Leash reactivity and puppy socialization - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-26-2011, 09:25 AM Thread Starter
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Leash reactivity and puppy socialization

Hi guys, I wonder if you guys can give me some advice about our situation.

There are no dog parks around, so it's hard to let my 6th months puppy socialize with other dogs. The only place he can meet other dogs is on the streets near our home, where some owners walks their dogs (leashed or unleashed) and where a few stray dogs roams around.

Other dogs seems to be calm and used to all the dog socialization manners, but the problem is, I have to walk my puppy on leash (even if it's flexi leash), and so while he can approach some dogs that approaches him, he would feel the leash tension if the other dog walks away and he tries to follow.

What I'm worrying about is, he often barks and reacts whenever he feels the restraint. He's also not well mannered yet, as he's a bit rough on the approach to other dogs for play that this makes some dogs walk away.

One of the owners of a well trained unleashed dog said that he usually wouldn't allow his dog approach leashed dogs, as the leash can hurt both dogs when playing, and it can also make the leashed dog feel inferior. He told me to just let him go unleashed. Problem is, I can't do it coz he's not always answering recall, that he can just run away with other dogs or jump at other people.

So what's the best thing to do? I've been correcting him when he barks and overreacts towards other dogs when he feels the leash tension, since I can't allow him to continue like this before he becomes full grown. Is this a good thing to do??


Yesterday, me, my partner and our puppy were walking outside home, when suddenly a stray dog ran right towards us and barked to our puppy. He was aggressive, that we almost thought about kicking him or hitting him with another leash we had at hand, for the sake of our protection (but we hesitated coz in case that dog doesn't go away, he might attack me or my partner instead). Our puppy also barked at him, and we've tried to remain calm while waiting for that dog to go away, in which luckily he did.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-26-2011, 09:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sheep View Post
There are no dog parks around, so it's hard to let my 6th months puppy socialize with other dogs. The only place he can meet other dogs is on the streets near our home, where some owners walks their dogs (leashed or unleashed) and where a few stray dogs roams around.
This is not how I would want my puppy to 'socialize'...do you have a friend with a stable older dog that is about the same size so you can have playdates that are structured/supervised?

Other dogs seems to be calm and used to all the dog socialization manners, but the problem is, I have to walk my puppy on leash (even if it's flexi leash), and so while he can approach some dogs that approaches him, he would feel the leash tension if the other dog walks away and he tries to follow.
You are not setting him up to succeed. Approaching strange dogs on a flexi is frowned upon by most every owner I know. By letting him do this, then follow other dogs is not teaching him correct dog manners

What I'm worrying about is, he often barks and reacts whenever he feels the restraint. He's also not well mannered yet, as he's a bit rough on the approach to other dogs for play that this makes some dogs walk away.
Are there any trainers/classes in your area? I would try to get into one...or maybe you could organize a few others with young dogs to go on walks/training sessions with. I know of a group that had young dogs, they just organized outings thru a Craigslist ad(they stressed no aggressive dogs involved)
One of the owners of a well trained unleashed dog said that he usually wouldn't allow his dog approach leashed dogs, as the leash can hurt both dogs when playing, and it can also make the leashed dog feel inferior. He told me to just let him go unleashed. Problem is, I can't do it coz he's not always answering recall, that he can just run away with other dogs or jump at other people.
You are right, unleashed is dangerous with an untrained puppy

So what's the best thing to do? I've been correcting him when he barks and overreacts towards other dogs when he feels the leash tension, since I can't allow him to continue like this before he becomes full grown. Is this a good thing to do??

Can you order the book Control Unleashed by Leslie McDevitt? It has many exercises on teaching a dog to be neutral instead of reactive when other dogs are around. I would not correct him because many dogs will see that correction as what they are reacting to. Better to redirect his attention back to you BEFORE he starts the zoning in or reactive behavior(this is explained in the CU book)Yesterday, me, my partner and our puppy were walking outside home, when suddenly a stray dog ran right towards us and barked to our puppy. He was aggressive, that we almost thought about kicking him or hitting him with another leash we had at hand, for the sake of our protection (but we hesitated coz in case that dog doesn't go away, he might attack me or my partner instead). Our puppy also barked at him, and we've tried to remain calm while waiting for that dog to go away, in which luckily he did.
Maybe carry a walking stick in case this happens again. Sounds like you have many strays, is there anyplace you can walk your pup without dogs running up on him?
Good luck!!

Jane~
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Last edited by onyx'girl; 12-26-2011 at 09:47 AM.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-28-2011, 09:05 AM Thread Starter
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Hi onyx'girl, thanks for your input.

Yesterday we've met another owner with a big but very obedient dog, and our puppy started playing with his dog. But since my puppy was on flexi leash, I had to be very careful and run after them so that our dogs wouldn't get hurt by the leash or that my puppy wouldn't feel leash tension. But then the flexi lead almost hurt the other dog, so that we've decided to let our puppy off leash. We were a bit nervous about it, but since the other dog would probably get most of his attention and he's very obedient, we felt relatively safe (the only problems with recall is when there are other dogs or people).

So our dogs were playing together and running around happily, but after a while my puppy was starting to be a bit rough, like barking and going on the other dog's face or jumping on him. The other dog seemed calm and tried to ignore some of my puppy's actions, and I was correcting my puppy verbally a few times (which was not very efficient yet), and then the other owner was also calling his dog back to have a calm down period, since he probably knew that things might end up badly if my puppy continued to be that rough.

I guess that things went well, but I'm a bit concerned of my puppy's social manners towards other dogs. He did seem kind of aggressive/dominant towards the other dog, even thought it was mostly play. I'm planning to correct him or make him stay still next to me to rest when he goes overboard again.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-28-2011, 10:44 AM
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sheep, it would appear to me that your puppy is just trying to play. But the leash situation PLUS your extremely nervousness and unsureness of the situation is NOT helping.

Plus, GSD's can play really really rough. Dog is GENERAL can play really really rough.
So it's hard for people new to the dog world to be able to judge the normal play from the uh oh, getting out of hand play.....

I tend to like the off leash walks/romps better. Easier for the dogs to adjust and feel they can have some control. Here's my friends and I with all the dogs on a hike. YOu may want to scroll forward to about 2:25 where you can see a big mean nasty Golden Retriever take unfair advantage of my poor delicate blossom GSD pup Glory B. Watch/listen to what we humans are doing...


Were you able to find any dog classes in Portugal? Your dog is the perfect age to start. Is the breeder local? Even making a visit with you pup and their dogs may be fun.




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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-28-2011, 10:59 AM Thread Starter
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MaggieRoseLee, I'll check the video later, since I'm at work now. I was never extremely nervous or unsure lol but in this case, it was obvious that he went overboard with his way of playing, so that the other owner called his dog to rest on his side before things goes wrong (having a break for everyone).
Often it's not that hard to understand how the communication between dogs are going, but people need to be more intuitive and less rational when it comes to understand dogs.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-28-2011, 11:02 AM
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The leash DOES not help in many dog/dog situations.

And our GSD pups WILL play to rough, but it's still play. Alot of this is the pup having to learn to play nicely, and they only learn by playing and being taught. So it's a dilemma if you can't allow your pup to ever play cause they are playing to rough... cause they then can't learn to play nicely...




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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-28-2011, 12:43 PM Thread Starter
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MaggieRoseLee, I know that the leash is bad for playing, that's why I've released him from that when playing with the other dog.

I know that playing too rough is part of learning for puppies, but I don't know the temperament of the other dog that it's not ok to just let him go too overboard if the other dog backs away and shows signs of not wanting to play anymore. The other dog can either give a quick correction (which helps him learning to play nicer), or get into some fight, depending on his temperament as well as my puppy's. On the other hand, if another dog is ok with that and doesn't show signs of possible overreactions, then I would allow him to play as much as he wants.
The other owner could have just let our dogs continue playing, but there's a reason of why the other he called his dog to rest besides him when my puppy was going really rough.

Also, I would say that it's even fine to get into a few fights, but I don't want that to happen before he meets enough dogs and feels positive about them overall, since having fights before getting used to other dogs might make him start seeing other dogs as threads, while if he already played with more dogs, then he wouldn't see all dogs as threads if he gets into a few fights.
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