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I have an 8 month old GSD pup from working lines who I would like to train for SAR. I have certified two dogs previously, but am having major issues with this guy. While attending puppy class at 3 months old the instructor allowed a play time in which all dogs were released to socialize....a much older larger dog put the run on my pup, and ever since then he's been extremely nervous of any other dogs to the point now where he has developed fear aggression. Just last week while exercising him miles from nowhere off leash, an atv apeared with a dog loose running beside it. before I could hook my dog up the other dog again put the run on my guy and he took off. He was lost in the bush for an hour or more, but made his way approx. 4 kms back to my truck which is where I found him.
Now he's scared of everything....does not want to listen to basic commands, pulls excessively on the leash and has started barking and growling at vehicles that pass my truck on a constant basis.
I know there are several different issues here that need dealing with.....what I'm hoping is that I can get some insight in this forum as to the steps I should take to proceed forward and get him levelled out again.
Any help and advice greatly appreciated.
Thanks
 

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Puppies and young dogs go through several fear periods when growing up. Unfortunately, your incidents happened during some of those periods. It may be that this puppy has genetic nerve issues and may never recover to the confidence level necessary to do sar. You know the lineage of this puppy to get some insight on this issue but some will tell you puppies are a crap shoot. My suggestion is to temporarily give up sar with this pup. Cycle him back to zero and work on his foundations again. Does he have any "safe" dogs he does play or associate with? Work on gaining his focus to you and to ignore other dogs. Work with them at a distance and reward positive responses for focusing on you. Baby steps. You will need to de-sensitize him and I would strengthen things he is positive about (meeting strangers?, resting quietly in the truck?, going comfortably into business that allow dogs?, etc) Work on his strengths, firm them up, and then very gradually introduce other dogs. Safe ones first then others. Personally, I don't think there is a quick fix here but who knows what diligent work will produce. Good luck.
 
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