gsd lunging at other dogs - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 33 (permalink) Old 07-28-2010, 06:12 AM Thread Starter
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gsd lunging at other dogs

my gsd is 4-5 years old and is a great dog in every way except when she is out on a walk on leash she lunges and barks at other dogs. her heckles go up and she there is no way of distracting her at all. ive tried treats, bottles etc and nothing works. she went to classes and got on well with the other dogs. once she is off leash and with dogs she is fine, no aggression whatsoever but on lead she is like a different dog. anyone know of any way to cure this?
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post #2 of 33 (permalink) Old 07-28-2010, 06:53 AM
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i think the key is to catch her before she is reacting in full mode.......watching her body lauguage and getting her focus off the other dog.......once they are in full reacting mode its to late.......
food want work if she is already focusing and lunging at the other dog, etc.

you can set things up slowly at safe threshold distances so both you and the dog have control. it takes alot of time, but something that can be worked with.

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post #3 of 33 (permalink) Old 07-28-2010, 07:39 AM
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Yes, its called a "correction." I know some people don't agree with Leerburgs training methods BUT when a dog is aggressive to the pointing of biting I think "physical" corrections is needed. If you aren't willing to do this then you need to walk the other way when another animal is present.

We took in a 3 year old GSD. We were her 3rd home. She's a great dog, super smart and friendly except with other dogs, especially little ones! When Lucy would see another dog, even from afar, she'd get aggressive and give the evil death stare. When they'd approach closer she would try anything and everything to pull away from me.

There were a few occasions where she was very close to biting them. We're talking an inch or two. Anyways, I was very lucky her collar stayed on. For awhile if we saw other dogs I'd keep my distance or walk the opposite way. I'd even loop the leash around my dog's neck like a choke collar (groomer taught me that) just incase she got any ideas.

Anyways, I tried the "touchy feely" approach but this was way too dangerous. I considered myself to be a capable male adult (former Jarhead and in Law Enforcement), but when this 60 lb dog goes crazy she's like a 180 lb man. So after watching the Leerburg video on Dominant Aggressive Dogs, I gave Lucy a correction just like he did (use the leash and pull her back) I started low, which she totally ignored. I then gave her a 2nd correction at level 7/8 pulling her back a few feet into a down position. She yelped but at that moment I had her instant attention.

Now where I differ from Leerburg is that I gave her a Reward marker the instant she looked at me and not the other dog. I praised her and showed her I was more interesting than the other dog. I learned this from my obedience trainer "let the leash be the bad guy not you." Leerburg says most dog owners won't give a hard correction, but instead just give little annoying ones. He tells you to correct the dogs behavior not to nag the dog. I know people here think his methods are "mean" or "cruel" but he clearly states that giving a correction higher than necessary is abuse.

With that said Lucy now listens to me. I haven't given her a hard corrections since that one time. I may have to give her a low or medium correction once in awhile (near small dogs) but she quickly remembers to behave. She now enjoys the dog park and plays with my friends dog. She can still get aggressive but now listens to voice commands and will recall.

Lastly, I never used a choke or prong collar, but not I use a prong collar per the trainer. Tonight at obedience class Lucy decided to go after a little dog, but after she pronged herself (lunging after the other dog) she changed her mind. So really, I didn't have to do anything.

**Leerburg does warn that some Dominant Agressive Male Dogs can turn on there handler if given a hard corrections and recommends a choke collar or a professional trainer.

Here's a link Leerburg put in the video

Last edited by ckat916; 07-28-2010 at 07:48 AM.
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post #4 of 33 (permalink) Old 07-28-2010, 08:05 AM
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it all depends on what kind of dog your working with determining what kind of correction you use in a situation like this........the wrong correction can certainly make things worse........

if your working with a less confident dog other methods need to be used.......

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post #5 of 33 (permalink) Old 07-28-2010, 08:11 AM
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some dogs are much more reactive ON leash vs OFF leash.

What I see "going" for you, is she is fine off leash I'd rather have a reactive dog ON leash and a friendly off leash dog. than vice versa.

I agree with debbie in that, you have to anticipate it before it happens, , have you got a friend with a dog (a calm dog) you can practice with? definately turn around and leave, work on getting that focus BEFORE it happens. See if you can define the distance before a reaction sets in,,that distance is your starting point, work on closing that distance with no reactions. If you get a reaction, back up to the point where there is no reaction.

While I do think corrections have their place, I think you can try working on this other ways first. I would also find someone who has a calm non confrontational dog to walk with ..

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post #6 of 33 (permalink) Old 07-28-2010, 08:19 AM
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i agree with Diane, you need to work on focus and threshold before harrsh corrections, not working on these things before any harsh corrections is not going to solve the problem.........going right to harsh corrections can definitely backfire with some..i'd rather do a practical positive training approach than use harsh corrections that could immediately make the issue worse........

i also agree that you should find a friend or someone who has a non reactive dog to practice with and walk with, that does wonders..........setting up these types of controlled situations allows you the handler and the dog more success, since you can work in a controlled manner..........

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post #7 of 33 (permalink) Old 07-28-2010, 09:43 AM
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Great training method just found in a video to TEACH our dog to listen and focus on us before they react:


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post #8 of 33 (permalink) Old 07-28-2010, 10:32 AM Thread Starter
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gsd lunging at other dogs

thanks for your replies. i dont see how turning away is helping the problem. i have been on many walks where i have done this and ive walked for miles then had to turn and go all the way back. it just means that she is pulling me backwards to see the other dog all the time and given the chance she would still bark so i dont think its a solution, not for tara anyway.
in the area where i live you are not allowed to have your dog off leash so walking off leash is not an option really unless i drive her away to somewhere else. but really just the short walks in between are driving me nuts. i shall watch the video. i get the feeling she needs a fright to get her to listen as ive tried everything else.
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post #9 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-07-2010, 02:34 AM
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My dog displays dominant/aggressive behavior toward other dogs. I keep her in a heel when we are walking and break her focus on the other dogs (sometimes I still need to put her in a sit and stand with her between my legs, not holding her, just being over her). My behaviorist showed me a safe way to be her dominant (how to put her into a "lay" without being stupid about the amount of force). If a dog has a pack leader, they are psychologically less likely to try to dominate other dogs if their leader has done it first.

After doing this training, she will watch other dogs while on our walks, and not react unless the other dog is being aggressive/dominant. What are the other dogs doing? Are they staring at her? Are they getting into dominant stances? Is your dog naturally submissive? If so, when off the leash, she has a "flight" option. When you leash her to you, she may feel she only has fight left and that is why she is becoming that way.

Just a few thoughts. With everything I've been through, I've read a ton of books and watched a LOT of different shows. I think you have to tailor your teaching to your dog's issues/personality. My dog wears a prong no-choke collar. Both of them do. They have never had any issues and it helps control them on walks. They figured out that pulling against the lead causes a pinch and not pulling doesn't. Read a lot, figure out what the root issue is and tailor to that.

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post #10 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-08-2010, 12:37 PM
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I have been experiencing the same problem with London now that he is 90 lbs and 20 months old. It is all I can do to hold him back. When I see another dog approaching, I pull him into a driveway, make him "sit/stay" and stand directly in front of him so he is forced to focus on me. I have been having more and more difficulty with him.

It is SO frustrating because I still have been taking him to Intermediate Dog Obedience once a week. He is perfect in class: knows and performs all commands, plays with the other dogs at the end of class, allows other people to approach him and pet him.

My trainer said that it was a territorial thing going on with him here around our 'hood. Geez, I wish he would chill out. It does help to have him on his gentle leader only because it is the only way I can constrain him when he gets in a frenzy.

My last male GSD was the same way and he NEVER got over this behavior. With London, I have been trying SO hard to make him a "neighborly" GSD. Is it possible, or am I fooling myself????

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