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Dexter is almost 7 months now and we have been working out a reactive issue with other dogs, its a big frustrating "i wanna play mom, this leash stops me from playing why can't i play" Only to a person who knows nothing about dogs it looks like a big aggressive display we have tried to stay with positive training to work this out, i ask him to Leave it, look at me or for a sit stay/down stay when another dog approaches then he gets a treat/toy/praise if he listens, and sometimes when hes really good and we know the other dog is good then he gets the super reward of play time with the other dog.

The problem with this training so far is it only works half the time, It has improved a bit, however if the dog has gotten to close, or we haven't got enough exercise in yet, then he doesn't listen to my firm positive commands. Ive used a flat collar (which did nothing) a head halter (which just makes him pout the whole walk, and try to get it off) and an easy walk harness which just makes him keep u-turning and spinning to face the dog and bark, and we used the plastic prong (good dog collar) which has had the best result so far, but he still pulls through it we believe he is a "hard" dog. We have been considering a real prong but nervous about the correction and pressure on his neck leading to a bad association with other dogs passing, Ive never used a real prong before my older dog is very soft, I know prongs need to be high up on the neck and snug to work, Would a metal prong be the best collar for this type of issue or would it lead to an association to dexter that "when any dog comes near me i get a pinch in the neck they better stay away or else im gonna get pinched" and make him possibly act out more? Ive also read about the dominant dog collar, i feel this may be something to use as a last resort. I know reactivity issues take a long time to overcome just wondering if maybe i need something more then just positive re-direction? Any ideas would be helpful
 

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Honestly, I would NOT recommend using a prong collar on a reactive dog. Oftentimes, the dog associates the discomfort with seeing another dog and that exascerbates the problem!

With my reactive dog, I use the Easy-Walk harness. I feel better about her lunges and my control over her with it. I don't have to worry about her hurting herself and I have control over her body mass since the harness is around her chest.

If, when you get too close to another dog, your guy gets ready to lunge (watch your dog for signs before he lunges) instantly turn and walk the other way. If he's calm and collected, he can see/be near/interact with the other dog. But barking/lunging will send him in the complete opposite direction. I know it's not always possible or feasible to do so, but if you can, it really does work wonders. Once my girl has gotten revved up about another dog and we turn the other way, she calms down almost instantly. If she doesn't, at least we're far enough away now that I can ask her for a sit and give her a couple looooong sloooooow strokes down her back to calm her down. Then we continue on our way.
 

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The collar could increase reactivity or it could stop it but either way it does not get to the root of the problem. I understand what you are talking about because Rafi was like this when I adopted him and still is on a bad day. I second the suggestion to turn and go the other way if he's not refocusing on you. Take away the stimulus.

Also try to catch it before it escalates so that you're saying, "Look, Dieter! Another dog" when the dog is quite far away. Dieter looks at you. You ask for a sit, give him a treat, turn and walk AWAY from the dog and continue to treat while he heels and watches you. Once he's really good at that, decrease the distance to the other dog.
 

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Originally Posted By: nysirkused the plastic prong (good dog collar) which has had the best result so far, but he still pulls through it we believe he is a "hard" dog.
I don't think a prong is the best thing in this situation. My puppy has a dog reactivity himself and I do not use prong on him but he doesn't pull towards other dogs, he just barks standing or sitting nicely by my side LOL He will even down for me and still continue barking


What I wanted to point out, and it's a little off topic, is that I never use a prong as a self-correction tool. What I mean is that I don't allow a dog to simply pull until he hurts himself and stops. When a dog starts forging forward and the leash becomes a little tense I say 'slow'. If the dog keeps going then I correct and stop. Next time I say slow the dog will slow down just to avoid the correction and be able to move forward. My Yana taught me this technique because she would pull until she would have holes in her neck, the pain would only make her crazier and she didn't understand why it hurts.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks everyone for the advice Im thinking that a prong may not be what we need right now, We have only used the plastic prong good dog collar for the purpose of walking nicely on a loose leash,but when we are out in the world walking is when we run into that reactivity issue.
It has been getting much better, we have been working on the Hurry and Slow commands while walking and attempting a little bit of heel work. If he dose pull he gets one warning then if he continues he gets a little leash pop and a second Eh Eh, weather it be on the flat collar or plastic prong. Dexter has his days where he will walk wonderful and even heel some, then theres those other days where he forgets any training we have done, my best guess is he is a typical teenager.

We have been taking class's at petsmart, where prong collars are not allowed, We are at the second level class there. The leegburg website got me interested on the idea of Prong collars, but he has improved the last few weeks, even on just a flat normal collar, but I still think we will be working with the easy walk in the future, and keep taking training class's to keep him focused on me around other dogs. Dexter hasnt reacted to any dogs in the class since the first day, maybe hes got to know them enough? Its strange tho because hes fine with the dogs in class but when we go in the store to practice and we pass a dog not in the class he sometimes reacts.

He doesn't react to all dogs he sees just certain ones, which boggles my mind trying to figure out why! Some dogs he has to put this big show on and others hes calm. I cant figure out what triggers his reactivity. He has reacted to both big dogs, small dogs, male, and female, Even distance sometimes he okay with a dog 5-10 feet away other times he will react to a dog thats 20 ft away, while out on a walk. The only thing i kinda see is he reacts more to younger hyper high energy dogs, that are also walking/ jumping and seems to be more relaxed around seniors and dogs that are relaxing in downs/sits.

Ive been trying my best to stay clam and relaxed and keep the leash loose when we pass another dog, so im not accidentally making him react. he used to react to every single dog he set eyes on a walk. In the last few weeks he has been acting much better and seems to react mostly when another dog barks, lunges,first, but theres still plenty of times he starts it first, and igrones my look and leave it commands, maybe its defensive drive?
I hope this is just a stage he is going through and hopefully my training will get through to him, thanks for the advice tho we are going to keep away from the prong collar, and keep working on the positive training, I know it works or else there would of been no improvement, I really think alot of it has to do with him being a teenager and testing me, its just on those bad days i feel like im a horrible dog mom, and my training ist working so hopefully he will start to mature some more and stop driving me crazy with this testing me thing.
 

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"IF" the prong collar is used CORRECTLY, the dog will not associate it with/to the other dog(s)!! Nor will it make the reactivity/aggression worse..

"IF" the prong collar is used CORRECTLY and the dog is taught to offer a more positive behavior the reactivity/aggression will diminish!
 

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The original posted mentioned the prong; high and tight on the neck.

My dog used to go after anything from squirrels to joggers. My breeder recommended a pronged collar, and also said to make sure when he starts after either, to jerk it tight enough so he yelps.

One walk, two jerks and it worked. I realize all dogs react differently, but in my case her recommendation was right.
 

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Originally Posted By: Timber1The original posted mentioned the prong; high and tight on the neck.

My dog used to go after anything from squirrels to joggers. My breeder recommended a pronged collar, and also said to make sure when he starts after either, to jerk it tight enough so he yelps.

One walk, two jerks and it worked. I realize all dogs react differently, but in my case her recommendation was right.
Glad that method worked. However, it does nothing to alter the inner stress the dog is experiencing. My female was reactive aggressive. She could also be very unpredictable Hard to say exactly how your dog is reacting from the message.
I would take Sita out on a gentle leader--yeah she pouted---so what! I wasn't goingn to give in. It was a training tool. Once she learned to cope with the stress of the other dog , over time, I took off the training halter. A correction would not have beneficial for her. For her the "correction" was not getting to lunge at the other dog.
We worked on attention and sit. We used a clicker and marked the behavior. When the stimulus (another dog approached -but not to the too close for her to be reactive) I would ask her to sit, sometimes I had to turn in front and block her from making eye contact and pull straight up gently on the halter. She had to sit and look at me then whammo click and treat--good treats. I rewarded her for being calm when a dog would pass.
We practiced this enough until dogs could get closer, over weeks we shaped her old behvior of lunging to sitting and looking at me became the new behvior for her. She knew there was no longer any benefit to such obnoxious behvior. It worked and we proceeded very slowly as to not get her to her stress threshold.
It was constant management and shaping. The key was to proceed slowly. We sometimes set-up practice walking with friends of mmine and their dogs (stable dogs, very stable dogs)
A correction would have confirmed her fear: "bad things happen when other dogs come up to me". Or increased anxiety, "oh no a strnge dog, a correction is coming"!!! We as handlers think that when we correct a dog they know exactly what the correction is for. It might not be clear for your 7 month old pup. Also if the dog is revved up, a correction will physiologically revv him up more. How easy it is for kid to listen and learn when they are all wound up? Offer them a substitute behavior before the pup reaches his threshold--this will allow the stress to be redirected to a positive behavior. You dog may have nerve/temperament issues and this may be a constant management issue.
Hope that was clear.
 

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Sarah, I just went thru a Control Unleashed class after I had previously read the book by Leslie McDevitt. Your technique is the same as the class and does help a reactive dog. I haven't used a prong in many mos. and am using an adjustable slip collar with no issues. In the class there was a dog with no manners, but he was playful, not aggressive, that would stare Onyx down and if I didn't catch it in time, we had major reaction from her. I did no correction, but redirection and she has gained confidence and has mellowed out over the course of the 6 wk class. You are right in all of the above about shaping and management.
 

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I will simply add, all dogs are different. The shy ones I rescue I would never do that with. Timber is big, strong and with joggers and other dogs, etc. and could literally pull me along the street.

And no, he has not gotten shy toward playing with other dogs. Because he lives in a very friendly dog neighbor he spends almost every days playing with other dogs. But the aggression, while onlease has been corrected.
 

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I agree Timber. Again hard to know what the OP means when describing the dog's reactivity. Aggression issues are more often complex. From what I have read, fear-based aggression is the most common and responses poorest to physical correction. Some dogs learn to just suppress the outward behavior and wait for the opportunity to act-out. The technique I described offered a solution so that my dog offered a different behavior without stress or conflict of a correction. We used a gentle leader with this particular issue. Again a seven month old is a crzy puppy witha nano-second attention span. Consistent training may be what is best.
 

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Reactivity can mean many things (to me at least). In our case, our 55 pound - but stronger than any dog I've ever owned - 1-year adopted dog would do real well on the leash, except when he saw another dog. He would lunge with incredible strength - I think just to get there to play. A buckle collar was useless. In our case, the problem was a still-budding relationship, a "soft" handler and a dog not yet convinced he had to do anything he didn't really want to do. When he was lunging like that he was "crazed" - in his own world and nothing else mattered to him. He broke several collars doing this and pulled me right off my feet on more than one occasion. While we were building our relationship and beginning training, I needed help.

I was unsure of my ability to catch him fast enough to correct with a prong - as well as unsure of what his reaction would be - just a little concern, whether founded or not, about handler aggression. I chose the "dominant dog collar" - a snap around nylon choke - and learned how to use it. I think the gentle leader would have worked as well, but I was worried about hurting his neck if he really went off. The DDC was wonderful! It allows a very quiet reminder (very important in this case for me to stay calm) and while nothing is fail safe, gave us the time we needed to "stop the madness", develop our relationship and work with distractions in a bit saner way. I still use it for walks, but on the "dead" ring and we are doing SO much better. All that violent lunging is a thing of the past.

Every dog, handler and combination are different and when training tools are needed - one needs the right tool for the job at hand...
 

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Would you mind describing the Dominant Dog Collar. I have a new rescue, very strong at ten months that came with a tradional choke collar. It simply does not work and I am switching to a pronged collar.

But what precisely is a dominant dog collar and how does it differ from the others.

Always learning, thanks
 

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It is a type of choke collar that is used literrally to choke the dog and string it up (potentially). It has a hook on one end, an "O" ring at the end and another "o" ring loose on the collar. http://leerburg.com/746.htm
It rides high and tight on the neck. Not recommend by many trainers.

Remember the OP dog is 7 months old
 

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For a 7 month old puppy, I'd much more be concerned with finding a good trainer for guidance and help.

And using something like the Gentle Leader. This is a great tool for a reactive pup to gain control of the head and managing the situation while working it out.

Some good sites with info are:

http://www.kooldawgtees.com/GLtestimonials.html

http://www.aopclick.com/GL_head_collar.htm



http://www.mightypets.com/product.asp?3=880

http://www.twomuttsandabear.com/gentleleaderheadcollar.htm this site sells the collar AND training DVD....
 

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I agree with Maggie. I also wonder about putting your pup in a well supervised doggie day care. Maybe he needs to just play with other dogs? When I was training, I would often recommend that clients with dogs your age take advantage of day care for the important socialization.

Another advantage, your baby comes home "dog tired" & sleeps!
 
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