Thank you! So I have two questions:
When we're in a situation where we're outside going potty and a neighbor could accidentally walk next to us with their barking, lunging dogs, what should I do? Avoid the situation entirely by trying to use the front door and the front lawn? Also, we usually walk on trails close to our house. They are fairly wide, but close enough that they would get him riled up. Should I take alternate routes until I have better control from a distance? And finally what about dog parks? Should I only let him go in if he's quiet, or should I avoid them for now?
Question 2: he's not especially treat motivated. He does likes them, but in a high-intensity situation, he doesn't seem to really care. How can I overcome that? He does really enjoy quick movement, so should I take advantage of that an move away quickly in an effort to attract his attention?
I used to take mine to dog parks(maybe about 3,4 times in total with someone else's dog I know is friendly) but now I avoid them altogether. I do take him to dog playgroups at his training center though because it is controlled and a good way of training his recalls, polite greetings and impulse control. For now though, I would advise you to stay away from dog parks.
With ours I avoided all dogs and trained him at a distance for a while.
1. If you are on a trail and you see a dog approaching, can you step aside into the woods, (just run, calling his name happily, ofcourse you are holding his leash , stop abruptly, feint left, right, stop, treat as soon as he sits, etc. make it a lot of fun for him). If he prefers a tug toy you can use that instead of treats. Also, try to keep your dog hungry so he is more focused on the treats while walking. Then work up to him seeing the dog while he sits or heels for the treat before stepping off the trail.
2. With your neighbor, can you talk to them and ask if they can make sure your dog is not out when they bring theirs out, and you will do the same for them? Give them Christmas cookies or something to soften them up if they are not agreeable, and do a kind deed for them once in a while :P . It is just that for GSD owners the dangers of a reactive dog is so much more than with owners with smaller breeds. That is why they get away with never training their dogs like we have to.
With our neighbors who we share a fence with we kind of came to a mutual understanding that we dont let the dog out in the morning if the other dog is out. Also if I played with mine with a flirt pole he would totally ignore the other dog even if it was barking and growling at the fence. You could have him on a leash and make him chase the flirt pole at the same time, and see if this helps.
Do you use your training lessons while you are walking? I mean not just say leave it when he sees a dog, but actively train him. Like throw treats on the floor and tell him leave it. Basically act as though the trail is just a bigger classroom. Like you train him for a couple of minutes, focus, sits, heels and then say "okay, go sniff". Then call him back (recall). I don't know if you are doing this already, but this is really helping us a lot.
One other thing I did with our dog is throwing a treat on the floor and saying find it. Kibble is good for this because it will roll a short distance making the dog keep track of its movement.
By the way, I was very nervous and so worried that we will never get over hsi reactivity. But I took him every day to the park and went to training classes every week and over time it has improved. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Please don;t be discouraged. You can do it. And it will also help you, if you rise to the challenge of keeping the dog focused on you, when your mind is engaged with your dog it becomes very relaxing, and make you more confident and calmer.
this is just one clicker video. There are several that deal with this topic. The main thing though is you continuously practising.