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Amurphy26 02-06-2014 05:21 AM

Reassurance needed
I've been working on my dogs (17mth GSD bitch) reactivity to other dogs for a year and we got to the point she could get within 10mtrs without reacting. Recently, if she sees a dog at a 100yrds she goes crazy. Last week we had an off lead cocker spaniel rush at get repeatedly when she was on the lead, the dog had no recall and the owner left his dog to it. The cocker wasn't aggressive so he didn't seem to think he needed to keep his dog under control. She's been on a gradual decline for the last month. I'm going back to the beginning but could really do with some advice or reassurance.
I don't have any training classes but next week I am traveling 200 miles to spend a week with a really good trainer.
Are we ever going to get through this? She's now really stressed waiting for dogs to appear on every walk. It's horrible to see.

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onyx'girl 02-06-2014 09:10 AM

Sorry you had the decline. Good to go back and refresh the old foundation. Make sure your emotions aren't playing into her stress and try to rebuild her confidence with simple obedience and focus on you. Keep it all positive.
Hopefully the week with the trainer will give you some great tools for your toolbox! Best wishes

MaggieRoseLee 02-06-2014 10:33 AM

Think try to go back to your training from months ago and work on that. And try to look forward to the assistance you may get from the new trainer.

Good luck!

Kaimeju 02-06-2014 10:36 AM

That's too bad. I'm sorry you had this experience. We have had setbacks like this too, primarily because of loose dogs. For us, it has been helpful to go to places where the dogs are all calm and working (an obedience class, canine good citizen, or tracking class) and just watch, feeding treats. It helps my dog to see that the other dogs are under control- but I really don't know what to tell you about dogs appearing off-leash in the distance because we still can't beat that one! They make you nervous, and then your dog feels nervous too.

If it's any consolation, if you go back to basics like onyx'girl said, it will probably be faster and easier progress moving through the various steps this time. It might also be nice to give her a break and drive her somewhere where there are absolutely no other dogs (I think they know the difference- they can probably smell them).

Let us know how the visit to the trainer goes!

Blanketback 02-06-2014 10:44 AM

I think that's why some of us like to carry something to deter the loose dogs: it gives us a sense of security, so we don't unduly stress out our dogs, which makes the whole encounter go so much smoother for everyone. I'm sorry this happened, but on the bright side - the dog wasn't aggressive, so at least that's good.

zyppi 02-06-2014 10:49 AM

Are you choking up on your lead, or is she waking loose lead?

If she's pulling on lead, I'd get that under control first.

When she focuses on you first, leaves less room to worry about what's coming down the pike.

Good luck!

Amurphy26 02-06-2014 10:53 AM

Thank you. We had a good walk at lunch time. We went to the local village and saw a greyhound and a collie pup. It was back to basics liver cake for looking at the dogs and not responding and for watching me. She didn't erupt once and we even managed to follow them for 10 mins, always at a decent distance.

We live in a very rural area. Livestock are everywhere so dog walkers tend to go to the same places. I was thinking of putting a notice up in the vets explaining that she's reactive and in training and politely asking people to not let their dogs run up to her. Do you think people would take offense? It's a small island and I don't want to offend people but at the same time I think it might help people understand why she's acting out and maybe they'll be a bit more considerate.

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zyppi 02-06-2014 11:02 AM

Such a sigh shouldn't offend. Some owners are not aware of how rude they are letting their dogs be.

If you have good relationship with your vet, ask for help.

Sometime time spent, even if on your same property, setting dog up for success - where no dogs will be encountered - getting full focus might help.

You'll probably never get this pup to trust or love other dogs, but you will be able to get her to ignore them.

Congrats for working so diligently on this.

Amurphy26 02-06-2014 11:04 AM

Zyppi, she was on a loose lead. I was doing obedience and nose work with her in a field next to the beach. It's a spot that gives me a good view of people coming so I can get to a safe distance...or so I thought. The cocker came over the dunes and bolted right at her. She was on a long ish lead so went after it. Thankfully her reactions are all fear based and she didn't hurt the cocker. She had every chance to bite it but just stuck to barking. The cocker completely ignored her 'get out of my face' bark and kept going back for more. As the owner appeared the cocker ran off, I asked him to put his dog on a lead but it took him a while to catch it.

Hopefully we'll get through it but I find these set backs so frustrating.

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Blanketback 02-06-2014 11:24 AM

I don't think asking other people to call their dogs away from yours will help, since I'm guessing that half the time the dogs won't recall anyways. Another problem's that these owners will now assume your dog is actually very aggressive, not simply reactive.

I have loose dogs galore where I live. It's part of the culture in this area. Not including my immediate neighbors' dogs, there's also the distant neighbors who ride their horses down the road with their loose dogs and another guy who exercises his dogs by riding his 4-wheeler down the road. I feel your pain, lol.

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