Starting to have issues on-leash - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 11:41 PM Thread Starter
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Starting to have issues on-leash

Seems to be a very common problem, I'm hoping to nip this in the bud. Jupiter, 7.5 months, does not generally seem aggressive, although he does sometimes bark at the other dogs in obedience class if I don't keep his attention (he's been in classes almost continually since we got him at 10 weeks). He goes to the dog park nearly every day, where he gets along and only seems to have issues when he does the chase/nip too hard behavior. Then they yip and I have to redirect, because he doesn't back off very well once he starts that.

Anyway, he has never shown much interest in dogs on the leash, but the last two days there have been two alarming incidents. There was this girl with a pointer who seemed to _really_ want her dog to meet Jupiter. They sniffed each other, and all was well, but the dog had a tennis ball (oops), and Jupiter wanted it. It got to the point that Jupiter started growling at the pointer. I'd never heard Jupiter growling at another dog.

When we walked home, there was some yippy foo-foo dog doing the normal plant and yip, and again Jupiter growled at it. Again, this is new territory.

Tonight, pointer girl found me and again, really wanted Jupiter to meet her pointer. They sniffed and everything seemed fine... but then Jupiter kind of jumped up on the pointer's back (I've seen him do this wrestling before) and then started growling, barking and pulling on the leash (prong collar). He seemed pretty agitated, although there were no hackles.

It seems a shame that he's just developed this leash aggression, whereas before he'd been fairly well-behaved. The standard advice seems to get his attention before he has a chance to stare/lunge, but is there anything else that might correct this in a more "natural" way?
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 11:59 PM
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He's a German Shepherd. I'd keep him from having contact with unknown dogs while on leash if this behavior occurs with other dogs too. Being leashed makes dogs more reactive but is a necessity to prevent mayhem. Good luck at the dog park.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-21-2019, 12:21 AM
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It is very common for GSDs to behave this way as they transition to adulthood.It's usually best to avoid dog parks ,daycares,and greeting other dogs.Rewarding your dog for his focus on you and not allowing him to react and stare at other dogs is very effective.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-21-2019, 01:15 AM
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Originally Posted by CactusWren View Post
He goes to the dog park nearly every day, where he gets along and only seems to have issues when he does the chase/nip too hard behavior. Then they yip and I have to redirect, because he doesn't back off very well once he starts that.
In red, all the reasons he is done with the dog park (typical age) and you won't be very popular with the other owners any longer. If another dog 'yips' it could leave a permanent trauma for that dog, depending on its temperament.
Same goes for "saying hi" to other dogs. Not needed; he has you to focus on and to work and play with. In fact, the incidents with the pointer will only add to your problems. Don't listen to the pointer girl.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-21-2019, 07:57 AM
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Along with what others said, I would not have my boy wearing a prong if my intention were to allow him more than a quick sniff hello. Prongs can easily tangle in collars when dogs are playing hard. also, prongs seem to amp him up a lot more than a flat when he becomes aroused so particular attention needs to be paid to leash handling.

Stay away from the Pointer owner girl.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-21-2019, 09:00 AM
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I have a bright red vest with patches that say DO NOT APPROACH on one side, and CAUTION: BITE DOG one her chest and the other side of the vest. I have a bright green one for my Husky, and his says DO NOT APPROACH and WORKING DOG. Their leashes match, with the same warnings on them. When Seiran is old enough, she will get one too. It’s done wonders. No one rushes up to meet my dog, especially with other dogs. Parents don’t allow their kids to rush up either. My dogs have friends, but NOT at a dog park. The breed isn’t a dog park kind of dog past a certain age. They love kids, but a random strange kid running at them and trying to give them bear hugs because their parents haven’t taught them the proper way to act with dogs could end poorly.

You don’t have to get the patches I have, there are a plethora of others to choose from. But it does make people stop and think before they just need to make their dog your dogs best friend (like the pointer girl).

I would find a few doggie friends that you and your dog know well, and setup play dates on neutral ground, without any other dogs around. Long leads will give them a chance to play with you being able to call them back if the play gets too rough, or another dog shows up. Early morning at regular parks is a good place, normally empty early in the morning.

And last but not least, a lot of GSD’s don’t want dog friends. They want all their attention focused on you, and are standoffish with other dogs and people. There is only one dog both my GSD and Husky both like, and it’s a neutered GSD with low drive and the patience of a saint. He handles my Husky who rarely stops. So I watch until the GSD’s tire, and then bring them inside for naps while working with the husky outside to crank his energy levels down before I let him in for nap time too.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-21-2019, 09:12 AM
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I'm new to GSD and relieved to see others have similar issues. I thought I was the only one. My girl is 5 1/2 months. We have been attacked by my only neighbor s dog several times the last one was the worst(battery was dead in there dogs electric collar) I literally picked up my girl and flees into woods before they would do anything. Now my girl is having similar leash reactiveness. We also are on a prong and trainer advised a vest that says "In training do not pet." We stay to quieter places in parks and totally avoid dog parks. I'm interested to see what other suggestions you get.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-21-2019, 09:31 AM
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It is interesting to watch the changes from puppies to adolescence to adults. You often have to readjust and do things differently figure out their comfort zone. My favorite is “leave it” many videos to teach this prior to distractions once it well known and the dog listens to this well- it works in ignoring other dogs. “Leave it “gives the dog an instruction to behave and ignore. I myself found this to work best along with a light jiggle of the collar for connection only, to me. (Which seems to be grounding). I find this puts the dog in a more relaxed state then a stiff focus on the strange dog state. You also want to do this before or seconds in the beginning of that deep stiff focused stare so observing body language and timing is important when given the leave it or any instruction. If the dog ignores the “leave it” then a collar pop correction is made. “Leave it” said loud enough -the pointer lady should get the indirect but clear message as you continue to walk away. Engagement exercises focusing exercises are all important also.
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Last edited by Jenny720; 06-21-2019 at 09:55 AM.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-21-2019, 12:54 PM
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It's kind of Cesar Millan-y but I've found a simply slip lead high on the neck works best for reactivity. Prong certainly can bring the dog down in arousal but if you are not a huge person and the dog is big (as big as most GSD) you're going to have a hard time with communication. And so the prong will probably amp up the dog.

I put on the slip lead, and can visibly see the tension go out of the dog- and I'm not choking the dog or hurting her to get that calmness. The dog knows that the slip lead means calm, focused on-leash walking. Highly recommended for situations where the dog could react.

You can use the slip lead you get at the vet (the cheap-o plastic kind) or buy a dominant dog collar, whatever you want and work on it.

Of course, no meeting other dogs on leash. It's hard to be firm but you have to advocate for your dog. Many GSD won't like meeting strange dogs on leash, it's the nature of the breed.

A really solid focused heel is also a great training tool to use for these situations.

Look into proper training with the slip lead, and I think you will find it works really well for you as the dog is in training.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-21-2019, 01:53 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for their thoughts. It looks like on-leash greetings must stop--not that I care about that anyway. Giving up the dog park is going to be really hard, but I'm keeping this in mind as a distinct possibility, if not probability.

I'm going to start carrying around high-value treats and really get "leave it" and "watch" firm. Maybe take an e-collar class to try to solve the chase/nip behavior.
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