!!

Then, once she was comfortable enough to listen to commands and focus on me while in her presence, we brought out the other dog.

She barked and growled again, clearly nervous. But again with the chicken. I interrupted her barks with sit commands, and when she was totally focused on me we gave her chicken. Then when she looked back at the other dog and didn't bark, chicken. After 10 min there was no barking and every time she looked at my friend's pup, she immediately looked to me and got chicken.

We then started walking parallel around the block, so my pup could get used to movement around another dog and stranger. She was nervous when we had to fall in line for a car and she couldn't see the other dog behind her, but after a bit she was walking ahead no problem. There was a moment where my friend bent over to pick up poo and loosened her leash a little too much and her puppy ran nose-to-nose with mine for a millisecond and no freakout!

We even walked past a tall construction guy who I asked to give her a treat, and while she was wary, there was NO BARKING and she walked to him to sniff his hand!!

And to top it off, no barking when we passed the corner yappy dog!

Then later this afternoon, someone from my rescue dropped by to pick up something and she was able to feed AND pet her!! She did get really nervous when the rescue lady said "sit" too firmly, but puppy immediately came back when offered more chicken. Husky tried jumping once but then took food and affection without hyperness.

I am so proud of them! I am still dying for obedience classes (husband will be taking husky, I will be taking GSD simultaneously) but hopefully now we will be able to go back to the park and at least practice walking around people and dogs without barking and growling in the meantime. My friend can also visit every few weeks so we can have longer training sessions.

I love our little pack and it was wonderful to see we didn't mess up our GSD girl irrevocably by waiting 2 weeks for her to finish shots to socialize with strangers 🙂 they do so well at home, I just want people to see how good they really are haha. Seems like it will just cost the lives of a few more chickens as bribes 😡

puppy taxes

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