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Just for some background, I(female) rescued a male Great Pyrenees puppy from a “breeder.” He is not purebred but very close to it but I have no clue what he is mixed with. I’m assuming he was about 4 months at the time I got him (he is around 8 months now). He was extremely malnourished, lived outside, and had no vaccinations when I got him. I took him to the vet and he is doing great health wise now.

He has always been a very sweet dog. He walks great on a leash, quickly learned sit, down, paw, etc. As soon as I got him I was taking him everywhere to try to socialize him while he was still young. He loves other dogs. No resource/food guarding. He hates the crate but he does fine in my room when I’m gone and at night so it’s not a problem. I’ve worked so hard with him to create a strong bond and to become a strong leader for him so that he wants to listen and behave. He has always been a little anxious but not overly fearful until recently…

In the past week or so, he has suddenly become very fearful of everything but especially humans even if he knows them. It’s like a switch flipped. He also has become fear aggressive with men specifically. I can tell it’s fear aggression because he only does it when he’s startled by someone or a stranger. Or if someone approaches him. He starts growling and barking while backing up as far as he can with his tail between his legs. It’s happened while at a restaurant, while visiting a friend, he’s even done it to my brother who he’s met a couple times. I know my dog well and can tell he doesn’t want to harm anyone he is just scared and wants control of the situation. I’ve handled it as best I’ve could. I’ll just remove him from the situation until he calms down but it scares people because at 8 months he is already a very large dog. I don’t want it to escalate but I don’t know what to do. I NEVER hit him and I know punishing him can just make the situation worse. I don’t really know how to use treats in the situation because I don’t want him to think I’m rewarding the behavior. I thought about getting calming supplements until he realizes that he doesn’t need to be scared. A big part of me just thinks it is his puberty because I was waiting to get him neutered until after for the health benefits. He is a bit of a late bloomer and has just recently started lifting his leg and marking. Or it could be from truama from his previous “home” because I know there was a man on the property and from my dogs condition I doubt he treated my dog well. Or it could just be from improper socialization especially at that early critical period of 8 weeks to 4 months which I had no control over unfortunately. I just can’t have him continue the fear aggression because if he makes one step out of line he could be put down but I am at a loss about what to do. Any
recommendations or tips?
Sky Cloud Water Dog Dog breed
 

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I wonder if he could be in a second fear period. If so, try to keep him within his comfort zone, if he starts looking stressy remove him from the situtation, or make the cause of the stress go away. If he learns that you will deal with things and he doesn't have to, he will get through it.

I agree there are good reasons to hold off on neutering for now. You don't want to take away his 'brave' testosterone, also it would be healthier to let him reach skeletal maturity before neutering (if you even go ahead at all).
 

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I agree 100% with Joanne. It's a common and perfectly normal part of growing up. Not all dogs have a late fear period, but many do. And it typically occurs sometime between 7-10 months.

It will pass in 2-3 weeks, and he'll get back to being more calm and easy going like he has always been.

So for now, stop taking him to restaurants and other places he's getting overwhelmed. It will pass.

He doesn't need treats or calming supplements, he just needs you to calmly demonstrate that you'll take care of situations that he's unsure about for a few weeks by removing him or removing the scary thing (whatever that might be).

It's a good time to refocus your efforts on training and play. You'll notice when the switch gets flipped again.
 

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If he were my dog I wouldn't worry about 'reinforcing' bad behavior with treats, the emotions that are driving the behavior (fear) cannot be reinforced or rewarded. What I would do to help him out, avoid putting him situations where does feel afraid (where possible) and prepare myself with some high value treats, and when he sees a person simply feed the treats, (ideally before he starts to become apprehensive), or drop them on the ground/ floor for him to seek out. The goal is to work at creating a positive association with those things he is fearful of. Over time the association of 'scary' things predict good things for him can be achieved.
 

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I feel that the fear topic has been very well covered in the previous responses. I would like to address neutering. I have had six Bouvier des Flandres that are considered a large breed (not as large as a Great Pyrenees). Large breeds do not do well with early spay/neutering and from my experience causes bone problems that eventually lead to dogs with major joint problems. Four of our Bouvs were spay/neutered at 18-20 months and never had joint issues. The two that were neutered early, eight and four months both had longer leg bones and narrow chests as described in the article. EARLY SPAY-NEUTER IN THE CANINE ATHLETE | TheDogPlace.org .The one that was neutered at four months has trouble getting up, easily falls when he changes direction too quickly and cannot stand for long periods without sitting or laying down, This is a dog that in times past ran trails with me with absolutely no issues. Other than the bone/structural issues he is a healthy twelve year old dog that would love to be back on the trail. So please read the article before you make a decision on neutering your puppy.
 

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The two that were neutered early, eight and four months both had longer leg bones
Yes that's what happens. As I understand it, it's the adolescent hormones that slow down growth, and early neutering suppresses these hormones. So the bones continue to grow for longer than they would have, if the hormones had been present.

I agree, wait until your dog has reached skeletal maturity.
 
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