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Old 12-21-2012, 01:16 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Extreme Leash Aggression

I am 21 years old living in Delaware. I have a German Shepherd named Reggie. Reggie is 2 years old and a pretty big and strong dog. I got Reggie when he was a puppy and took him to obedience classes. He is very smart and learned sit, stay, down, and come very quickly. Reggie is friendly and lives with 2-3 other dogs depending on if I am at my mom's house or my apartment at college. Reggie however cannot go in public with me. He is extremely dog aggressive in public places. I cannot take him to Petsmart, the dog park, to tailgates, walks where he will encounter other dogs. I am starting to think that his aggression stems from being on a leash. He is only aggressive when he is on a leash. If he meets a new dog without a leash on and in a familiar setting he is fine and I do not have to worry. Normally this would not be a problem for me but I want to be able to take Reggie with me when I go places. I am not strong enough to hold him back if he really wanted to attack another dog and I do not want that to happen. Reggie when he sees another dog goes into another state of mind and I cannot seem to get his attention at all. I do not know what to do!
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Old 12-21-2012, 01:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
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What does he do on the leash? It sounds like you're describing REACTIVITY, NOT aggression. Does he actually attack or harm other dogs that he's met while leashed?
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Old 12-21-2012, 01:35 PM   #3 (permalink)
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On the leash he tries to pull towards the other dogs and barks and growls and shows his teeth, only one time he actually got close enough to another dog who was unleashed and bit the dog. When he sees another dog while on a leash, it is like I lose complete control over him and he ignores all human presence he would normally listen to.
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Old 12-21-2012, 01:39 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Bit the dog... drew blood/started a dog fight?
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Old 12-21-2012, 01:43 PM   #5 (permalink)
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He bit him and the other dog just seemed confused and walked away, he did not draw blood. This was at the beach where he came with two other dogs who he got along with all day and when I leashed him to walk him to the other side of the beach he encountered this dog and reacted by lunging towards him and biting, or I guess nipping there was no blood or fight. Maybe he senses I am nervous when a new dog comes around when he is on a leash?
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Old 12-21-2012, 11:37 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Many dogs will get along fine but show reactive aggression towards other dogs when on leash or when there is a barrier like a fence. I would suggest getting a good trainer to help you work on this. I helps to walk your dog on leash past another dog at a distance where he won't react; teach a good "leave it" or "look at me"command and then gradually decrease the distance as the dog

Look at That! A Counterintuitive Approach to Dealing with Reactive Dogs Dog Training for Dog Lovers Blog

I did all this with my leash reactive boy and now at 3.5 I can take him almost anywhere. There are still occasional times I can tell he will react to another approaching dog, and this is usually because the dog is staring at him, and the owner has little control. At these times I just create distance or give Benny a command and something to break the eye contact.
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Old 12-22-2012, 01:48 AM   #7 (permalink)
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My six year old male is reactive to other dogs. Being on leash makes it much, much worse. I have worked with professional trainers who specialize in reactivity. It has made a huge difference. He will never allow dogs to invade his personal space, but he will completely ignore them as long as they don't run up on him.

Look into a reactive dog class that uses the protocols from the book "Control Unleashed". It was very useful with my dog. It isn't an instant fix, but it does work.

Good luck!
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