I have one of those dogs to, Alyssa. I am a 25 year old female of less than 50kg, and I own an 8 month old male pup of 34kg who happens to be reactive. Then again, right now we are seeing the light for the first time. He started like this around the time he got better from Parvo, before it, he was quite social, he loved people and smelling small dogs.
We tried to fix it with a trainer at group classes. It was a terrible mistake. The trainer got him scared many of the first classes. But he got to a point in which he could be in "stay" even next to other dogs, with me and other people walking around in the class. In the class he was close to perfect, out of it, he was a mess.
We stopped going to those classes cause of mine and my sister's schedule, also because we personally hated our pretentious trainer and because I lost my better income and got a not so good one with my job. But we learned a few things from there, like walking with a leash, and putting up and using a prong (he made sure we knew how and when to correct). He also kept saying our pup is a nice dog and we should trust him (from his good lines).
So, after we left the class, I bought a front ring harness and a Herm Sprenger prong. We started working confidence with the harness and a martingale, we took him to lonely places, with no more than a person or two every once in a while. We explored and allowed him to explore.
Then we got to the point of walking around parks, with kids, dogs and people, but kept our distance from them. We would only enter the park at 3 or 4 in the afternoon when close to no one was there. He loved it. So, we kept working, getting closer to the park when people was there. Till the point, we finally got in. We just kept our distance inside the park.
Then we started with the prong. Now we walk inside the park closer to people and dogs with it (kids and people have gotten really really close sometimes, there was even a kid that came straight to us in a bike and asked to pet him, we said No, and our puppy remained sitted just 10 inches from the kid and bike). We feel more confident and he feels more confident. My sister and I, we are really nervous people, so we might had transfer some of that to him before, but we are trying our best to control ourselves. Sometimes we shoot videos of each other to see what we do wrong. We take him to an outdoor mall sometimes, and he is doing far better now.
On a side note, my dad also walks our puppy, and he is bigger and with more experience with GSD (never a reactive one though), but he walks the pup with regular flat collar most of the time, and he gets quite good results lately. He gets reactive, but my dad says No and he calms till the point he is down or sitted while my dad talks to people out there, he also has a great recall with my dad.
We are not in a perfect spot now, and I do wonder if a should muzzled him to get him to interact with other known pups (not sure yet, but sounds like an idea), but we keep working. We use a lot of treats, and we keep things with the prong. The prong collar makes things better when it comes to his size and strength. He is also pretty focused when he uses it. We make sure the leash is not tight and he does not get corrections when he does not deserves them. He loves to see the prong collar out, cause it means he is going places (and he loves going places haha). Other than what our trainer said and instructed us, we have read a lot of articles and forums and everything online (in english and spanish), we keep trying things, and keep trying them (he is still quite reactive in the front house fence, crazy mode), but other than that, our walks and outings are far far better. I do not need a dog that loves people/dogs, just want him to know they have the right to breath around him.
To make my point. Things get better, but with a lot of patience and the tools you need.
ps. We are not from the US.
Last edited by CAROLINM; 10-14-2018 at 01:21 AM.