STILL aggressive, what now? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-14-2010, 10:48 AM Thread Starter
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STILL aggressive, what now?

Our one year old Lizzie has almost finished her private lessons with a trainer and in many ways she is doing much better. We have learned sit, down, stay, drop it, leave it, working on heeling and sitting when stopped. She is now friendly or at least tolerates adults and young adults and even elementary kids.

She still barks and lunges at children and especially dogs. This week we took her to the beach and she immediately saw two little dogs and started her ridiculous act....I admit I lost it with her. I am so tired of rewarding and redirecting and treating and so forth. I had a bag of tennis balls in my hand and I actually popped her with them. She looked shocked and walked on past the dogs. I know, I know....it was wrong. I am just so frustrated.

Later, we took her out into the water and taught her (yes, she didn't know how) to swim. While she was in deep water another dog approached. A big friendly lab. She couldn't do anything because she was so freaked out about being in the water. I went over and petted the dog, praised him and gave him a treat while she watched. I want to see if us approaching other dogs will help her realize they are a good thing when friendly.

The trainer says she is so smart that she figures out ways to get around what we are asking her to do. I don't want to punish but I can tell when she knows what we say and chooses to ignore it. The trainer said that she is so attached to us that we need to leave when she is being bad and that is punishment. True.

Getting frustrated and need some encouragement. I was so jealous to see other families and kids and dogs playing on the beach while we had to stay apart and make sure she didn't react.....ugh!

Oh yeah, our last training session was a DISASTER. She went after every dog in Petsmart and barked and scared people. We had to leave. It is like she forgot everything we had worked toward. I know her schedule has been off because of boarding and vacation but this is just so disappointing.

Diane from Georgia
Lizzie's mom
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-14-2010, 10:58 AM
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Just out of curiosity, with whom are you training?
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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-14-2010, 11:00 AM Thread Starter
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The head training instructor at the closest Petsmart. Her name is Alicia and Lizzie loves her. Everything she has told us and has done has made sense. I know that is not the very best situation but we live in a very rural area where trainers are few and far between. I am now trying to find others with GSD who will help us socialize. So far, nothing.

Diane from Georgia
Lizzie's mom
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-14-2010, 11:38 AM
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There is a good instructor in Atlanta.... its only about a 4 hour drive for you
You could always come train with us, but that is still 2+ hours.

If you are interested in driving to Albany, I know a few people there that I could touch base with.

At this point, I am driving 2 hours for schutzhund, 3 hours for herding, and almost 3 hours for agility. Georgia bites!
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-14-2010, 12:09 PM
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This is why I don't use this re-directing, treating method for aggression; it doesn't work. I absolutely do correct a dog for aggression and praise a lot for being good which does work as you saw with your own dog. You will never fix a dog with this problem, but you can manage it.

Elaine and the herd
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-14-2010, 12:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dianefbarfield View Post
Our one year old Lizzie has almost finished her private lessons with a trainer and in many ways she is doing much better. We have learned sit, down, stay, drop it, leave it, working on heeling and sitting when stopped. She is now friendly or at least tolerates adults and young adults and even elementary kids.

She still barks and lunges at children and especially dogs. This week we took her to the beach and she immediately saw two little dogs and started her ridiculous act....I admit I lost it with her. I am so tired of rewarding and redirecting and treating and so forth. I had a bag of tennis balls in my hand and I actually popped her with them. She looked shocked and walked on past the dogs. I know, I know....it was wrong. I am just so frustrated.

Later, we took her out into the water and taught her (yes, she didn't know how) to swim. While she was in deep water another dog approached. A big friendly lab. She couldn't do anything because she was so freaked out about being in the water. I went over and petted the dog, praised him and gave him a treat while she watched. I want to see if us approaching other dogs will help her realize they are a good thing when friendly.

The trainer says she is so smart that she figures out ways to get around what we are asking her to do. I don't want to punish but I can tell when she knows what we say and chooses to ignore it. The trainer said that she is so attached to us that we need to leave when she is being bad and that is punishment. True.

Getting frustrated and need some encouragement. I was so jealous to see other families and kids and dogs playing on the beach while we had to stay apart and make sure she didn't react.....ugh!

Oh yeah, our last training session was a DISASTER. She went after every dog in Petsmart and barked and scared people. We had to leave. It is like she forgot everything we had worked toward. I know her schedule has been off because of boarding and vacation but this is just so disappointing.
I feel for you Diane, my one year old has some of the same issues and part of that is around 11-months old they can go through what is termed a second fear stage, aka Butthead. At this stage it will seem like your dog has regressed from past training and that he/she has picked up all kinds of neurotic anxious behavior.

I guess it's a hormonal thing but be patient and in a few months it will recede a bit. In the meantime you can check out this great book: Control Unleashed by Leslie McDevitt, it covers so many things including focus, training self-control, counter-conditioning, desensitization, etc...

Good luck.
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-14-2010, 12:25 PM
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The biggest thing to keep in mind, is your goal is to have ZERO incidents of craziness. Your goal is NOT to approach other dogs. Every single time you have an episode of craziness, it is reinforced.

I work dog reactive dogs in two phases, at the same time.
Phase one is solid obedience. Sit (and stay!) in heel position, loose leash walking, and quick on leash recalls. This is taught in a strange-things-free-zone.
Phase two is working in the vicinity of other dogs. You must stay below threshhold. Meaning that if your dog alerts, in any form, you are too close. It may be 30 feet away from strangers, or 300 feet.
You should be working those recalls and sits but not requiring anything that the dog does not know and perform well already.

90% of the time, this type of training works and you will have a dog that can be out in public. (Note--not necessarily a dog that can be touched by strangers or play in the dog park).
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-14-2010, 03:19 PM
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Our trainer recommends this book: " Click to Calm - Healing the Aggressive Dog"
http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FClick-Calm-Healing-Aggressive-Clicker%2Fdp%2F1890948209&tag=5336432754-20&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325
I'm sorry you are having such a hard time with her, I know it's frustrating

Michaela

Olivia von Jagenstadt "Nikki" 11/21/2009


Heidi Mouse 02/10/1995 - 02/21/2009
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-14-2010, 03:38 PM
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The biggest thing to keep in mind, is your goal is to have ZERO incidents of craziness. Your goal is NOT to approach other dogs. Every single time you have an episode of craziness, it is reinforced.
I absolutely agree with this. Even if it means backtracking on your walk, taking a detour to a safe distance you have to eliminate incidences which only serve to reinfoce this behavior. The easiest means is simply using distance - if you've found your dog reacts to another dog at 20 feet then make sure you keep 30 feet away from another dog.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gagsd View Post
I work dog reactive dogs in two phases, at the same time.
Phase one is solid obedience. Sit (and stay!) in heel position, loose leash walking, and quick on leash recalls. This is taught in a strange-things-free-zone.
Phase two is working in the vicinity of other dogs. You must stay below threshhold. Meaning that if your dog alerts, in any form, you are too close. It may be 30 feet away from strangers, or 300 feet.
You should be working those recalls and sits but not requiring anything that the dog does not know and perform well already.

90% of the time, this type of training works and you will have a dog that can be out in public. (Note--not necessarily a dog that can be touched by strangers or play in the dog park).
Again I agree, I've found having a consistent and rigorous training regiment helps this situation as your dog learns greater obedience towards you and also it makes it easier for you to grab their focus.

Also, you have to counter-condition and desensitize as gagsd said by working near other dogs. I often drive to a local dog park but I don't go in and I stay outside of it by about 20 feet and just do my training routines with my GSD. Over time your dog gives less attention to other dogs and gives more of their focus back to you and they also have less anxiety about other dogs.

It gets easier but you will have to put a bit of work in but it pays off big time. Good luck.
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-14-2010, 03:39 PM
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From what you are describing, your dog is reacting from fear. You know that, right?

So if you can help with the fear, and get a more confident and secure pup, you will also see a big decrease in the agression behavior.

Have you read these sites?

Solutions For Reactive Dog Behavior

Great Companions -- Scaredy Dog! reactive and fearful dog behavior problems

http://bethlowell.com/mysterious-bea...-your-mindset/

Most of the petsmart trainers I know do well with regular happy dogs, but dogs with issues usually need a trainer with a bit more in their bag of tricks. So to continue to look for someone with SPECIFIC help with reactive and fearful dogs would help.

Also, you purchased the DVD by Turid Rugaas called Calming Signals? Huge help to really see the early signs of stress in your dog and dealing with it properly before your dog reacts.


http://www.amazon.com/Calming-Signals-What-Your-Tells/dp/B000PGTF32/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1276544345&sr=8-1



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