4 month old + leash reactive = broken finger
This is absolutely probably a one in a million chance for it to have happened. My 42 pound 4 month old saw a dog and began to bark with hackles raised so the owner of the little dog turned around and began to jog in the opposite direction. Most people will give us space and walk to the other side of the street, why this guy started running I have NO idea. This got Atti's prey drive going and his leash somehow got wrapped around one of my fingers and next thing I know, he tried to take off after them, got to the end of his leash and voilá I have a broken finger.
I've been around horses my whole life and have gotten plenty of broken bones and fingers but this one was something else. Holy crap it hurt! The whole thing is black and blue. There wasn't anything different with the way I hold his leash or where we walk, it was just complete chance.
End of story, is there any way to help a leash reactive puppy? We're starting with a trainer next month, would have started earlier but life got in the way. He's got his sit and down perfectly at home and at the park with some distractions. Stay is hit and miss at home (So excited for getting help with trainer). His prey drive is also something I've never had experience with with any other dog, so maybe it's a shepherd trait but if anything moves, and I mean ANYTHING, he's going after it. Whether it be a car, a leaf, a moth, smoke even, all his focus is on the moving object and nothing else in the world matters. Is that normal for the breed or this age?
Funny you mention this story. I was just thinking the other day that I need to be a little more careful wrapping the leash around my fingers or else I could get my finger broken. Not so far fetched at all it seems...
My suggestion for dealing with a leash-reactive puppy is to pay close attention to anything that he might react to and distract him BEFORE he starts pulling/reacting. This takes constant vigilance to be in time before he reacts and high value treats/toys to get him to focus on you despite the distracting prey.
Also, please don't ever play laser tag with your dog. You didn't say that you did but I learned a little late in the game that laser tag can cause severe OCD behavior and make his prey drive even stronger.
At 4mo he is still socialising and learning, the fact they turned around and started running will definitely make his prey drive kick in. Start obedience training, if you can. Join a local group where he trains among other dogs and make it very clear to him from the start that 'training is training' it is not a time to meet and greet and play. Obedience training can help build a better bond between you two and apart from mastering the recall, the other essential thing to master is focus. Find something of really high value to him (food, ball, your high pitch pleased voice etc) and use it to reward him for each focus on command. Give him the command to 'look' or 'watch' and the second he looks at you, reward him. Training a dog to focus on you will help you in the situation you were in, he will learn to ignore outside stimuli and look at you. Be consistent and find that high value reward - you will need it with a high drive GSD.
Good luck with your finger - sounds very paiinful
oh no! I had a terrible burn once from the leash I will never wrap around my wrist again. barking dog got him lunging and burned me painfully, took weeks for the scabs to go. sorry to hear about your finger.
I agree with MisterC, prevention prevention prevention. if he does start fixing on something break his gaze however you can without tugging his leash. change direction firmly. his prey drive will get better with your effort
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