Too Excited to see Other Dogs
Hi everyone. I am having a problem with a GSD that we adopted and would like some advice. So far, we have only been using positive reinforcement to teach her and it has been going very good except for pulling on the leash when she sees other dogs (she otherwise walks very nice). I feel kind of like I've hit a brick wall. I've read about the prong collar, and I wonder if it could be a useful tool for our situation?
She is 3 years old and we adopted her a year ago. I am a little embarrassed that this problems is not fixed by now. She was a very excitable dog and the people were worried for their small kids getting knocked over or something, which is why she was rehomed. I have tried to get in contact with them regarding the behaviors we saw emerging on walks and if they knew what might have started it, etc, but never got any replies.
Anyways, we taught her to not get so excited, not rush out doors, jump up, etc. In those respects, she is super good. She even has the control to not gobble up a piece of steak I drop on the floor beside her even without the leave it command, she just knows she has to leave it. She waits at the door before having to be told to wait, etc. I am so proud of her considering how she was before! So, I know that she has it in her to learn to control herself, I just have to find out how to teach her regarding other dogs.
So far, we have been using the method of "look" command, click and treat before she goes over threshold, turning around before getting over threshold... got a bunch of books about it... all that stuff. She has gotten better. She used to act out a lot, lunging and barking like a maniac. Now, she pulls and sometimes whines a little, better but still not good. We have been at this level since last fall, so I must be doing something wrong. We try to avoid when we can, to not have her practice the reactions, but not always possible. Yesterday, we had a setback where a dog attached in his yard lunged and started barking like crazy, so my dog lunged too. He was on the step at first and we didn't see him, otherwise I would not have tempted fate down that route.
I need to teach her not to react to these dogs. It is not fear based, she is excited. She has met other dogs (like when some idiot lets his unleashed dog run up to us), and she has a very self-assured attitude, not scared. She has to learn that she can't just go meet other dogs just because she sees them.
I have been thinking of the prong collar, but the thing is here they are banned here so I don't know about finding a trainer that still uses them (especially with new clients). Is this something that I could work on with some guidance without a trainer? Any advice?
What would you do? Should I continue with the positive only since we have made some baby steps, or do you think it's time to try something else?
(Also, if anyone can recommend a good trainer around Montreal, I'm all ears)
Last edited by Kestrel; 06-18-2014 at 04:17 PM.