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Hi Folks! I've a problem:

Backstory: 5 months ago, we brought home 5 wk old puppies from a litter of 7 - a german shepard bitch + german/cross/lab (possibly)

When walking on and off-lead, the male runs up to many people (especially if they're running, duh!) / pulls on his leash with hulk-like force - aggressively.
Off-lead, he is 100% fine with other dogs, but still runs towards people and barks - he is obsessed with my Wife and generally refuses to walk out of her sight, and follows her everywhere. The female is the opposite - no issues whatsoever, though she MUST walk in front (pack leader?)

Right, so - we suspect he is insecure and has anxiety - we observed this from day 1 - symptom of being separated too early?

HELP! We have no clue where to start with him - any guidance would be greatly appreciated!

Cheers,
 

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Cat-dog, GSD spayed female and Tornado-dog, JRT mix, neutered male
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First, yes 5 weeks is WAY too early to separate a puppy from its mother. So that has already created a potential issue with separation anxiety, socializing, etc.

You need to get both puppies into a puppy class for socialization skills and then into a basic obedience class. You may want to attend separate classes just so they learn how to be apart from each other. Separate classes will also reduce any anxiety they feel being near each other but not being able to play with each other.

Select classes that focus on positive reinforcement. It's a good idea to go watch a class or two first and see how the trainer works. Some will talk the talk but in practice they will fail to live up to that.

The classes will not only train the puppies, but will teach you the skills to continue the training.
 

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You need to separate these two puppies (crate ttrain them) and handle them separately so that they do not bond to each other over bonding with you. You also need to get into some sort of training program so you know what to do to train them as individuals. I would suggest they be in separate classes. They need to be separated and taken out for potty at different times. This separate handling will need to go on until they are about two years old.

You also should know that socialization is getting your dog out in different environments and teaching the dog to focus on you. Socialization is NOT letting your dog meet people and other dogs (socialization is a bad word). Dogs on leash should NEVER MEET as it forces face to face meetings that most dogs find rude. When you walk your dog keept him or her on leash. Work on having the dog focus on you. Do NOT let everyone pet your dog and do NOT let your dog go up to other dogs. Stay out of Dog Parks. At roughly 6 months old these two puppies need to be on leash all the time.
 

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Hi there, I suggest that you research "Littermate syndrome" and read up on that. Getting littermates, especially if they leave the mother too young, comes with its own set of issues. You can handle it, but it needs to be understood how to do that so the dogs don't bond more with each other than with you.

Always walk and train them separately. This means if you are training in the house, the other pup is in another place where he or she cannot even see you, preferably not hear you either.

I disagree with the advice above that "Dogs on leash should NEVER MEET ". This is a blanket statement that doesn't hold true in all situations. It's important to understand all of the dynamics of on-leash greeting, though, so that is something to learn about. It doesn't necessarily force anything that the dogs think is rude, although of course it can - but if handled correctly it often is pleasant for the dogs. Great care needs to be taken, though, and you need to be able to read body language of dogs to keep it safe. I let my dogs meet others on leash regularly, but I have handled dogs for a very long time and am pretty good at reading them. If you are not good at that, then better to avoid it. And avoid it while you are beginning the training as well.

If you always forever avoid allowing your dog to meet other dogs on leash you will be basically teaching your dog that other dogs on leash are to be avoided, and that will make your dog think something is dangerous about other dogs, which in turn could make them cautious, possibly afraid, possibly even develop an aggression to other dogs on leash.

For really great training advice for almost everything, go to YouTube and watch videos by KIKOPUP.
If you go to a class for puppies, please make sure ahead of time that the trainer uses positive reinforcement methods only, because puppies need patience and understanding. Don't go to anyone who advocates jerking the leash, scolding or punishment, or using a shock or choke collar.
 
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