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Hi all, im new here and a question. You all seems very knowledgable so hopefully you can help out.

We have a male GSD that we got from a couple who had him for a year and basically kept him in a crate the majority of the time. Luckily we got him out of that situation and now he is doing pretty well. The problem that we are having right now is whenever he is on the leash and sees another dog, wether it be 5 ft away or 25 yards away, he starts jumping and pulling in the direction of the other dog. If the dog is close, he jumps, pulls, and starts barking. Now I am not sure if this is aggression as his tail is wagging the whole time, or if he is just super excited when he sees another dog, but no matter what, it comes off as aggression and scary to those other owners. I feel bad because he is such a sweet guy, but it doesnt come through as he is doing that.

So, any help or suggestions you can provide would be greatly. Also, Mods, if you feel this is in the wrong forum please repost. Thanks!
 

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correct, his tail is wagging in a high position, which is why i was leaning towards wanting to play. But like I said, it doesnt come off that way to the other owners walking past. Is there any way to go about curbing his enthusiasm ... or atleast getting it under control?
 

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There are multiple schools of thought on this from purely positive and working on focus games along with using what the dog likes (food or toys) so that he stays focused on you to straight compulsion by giving corrections on a prong collar. I am somewhere in the middle, in that I want to teach my dog the behavior in as positive of a way as possible. For example, a dog cannot lunge and pull if he's following a sit command. So using food to teach the sit, and then the sit under distraction (another dog) and rewarding calm behavior so the dog understands what I expect. Then, once they understand I ensure they comply by having them on a prong collar and give a quick correction for no compliance followed by a reward for following the command.
 

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There is an excellent book for dogs just like yours. As John said, it doesn't sound like aggression - but you want to make sure it doesn't turn into aggression either, which can happen with dogs that are easily aroused, have poor impulse control, and a low tolerance for frustration. I'd suggest you read Control Unleashed.

Who needs Control Unleashed?

Dogs that are uncomfortable or unable to work off lead around other dogs
Dog that are easily distracted and have difficulty concentrating
Dogs that are reactive or easily aroused
Dogs that are anxious or stressed and shut down
Dog that are unable to control their impulses when excited

This training program can change your dog's life!


It won several awards from the International Institute of Applied Animal Behavior - the Best Dog Training Book and Best Dog Sport Book of 2007, and was runner up for Best Dog Behavior Book for Owners.

I've read the book twice, and was at a CU workshop on Sunday with one of my dogs. I can't say enough good things about the program - I'm already seeing a HUGE difference in Keefer's behavior in a fairly short time period. He's so much calmer and more focused around distractions.
 

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The problem you may run into with harsh corrections for this behavior around other dogs would be a dislike of other dogs. i.e.: "every time I see a dog, I get a harsh correction. Other dogs must not be good". Over time the other dog can be viewed as a prelude to correction and your dog's emotional state may change from wanting to play to wanting to push the other dog away.

I would work on solid obedience so you can ask for a sit and look at you as the dog passes. Then you have a dog that thinks "every time dog comes up I get to do something and I get a reward - other dogs coming are good".

You have to begin working on this at home and under low distractions and then build up. You want to keep his arousal level down below the jump, bark, lunge stage so he does not reward himself. This behavior is a self rewarding behavior or else he would not be doing it. In the meantime, when you see other dogs approach give them LOTS of space where you know he won't lunge or simply command him "let's go" in a firm but upbeat tone of voice and turn around and walk in the other direction. Turn around and go before he starts his arousal behavior.

You will have to watch his body to make sure you keep him in low arousal, you never want to do things that reward high arousal.

The CU book is great, there are several games to play that help build impulse control and an exercise called "Look at That!" which is very helpful too.

You migth consider enrolling in a small obedience class or enlist a private trainer that uses positive methods to help you with this too.

Do you have any one that you know that has friendly dogs? It sounds as if your poor dog was isolated and never learned how to interact. Maybe you can let them play in a safe enclosed area. Just be careul and take it slow and keep your guy on a drag line.

A dog that has been well socialized and knows how to interact can certainly be corrected for rude behavior around other dogs. I corrct my well socialized dogs for poor behavior and they don't associate it with the other dog. But a dog that has no clue would probably be better off without corrections for awhile.
 

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Originally Posted By: KathyWA dog that has been well socialized and knows how to interact can certainly be corrected for rude behavior around other dogs. I corrct my well socialized dogs for poor behavior and they don't associate it with the other dog. But a dog that has no clue would probably be better off without corrections for awhile.
 

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Thanks for the tip on the book--it looks great. I just ordered it from the link you gave.
 

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Tracy, it's a fabulous book! The amazing thing is that it just came out about a year ago, and I don't even think it's all that widely available, (you can get it through Leslie's publisher - cleanrun, and at dogwise; amazon doesn't have it), but it's totally swept through the agility community and beyond.

Edited to add: I posted about the workshop HERE
 

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I think Luca and Fanny's agility teacher must have read this recently...she's doing a special off-leash focus seminar next week. Looking forward to reading this.
 

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I just started a control unleashed class tonight w/ Onyx, who has fear aggression issues. I read the book about 6 mos ago(need to refresh) and am excited to go thru the class. I started off tonight going to a CGC class, stayed for the CU to observe and decided we needed the CU class first. Onyx was very well behaved, but we had already been thru a class for an hour before this, so next week we'll see! What I loved about it is the touch time, and relaxation massage as the class begins, puts the dogs in a different state of mind.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for all the help and suggestions! I will definatley be picking up the CU book. We did enroll with a private trainer but we were not happy with him at all ... and in our location their arent that many trainers around.

We know a couple people with friendly dogs ... and yes, from what we heard he was heavily isolated.
 

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If you let us know in general terms where you are we may be able to help with trainers.
 

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Hi folks. I'm brand new on here, and looking for some help, please. We have just adopted Skipper, a 12-year-old rescue dog from the RSPCA (UK). He is our second GSD. Gentle as a lamb around the house, and wonderful with people, but a different animal anywhere near other dogs. His behaviour on the leash is dreadful, pulling massively. He has had a hard life, and was locked up for ten hours a day all by himself before the RSPCA stepped in. We are desperate to give him a loving home, but it is slowly turning into a nightmare whenever we take him out. He is loved, fed, and well exercised. Please advise! Thanks.
 
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