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Old 08-18-2014, 08:40 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Reactive to other dogs on leash

Ranger barely barked his first year of life. The second year he occasionally would bark once in certain situations. Now in his 3rd year (turned 2 in May) he is barking more and more often. Still it has not been too often. Yesterday we had a problem. We were taking a walk and as we exited the house another, unknown dog, was walking on the sidewalk in front of our house. Ranger went crazy, hair up, barking, jumping toward the dog. Our yard is big so the dog was quite far away and luckily no one seemed scared, but having a GSD act like that is unacceptable. How do i change this behavior.

Some quick background:

Ranger has been to training but I have not kept up with it. Bad me.

We have an older dog (almost 13) and I think Ranger is getting protective of him.

My plans, tell me if this sounds good:

I was going to walk Ranger alone from now on. I was going to keep treats and when we pass a dog I was going to remind him to heel and treat him as we pass.

Any other ideas?

Thanks and sorry for the long post.
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Old 08-18-2014, 09:24 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Your game plan sounds good. I would be sure Ranger is hungry and take good treats. Also try to anticipate, if you see another dog - turn even turning into Ranger when he follows you reward. The idea is to keep him focused on you. Also have him walk by your side so he isn't out ahead of you. This is also an interesting idea from the AKC Woofipedia Monsters Unleashed | WOOFipedia by The American Kennel Club
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Old 08-19-2014, 12:48 AM   #3 (permalink)
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He may not be protective, it could be that walking both dogs together is "helping" Ranger feel a little more "cocky" I'd try your method and up his OB, work on focus/watch me. He doesn't sound too bad, hopefully the treats (high value) will help him to ignore the other dogs.
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Old 08-19-2014, 01:24 AM   #4 (permalink)
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He is only doing what is instinctive to him - protecting his pack and property. My male is similar in regards to our property and car, I don't discourage it, however I do take control and tell him enough once I have decided there is no real issue or danger.

My male is dog reactive too, with walks it can be hard work and I am still working on encouraging him to relax and trust in me to handle situations, he is definitely getting better, but has been a slow progress. I walk him in areas where there are other usually leashed dogs and I always make sure we are walking a reasonably fast pace, this helps them focus on moving forward at all times, I make sure I am calm, relaxed and in control. I also use treats sometimes, if I think he may fail and react I will get his attention on me, show him the treats, command him to 'look' then treat him, then I will throw a treat on the path in front of us as we are walking and keep doing this until we have passed the dog, this always distracts him from focusing on the other dog.

Another way I have found to work is to walk him with a friend and their dog, regardless if there is a whole lot of reaction in the beginning, once we all start walking, he will calm down and actually enjoys walking with the other dog. Keep moving forward always.
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if your GSD is eating and eating and eating and losing weight - please consider testing for EPI.

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Old 08-19-2014, 07:12 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Thank you so much to both of you for the great advice. I think part of the problem is that lately I haven't been walking him as much as I usually do. I need to make the time because practice makes perfect.
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Old 08-19-2014, 09:44 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I think the lack of walking might be all of the problem, lol. My dog can behave like this too. I think it's just pent up energy because once he's exercised, he's a different animal. I wish I could video the 'before' and 'after' walks that we take to go down to the river to swim. That would really convince people to get out with their dogs more, because the 'before' walk is ridiculous - he loves to swim, and his excitement to get there is almost embarrassing, lol. The walk back is the most pleasant stroll, with him right at my side not needing a leash, and not even being asked to "heel" he's just enjoying the leisurely walk - and he's quiet too, for once, lol. It's such a dramatic change!
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Old 08-19-2014, 02:41 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Blanketback, don't worry Ranger has been getting excercise just not my typical formal walk. Well, we have been walking but only about a mile a day. I have been throwing the chuck-it ball for him and he loves it so much that it has replaced a lot of the walking. It also gives me the opportunity to excercise both dogs at once at their own pace. Ranger can run the whole length of the yard and Buzz (the old guy) can run a few yards and wait for Ranger to come back - everyone is happy. When we walk, Buzz is really struggling with a mile and I often do less with him. Then if I try to take Ranger out without him he barks and barks, very sad.
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Old 08-19-2014, 03:01 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I know he's getting exercise I have a vague memory of discussing home-made agility courses with you, if I'm not mistaken, lol. But thank you for making me explain myself - I have a bad habit of keeping my posts short. I think it's important to get the dogs out, like 'out of their regular surroundings' too.

I'm sure the swimming is the best exercise I can give my dog during the summer, but to have him off the property is good for him in the sense that he's not fixating on our territory either. I've had to keep him on restricted exercise a few times, and this makes his 'reactivity' worse, I've noticed.
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