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Old 03-01-2014, 08:33 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I used to take Varick to petsmart all the time when he was a little pup. I stopped when he was about nine months old, just because I got off track. Now, he's 18 months old and I'd like to start taking him again, for socialization purposes (other dogs). He's not very reactive, but he's very alert. I'd like to try to get him to ignore/almost ignore other dogs. I definitely want to have a muzzle on him while we are at petsmart. Just as a precaution, one can't be too safe. Is this acceptable? Or is this a symbol saying that I have a viscous dog and he is not allowed in public?
I'll be using treats to train. Whenever I ask for his attention and he gives it to me, I reward. If he acts up/ gets excited, I'll walk in the opposite direction of the distraction.
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Old 03-01-2014, 10:33 PM   #2 (permalink)
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My dog isn't a petsmart kind of dog. I can have her under control but that doesn't mean other people have their dogs under control. My experience is that even if you have a well behaved GSD in Petsmart and a snarling pulling little dog thinks he can take on your dog, you are going to get looked at for blame, because you have the big GSD. Too risky for me, I'd rather go to a training class.
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Old 03-01-2014, 10:40 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarleyTheGSD View Post
I used to take Varick to petsmart all the time when he was a little pup. I stopped when he was about nine months old, just because I got off track. Now, he's 18 months old and I'd like to start taking him again, for socialization purposes (other dogs). He's not very reactive, but he's very alert. I'd like to try to get him to ignore/almost ignore other dogs. I definitely want to have a muzzle on him while we are at petsmart. Just as a precaution, one can't be too safe. Is this acceptable? Or is this a symbol saying that I have a viscous dog and he is not allowed in public?
I'll be using treats to train. Whenever I ask for his attention and he gives it to me, I reward. If he acts up/ gets excited, I'll walk in the opposite direction of the distraction.
I would get into a good class instead of going this route. If the dog has a muzzle on, he may feel vulnerable in the company of other dogs. Why aren't you continuing with the structure of classes?
You say he's not 'very' reactive, but alert? How is his threshold level? Will he listen when you try to redirect him? Does he take treats when he feels stress? Do you redirect him before he has the chance to hone in on other dogs? What about using a tug toy for his redirection instead of food? Tugging can be a stress relief and it is pretty high value for many dogs.
If he's doing ok with your LAT type training, why do you feel you need to muzzle him?
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Old 03-02-2014, 01:00 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarleyTheGSD View Post
I used to take Varick to petsmart all the time when he was a little pup. I stopped when he was about nine months old, just because I got off track. Now, he's 18 months old and I'd like to start taking him again, for socialization purposes (other dogs). He's not very reactive, but he's very alert. I'd like to try to get him to ignore/almost ignore other dogs. I definitely want to have a muzzle on him while we are at petsmart. Just as a precaution, one can't be too safe. Is this acceptable? Or is this a symbol saying that I have a viscous dog and he is not allowed in public?
I'll be using treats to train. Whenever I ask for his attention and he gives it to me, I reward. If he acts up/ gets excited, I'll walk in the opposite direction of the distraction.
Your heading right into the heart of the clueless and ill informed! Not a good plan at all with a reactive dog most likely Dominate male? If not that you're going to stress the crap out of him and create problems instead of fixing them!
Better approach:

Last edited by Chip18; 03-02-2014 at 01:03 AM.
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Old 03-02-2014, 09:01 AM   #5 (permalink)
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My opinion...if I saw your dog with a muzzle on inside a petsmart, I'd high tail it right out of there as fast as possible. I wouldn't come within 2 aisles of you. Sorry, but you're expecting unknowing people, that just want to buy some food/treats/toys, to help you fix certain aggression issues within your dog. That is completely unfair and IMO unacceptable.

If you sign up for a reactive dog class, or just any obedience class, the instructor is likely to let everyone know that your dog has these issues and they will either agree to keep their dog there to help you, or they won't. To expect people to do this without their knowledge...just not cool.

And I'm not sure if you're just trying to make yourself feel better about what's going on with your dog...but my dog is extremely "high alert" but he's not aggressive and is very obedient. I've never once had the thought of putting a muzzle on him for any reason.
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Old 03-02-2014, 09:52 AM   #6 (permalink)
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The muzzle will definitely keep people way, lol. It's nobody's business why he's wearing one but if someone makes a fuss you can always say it's because he'll steal the rawhides otherwise! I'd think that if you brought him there all the time when he was younger, then he'd be fine in there now too - but you never know. You could test the waters in the parking lot, and see how it goes. I personally wouldn't muzzle him if he's fine with people and other dogs though. And if he wasn't fine, then I'd pass on the store altogether.
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Old 03-02-2014, 10:14 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Most people upon seeing him with the muzzle will think he is viscous and you won't get a positive interaction your looking for & you might set him up to fail. I would look for a club that has classes for reactive dogs. We took a class with Zoey and it definitely helped, they set up a number of controlled interactions, much better and safer than dealing with unknown random customers at Petsmart.
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Old 03-02-2014, 11:36 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onyx'girl View Post
I would get into a good class instead of going this route. If the dog has a muzzle on, he may feel vulnerable in the company of other dogs. Why aren't you continuing with the structure of classes?
You say he's not 'very' reactive, but alert? How is his threshold level? Will he listen when you try to redirect him? Does he take treats when he feels stress? Do you redirect him before he has the chance to hone in on other dogs? What about using a tug toy for his redirection instead of food? Tugging can be a stress relief and it is pretty high value for many dogs.
If he's doing ok with your LAT type training, why do you feel you need to muzzle him?
I don't have the money now to take him to classes. :/
On walks, a dog may be off leash and start to approach us. He doesn't bark or growl or lunge. Hackles aren't raised. His ears are erect and his head is held high. It's very easy to get him to focus on me. Usually I just walk in the opposite direction and he won't look back. I'll tell him to leave it and he'll continue walking. Even if the other dog is barking, growling with hackles raised, he shows no sign of aggression whatsoever. He would definitely take a tug in this situation.
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Varick vom Haus Jeffery
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Old 03-02-2014, 12:22 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarleyTheGSD View Post
I don't have the money now to take him to classes. :/
On walks, a dog may be off leash and start to approach us. He doesn't bark or growl or lunge. Hackles aren't raised. His ears are erect and his head is held high. It's very easy to get him to focus on me. Usually I just walk in the opposite direction and he won't look back. I'll tell him to leave it and he'll continue walking. Even if the other dog is barking, growling with hackles raised, he shows no sign of aggression whatsoever. He would definitely take a tug in this situation.
If he's so well behaved then why do you feel the need to muzzle him? Or even take him to petsmart for "training"?
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Old 03-02-2014, 10:03 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boomer11 View Post
If he's so well behaved then why do you feel the need to muzzle him? Or even take him to petsmart for "training"?
I want him to ignore dogs. This may be asking for too much, but I think I should try.
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