Crate Anxiety and Dog Reactivity - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 09-10-2016, 01:13 PM Thread Starter
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Crate Anxiety and Dog Reactivity

Hey guys!
Ellie is 4 months old now and is awesome. She's recently regressed on her crate training progress and nervous barks. I think some separation anxiety is starting. The Kong helped for a while but she's getting used to it. Any other ideas? My other dogs have always loved their crate and I have to drag her to hers. I'd love for her to want to go in.
Also, a few weeks ago Ellie was bitten by a black lab. She healed well but is now fairly reactive toward dogs. We have an awesome dog lover community here and the local dog park has always been incredible. The dogs are gentle and the owners are responsible. I've been taking Ellie (since she's gotten her 3rd round of shots) and holding her until she is comfortable on the ground with the dogs. Her hackles are quick to come up and she sticks near me but warms up to the dogs fairly quickly. I'm starting some tough love by setting her down and not allowing her up on me but letting her under the bench where I'm sitting when she wants to be held. This seems to work better and she gets out to play faster. She starts puppy class soon, too.
The real issue is dogs in public. If we're walking around and she sees a single strange dog she will bark and her hackles go up, but she will still try to run up wagging her tail like she wants to play.
What would you guys do?
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 09-10-2016, 06:48 PM
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Personally I'd stop going to the dog park. She's scared, looking to you for help, and tough love is not going to solve it. What she'll end up learning is to solve it herself if another dog approaches her before she's ready, and her answer will be aggression.

I've been working through similar dog issues with my puppy (currently 5.5 months old, started around 4 months) though in my puppy's case I'm not sure what triggered it as she's never been attacked or bitten by a strange dog. We've been working on both classical conditioning (technically counter-conditioning in this case) a positive response to the sight or sound of other dogs, and operant conditioning engagement.

With the classical conditioning, I have treats ready and as soon as she sees or hears another dog, I pez-dispenser them into her mouth. Dog = great treats. This works to change the underlying emotion from dog = scary to dog = great. I also reward her for choosing to look away from the dog and back at me (the operant conditioning/engagement part) so she doesn't just stand there staring at the dog. We've been working on this for over a month now so she's definitely made progress, along with not forcing (and in fact avoiding) direct interactions and greetings with other dogs.

Might be a good idea to find a trainer to help you with this. Should probably discuss it with your puppy class trainer. What kind of puppy class is it? Is it kind of like a basic obedience/manners class, or is it a free for all puppy play class? If it's the second I'd drop out.

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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 09-10-2016, 09:25 PM
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You may get her to feel better about her crate by feeding her meals in there and tossing toys inside for her to fetch.She may feel more comfortable with a blanket over it too.

Walking and playing near the dog park instead of in the dog park may help.If she gets anxious you're too close.Back off until she's comfortable.You don't want to put her in an uncomfortable situation where she feels she needs to defend herself.It's so easy to create serious reactivity issues by overwhelming them,but very difficult to undo later.Enjoy your girl,Ellie is a doll!

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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 09-10-2016, 10:07 PM
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Puppy Socialization - what it really should be | Naughty Dogge - Monique Anstee
Here's a really good article on socialization to look over when you get a chance.Confidence and life skills!

Terri

Samson Blk/Slvr GSD. RN
Misty Husky Mix
Z-Z Terrier/potato mix
Devo Yorkie Mix at the bridge
Dakota Wht GSD at the bridge
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