Maryland Pet

Q & A: A Timid German Shepherd

Question: A Timid German Shepherd

“I have an 11-month-old German Shepherd. We got him from a private breeder at the age of 8 weeks. He was a very happy puppy, and to this day he has never been beaten (at least that I know of). But now, he’s such an introvert that it’s pitiful! He’s scared to death of everybody except for my family and myself. We live on a carnation ranch so he shouldn’t really be too bashful – there are always people around; but still, he’s scared. Can you tell me what to do, and why he does this?”

Answer:

The reason is primarily due to a lack of proper socialization as a puppy. You live on a carnation ranch, and even though you say there are “always people around,” that in itself wasn’t enough. To ensure optimum emotional development, puppies should be played with, talked to, fondled, petted, etc., by a wide range of people – not just members of the family.

The puppy should have been taken with you on trips to town between the age of 8 and 16 weeks, and not confined to the general vicinity of the carnation ranch. At 11 months of age, the damage is probably permanent with too much hope for improvement. The possibility exists, however, that by taking your dog to formal obedience training classes in your area, you will be able to build the dog’s confidence in himself and in other people.

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