Trouble with walking my dogs together - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-22-2012, 08:11 AM Thread Starter
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Trouble with walking my dogs together

My male GSD/Cattle dog mix Sammie, is about 8 years old and I've had him now for 3 years. My female GSD Lucy, is almost 2 and I've had her for a year. My girl is really passive and usually just wants to play with other dogs she sees. She never barks at others and is very quiet. Whenever I walk them together my male wants to challenge any other dog he sees whether it be a chihuahua or a mastiff. Although he doesn't really bark at other dogs, he makes a weird murloc sound (what I refer to it as). It's more embarrassing than anything. If you don't know what a murloc sounds like you can listen here, its almost exactly what he sounds like with different tones and variations lol

He is also wagging his tail excitedly, it seems, while he does this and shifts his weight from one foot to the other and panting very fast, so it doesn't really seem like aggressive behavior but more like anxiety? And there is absolutely nothing I can do to make him stop making weird sounds. He is fine when I walk him alone, but just with Lucy he does this. I've been trying to work on his recall since I adopted him but he pays no attention to me at all when he sees another dog.

Sorry to make this long, but today I went to an empty baseball field that was for the most part fenced in, except for the dugout opening. Someone came up to the fence with two mastiffs and a big rottweiler, and of course Sammie went running right towards them, even though he is less than half their size. I'm frantically running after him so he doesn't run outside the dugout towards them and thankfully he just makes weird murloc sounds from inside the fence, which then makes one of the mastiffs lunge at the fence which encourages Sammie to do even more sounds, all the while I'm trying to pull him back. Why is he so weird and what is this behavior? I can't even tell what the heck these sounds are?!
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-22-2012, 10:03 AM
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Alot of this is just general 'leadership' that you can fix up with dog classes.

You are seeing him with the Murloc noise and behaving badly with other dogs.

What I am seeing is he is ENTIRELY blowing you off and behaving that way. I'd be more focused on the 'blowing off' stuff.

Because if you have his attention and focus, and he is confident that YOU are in control and dealing with all situations. Then you will not see the behaviors you are seeing.

If you just had a 'come' command he followed, the entire issue at the empty baseball field would not have occurred. If you have a good 'watch me' command then you'd have him on your walks when he's on leash.

Good news is both are just obedience commands! If you wonder why all the rest of us 'waste our time and $$$' on dog classes you now know! They are the best way to teach us how to teach our dogs in a controlled environment. A great obedience class that we LISTEN and learn from will teach us how to be a calm and wonderful leader that our dog will trust to guide them thru life.

And they will listen!




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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-22-2012, 05:55 PM Thread Starter
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When I adopted him he was 5-6 yrs, he did not know any commands such as the important come command, and he has always been very easily distracted. Since his previous owners did not teach him anything whosoever, will this take longer for him to learn to listen to me and not blow me off?
He is not food or toy motivated when he is distracted so I've been having some trouble with his attention. However, I understand that being in obedience classes will help with this so I may look into it.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-22-2012, 11:37 PM
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I find a lot has to do with how the dog enters into the environment, whatever environment they happen to go into. For example if they rush through the door in a manic state, they react to everything they encounter in that state. And when taking a dog away from home, there are always so many distractions and new things that it's hard to keep them from being overstimulated. Much less when they arrive into that environment in an already overstimulated state.

So you might try waiting for calm behavior before leaving the house, before letting them IN the car, before letting them OUT of the car, and so forth at every step. It takes patience (I am practicing this now myself) but the rewards will be noticed.

You say that the dogs behave differently when walked together.. when do you FIRST notice that? When putting their leashes on? When walking down the front steps to the car? That would be a key place to wait and/or have them practice obedience, laying down etc before accompanying you on the walk.

If you have good control over them in your own house and yard, that is the first step towards them behaving outside of those environments. Practice the obedience there first, and use NILIF which basically constantly reinforces their pack rank, they will begin to look to you for guidance and defer to you. That is not to say all their problems will disappear, of course not, they will still need to be (re)conditioned to whatever is overstimulating them, but IMO that is very hard to do (especially with 2 dogs) when they aren't "with the program" in terms of who is boss.

Also, keeping one's self calm makes a huge difference. I walk my dogs together and have noticed the more upbeat I am, which helps me to stay relaxed even when inevitably things don't go as planned, the better the walk goes and the better it feels.

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-22-2012, 11:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaggieRoseLee View Post

If you just had a 'come' command he followed, the entire issue at the empty baseball field would not have occurred. If you have a good 'watch me' command then you'd have him on your walks when he's on leash.

Good news is both are just obedience commands! If you wonder why all the rest of us 'waste our time and $$$' on dog classes you now know! They are the best way to teach us how to teach our dogs in a controlled environment. A great obedience class that we LISTEN and learn from will teach us how to be a calm and wonderful leader that our dog will trust to guide them thru life.

And they will listen!
True dog classes are very valuable, especially for dog reactive cases like the OP describes so the dog can be around other dogs in a controlled environment. I do think that if a dog is in a highly reactive/overstimulated state, obedience seems to go out the window. Which it sounds like the OP is describing. Part of it could be not watching her environment closely enough (which is critically important if one knows they have a reactive dog), so by the time she notices the other dog, her dog is already racing towards it, all spazzed out, essentially deaf to any obedience it may have learned. And reinforcing the spazzy reactive behavior.

I suppose the very best recall training could make a spazzed out dog, intent on continuing running towards another dog, return to its owner, but I think the key is going to be reconditioning how the dog acts around other dogs. A huge part of that is monitoring the environment in order to have control over the dog when there are things in the environment (dogs, cats) that the dog will react to. That way the out of control spaz mind doesn't occur in the first place, and any obedience will be much more reliable.

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