Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Southern California
Still Reactive (on leash) and NOTHING is working
Sorry, this is a bit long, but I want to provide as much detail as possible. To start, I posted about this a while back when our GSD was still a puppy and just starting her first obedience class. She is now over a year old, and she is still reactive when she is on her leash (i.e. on a walk, at the park, etc). She is great around people, and great around other dogs when she is NOT on a leash, but when we try to walk her, if she can see, or even HEAR another dog, she absolutely freaks out and starts jumping, lunging, barking/whining, etc. Here is what we have tried:
1. Obedience classes at 4 months (which is when we realized she was reactive, hence the class did not go well)
2. Private training using BAT (although we did work around the outside of a dog park to work on her seeing other dogs while on leash)- I cannot say this was effective
3. Growly/reactive dog classes (also did not go well, since there were other dogs around)
4. I have read and tried to apply the methods in the Controlled Unleashed book
5. We have tried using high value treats, medium value treats for reward, but these do not even get her attention
6. We have tried bringing the ball (her favorite), bringing a squeaky toy, etc for distraction from the other dogs, nothing.
7. We have tried walking her with and without our husky (who is VERY neutral, and does not react at all, to anything) and it doesn't seem to make any difference
8. We have also tried using the thunder leash which applies pressure around her chest (supposed to be calming)- again, no success.
So far, nothing is working. Since she is getting older, I am starting to get worried that we just may not be able to walk her, resulting in us not walking either dog since it would be really sad to leave her home while we walk out husky.
We currently use a martingale (flat) collar with either a leather leash, or her thunder leash. Her body language is very interesting as well on walks. She crouches lower to the ground, and is always frantically looking around. She has completely lost the heel command (this was lost during the BAT training because our trainer insisted on letting her 'just walk' and not focus on her placement behind/beside me). I think she refuses to heel because it is almost as if she wants to get out in front so she can see what is around every corner, or bush, or tree before I get to it. I have tried to reinforce the heel command, but it has not been successful. Another big issue, is that it is almost impossible to prevent the anxiety and her reaction because she gets frantic if she can even HEAR another dog, and there is a dog behind almost every fence in our neighborhood, so this makes it even more difficult.
Is there anything I am missing? Anything else I can try? We cannot afford to send her away to a trainer (which I know others have done, and some have found success), so that is not an option as of right now. I am just about out of options. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance, and I am sorry if this was too wordy.