• Sharon Blakeney-McDonald

    October 28, 2016 at 12:04 am

    Hi Lauren,

    Congrats to owning your new pup Zadok.  GSD are often know to be instinctively protected of their owners and territory due to their breed traits. My other thought is Zadok is reaching the age where he could be going through one of the critical development period of his life. Around the 6 to 14mths a second fear impact period occurs that could also explain the  change of Zadok behaviour towards your visitors. Often during this period the adolescent dog becomes unsure and fearful of new things to unfamiliar people perceiving them  as a threat now. There are a few things you could try to do. One is instead of trying to encourage greetings you could try to wait  til he as time to work it out himself that they are of no harm. Instead of having him confront your visitors at the door you could try giving him a “safe space” where he can evaluate the situation from a distance. You could teach him a “stay”  and “go to your place” (perhaps the crate, or a dog bed, mat or what ever you prefer) for him to go to in your home. Once he know these commands, you can use them when visitors do come.  I use to do this with my GSD and once my guests were settle Tazer was “free” from his place to be able to come to them when he was comfortable they were no longer a threat. My visitors could then give him a treat/pat and after that he would just lay close by to watch us all.  I taught Tazer the commands by following the training system from this site. I would also go to the knowledge base and read about “leadership” – reinforcing your role as leader is an important part of making sure your dog understands he needs to look at you, the owners for directions.  If you don’t provide leadership then he will do his own thing. This is a good time to be training your dog as it helps build their self- confidence by putting them in a position that sets them up for success.

    Please keep us posted on how you go….