charity Posted September 21, 2019 Author Share Posted September 21, 2019 My shepherd was a big goof even at 12 weeks but never growled. His paws were too big for his body and his ears were still floppy then. I didn't encourage any tug o war games or games that encouraged aggression or aggressive responses even at play. In this way I think he grew up very trusting in general and made friends very easily at dog parks and public places. He remained fearless around extremely aggressive dogs and never had confidence issues. He was often happy go lucky and a pack leader. When he was young he did tend to chase after more insecure dogs (yappy dogs that were poorly socialized) out of curiosity. He had to be taught not to prey on smaller dogs because of their insecurity or fearfulness because he had never come in contact with that before. I'd emphasize trust and confidence and always keep in mind that your dog is your liability from puppyhood to adulthood. If he wanted attention in one way and it wasn't acceptable, I'd deflect and show him how to behave instead (replacing a non-acceptable behavior for one that is acceptable). Like Jibralta we also played but it was mostly playful. It wasn't unusual for me to get down to his level on the floor and sit with him or lay there and play. Dogs will test you and try to gain the upper hand. It's not because they disrespect you or have any personal vendetta against you. They're testing to see how far they can get and how malleable you are as a dog owner. For her safety, you should be able to establish that bond and trust/connection with your dog where what you say goes and it's non-negotiable. There may be any number of events that happen later on in your lives and it's on you to protect your pet and other pets or anyone else in the surrounding area (to trust that your dog is not a loose cannon). There was some nipping too in puppyhood but he outgrew it (they all generally do unless there's no proper training). I think some dog breeds may be more prone to attention-getting or needing that secure bond/trust established. They may need to be told and trained more than other breeds. The shepherd I had was trusting and obedient by nature but very strong. I had my own challenges at the 6 month to 1 year mark and it took us awhile to get used to walking nice for example. I used positive reinforcements and if there was unacceptable behaviour, as I mentioned above, I'd replace it immediately with an alternate behaviour. Then positive reinforcement again. And again and again. Every exercise you do with your dog will be an exercise in bonding and trust. I really hope it works out for your dog and your family. It takes work but it sure is worth it. Okay thanks Rose that's very helpful advice Link to comment
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