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Old 05-12-2014, 12:12 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Dog Reacts to Other Dogs and Some People.

I go on walks with my dog and when other people come close with their own dogs Charlie barks at them and pulls/lunges towards them. If the dog is across the street then his attention focuses in on the dog. When this happens I give as many prong collar corrections as needed to get his attention away from the dog. Am I dealing with this correctly?

Yesterday my neighbour has his grandchildren over and they were playing in their backyard. Charlie saw them and had a barking fit and started jumping around. He has this weird obsessive focus on certain things that is difficult to break. He only had on a flat collar because I was just taking him out in the backyard so he could poop.

When I'm out on walks, if someone is walking towards us on the same side walk I usually shorten the leash to pretty much nothing in case I need to make a correction. Usually in those situations he is completely fine.

So it seems like it's other dogs and children running around and making a lot of noise that gets Charlie to go into a hyper fit. How do I correct this properly.

It seems like on Mondays the local highschool has several soccer games going on in the back. I usually take him to those and make him sit. He usually sits quietly for 10 minutes, then he makes a scene by barking, crying and pulling.

I've read a lot of people on this forum talk about how GSD's are supposed to be aloof, but Charlie is everything but aloof. How do I get him to just ignore other people and dogs?
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Charlie-GSD 5/30/2011-
Tiny-Toy Poodle 9/25/2009-

Last edited by CharlieB.Barkin; 05-12-2014 at 12:15 PM.
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Old 05-12-2014, 12:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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First question I have is - why is he barking and lunging? Has there been an evaluation done? Not doubting your training ability, even for the experienced owner, that 2nd set of eyes can give invaluable feedback.
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Old 05-12-2014, 12:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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First question I have is - why is he barking and lunging? Has there been an evaluation done? Not doubting your training ability, even for the experienced owner, that 2nd set of eyes can give invaluable feedback.
No evaluation has been done. I have no idea why he does it, unfortunately. Whenever I walk him, it's just the 2 of us. All the experience I have with "large" dogs comes from my last 2.5 years with Charlie. I grew up with tonnes of small dogs and I had my grandmother's husky for a while, but other than that, I don't have a lot of experience with large dogs. I've spent probably too much time reading up about them online and in books, but I'm trying my best with what I have.

The only training "class" he's been to was one at Petsmart *GASPS*, but that was just to get him around other dogs at a young age. All the other training has been done by me at home. I've done quite a bit, but because I've been doing everything myself, he is missing a few key things that I need to go back and teach him. But for now, this lunging/barking thing is at the top of my list.
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Tiny-Toy Poodle 9/25/2009-
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Old 05-12-2014, 01:03 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Then the first suggestion is have an eval done. Determine what you are dealing with. Could be anything from over excitement to fear aggression. Without seeing the dog in action, his body language, there isn't a way to give good advice on what to do.

I will make one suggestion however. Things like the soccer games, you seem to be able to predict when your dog will act out. Leave before he reaches that point. Also, keep the leash loose meaning no tension on it.

For the eval, locate a trainer experienced in aggression. Verify the experience and verify they are experienced in large working breeds - even better if GSD experience. You don't want the yank and crank variety, what you are looking for is a balanced approach.
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Old 05-12-2014, 01:08 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Then the first suggestion is have an eval done. Determine what you are dealing with. Could be anything from over excitement to fear aggression. Without seeing the dog in action, his body language, there isn't a way to give good advice on what to do.

I will make one suggestion however. Things like the soccer games, you seem to be able to predict when your dog will act out. Leave before he reaches that point. Also, keep the leash loose meaning no tension on it.

For the eval, locate a trainer experienced in aggression. Verify the experience and verify they are experienced in large working breeds - even better if GSD experience. You don't want the yank and crank variety, what you are looking for is a balanced approach.
I know for certain that it's no aggression. If I had to throw it in a category, I could confidently say this it's over excitement. He has other things that will trigger excitement, but I can accurately predict them. With the dog and some strangers, I find it difficult to predict when he will start acting out. I must have misunderstood your first post. He has zero history of aggression but the rap sheet for him losing control because he is excited is incredibly extensive.
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Old 05-12-2014, 01:13 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Does he show you any prey drive? Chase a ball or anything? Movement gets his attention, other then the kids? Have you taught him anything like a leave it command?
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Old 05-12-2014, 01:23 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Does he show you any prey drive? Chase a ball or anything? Movement gets his attention, other then the kids? Have you taught him anything like a leave it command?
I'm really glad that you brought that up. His favourite toy is a bouncy ball. I have a poodle that we allow on the furniture so that she can have a private space, and he'll wait for her to jump up onto a couch and he'll lunge for her when she does. It happens nearly every time, multiple times per day. I always suspected that it was the sudden movement that made him lunge for her. He's never hurt her, but it's annoying to say the least.

"Leave it" was one of the first commands we taught him because he would bother the poodle and chew on furniture.

Oddly enough people on bikes and cars don't phase him in the slightest.
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Tiny-Toy Poodle 9/25/2009-

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Old 05-12-2014, 02:31 PM   #8 (permalink)
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May be you haven't been consistent enough with leave it? Letting him get away with it sometimes. Its kinda like random rewards. Makes him want it that much more. Leave it should be enough with the kids in their backyard. I think you should spend some time on that.

I like using distance to teach them some self control like you are. But if he's reacting like that at 10mins, I agree that you need to do things a little different. Either a little more distance at first or a little less time, you want to give him the chance to have been right. Then over time, you shorten the distance. Be careful about using random people and dogs to work on this though. Its better to have people and dogs you know help you. Keep everything controlled and think safety. Prey drive still means biting.
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Old 05-12-2014, 02:41 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Twyla View Post
Then the first suggestion is have an eval done. Determine what you are dealing with. Could be anything from over excitement to fear aggression. Without seeing the dog in action, his body language, there isn't a way to give good advice on what to do.

I will make one suggestion however. Things like the soccer games, you seem to be able to predict when your dog will act out. Leave before he reaches that point. Also, keep the leash loose meaning no tension on it.

For the eval, locate a trainer experienced in aggression. Verify the experience and verify they are experienced in large working breeds - even better if GSD experience. You don't want the yank and crank variety, what you are looking for is a balanced approach.
Actually, before I purchased him, the breeder evaluated each puppy to determine their temperament. I'm not sure if that's what you mean. I'll have to look for my dog's file, but my mom and I asked for a mellow, submissive puppy because we didn't want to have any problems between the GSD and the poodle. If I were to have him evaluated, what would the evaluator be looking for? What information would I get out of it and what would I be able to do with that information? I'm guessing that it will allow me to tailor my training methods specifically to Charlie.
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Charlie-GSD 5/30/2011-
Tiny-Toy Poodle 9/25/2009-
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Old 05-12-2014, 02:43 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Steve Strom View Post
May be you haven't been consistent enough with leave it? Letting him get away with it sometimes. Its kinda like random rewards. Makes him want it that much more. Leave it should be enough with the kids in their backyard. I think you should spend some time on that.

I like using distance to teach them some self control like you are. But if he's reacting like that at 10mins, I agree that you need to do things a little different. Either a little more distance at first or a little less time, you want to give him the chance to have been right. Then over time, you shorten the distance. Be careful about using random people and dogs to work on this though. Its better to have people and dogs you know help you. Keep everything controlled and think safety. Prey drive still means biting.
The difficult thing with Charlie lunging for Tiny when she jumps up on furniture is that I can't always be around to correct it. It's also difficult to time properly. I can certainly try my best as I usually don't find myself correcting that specific behaviour for some reason.
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Tiny-Toy Poodle 9/25/2009-
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