German Shepherd Socialization Inside the Home
Hello, I'm the owner of a 4.5 month old German Shepherd pup. We work on socialization daily with people and other dogs, but this mainly occurs outside of the home. My husband and I work and we have no kids, so when we come home from work, our first priority is the puppy. We take him for a walk at our local park, feed him (then us), then we all settle down for the evening. Therefore, our lifestyle during the week really doesn't leave much time to have visitors in our home.
This past week we had many people (included two children 8 and 11) over to celebrate the holiday season and for the most part, the puppy did okay, but there were times (first entered the home and then sporadically throughout the night) when he bark excessively at our guests, especially a 8 year old girl.
She has been introduced to him many times before, including the first day we brought him home. Unfortunately, she had a previous bad experience with a dog that bit her ear when she step on his tail, so the trauma of this event brought back many bad memories for her.
At the end of the evening we all took the puppy for a walk and at one point she was walking him, but then the puppy seemed to get spooked again and he started barking at her again (I immediately corrected the behaviour and he calmed down), then when we arrived home and we all entered the house, he started up at her again (again immediately corrected the behaviour).
When I'm working on socialization skills outside the home, I make every attempt to interact with children. Most of the children we meet understand how to approach a dog (something my niece does not), therefore the reaction I spoke about previously I have not experienced outside the house. My initial reaction is that we must work on our socialization skills in the home more, so he can transfer the skills we have learned outside to inside.
We start puppy socialization classes next week and obedience #1, so I know I'm doing everything I possibly can to raise a well adjusted dog. I also have a personal trainer (he barks at her too when she comes into the home, but it is less now than it was when she first came to our place).
So, if anyone has any suggestions or has experience similiar behaviour, I would love to hear from you. Our focus from the day one has been positive socialization. This includes having each person presenting Tao with a treat when then enter into our home or when we meet them on the street.
At first he was very reluctant to go up to anyone and now when we are walking he will make an attempt to get the other person's attention. Some initial barking may occur, but it is not frequent. I don't reward the barking, but rather the attempt he made to meet the stranger. This works at the front door, but after he gets his treat, he seems very reluctant to meet and greet our guests inside the house.
Thanks for taking the time to read my issue and I look forward to your suggestions and ideas.