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Discussion Starter #1
My German Shepherd, Harley is 110lb and 28in at the withers. So as you can tell he is a big boy. He is a sweetheart though, he loves the family. He'll bark 3 times if he see's a stranger and that's it. I have been all over the town with him and he is great with meeting new people. But tons of people are very afraid of him. My neighbor insists he is dangerous and that German Shepherds are a mean breed, yet she has a Lab/Border Collie Mix that's bit six people and I wild pug. One man hid from Harley. He's not a mean dog but people are always so afraid of him. Any suggestions?
 

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you can't really do anything about people's misconceptions and fears. The most important thing is to keep Harley well socialized. If you can, go on frequent trips to dog friendly places like pet stores.
 

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I think people have the right to be cautious around him if they don't know you or how well you've trained him. I've even had lots of people say their dogs are friendly, but then their dogs turn around and snarl at me or snap at me. I think it's a good thing for people to be wary of strange dogs, regardless of how well trained or nice he really is. At least you won't have any kids running up to him and startling him, right? XD

However, it is sort of rude for people that KNOW you to say your dog is dangerous simply because of his breed. But some people are just stubborn, and there isn't much you can do. =/

If you want Harley to meet new people more often, maybe you can soften his image by buying him a cute T-Shirt or something? XD Hey may now look like some big 110 lb police dog, but I don't think he'll look too intimidating with a "Sweet Heart" or "Snuggle Bug" T-Shirt on XD
 

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Do whatever you can with Harley to change people's perception of him. Does he have his Canine Good Citizen? It's a basic obedience certificate, but it's starting point that proves your dog is good around other dogs & people.

There's another thread started by Inga about people's perceptions of rottweilers (and MDawn, I think, started another tread about the perception of mastiffs). One suggestion was to teach your dog silly tricks (shake, play dead, roll over, etc).

On the other hand, you aren't going to change everyone's thinking. Take it with a grain of salt and work your dog so that he really is a great representative of his breed. And just love him for being him. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you for all your help! I don't mind people being a little uneasy around him since he is a dog they don't know, but hiding behind trees and saying because of his Breed he's mean is a bit bother some. He has been to 3 different doggie school and done great in them. So I guess I'll just keep working with him, and taking him for his walks. He's 7 years old so he's met many different people and dogs. :) One local Restaurant even lets him come visit he's so well behaved. :)
Thank you again everyone!
 

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I think its a cute image of a big GSD walking around town with a "Snuggle Bug" t-shirt....LOL it had me cracking up at least.
 

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Sometimes it just can't be helped, when people see big dogs, or breeds that have been over-exposed in the media as "vicious" then some people tend to "believe what they hear", even if it seems illogical to us.

For me, when I was at the park with Donatello, there was an older gentlemen walking the largest, OLDEST, and prettiest Pit I've ever seen! I would have loved nothing more than to just hunker down and roll around with him, but around here, and because of the news I shied away and pulled Donatello close to my side... The guy just smiled, and said, "He's friendly, I swear"... I believed him, but there was just that sense of "is he really?"
 

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Thank you for all your help! I don't mind people being a little uneasy around him since he is a dog they don't know, but hiding behind trees and saying because of his Breed he's mean is a bit bother some. He has been to 3 different doggie school and done great in them. So I guess I'll just keep working with him, and taking him for his walks. He's 7 years old so he's met many different people and dogs. :) One local Restaurant even lets him come visit he's so well behaved. :)
Thank you again everyone!
I can honestly say I feel where you are coming from. With 2 "pitbulls" and 1 GSD...well you can imagine that unless they know my dogs, I don't get a lot of dinner guests. Not that I mind that so much, but it does bother me that people do the gawk and "omg you have this vicious dog" that is all happy to see them (this would be Lily) and just as blithly ignorant of their fear as could be.
 

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I don't have any experience with owning a "dangerous breed", but I think that in your position the best thing you can do is make sure that Harley proves them wrong as clearly as possible. Keep doing obedience work with him, and make sure he's well-socialised. You'd be surprised at the effect one well-behaved dog can have on his entire breed. Many people have a bad impression or fear of Rotties, GSDs, Pits until they meet that one dog of the breed that was a total sweetheart, and then they realise the truth. Make Harley that total sweetheart. :)
 
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