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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-29-2012, 06:27 AM Thread Starter
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socialising

hello all, my first question here,
We've taken in a rescue who is about to reach 4 yrs of age. We have had him for a month in which time he has gotten used to the house, behaves well in the home. He shows no sign of agression and is full of life.
He is exercised well, recall is not too bad and loves to retrieve his ball. The issue we are having is about socialising with other dogs. when we have his attention and off the lead he can see a dog 50 yards away and he will only look, has no real desire to run over to the other dogs. What happens when we have him on the lead is quite the opposite. He will lunge at other dogs, bark very loudly and just keep pulling and barking. This we feel is not agression (but are concerned it may become aggressive the longer it goes on). But not sure how to deal with the situation, obviously we won't let him off the lead but we are also aware that he will be picking up on the fact we are pulling him tight to prevent him getting to others.
What would you suggest as the way to go, we are joining a german shepherd training club as of next week.
thanks, Jon
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-29-2012, 07:33 AM
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I had a rescue that was dog aggressive while on a leash. When I saw another dog near, I would tell her to SIT, if she got up to react to the other dog, I would correct her for breaking the SIT (nothing to do with the other dog). Soon enough she learned to stay sitted and calm while the other dog went passed us.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-29-2012, 08:01 AM
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The training club should be good for him. It sounds like he needs to get over the leash frustration/reactivity. This board has lots of thread on reactivity which would be worth a search.

To rehash what has worked for me, it's staying calm and patient, and working at a distance from other dogs (dog parks or other areas where dogs are on leash should work, e.g. the parking lot at a dog park). After you get him to where he's not barking, lunging as much, it's a matter of walking around as many other dogs as possible so that it becomes his pattern rather than the reactive pattern he's doing now. Go easy on any corrections (for fixating, pulling) as you are working at a distance, since you do not want to associate pain/stress/corrections with other dogs, or with the leash in general. When working with my dog, if he forged/pulled forward a bit, I'd calmly put him back where I want him and kept moving.

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-02-2012, 12:51 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, thanks for that, I shall give the sitting approach a try!
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-02-2012, 10:29 PM
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I know it worked for GSDBESTK9 but the correction for disobedience (sitting/heeling etc,. it's all obedience) approach didn't work for me. A sitting dog is still going to fixate on the other dog, which is the main problem. He will just be going through the motions so that you leave him alone, until he cant take it anymore or until you have stressed him so much with the corrections that he reacts. It could take mighty strong corrections to keep a dog sitting there when his frustration is escalating as he fixates on the other dog. To some extent it depends on the dog, maybe thats why it sometimes works.

But if it doesn't work, like it didn't for me, it has just added stress/corrections to the association with you, your dog, and other dogs. Which takes longer to undo by just being patient and working at a distance, trying to change the association with other dogs to calmness and not stress/frustration.

IMO, simple math. If you try corrections for disobedience, you can make the problem better or worse. If you try the patient/work at a distance approach and not worry about obedience, you can make the problem better, or possibly no change. But it's hard to make it worse using the more patient approach.

Safest idea would be to get with that club and do what they tell you, they will be able to read your dog and you, and see what the best approach would be.

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-05-2012, 08:02 AM Thread Starter
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Had my first session with the gsd club yesterday. they adviced not to go with the sitting approach.
Keep it simple was the idea, when he barks turn him away from the other dog, the thing to avoid is eye contact between them. We tried this a little whilst there and we seemed to make progress. Whenever he or another dog barked at each other i turned his head or body away and he stopped barking. Within two hour i was amazed. We were in a room around 20ft by 20ft with around 25 people and 8 shepherds. he lay down and behaved very well, when there was the odd bark, i just turned him away and he stopped. seems so simple, but also seems very effective. I'm very pleased with his progress!!!!
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