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Old 12-27-2013, 03:00 AM   #1 (permalink)
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Western Isles, Scotland
Posts: 78
Default Am I making things worse or do I persevere?

I desperately need some reassurance and advice, sorry this is such a long story).
I have a 15mth old GSD bitch (not yet spayed) who has been dog reactive since she was about 4 mths old. She had a number of bad experiences with a neighbours dog and on her first walk as a pup she was knocked over by two boisterous labs. The result is that she is seriously dog reactive and cannot cope with eye contact or another dog walking towards her.
So here comes my main problem, I live in an incredibly rural area and do not have access to trainers or other dogs on a regular basis to help her overcome her fears and reactions. My husband and I travel a lot; camping and family visits) and have always taken our dogs with us (we also have a 10yr old Huntaway) which means every couple of months our GSD comes into contact with other dogs. I've always used these times to gradually get her used to seeing other dogs, where possible keeping her under threshold (using BAT and clicker work) and also meeting up with other dog owners so she can walk with them and she usually eventually plays with them like a typical young dog.
However, I feel like she's getting worse and over this holiday period I've had no option but to muzzle. If she sees a dog in the distance, she will put her head down and charge at it at full speed. When she reaches it she'll knock it over, bark at it and then come sprinting back to me; up until recently I could stop her charging by using the word she associates with her ball which she is obsessed with but now the need to get to the dog is too much. She now doesn't get off the lead if there are other dogs around.
She has no understanding of how to meet, greet and even play with other dogs in a respectful manner. She's great with my other dog and is fairly submissive to him, we've also dog sat for friends and once she has got to know the dog she is always fine and playful. She loves sharing get toys with dogs she knows.
She's on a good dog food and is great with people and children. She's really obedient and we spend roughly 30 mins a day on mental exercise and about 2 hours on physical.
Do I persevere or am I making her worse with what I'm doing? Please help!

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