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Old 11-16-2012, 12:27 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default ...to walk by other dogs.

I have a 3-year old female GSD who is my third GSD. She was 1-1/2 years old when I got her and she is totally devoted and attentive and loving to both my husband and me. She is very good out in public and easy to train. My problem is when we are walking (always on leash) and there is another dog walking towards us (leashed or unleashed) she gets very animated, jumping and pulling towards the other dog. To excess. My goal is to get her to walk by the other dog, by my side. Not to necessarily meet & greet -- but her Meet & Greet Technique stinks anyway and strangers of course do not want to meet. She does have a few neighbor dogs she likes and plays with and looks forward to seeing. I have had her to training (a GSD breeder, trainer, owner) class with a dozen or so dogs and while she would sometimes act out (no more than the other dogs) she was mostly a prize there. She does not apply this forward to when we are just out walking, though. Funny part is she is not concerned with dogs behind their fence, at their window, on their porch/deck, in their car or truck all barking, growling at her. She walks on by. It is just the dog walking by her on the road and mostly walking TOWARDS us. I have tried treats, pinch collar, jerk & release, trying to ignore the other dog/walker -- but she always reacts the same way. Once we get by them, she is back to walking by my side (a quick glance back to be sure they continue on THEIR way). I can turn about and go the other way ok. Just can't walk by them. Any suggestions? Would an e-collar with a low vibrate break that thought pattern and get her attention back on me? I'm willing to try =) She is a GREAT girl and mine forever -- would just like to be comfortable taking her everywhere with me.
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Old 11-16-2012, 07:13 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I understand completely how you feel. I have had ongoing issues with leash reactivity toward dogs with my 1 1/2 yr old girl. We have been working on this a while now and it is getting better. The one thing that has been the hardest to "fix" is walking directly toward another dog as the other dog walks directly toward us. For me, the prong collar helped immensely. My trainer is getting an e collar for us to use as well (if needed). He feels she may start to really test me. The other day we were out walking and had to go by a lot of dogs. After dog number 9, she just walked right on by. So I think just repeating this exercise over and over again may do the trick. Combined with the proper training tool. Of course there is always LAT and other methods. And keeping them under threshold (which was not always possible for us) Good luck.
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Old 11-16-2012, 07:47 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I have a FA dog that has been a terror when it came to meeting dogs. The method we used that we had the most success with is BAT. Now that he is finding out that other dogs aren't all this scary monster, he gets over excited. Continuing with the BAT and mixing some Counter Conditioning (jury still out on this) is how we are working on the excitement. The trick, as Katdog said, is keeping him under threshold. Recognizing the signals and redirecting him before it escalates.

A prong is used and corrections given for not complying with a command given, not for reacting to the dog. So far the best behavior for meeting a dog head on when walking is having Woolf heel and walking in a curve around the dog. The distance for that is decreasing.

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Old 11-16-2012, 08:03 AM   #4 (permalink)
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LAT worked best with my dog. If she starts to react, I put her in a sit, she looks at the dog and looks back at me. I'm not against using a correction collar to stop the reaction so you can get their focus but you need to lay the ground work, whether LAT or BAT, first.
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Old 11-17-2012, 12:50 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks, all. All good information and tips for our work together. A good point for me to remember is the correction should be for NOT following a command. I think I'm correcting for her reaction to the other dogs without me really giving a command. We're currently working on a very tight heel with total focus on me with lots of 'look at me -- treat' and see if perhaps we can just heel on by those other dogs if need be.
Is it reasonable to think that an e-collar for really just that reaction to other dogs would be a route to take? Would the approach be: walking along, see dog, give command (like heel) and correct if she breaks the heel command -- THEN give an e-collar correction if she continues? Is that sort of how it would work (assuming our current plan doesn't correct this one behavior).
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:16 PM   #6 (permalink)
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First, I have nothing against e-collars. My biggest concern is will your dog associate the correction from the collar with the dog instead of the behavior. There are many different thoughts on this.

I do know that with Woolf, if my timing was bad, I missed his signals and didn't redirect, he wouldn't learn anything from a correction once he is reacting. He doesn't get a correction for reacting to dogs. Instead I get him out of the situation, then begin again. I have messed up at times and corrected late and his behavior escalated. We would lose ground and had to do some extra work to regain it.
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:30 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks, Twyla. Could you be a little more detailed for me, as I have never used an e-collar yet and don't even have one yet. If you and Woolf were walking, and you spot a leashed dog walking towards you right when Woolf does or even a little before -- when you see that Woolf spots the dog and is reacting (alert and animated or getting animated) and you know each and every time the reaction is the same, what is your command to Woolf and when? Then, when would the e-correction come into play, assuming it is necessary? I'm assuming the correction HAS to be for not following the command so he doesn't think it is the other dog creating the feeling from the e-collar. Yes?

Note: in most of my situations, we're on a road, walking and the other person/dog (normally leashed) will be on the opposite side or moves to the opposite side of the road, but even that close always gets a reaction from my dog. The closer they get, the more reaction. I can (and do) turn about and leave the situation, but my goal is to be able to walk on by.

Thanks for all your help.
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