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Old 12-20-2013, 10:21 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: Dec 2013
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Default Leash reactivity becoming overwhelming?

1st post here. Scroll to the bottom if you want the "too long; didn't read" version!

My husband and I purchased a GSD puppy two and a half months ago (He's almost seven months now). He's generally lovely; extremely well behaved inside, walks well on leash, graduated puppy classes with flying colors last week.

When we first got him, he would see other dogs from a distance, and would sometimes let out a bark (we would say "enough" and he didn't pursue them further- "enough" is what we say at home when the dogs hear commotion outside, and we want them to quiet down). About three weeks ago, I took him and our other other dog to the vet, and he encountered a couple dogs walking through the door. He acted somewhat aggressively, lunging at them and barking (no hackles up). For the first time, saying "enough" didn't work, and he continued barking until I got him into the car.

I was pretty dismayed, so the next time I went to puppy training classes, I asked for advice from the trainer. She said to redirect him with high-value treats.

I had a busy couple weeks and the next time we encountered dogs close up was when I took him to have a bath last Friday. I had practiced getting his attention- he's reliable with sit, down, stay, and "watch me." While walking through groomer's, he encountered another dog, and began lunging and barking, this time with his hackles up. I tried getting his attention with treats and a happy voice as the trainer instructed, but he totally ignored me. I had to basically drag him to the door, and as soon as we were out of sight of the other dog, he became his normal self again.

Yesterday he had the same reaction at the vet's office.

And then tonight...

I clipped his leash on to go on a quick potty walk. At the same time, our lovely neighbors decided to take their two little dogs for a walk, bursting out of their door with their dogs before I had a chance to move away from them. Their dogs were lunging and barking, which really set my puppy off. He weighs 65 lbs now, and he almost pulled me over while barking and lunging with his hackles up (I'll be using his Easy Walk from now on).

Meanwhile, the dog adjacent to us is going bananas (his owners apparently don't try to quiet him down either). It was a very stressful situation.

I managed to get him back inside, where he could still hear the other dogs barking their heads off. Despite that, he immediately stopped barking when I said "enough." His issues are definitely only when another dog is in sight.

Basically, I don't know what to do. What I've seen online isn't very helpful. The first trainer's instructions have had a 0% success rate in real-life situations. I'm open to finding a new trainer... does this sound like something that I can correct on my own, through regular training classes (in which he's a perfect angel), or do I need to get a behaviorist out to my house to work with him one-on-one? Any ideas as to what could be the cause of this somewhat sudden onset of reactivity? He is currently un-neutered.

Any advice, links, tips would be appreciated.

Last edited by Pup_pup; 12-20-2013 at 10:22 PM. Reason: Bolding!
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