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She sounds kinda like my Willow. She was really leash reactive when I got her, at 3 years old, I was worried she was fear aggressive. We did a lot of training on confidence building (with a trainer), and time soothed away a lot of the issues. I've had her for almost a year now and she's a totally different dog.
 

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You're getting great advice here already! Crates are magical for them during the settling-in phase. There are lots of threads here about the "two-week shut down" that experienced fosters and rescuers use, but it boils down to having a safe space (crate) to decompress without having to "do" or "be" any particular way, just observing, processing, and relaxing. I was skeptical when I started reading about the "shut down" method but I became a believe after fostering some very difficult dogs who came around because of the shut down. It gave their brains a much-needed reset into a new way of living (as an inside dog).

I also keep every foster leashed to me in the house when they're out of the crate until they're house trained. I keep a treat pouch with me and randomly drop soft meaty treat without any words or making a big deal so they get used to good stuff coming from the human when they're relaxing next to me. I use very high value treats for this, as I want them to think hanging out next to me is AWESOME.

For vetting, I run them through with Panacur (broad-spectrum dewormer) for at least 3 days before they even see the vet (or sometimes longer, if they have diarrhea), but if you don't have easy access to it, you can wait for the vet. My standard initial vet care request in rescue includes a comprehensive exam, fecal test, heartworm test, initial vaccinations (as we have to assume there's no vax history), and microchip. The spay/neuter is usually 3-4 weeks later (when they need to go back for a booster vax anyway), but sometimes months later, if there are other health issues we need to resolve first (e.g., getting them up to a healthy weight, resolving infections, etc.) Depending on the body condition on intake, we often need to add full bloodwork (and even urinalysis) to the initial vet visit -- if she's going to be your personal dog, then I would go ahead and invest in that to get a snapshot of what's going on with her health.

If they haven't already been dewormed, the fecal test nearly always turns up something if they've been living on their own surviving on "whatever" for a while (hookworms and whip worms are too small to see in the poop with the naked eye, but they're very common). About half the time, it seems like they have an ear infection too. In my part of the country, most of them come up positive for heartworms. If they're HW-negative, we retest them (or tell the adopters to retest them) in 6-7 months and expect that it will turn positive then (though keeping them on Advantage Multi -- not any other brand of prevention -- may keep it from turning positive because it's the only monthly product on the market that kills juvenile worms that are too big for the other classes of prevention to kill).
 

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With the dog reaction I鈥檇 get that under control. Find a good trainer in your area who is experienced with German Shepherds. Some trainers can鈥檛 handle big dogs. Learn to use a prong collar they work great
 

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I would not recommend a prong on a dog with DA issues.
With the dog reaction I鈥檇 get that under control. Find a good trainer in your area who is experienced with German Shepherds. Some trainers can鈥檛 handle big dogs. Learn to use a prong collar they work great
I agree with David. I have a dog that is seriously reactive to other dogs, she is terrified of them. I worked on it for ever without a prong and when I finally resorted to it I discovered two things, immediately. If my timing was off or I missed a signal, even by a hair, it sent her into an absolute meltdown and once she was in that state the prong meant nothing.
I only switched to the prong because her freak outs were hurting both of us, literally. Without the groundwork I had laid before the prong and some serious guidance from a skilled trainer the prong would have done way more harm then good. Not only would she have associated the prong with seeing other dogs, but the correction if poorly timed amps them up even further.
Beyond that, almost every person I know that used a prong for training stopped training and just relied on the prong. I used mine for a few short months and then put it away. There is no substitute for training and short cuts are never effective. They are called short cuts because they cut things, important things, out.
A house is only as good as the foundation.
 

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I view a prong as a last resort, and then mainly for the owner鈥檚 safety. A professional trainer who uses a prong does so with the idea it鈥檚 temporary. An owner who relies on a prong never ends up giving them up. If someone has a dog that is going to pull them down when it gets excited or pull a leash from the owner鈥檚 hands and the person isn鈥檛 strong enough to stop them using a flat collar, then a prong may be the only option. It鈥檚 not a good option but it may be a safe one.
 

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I view a prong as a last resort, and then mainly for the owner鈥檚 safety. A professional trainer who uses a prong does so with the idea it鈥檚 temporary. An owner who relies on a prong never ends up giving them up. If someone has a dog that is going to pull them down when it gets excited or pull a leash from the owner鈥檚 hands and the person isn鈥檛 strong enough to stop them using a flat collar, then a prong may be the only option. It鈥檚 not a good option but it may be a safe one.
I like Haltis for management and control when the training is not there. I recently bought some type of a no pull harness on sale. It was highly rated. I haven't used it yet.

I know nothing about horses but I see horse owners using head halters but not prongs. I wonder if horse people have used prongs on horses. Were they successful? If they were, why aren't they standard procedure? I have heard of some less than humane tools used on horses behind the scenes.
 

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2 wildly different temperament types there.

I don't care for head halters myself. I can't stand a dog hitting the end of the leash and their neck getting cranked.

For reactivity, I use a flat collar paired with an e-collar. I may use a prong to teach leash pressure and loose leash walking, but I do so in an environment without distraction. Then I layer the e-collar on top of that.
 

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2 wildly different temperament types there.

I don't care for head halters myself. I can't stand a dog hitting the end of the leash and their neck getting cranked.

For reactivity, I use a flat collar paired with an e-collar. I may use a prong to teach leash pressure and loose leash walking, but I do so in an environment without distraction. Then I layer the e-collar on top of that.
I don't give my dogs opportunity to hit the end of a leash while wearing a halti (always backed up with another collar). If I have a halti on a dog, he is most likely a very serious dog and we are doing some serious training and I am very situationally aware during the process for the safety of all involved. I have found the halti provides much greater control than a prong. You are probably twice my size and I will speculate minimally three times stronger... so there's that too. Elsewise, it is flat collars or dominant dog collars for me.
 

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I like Haltis for management and control when the training is not there. I recently bought some type of a no pull harness on sale. It was highly rated. I haven't used it yet.

I know nothing about horses but I see horse owners using head halters but not prongs. I wonder if horse people have used prongs on horses. Were they successful? If they were, why aren't they standard procedure? I have heard of some less than humane tools used on horses behind the scenes.
My older dog nearly broke her own neck in a head collar because she likes to look around. I think they can be very dangerous. A prong is supposed to be used with a quick tug and release. Horses respond to steady pressure and a jerk-release method would not work.

My friend who trains jumpers and show horses has used a bonker type tool on a difficult horse. She is small and an out of control horse can be deadly. She often trains green horses and needs to get the upper hand right away. Those same horses are eventually handled by teenagers and young adults. She said a small amount of discomfort that teaches a quick lesson is the most humane way to begin work with a horse like that. It is balanced with a lot of positives. Horse training is very different from dog training.
 

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2 wildly different temperament types there.

I don't care for head halters myself. I can't stand a dog hitting the end of the leash and their neck getting cranked.

For reactivity, I use a flat collar paired with an e-collar. I may use a prong to teach leash pressure and loose leash walking, but I do so in an environment without distraction. Then I layer the e-collar on top of that.
I didn鈥檛 realize you use e collars. I prefer them to prongs for certain things.
 

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My older dog nearly broke her own neck in a head collar because she likes to look around. I think they can be very dangerous. A prong is supposed to be used with a quick tug and release. Horses respond to steady pressure and a jerk-release method would not work.

My friend who trains jumpers and show horses has used a bonker type tool on a difficult horse. She is small and an out of control horse can be deadly. She often trains green horses and needs to get the upper hand right away. Those same horses are eventually handled by teenagers and young adults. She said a small amount of discomfort that teaches a quick lesson is the most humane way to begin work with a horse like that. It is balanced with a lot of positives. Horse training is very different from dog training.
My older dog nearly broke her own neck in a head collar because she likes to look around. I think they can be very dangerous. A prong is supposed to be used with a quick tug and release. Horses respond to steady pressure and a jerk-release method would not work.

My friend who trains jumpers and show horses has used a bonker type tool on a difficult horse. She is small and an out of control horse can be deadly. She often trains green horses and needs to get the upper hand right away. Those same horses are eventually handled by teenagers and young adults. She said a small amount of discomfort that teaches a quick lesson is the most humane way to begin work with a horse like that. It is balanced with a lot of positives. Horse training is very different from dog training.
Honestly, how can a dog hurt itself in a Halti just by looking around?
 

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I use whatever I feel gives the dog the best opportunity to succeed with the least amount of stress.

I use Dogtra collars on low stim levels. Mostly my version of Lou Castle and Larry Krohn with some subtle differences.
 

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Honestly, how can a dog hurt itself in a Halti just by looking around?
Fighting it to turn her head. She is very active and alert. She can walk one direction with her head swiveled to look behind her. The more she felt her head was constrained the more she fought it and she would not calm down. This was after a lesson using it in someone鈥檚 yard. It did not work on a walk. This is the same dog who went into drive, jerked the leash unexpectedly, knocked me off balance and I had a broken bone.
 

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I learned the same method from an ex military handler who is now my trainer when I need one. Dogtra collar, low stim, only as needed.
 
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