I'm sorry if this is in the wrong section...or if we're not supposed to try and make play dates!!
Well, we've gone to a trainer for 3 months about what we thought was fear aggression with our dog. It turns out she just doesn't know how to say 'hello' to other dogs, so she gets anxious and then starts barking.
We've been told how to introduce her to new dogs and didn't know if anyone would be willing to have 'play dates' so we can practice our introductions.
I have a feeling others might be interested in what we've learned, so I'll share our fairly strict but straight forward training. I want to mention that this training comes from a Shepherd specific trainer who specializes in these cases.
When she see's any other dog, she pulls on the leash and barks... a lot
She's fixated on the other dogs. The hair on her back stands at times, but not always.
Her Training Goal:
Get her to meet as many new dogs that she can socalize with so when she sees another dog she isn't anxious anymore
How every meeting works:
1. On a leash (she has no leash anxiety) we walk towards the other dog only when she is not barking and looks back at us. This step can take a bit. She has a muzzle.
2. She sniffs the other dog's rear, and her leash comes off. She has her muzzle on still.
3. Her muzzle is still on and we all walk together. Always moving from here on to keep them from getting protective and keeping their sniffers and brains busy.
4. Once she calms down and is relaxed with the dog, the muzzle comes off. This doesn't take long and she's great from here on in.
Where we are in terms of progression:
She still barks at other dogs, but is not pulling or fixating on them as much. She used to bark no matter how far away the other dog was and was agressive sounding, now it only happens when they're walking towards us.
She has never
bitten another dog, she's just very vocal (high pitched barking, some whining) and we want to get this out of her before it gets worse. She's too high energy basically when she wants to meet another dog and doesn't know what to do. We have her muzzled just for insurance reasons, so we know when the two dogs meet, she won't act out and bite (eventhough she has never done this before...you just never know. Better safe than sorry)
She's 10 months old. Spayed before her first heat (which we've learned after the fact makes agression worse).
She lives with another dog, is great with 3 different dogs that she sees often (one is 18 years old, one is 3 years, one is 1.5 years). She has been introduced for training purposes and sees occasionally another 3 dogs and is great with them every time now as well. Now we're running out of training specific dogs and need to expand our circle.
What we're looking for:
Another shepherd who isn't highly reactive with other dogs....
We're located in Cambridge Ontario, but will drive half an hour for a play date. So KW, Guelph, Milton, Brantford...etc
If you're interested in play dates (not at a dog park) you can reply here or send a pm.
Thanks, hope this post helped or gave others ideas as well!
Just keep in mind of course, there's all different kinds of barking, leash pulling and reasons for these behaviours. This is just what's been working for us.