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Old 02-02-2013, 12:20 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I have worked with him on leash, and it eventually brings him back down to a level where he is more sensible, but he will still growl if the dog comes too close. Its like its enough to remind him to not explode but not quite enough to keep him from growling. The dog that attacked him that i had to drag Kaiser off of, I actually asked that owner if he would mind if I leashed Kaiser (with the prong) and did some work with him walking by his dog. He was totally ok with that. After about 6 or 8 passes Kaiser got the picture that he wasn't allowed to growl or lunge or do any of those things. He didn't LIKE it, but he gave me enough to where I felt a little better about his behavior. I tried to distract him and corrected as needed during the passes. He DOES know leave it but that falls on deaf ears if his emotions get too elevated. Same with the ball or frisbee (his favorite thing in the world).
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Old 02-02-2013, 12:22 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I don't know if this will fix his problem but here's my suggestion.

Doe she have a favorite toy - one that he would walk through fire for? Or a favorite treat? You need to find something that he loves - and I mean LOVES!

Take that thing with to the park. You'll need to be VERY vigilant so you know exactly when another dog is approaching. Let him notice the other dog than INSTANTLY whip out that favorite thing and totally engage him with it.

What you want to teach him is that when he's at the park and another dog approaches, his FAVORITE thing in the whole world appears - from YOU.

The goal is to have him see a dog approaching the park gate and then instantly look to you for his thing.

Does that make sense?

Yes, this does make sense...however the one thing he LOVES, he also resource guards. Thats the frisbee. I only take it out when its just him and Dakota (or if there are dogs he's fine with that aren't frisbee oriented). If there's another frisbee dog, I have to hide it or remove Kaiser.
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Old 02-02-2013, 12:33 PM   #13 (permalink)
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It seems, in my opinion, that Kaiser initially reacts to a dog (not ALL dogs, but quite a few) in two different ways:

Way 1 (most dogs): Growling and/or huffing and puffing then barking following by throwing out his chest (who's the baddest dog now kind of attitude), raised hackles, charging the fence or pulling to the end of the leash.
For me, this by itself is already too much, and it would not be acceptable for my dog/s to act that way at the park. He's pretty much daring the other dog to react to him, and it may be that the dogs that he advances to stage 2 with are the ones that take his bait, and the ones where he doesn't go to stage 2 with, don't. I wouldn't only be concerned with stage 2, I'd be very concerned with stage 1 as well, and making sure that it never happens again.

Even something as simple as eye contact for more than few seconds can be a trigger, and staring definitely is. Both Keefer & Halo will react on leash walks if another dog is either giving them the stink eye, or is clearly not well controlled and barking or lunging towards them. With dogs that are either neutral or friendly they don't care, and it's easy for me to prevent reactions, so the demeanor of the other dog is clearly very much a factor.

Cassidy's staring threshold was about 3 seconds, (this was pointed out to us by the trainer in her Difficult Dog class for reactive dogs), so 4 or 5 seconds of eye contact would be enough to send her over the edge. When I'm walking Halo or Keef I make sure that THEY don't stare at other dogs as they approach us, because it can set up a chain reaction (literally!) where my dogs stare at the other dog who starts to bark and lunge, and they my dog will bark and lunge because the other dog is barking and lunging at them. Oy!

Do you have access to a class for reactive dogs? I think it would be very beneficial to be able to work on this with a professional rather than on your own.
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Old 02-02-2013, 12:49 PM   #14 (permalink)
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We don't have any classes like that around here. My trainer (who is great, at least for what we've been doing) basically wants to set Kaiser up to where she will bring a dog by him then correct him (violent correction with the prong collar) when he starts acting up. I'm not sure how I feel about this though and I wonder if there are any other options?
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Old 02-02-2013, 01:37 PM   #15 (permalink)
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My trainer (who is great, at least for what we've been doing) basically wants to set Kaiser up to where she will bring a dog by him then correct him (violent correction with the prong collar) when he starts acting up. I'm not sure how I feel about this though and I wonder if there are any other options?
Been there, done that, got a really bad bite in the leg from the dog I corrected (foster dog).

Using aggression on an aggressive dog can work - but it can also backfire VERY seriously - causing the dog to become MORE aggressive.

I would look for a different trainer for this problem.
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Old 02-02-2013, 01:55 PM   #16 (permalink)
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We don't have any classes like that around here. My trainer (who is great, at least for what we've been doing) basically wants to set Kaiser up to where she will bring a dog by him then correct him (violent correction with the prong collar) when he starts acting up. I'm not sure how I feel about this though and I wonder if there are any other options?
In this type of set up, you put the dog on a stay and do a Fear of God correction at the very first inkling that he's even THINKING about reacting. What it can accomplish is teaching the dog that he should stay, and mind his own business. It can teach a dog to behave in the presence of other dogs. From there you can teach a dog that good things will come from you, and that you will keep him "safe" from this other dog, that you are the one in charge of the situation.

But what it will NOT do is make your dog like other dogs, or get you to a point where your dog can be out "free" around other dogs. If your dog's problems are fear-based, it could (probably would) make him MORE afraid.

With Mike, we had to be satisfied with getting him to a point where he didn't react to a dog's presence, even if that dog was sitting 1 foot away. He can run with a pack of trained dogs if the handlers are paying attention and keep their dogs from challenging him. He doesn't start trouble. But that's as far as we got....you can't make a truly dog aggressive dog like other dogs. So it's very important to know what you have at the end of your leash!
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Old 02-02-2013, 01:55 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I will correct Keefer with a prong when he's just being a butthead, but his reactivity has nothing to do with fear. He's extremely social off leash, and gets frustrated when he can't go greet every dog he sees. He'll react at a distance to a dog that he's as friendly as can be with up close. He's the exact opposite of a lot of dogs that are fine with another dog over there somewhere, but not right in their face. He's actually better with dogs in his face - weird, I know!

It was quite a while before I was comfortable with doing that with Keef because I didn't want to make things worse, and I was pretty sure it wasn't fear based, but I worked with a very experienced trainer (breeds and trains working Belgian Malinois and has numerous GSD clients, many for reactivity) who confirmed that for me before even trying it. He just gets really, really excited and needs to be told to knock it off. For him, there's been absolutely no blowback from this method but I would NOT have used it with Cassidy, and I wouldn't use it with Kaiser either.

What would be better is to set up controlled situations with neutral dogs, at a distance that he can still think and learn, because once he goes over threshold learning stops.
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Old 02-02-2013, 02:10 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Been there, done that, got a really bad bite in the leg from the dog I corrected (foster dog).
OOOOH yeah. With some dogs I can see that EASILY happening. Thinking of some dogs of the belgian breeds I know....

I had a groenendael re-direct on me, and all I was doing was holding the leash while the owner went to the ladies room! I was running students thru a rally course, sitting in a chair holding the leash and watching the team on the course. Dog started hard staring and growling at another dog so I stood up (I could feel those little warning hairs on the back of my neck), and the dog went nuts. This is a dog that normally LOVES me, but his brain was completely gone and I ended up with several bites on my arm. A "very helpful" club member who had just completed an animal control behavior course stood by watching and afterward she said helpfully "That was re-directed aggression, he redirected on you!" No $&#@ Sherlock! She was so "proud" that she could name what she saw, but she sure kept her distance while it was happening!

I have since seen this dog's owner give a fairly minor leash correction for the dog staring at or growling at another dog, and he goes up the leash at HER. (I have repeatedly told the owners to GET THAT PRONG OFF THE DOG, but noooo....) So yeah, ya gotta be very careful, and know what kind of dog is at the end of your leash.
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Old 02-02-2013, 04:34 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Default Thresholds and aggression -- long

I'm not an expert of any sorts, and I am a first time GSD owner, but my pup has had similar fear reaction to dogs lately. He's had a few dogs run up and get in his face, and he was also chased by a dog when he was younger (which is why I now keep him on-leash even though he is reliable when dogs aren't around). He gets pretty loud about other dogs, and last week he even pinned our new neighbor's dog because she came up and greeted me by jumping. He didn't hurt her, just pinned her down and held her until I pulled him off, but I'm sure she's going to have fear problems now too (sheesh). I was trying, unsuccessfully, to distract him and keep his attention on me in the presence of dogs. I was recommended a book by someone else on the forums and trying a game out of the book has made a HUGE difference in his fear reactivity. The book was Control Unleashed, and the game is Look At That (LAT). I don't know if it will work for your dog, but it's working for mine I posted earlier about him being able to sit quietly in a pet store today. I hope you can find something that works!


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Old 02-02-2013, 05:13 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I am fairly certain this is not fear-aggression. Nothing he is doing (or the other dogs are doing) makes me even consider it. I'm no expert, but I think it has a lot to do with him trying to make sure the other dog understands their place. I've been thinking since I posted, and the more I do, the more I think it is a dominance thing. I realized that he HAS turned dominant (even when he wasn't before) and constantly does subtly dominant things even to dogs he has no problem with (head over their backs, for example). He has also ALWAYS reacted to dominant or aggressive dogs, dogs that blatantly started things, but this reaction to most any dog (even puppies) is a new thing. I also realized with further thought that he reacts more to bully breeds and labs. I don't know why this is though. Its also obvious to me that he prefers females, because once he rushes up to a dog (if I'm unable to get to him beforehand) and then realizes its a girl, he's all fine and dandy. Then again, there are some males he just adores (like the little boston terrier across the way who can literally steal a toy out of Kaiser's mouth with no problem).

As far as the correction thing my trainer wants to do...I was concerned about it pissing him off even more (or even hurting him, if she's planning on yanking as hard as I have a feeling she will). And my goal IS for him to be a social boy, with acceptable behavior around other dogs. He really does LOVE playing...with the "right" dogs...and I hate to have to take that away from him. I just can't see taking Dakota to the park without him. In fact, she won't play with any other dogs unless Kaiser is with her.

Oh, and as far as re-directed aggression...Kaiser bit me once from it. The minute his teeth hit skin he freaked out and looked at me like "oh crap, I'm sorry mom". That was when I had to pull him off of the white dog that went after him for going to say hi to his owner, so he was VERY hyped up to begin with. He didn't break skin, and he hasn't done it since. I'm glad that he seemed to realize he did something wrong, even though he was so worked up. I suppose I would prefer that over him being blinded by rage and not having a clue. Eh :-\

My goal, as I said before, is to definitely get to the root of this issue and get things figured out. My trainer is the best there is here, from the few that we have, and she knows the breed. She knows I'm not old school in my views toward corrections (I prefer positive training with minor corrections when required) so I suppose she wouldn't suggest such an extreme form of correction if she didn't think it would work. But again...Kaiser is not a hard dog. I don't want him to shut down. I don't want her to hurt him. I don't want him to redirect, or worse, get even MORE worked up after the correction.

Because I just had shoulder surgery I still have some time before I'm able to get back into training...so I have time to think this through. I'm just nervous about it. And I'm stressed because I've tried SO very hard to socialize him and set the foundation to be a great dog, and now he is acting like a complete butthead. Yea, he's a wonderful dog at home and an inspiration when we are out in public. As long as there aren't any problem dogs for him to key in on. Heck, a pit bull got kicked out of Bass Pro Shops a month ago for being HORRID when he saw Kaiser, and all Kaiser did was look at him, then redirect his attention to me because I asked him to (I was so proud!). I had people coming up to me all night telling me how amazing Kaiser was and how they were so impressed he wasnt like that other bad dog that got kicked out.

Sigh...
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