Need advice...not getting anywhere with barking at other dogs - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-15-2012, 08:01 PM Thread Starter
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Need advice...not getting anywhere with barking at other dogs

Hi,
My Isa is 11 months old. Background: She has been in weekly obedience classes since 4 months. We also work with a private trainer about twice a month. She used to go to the dog park until I got fed up with people bringing dogs who should never be in a park. She lives with 2 other dogs. We have play dates with a neighbor's 3 dogs several times a week. She also goes everywhere with me if dogs are allowed....some restaurants, hardware store, assisted living facility, state parks, vacations, etc.

I feel like I have done everything I can to socialize her. And she if great with car travel, people, babies, toddlers, wheelchairs, bicycles, etc.

However, if she sees a cat or dog (that she has not met before) she lunges and barks her head off. I don't think it is aggression, think just excitement. But it scares other people. Treats and toys will not get her attention. (Food is never a motivator for her....she rarely eats an entire meal) Nothing will distract her. The trainers have me do a leash correction (no response at all), give another command (she will sit or down but still bark).

Out of frustration I tried a training collar. It seemed to work but you have to have collar on of course and fiddle with a remote. Should I continue with this? Use a bark collar?

I'm at a loss. She took the good citizen's test (knowing she would not pass the part about walking by a strange dog...and she didn't). But all the other sections she was great!

This is the only issue we have with her.
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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-16-2012, 12:09 AM
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No sarcasm meant...I think that is called high prey drive. It would seem to me that if a dog trainer can't help stop it, it can't be stoped.

Here's a good article: Problem of the Month: Prey Drive | Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan

It reminds of story about a woman who took her son to the doctor because he talked so loud. The first DR examine him and said he could find nothing wrong as did the next DR she took him to. So she takes her son to a third DR. He examines the child and says...madame there is nothing wrong with your son, what you have is a kid who talks loud because that is just the way he is.

Whoever said you can't buy love musta never owned a dog !
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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-16-2012, 12:31 AM
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Throw a bark on her. You don't have to fiddle with a remote. It goes automatically when the dog barks, make sure there are no other dogs that can set off the collar. Fiddling with remotes has it's pay off.

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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-16-2012, 07:42 AM
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does she only do this while on leash? when she is off leash is she quiet and not barking? if this is done on leash only it could be leash frustration.. you can upp your treats to hamburger, steak, chicken, something she would never ever get and is higher value to her... carry a treat bag and make up some hamburgers (cooked) and break them into pieces into the treat bag and work with her every day on this.. the higher value treat should work.

some dogs get frustrated when on leash as they cant run away, cant run forward, cant be free per say to greet another dog... when off leash these type of dogs are usually perfect and you dont hear a peep out of them.

You can always try the book Control Unleashed, http://controlunleashed.net/ its an awesome book and might be able to help you

Maryellen
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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-16-2012, 08:39 AM
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Wow does this sound familiar! I have the same issue with my 10 month old GSD. Off leash he could care less, but on leash... oh boy! I tried a couple different collars & techniques and we got the best results using a prong collar together with "leave it" as we are walking by (they have to have a strong "leave it"). He's not over it completely, but he's improved 110%.

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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-16-2012, 09:45 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the link Packman. Some good ideas there.

She is the same on or off leash. The only difference is that she can run to the other dog (as long as they are not giving her "stay away from me" signals). Once she gets to the other dog, she is very submissive and only wants to lick their faces. Of course she is more frustrated on leash though as she can't get to the other dog.

It is so funny that she remembers ones she has met before. For instance, the first day of a new group class, she enters the training area and barks her head off at all the other dogs, trying to get to them to sniff and lick. The next week she will enter and do some excited vocalizations but not bark. Let a new dog enter the class and she is back to barking at the newcomer.

Last night I took her downtown to an outdoor concert. Wasn't really interested in the concert but wanted to expose her to a rowdy, loud group and have other dogs present. The music, the drunk people, the strollers and the motorcycles didn't faze her. Of course when she spotted another dog, the barking began.....I would just walk her in a different direction and after out of sight, she would quiet. The funny thing was that there was a K9 unit there. When she saw that dog, Isa went wild barking.....and the K9 dog followed along with his own lunging and barking. The officer seemed really embarrassed he had trouble getting his under control too! Made me feel better than professional has difficulties at times too
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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-16-2012, 10:10 AM
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The prong helped Rocket and I immensely. He too was not aggressive, just frustrated and excited. A few well-timed corrections and wow...what a difference. Also, if you are consistent and think in terms of the collar as a several months training, as they mature it will usually become non-existent.
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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-16-2012, 12:05 PM
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This is waaaaaay too familiar. Stella (who will be 1 tomorrow) is the same. I have been to several trainers, and tried different things. Nothing seemed to work. I was about ready to try a prong. (I have nothing against them). But I decided to try one last trainer and I am reading Control Unleashed. The "Cujo" side of Stella is lessening. She still reacts to strange dogs but not as intensely and she can settle faster. Going back to that trainer in 2 weeks and working with Stella at a dog park. Should be interesting. Like your pup, Stella is not aggressive at all. (Try convincing other people of that! lol) Just excited, frustrated and possibly a little afraid. Have been doing a lot of focus work the past few weeks with her. I would definitely recommend the book Control Unleashed. Wish I had gotten it sooner. I figure if the focus/LAT doesn't do it, I can always get a prong.
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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-16-2012, 12:09 PM
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Also am going back to basic obedience with Stella. She has been through basic, advanced basic and even basic agility, but this new trainer suggested starting from the beginning at the new facility. The new place seems to be very knowledgeable about GSDs. One of the first things they plan on teaching Stella in the class is that even though GSDs seem to have a lot to say, not everyone wants to hear it!!!!
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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-16-2012, 03:54 PM Thread Starter
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lol Katdog! Yes, they do have much to say. I bought the control unleashed book and have started reading it.

It irritates me (though I know it shouldn't) that people can have little yappy dogs who bark at other dogs and no one thinks a thing.

The other day I had Isa out and met a woman with a little Yorkie....of course both hers and mine were barking. But she grabbed hers up in her arms like Isa was going to eat it, which of course excited Isa that much more!

It seems like with GSDs they don't even have to be barking to incite fear in some people. While walking her on vacation recently in a city, I met a jogger early one morning on an empty sidewalk. Isa was paying no attention to him, but the man threw himself up against a building and yelled "you better have that dog under control"! She was walking on a loose lead and much more interested in watching the garbage truck!!!

I guess I will just keep working with her and hope someday it clicks. May try the bark collar (could actually use it with my pit/boxer too). I have to keep telling myself not to start avoiding other dogs....it would be so easy to fall into that (just avoid the issue). But I want her to be able to go anywhere, be my constant companion and hopefully some day do therapy work.

My sweet girl is at my feet now totally unaware that in a couple hours she is going to have off lead time on 100 acres with her "cousin" a border collie! That will make her day!!!!!! (and mine too)
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