What are we seeing?
We have got a 14 month old bitch called Lara. We've only had her 10 days. She has an unknown history. She was on her 2nd home when we got her, she'd been there for 8 weeks, with another dog & bitch GSD. We were told she was just too bouncy for the man who had just had major surgery - that seemed very true.
She's been really good at everything with us & is so trainable & responsive. She will still play like a pup too which is nice. But on the 1st walk she was a nightmare as soon as we saw another dog. Straining , pulling, barking madly. 2nd walk we met someone with two GSD's who said to let her off the lead & she was better but kept lunging at the other dogs if they came too near. So now we can get her to sit & watch other dogs from a short distance as they go by - no barking etc. BUT we don't let her run over to other dogs, she has to wait to be told she can see them. We are keeping her away from boisterous lively dogs as she will lunge at them barking with her hackles up. She will recall though during this. We have walked for an hour with two placid labs & after 10 mins she ignored any other dog. If we think another dog will set her off, we use her rope/ball as a distraction which works well.
So what are we seeing? She goes forward to other dogs & people with her hackles up, tail & ears up, teeth bared & barking. But she will recall & if we say "NO" during a spat with another dog, she will leave it.
Is this dog/dog aggression, nervousness, protecting her new pack? We don't want to spoil things with her has she's done so well. What do we do? I'm so encouraged by what she's achieved in a short time, I think we need the training now so she's not doing this.
I have one that does something similar, his reactions seem to be fear based. Once he is introduced correctly, he's fine. I am just having to deal with his 'A Good Offense is a Best Defense' way of thinking.
The distractions with food and toys are a good way to go with this. At least, it has been for my Coulter (not a GSD, but sounds similar to the dog reactivity your Lara is dealing with). I have worked miracles with a pocketfull of cheap catfood. lol
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