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Diesel is about 4 months now and just got finished with all his shots. He's a wonderful guy, except when we go out for walk. Granted, he does fine when the strangers at a distance and we are sitting on a bench or standing still. But when people get too close, or we walk by them at a close range, his ears and tail go up and he gets very alert.


People on the street ask me why he's so aggressive, and that he's going to grow up and be a biter. I generally don't respond to those comments, but they're kind of discouraging. I don't know what to do. We've only been going out for a week or so, so I'm not sure if it's because he's new to this or because he's scared.

Any advice? What should I do when he barks at people? It's getting to be a little embarrassing. :redface:
 

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The dog is getting alert at the sign of people...that's not aggression.

One thing to consider would be breed. What breed is he? Some dogs are naturally more aloof.

You could try playing the look at that game. Go out in a public area your pup is comfortable with and give them treats for looking at people. Use high value treats and stay under threshold. You can gauge that by when your pup will or won't take treats. If he won't take treats, you're over threshold and too close to the object pushing him there. Treat the dog for looking at other people, no matter the body posture. You're creating a positive association to the sight of other people.

Soon, if done right, your pup will catch on to the game. They will start to glance at other people and then immediately back to you for their reward.

Here's a video of it from the woman who really pioneered it. Her dogs are really close, but keep in mind, they're used to the game and are already well trained. Plus, they're adult dogs and used to their environment. You have a puppy that is still exploring the world and getting to know it.

 

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He's a German Shepherd mix, so I guess it makes sense that he would be a little wary of stranger. And the other reason why I think he might be scared of people is that fact that he will bark, run in a semi-circle around the person and then get behind me. Aaaannndd then, repeat.

Sigh. Thank you for your help, though. :)
 

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Listen to Cheese. You want to change how the dog feels about approaching people, so you need to create a positive association between people and tasty treats.

Also, running in semi-circles around people sounds like herding behavior, which wouldn't be surprising if this is a GSD mix. Just make sure he doesn't go too far and start nipping strangers.
 

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My border collie had a similar problem, only he was over excited to see anyone else. He was scaring the neighbors, even though he never hurt anyone, just gave them kisses. I got tired of my neighbors saying critical things about me and Virgil (the border collie.) I found a great training book on leash reactivity, and taught Virgil to 'look at me' any time there was a person, cat, dog, or squirrel that was exciting him. By making him focus on me, and get a treat for it, he learned to stay calm when encountering others outside. The most important fact I learning from the books, was not to haul up on his leash when he started to get excited, as this can be seem as punishment, which the dog will then associated with seeing others. Try to stay calm and in control and your dog will take cues from you. I was making the problem worse by tensing up ever time we saw someone, anticipating the problem to come. You might also have friends help you practice meeting people on while your dog is on leash, so he can get used to it.
Good luck with this.
 

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Diesel is about 4 months now and just got finished with all his shots. He's a wonderful guy, except when we go out for walk. Granted, he does fine when the strangers at a distance and we are sitting on a bench or standing still. But when people get too close, or we walk by them at a close range, his ears and tail go up and he gets very alert.
People on the street ask me why he's so aggressive, and that he's going to grow up and be a biter. I generally don't respond to those comments, but they're kind of discouraging. I don't know what to do. We've only been going out for a week or so, so I'm not sure if it's because he's new to this or because he's scared. Any advice? What should I do when he barks at people? It's getting to be a little embarrassing. :redface:
Read up what you can on puppy socialization and get going on that one ASAP, there are some good stickies here on this forum, you need to work on that ...
 
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