Training dogs reactive dog - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-05-2013, 01:13 PM Thread Starter
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Training dogs reactive dog

I see a lot of posts about dog reactive dogs lately and all the members that have one. My boy is one of them. I think it would be great if we all can share our experience with type of training we do to help the dogs and our progress.
So as for me, my boy is almost 2 years old, and his reactivity got crazy this spring, mostly on leash. So past 2 months we are in behavior modification class. We focus on getting use to other dogs and my stepping up the leadership role. I know this will take time, but sometimes I'm questioning the very slow progress. He is use to dogs (8 GSD)that trainer use for our training but he will still react to dogs on our walks.
Please share your experience!!!
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-05-2013, 01:53 PM
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Riley is 8 months old and he is great around dogs he knows. He is VERY reactive to dogs he does not know.

We went to training and he did great. By the end of the class he was playing with the dogs, but he knew them after 8 weeks. We went to a park today that has a dog park area, but also a walking path. At times he resembled cujo. We placed him in a sit stay and worked on leave it. It worked much better if I gave the leave it command as soon as I noticed he may react. After about 45 minutes he was able to sit without reacting as the dogs walked by. There was no way I was going to put him in the off leash area.

It's something we will have to continue to work on. his reactivity amazes me, because he really is a sweet dog around people and dogs he knows.
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-05-2013, 04:29 PM
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I have a fearful, reactive dog who just turned one year old. I had him in a 'Confident Canine' class with a trainer who specializes in these type of dogs. It only made him more reactive. Since January, I have had him in a group class with a different trainer. We started out with us being on the other side of a low fence from the other dogs. This gave us a safe place to work. Finally, in April we were able to move to the same side as the other dogs. He is still reactive but has improved. I also worked with a different trainer at the same time in a setting with only one reactive dog. By working with these two trainers, we have come a long way but still have a ways to go. My dog will never be 'normal' and will always have to be managed around other dogs as well as people. He is both dog and people reactive.
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-05-2013, 06:12 PM
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Reactive to dog, especially on leash, mainly with dogs she doesn't know. Tried many things, including the treat / focus, etc. What worked best for her is keep going so she can't dwell on it, act like no big deal, and a heel command for her to focus on (or attempt to get her to focus to heel instead of the other dog). Constant exposure to other dogs, her maturing and stepping up of the you-do-what-i-say I believe has helped both of us. She's gotten pretty good, even when off leash around strange dogs so long they don't push her to play. A trainer told me it's because she didn't trust me to protect her or guide her and another trainer said I've to disagree with her behavior. I became more firm after that and it worked though she'll unlikely ever be "normal" but definitely a lot more manageable than I once thought!
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-05-2013, 08:51 PM
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Almost one year old male reactive to other dogs, only when he is on a leash...them on a leash is not an issue as long as he's not. I'm still in the process of figuring out the best way to go about it and I mix things up. Sometimes I put him in a sit and have him focus on me, I turn around and in a happy voice get him to follow me, I throw treats away from the other dog so he can get into a hunt mode, and I also make noises to get his attention. Any of these things can work, sometimes more then one of them. We are in a very basic class and we are behind barricades. The problem I see is that about a half hour after doing the same thing, he gets very bored and starts focusing everywhere else. I'm moving and found a new trainer that will allow us in the class across the room, where we can do all of the obedience stuff that others are doing. If he's busy he is fine.

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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-05-2013, 09:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trcy View Post
. At times he resembled cujo. We placed him in a sit stay and worked on leave it. It worked much better if I gave the leave it command as soon as I noticed he may react.
Have you ever considered that when you stop the action your dog is doing, the moment he begins to focus on a target (another dog) you are actually teaching him to react? Meaning if you are walking with your dog and he begins to focus on another dog, you stop the action you are doing (walking) and YOU are actually reacting to the dog first?

When you tell your dog to "leave it" when he first begins to target on the other dog, you are actually telling your dog NOT to react and you are continuing with what ever work (or walking) that you were doing before your dog began to target. That could be why your dog does better with the leave it command.

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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-06-2013, 01:47 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lilie View Post
Have you ever considered that when you stop the action your dog is doing, the moment he begins to focus on a target (another dog) you are actually teaching him to react? Meaning if you are walking with your dog and he begins to focus on another dog, you stop the action you are doing (walking) and YOU are actually reacting to the dog first?

When you tell your dog to "leave it" when he first begins to target on the other dog, you are actually telling your dog NOT to react and you are continuing with what ever work (or walking) that you were doing before your dog began to target. That could be why your dog does better with the leave it command.
This is great point!!! And my trainer said same think, do not react differently when other dog is approaching.
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-06-2013, 01:52 PM
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https://www.germanshepherds.com/forum...le-review.html

Above is a thread with a link to an interesting article review of training and "fixing" 36 reactive dogs. Good luck OP, glad you found a trainer to work with :-)
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-06-2013, 03:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lilie View Post
Have you ever considered that when you stop the action your dog is doing, the moment he begins to focus on a target (another dog) you are actually teaching him to react? Meaning if you are walking with your dog and he begins to focus on another dog, you stop the action you are doing (walking) and YOU are actually reacting to the dog first?

When you tell your dog to "leave it" when he first begins to target on the other dog, you are actually telling your dog NOT to react and you are continuing with what ever work (or walking) that you were doing before your dog began to target. That could be why your dog does better with the leave it command.
I would agree with that if we were walking. He was in a sit stay, but if I waited for him to react it was difficult to gain his focus again. If I gave the leave it command as soon as I noticed a change in him he was much better to control and eventually did not react. After seeing his reaction a few times I knew what change to look for.

We weren't using the walking path. We were sitting in the field. (he was sitting. I was standing.) People were walking around the path with their small dogs. I was using that for a training opportunity.

I was surprised at how nice the people were. It was obvious I was not going to bring him to close to their dogs. When he remained in the sit stay with no reaction one lady as she walked by said . "he did good that time." I'm so happy they were understanding.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-06-2013, 03:24 PM
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The ecollar was recommended to me by my trainer especially because of my dog's nervy-ness and inability to comply under fear/stress. I was hesitant at first to adopt it but now I'm a believer. It reaches her in a way I would otherwise not be able to. It is a great re-direction tool and is much more timely in delivering a message anytime, anywhere, which is so important for my nervy dog as it actually calms her down much faster knowing what is expected of her before she gets into a much higher escalated zone. It has given us freedom that we otherwise would not have with a leash. She gets excited when I put the prong or the ecollar on her - it means fun is coming up. =)
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