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Discussion Starter #1
My 9 mo lab mix exhibits some fearful behavior when he approaches or is approached by certain people. Triggers seem to be backpacks/umbrellas/hats/hoods, and children. When sitting still outside (tied, or at a coffee shop) he seems to have no such fears of anything that goes by, but on sidewalks or walks off leash when he's moving, he'll often see someone fear-inducing and his hair will stand up, he may growl, and occasionally will give a deep-sounding bark (same bark as when he hears someone enter our apartment building or walk up the back steps). We have heavily socialized him, and have had him since 8 weeks...off-leash dog parks, other people's houses and dinner parties, walks around the neighborhood, my partner's workplace. He has always had these tendencies to some degree, but has never snapped or nipped, and we reprimand him for mouthing anyone, even in play (which he does only rarely). With people he knows (including my friends' toddler), he is an exuberant and excited greeter with abundant wags and licks.

Suggestions on a) whether to scold for the behavior or reassure, and b) what particular training tips might be helpful? Also, how do you approach socializing a dog with random children in a safe way? My stepmother (who breeds and raises dogs) suggested that having a greeting procedure that we control (i.e. an immediate "sit" command, with reassurance) might be helpful.
Maria, James, and Floyd.
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