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OK Max is having issues with other dogs both on walks & now at day care. I don't know what is going on with him, but the day care issues just started up around Nov / Dec. At day care he is now isolated from the other dogs after pinning down another dog then a few weeks later biting another dog on the ear. I don't want him booted out of day care over this & don't want him home without supervision all day. I've asked over the last year if they noticed any issues at day care and was always told he is great with the other dogs.

On walks Max can pick out another dog about 1/4 mile away & that is when I notice his face wrinkle and hackles start to show. This is when the pulling starts. I can change direction & keep him close to me but once we are near the other dog, even as close as across the street he turns into a maniac. Barking & pulling even with a pinch collar he does not care & will stand up on his hind legs to get the other dog. The entire time Max ignores any command to sit or heal. As you can picture the other dog owners are terrified by this display & Max is getting a bad rap in the neighborhood.

With people Max loves everyone I've introduced him to even the mailman. Max does show protectiveness on walks & at the house and has only barked at a few creepy people that we have passed on walks. He is OK with mail & deliveries, & does not like solicitors, but always listens when I tell him to sit & stay if I open the door & talk to someone. He just does not look happy about it.

I need to fix the dog problem & I'm running out of ideas.
 

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What happens in dog class?

What is your instructor recommending?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks!
Max has not been through formal training with us. I rescued Max when he was about 2.5 years old from the SPCA. He was previously trained & house broken has all the basic commands down. I've interviewed a few trainers in the area & was told to look into a behavior specialist. The day care facility is also a training center & expressed interest in working with us on the issue. Their training ranges from individual sessions to a 2 week training program.

I have been given tips on redirection, but so far the tips are now working.

I'll take a look at the info you provided.

Thanks again
 

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For breeds like GSD, daycare is usually a temporary thing. Most develop some degree of dog to dog issues in a group play setting as time goes on. It's not unexpected and it doesn't mean your dog is bad. It is not characteristic of the breed to be happy-go-lucky and want to make doggy friends with every dog they encounter. It is also not characteristic for the breed to enjoy being left with strangers and stranger dogs away from home while their owner is gone. As a breed, GSDs are very attached to their people and to their home, which is also a reason so many people like them :)

I worked at a daycare for 9 years. In those 9 years, only one GSD was able to come long term (past maturity and past them fully acclimating to daycare) and it was my own. She only enjoyed it there because she was with me, she could care less about interacting with the other dogs. I would never have left her there when I wasn't though.

Unfortunately the issues you are having on lead very likely some from Max's exposure to group play at daycare. There are certain "side effects" of routine exposure to group play and on leash aggression is one of them. This article is about dog parks but the info applies to doggy daycare as well: http://www.apdt.com/petowners/park/docs/DogParks_King.pdf

I would suggest stopping daycare and get a friend or dog walker to get Max out during the day. Doggy daycares have only really gained popularity over the past 10 to 15 years. Prior to that dogs got along fine being left home while their owners worked and being let out by friends, neighbors or pet sitters if need be.
 

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Correction
but so far the tips are not working.
It's only been a day.

And if it's not working at all then you are going too fast, too close, too soon, not clear, too late, too ?????

You need to stop. Think this out. And figure out a way to get your dog to SUCCEED so you can praise and work on that.

Once your dog explodes, you have lost that round and didn't do what YOU needed to do. And I am not saying this is easy or will be fast. If dog training was so easy we all wouldn't be going to dog classes! None of our dogs will 'sit/heel/down' when they are in out of control wackjob reaction mode. And ALL of our dogs can get there if we don't learn to work and prevent this.

I find it hard to believe that you watched and absorbed and did all the preliminary thinking on all those videos. There was a ton of good information to absorb for us as handlers. Let alone to then try to then pass onto the dog. (Winter Training Ideas that I posted above).

The mere fact that my dog knows I'm the leader and can look to me for guidance takes alot of time. And what a 'leader' is for the dog is entirely NOT based on corrections but many other things.

DISTANCE is your friend in these situations. So finding a distance that your dog will listen and still be in control helps.

Where YOU are positioned in the situation (is the dog at the end of leash ahead of you and going to drag you to the other dog?) can either help or be bad bad bad.

Did you start up clicker training yet? That alone takes a few weeks. And distance plus a clicker trained 'leave it' is an option.

Clicker Training: Marking Your Dog's Successful Behavior




Learning our dogs body language (the quite things, not the lunging angry loud stuff) so we prevent problems is another huge thing that we can learn and then use to our advantage. The best DVD to BUY so we can watch it and help our dogs is Calming Signals by Turid Rugaas

Amazon.com: Calming Signals: What Your Dog Tells You: Turid Rugaas: Movies & TV
 

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More stuff (great guy!)


And USING THE CLICKER! This is what should start happening (listen for the click/treats)



 

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Discussion Starter #9
It's only been a day.

And if it's not working at all then you are going too fast, too close, too soon, not clear, too late, too ?????

You need to stop. Think this out. And figure out a way to get your dog to SUCCEED so you can praise and work on that.

The correction was for my reply about some of the tips trainers I talked with have given me.

I have not tried the steps in the video yet.
 

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I am having luck by removing corrections from the situation with my dog who has been "reactive" with other dogs. When I have tried to correct him, maybe the stress etc. has been counterproductive to the point that the simple association is made between other dogs and something stressful. Which is enough to create reactivity.

Before I tried corrections, I just happily accepted that my dog would not be obedient when there is another dog directly approaching, so he would forge ahead and put some pressure on his regular choker collar or head Halti. Yes there was leash pressure but there was not reactiveness. Now that I am taking that non corrective approach again, I am starting to see better results. Obedience needs to take a back seat to re-creating a pleasant (or neutral) association between your dog and other dogs.

So in your case, if you are using a prong collar now, even if you are not jerking or snapping on the leash, go with a gentler collar like a Halti, or maybe a high-riding rope collar like a dominant dog collar. The prong pressure itself is enough to create a negative association with putting tension on the leash, so it goes: curious about a dog > move forward to investigate > pain around neck > owner becoming angry > leading to the conclusion that other dogs = pain and stress. I am not suggesting that the collar is the most important factor here, but it's something that should be chosen carefully in terms of its effect on our dogs (for the moment, ignoring the beneficial effect it seems to have on obedience, and just thinking in terms of pleasantness from the dog's perspective).

Take your dog somewhere that you can control (at least to some extent) the distance between you and the other dog. Neighborhoods are terrible for this. You are in Sac so try any large park that has an attached dog park, that way you can practice just walking around dogs, keeping a distance, and not correcting and not worrying about how he is not heeling right when he's distracted or out of his mind (as said above, no dog could do differently in that state of mindlessness). And try to keep him from going out of his mind, keep your distance, work slowly, be successful, there is no need to rush anything, trying to do too much too fast only adds negative pressure and stress. As a human I find it helpful to keep in mind that this is really not a life or death situation, even though it seems scary and stressful when the dog is reacting. The more we humans can think about the situation as being unpleasant but not the end of the world, not having dire consequences, the better we can help our dogs to deal in those situations.
 

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Wow the "Barking Episode 3" video is great - I have a 9 mo. old GSD and lately when we're walking in the 'hood he barks as soon as he sees someone and charges if they're with a dog - He wants to play - but is way too overwhelming - and who wants a 70+ Lb fur ball coming at you? - I've been working on him with "quiet" and trying to keep him calm and moving forward, but I'm not successful every time - we've been through basic obedience - I almost think it's a butt head stage he's going through - I have him on an easy walk harness not a pinch/prong collar and I'm using treats and praise (so different from back in the day - when I went to training for my 10 yo Standard Poodle it was correction collar - and corrections all the way - he got his cgc at 9mos). Keep working at it - That's what I keep telling myself ... :)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Here is an update. After formal training for Max and the rest of the family everything is going great. Max was retrained with the basic commands. We were given tips for stronger leadership skills. So now on walks Max will walk right next to us without pulling or being over reactive. We were also shown the signs to look for when Max becomes alerted before he is reactive and correct at that point rather than wait until he is out of control.
 

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Ah, that is good news! Kudos to you and your family for putting in the effort and being consistent in your training and expectations.

We were also shown the signs to look for when Max becomes alerted before he is reactive and correct at that point rather than wait until he is out of control.
And that is so often KEY in controlling unwanted behaviour - it is stopping it before it even occurs. I can't tell you how many people don't understand this and the only way they can think about dog training is the mindset of dog does something = show dog it is bad so dog will know. Does not work that way for strong instinctive and reactive behaviours. Much better to set up the neural circuits in the brain where they are strengthened for doing GOOD, even if the doing good is NOT doing anything at all.

Good job! Happy for you and Max. :)
 

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dumpty also changed all of a sudden a couple months ago and became aggressive to other dogs. i'm assuming it's maturity and dominance as both times he actually got the dog it was more air bites than anything, basically showing off.
as soon as i realised this has become an issue and not a one time/one dog thing i started stressing on the Leave it command. at home. we stayed away from our weekly dog gathering for 3 weeks while i reinforced the command and started professional protection training to even enforce more of the command.
now he can be in a group of dogs and i have to be vigilant at watching the signs, as soon as i sense he's about to focus on a dog I say leave it and he does.
since then we had one incidence with a big pup (8 months) reaching for his toy and didn't listen to his warning growls.
I do not blame him as it was completely my fault, the dog belongs to my friend needed a couple of stitches but she was happy go lucky through it all.

BUT this means he will never be in an uncontrolled environment with a group of uncontrolled dogs again because I could lose focus for one second and it can go very wrong.
 
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