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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi, I have a 7 month old male and a few months ago he started barking and lunging at dogs when on leash. He also barks and lunges at some people and almost all kids.

I changed 2 trainers and they all teach me how to jerk the collar. I was jerking for a month and it was only getting worse. I now have a plastic prong collar on him and I know it hurts him yet when he gets into this state of lunging and barking he feels no pain and doesn't react to anything.

So in the last few weeks I've been avoiding everyone, if I'm walking and I see a dog I make a u-turn, if it's a person - I cross the street (it seems like people only set him off when they're close. Some people say he is protecting me but to me it looks more like he's scared. Besides from what I know a dog won't protect without special training though we'd like to think he would).

I'm afraid I brought this on him. When he was smaller and I was stupider I let him get pretty rough with other dogs. I assumed all dog owners know what they're talking about and trusted their opinion that the dogs should "work it out". So I'm afraid at this point he doesn't trust that I will protect him and feels like he has to protect himself. I don't let anyone dominate him or be rough with him now.

Can this be fixed? I will do what it takes and as long as it takes.



A few more things. Usually when he starts going crazy the hair on his back stand. If I let him go to the dog instead of pulling him away - he won't bite, he runs up to the dog and sniffs and wags his tail.

But I'm sure if I let this go he will bite at some point.


A few more behaviors that puzzle me.

It's just my daughter and I as his owners. If one of us leaves the house and the other stays home - all is well. If we both go outside and separate outside he will go crazy. He will yelp and lunge and will try to get to the person that's leaving. One time she left while i stayed at the park, I put him on leash, waited 5 mins after she left and thinking he forgot already let him loose. He ran out of the park, crossed 2 streets and then I caught him. He ran a good distance.

What the ????

He also has separation anxiety and is extremely attached to me (doesnt leave my side, bathroom and all) but reading the posts here this seems to be a norm with everyone.

I have more questions about things he does but don't want to dump them all at once.



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The separation anxiety. You and your daughter can leave him the house for 5 minutes, stay close enough to listen if he howls, then come back. Try and do this a few times a week, then gradually increase the time you are away. Hopefully at some time he will calm down.

Has your dog had much puppy or dog socialization, play time in general? It seems like he wants to play, but I understand the lunging is scary and you don't want him to bite. Did the trainers teach you "leave it", did they have you walk around other dogs? Have you tried distractions like treats or toys before he lunges at people or dogs? This should start a good distance away from the person or dog, think of verbal command like "leave it" we used "nice" with our dog when she started this behavior. I walked her all over doing this kind of training, keeping a really positive, nice and calm voice. Gave her a big reward when we passed someone or dog without a reaction. It took a while, so don't give up. Things got better once my dog matured also.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you for the separation anxiety. He does cry when we are gone but we will do what you say every day.

I've been trying to redirect, I see a dog, I try to get his attention and he gets a treat for doing.

Sometimes i don't catch it in time so he already starts barking and i still treat of he stops and looks at me on command. Some people are saying I'm rewarding him for barking but Michael Ellis says that a dog can't accept food while in a fear or aggression state so if he does take food then the switch of behavior occurred and I'm rewarding the right behavior.

I hope this is the case. I will keep doing this. It's good to hear that uu had improvements, maybe it hasn't been enough time yet but nothing drastic occurred though IMO he's getting better.

No the trainers didn't do any of it, just the basic heel, pop the leash. I must be finding the wrong ones but I cant afford to keep paying the wrong ones until i find a good one and am now online looking for info.

I've been reading everything at leerburg.com and got some ideas from there and also hoping to get more from reading here.

Thank you))))


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During our training, all the dogs would line up and one person at a time would weave in and out of the dogs, no nose touches or anything like that. Maybe a group class would we good for you. You should definitely go and observe a class before you commit with money to make sure you like the methods of teaching. If you give your general location, members here could refer you to trainers they found to be helpful.

You can try sitting with your dog and watching another dog across a field, keeping calm and giving your dog a few treats or just pet your dog, using the verbal commands of your choice. You can do this sitting and watching kids at a playground from a distance. Our dog never got used to children, mine are grown, so we have just avoided contact with them, no petting.

You can also see if there are any GSD groups in your area. I found one at meetup.com their resources might me useful. This is an enjoyable, short easy read:
On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals by Turid Rugaas. You might find other useful resources from this author, I think she has her own website.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Oh you meant group training? I never did that, both of my trainers were one on one. I never liked the idea of group training for some reason.

He's socialized i'd say, we go to the park every day and he plays with dogs. Im in an apartment so we spend 3 hours in the park every day. He will just bark when he sees dogs approach (that's off leash). On leash he will lunge and bark.

I will make it a goal to try to catch the fits before they happen but I'm in space most of the time so it's a challenge. I def need more training than my dog.

Any idea on why he's freaking out when we separate outside? Is he herding us? I couldn't come up with any other explanation.

Also, is it possible that he lost trust in me and feels like he has to protect himself from other dogs and people that come too close?

If so, can THAT be reversed?

Sorry for the 1000 questions, I know it's hard to answer these without seeing him.

And I'm in NYC, queens.


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Oh you meant group training? I never did that, both of my trainers were one on one. I never liked the idea of group training for some reason.

He's socialized i'd say, we go to the park every day and he plays with dogs. Im in an apartment so we spend 3 hours in the park every day. He will just bark when he sees dogs approach (that's off leash). On leash he will lunge and bark.

I will make it a goal to try to catch the fits before they happen but I'm in space most of the time so it's a challenge. I def need more training than my dog.

Any idea on why he's freaking out when we separate outside? Is he herding us? I couldn't come up with any other explanation.

Also, is it possible that he lost trust in me and feels like he has to protect himself from other dogs and people that come too close?

If so, can THAT be reversed?

Sorry for the 1000 questions, I know it's hard to answer these without seeing him.

And I'm in NYC, queens.


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I think he's herding too. I was at an outdoor event and there was husband and wife with their GSD, the husband had to use the port a potty, so he disappeared for a few moments and the dog got anxiety, started crying.

When my husband, me and my daughter are out with our GSD, we all must stay together. My husband took me to Petsmart with Molly, I went inside and he stayed in the parking lot to check the oil level in the car. Molly wanted to rush right through Petsmart, she was so worried about her daddy!

You might want to start a new thread like " Can you recommend a good trainer or training facility near Queens, Ny"
 

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contact OUT OF THE PITS – and into your hearts and Animal Farm Foundation for positive trainers.. they are in the catskills and are pitbull rescues but they also have positive trainer information for group training and one on one training. there is also a great trainer in nj named laura waddell (i know her personally and i have seen her at work and training ) she trains at hounds on the hudson in guttenberg nj, she does positive training and works with alot of rescue dogs , her website is NJ Dogtraining give her a call she might be able to help you or know someone that can if she cant
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you for the herding response, glad to know that this happens to others. I wasn't sure what to do, I felt bad to correct but wasnt sure if i can let him go on so i'd just keep telling him to sit and pet him.

We won't separate anymore outside.

As far as a trainer, I will hold off for a little while, i wasted enough time and money looking for a quick fix. I will try doing it myself. I read sooo much on training that they can't tell me anything earth shattering, and they can't train my dog for me, I have to do the work.

My confusion is that different websites say different things and I sometimes don't know who to believe. Same goes for trainers. So I go around collecting info and pick out the pieces I agree with. That's why I posted here too.

By the way, the website I've been trusting says group training is a bad idea. It's very confusing having a first dog. Thank you everyone for helping out with this and the dermatitis thread, I got a bunch of ideas.




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By the way, the website I've been trusting says group training is a bad idea.
Can you share a link to that website? I'm curious what their reasoning is. I've always done group classes (5 dogs over a period of 27 years - dozens of classes :) ), although I did work with two private trainers as well, one briefly and the other for 6 months or so. I think there are a lot of good reasons for group classes, one of which is the cost, and can't really think of a good reason why it would be a bad idea.

We dealt with pretty severe leash reactivity with Cassidy, and that was completely through group classes for reactive dogs. We learned a lot and gained a lot of confidence too.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Sure, I mentioned them a few times already, didnt want to sound like I was advertising. Leerburg.com

The guy is a little blunt and even some parts of his website contradict other parts (probably written at diff times or by diff people) but for the most part everything he says makes sense.
He also hosts a bunch of Michael Ellis' videos and they produced videos together. They both sound knowledgeable to me so I decided to go by what they say


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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
I forgot to add that I think his reasoning was that uu don't take an untrained dog to these classes, training should start away from distractions and a room full of untrained dogs is the biggest distraction you can think of.

I might not remember correctly, and there were probably more reasons. It's just that he has a huge amt of info on his site and it's hard to find where I read that.

ETA. Not only they sound knowledgeable, watching Michael Ellis' video on engagement makes me want to have a dog like that. It's amazing how much his dog is focused on him and excited.

Check out 'Michael Ellis engagement training with his dog pi' on YouTube. I don't know how to link it from my phone


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Ah, Leerburg. :) Yep, he's pretty opinionated, and not everyone agrees with his ideas. I do like Michael Ellis, but I don't follow much, if anything, of what Ed Frawley says. The "no group classes" would definitely be one of the things I'd dismiss.

Good products and speedy service though, I buy from them from time to time.
 

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I forgot to add that I think his reasoning was that uu don't take an untrained dog to these classes, training should start away from distractions and a room full of untrained dogs is the biggest distraction you can think of.
True, but I always start training my pups at home from the time I get them, so they have several weeks of training before we start puppy classes. I also actually like training around distractions, although it is important to lower your criteria each time you increase difficulty by adding distractions.

Training classes are typically an hour a week, so you'd be doing most of the training on your own anyway, as daily homework between classes. When I had Halo in classes we trained all over - sometimes class was LESS distracting than some of the other places I took her, lol! Having her practice down stays in the middle of a walking path near a lake at a local regional park, with bicycles racing around her on both sides made going to class look pretty darned tame. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Lolol, yeah Frawley is a grump and a straight shooter but so am I so it sits well with me.

But of course he's not right about everything 100% of the time, it's just that I didn't like then idea of group training and I had no problem accepting that piece of it)))))


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Hackles (raised coat) doesn't always mean fear/fear aggression - depending the context of activity. Sometimes simply excitement or over excitement which can flip to aggression.

Sometimes a trainer does seem like an added expense we would like to avoid but the second set of eyes on the dog and you is valuable especially when you are working through behavior issues. The trainer can pick up and spot the smaller details we miss. Could be an earlier indication to redirect his focus or maybe a different way of handling him and the leash. I know when it came to handling my dog, I had to up my game. It took the trainer, sometimes bluntly, pointing my issues out to me.

Meanwhile, the following links are 2 different techniques that helped make huge headway for Woolf. Sometimes used separately, sometimes together depending on the circumstances.

BAT | Ahimsa Dog Blog

Look at That! A Counterintuitive Approach to Dealing with Reactive Dogs | Dog Training for Dog Lovers Blog

Keep in mind that what you are feeling; whether it is relaxed, tension, worried - all are transmitted to your dog. He will pick up on it and act accordingly.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Reply to your 2nd post

I'm sure you had good results, his key word was UNTRAINED if I remember right because that's who usually goes there. Once people train their dogs they usually learn a bunch and they don't need that kind of training. No? My assumptions.

Yeah distractions are needed, I think he said you start with none and gradually increase. But I can be wrong and just misinterpreted everything. As I said, I didn't like the idea so I didn't fight him on it lolol


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Discussion Starter #19
Twyla, thank you so much, I will check the links out now. I had 2 trainers already and both were old school if you know what I mean. I must've been unlucky. I did get some good points, it wasn't all useless, but I don't believe popping the collar cures anything.

Yeah I can get him to stop that time because I'm hurting him but his issue is still there and he will go off next time.

And you're right, I'm sure I get anxious when I see a dog because I know what will happen and he picks up on it.

Dog training is complicated, I need to learn more than he does. All his issues were almost definitely created by me so it's my job to fix them


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I continue classes for awhile, I don't consider my dogs "trained" so much as "in training". Even if they're 100% at one thing that doesn't mean that they can't still use some work in another area, so it's a process rather than something I do and then it's done. Not everyone is like that, though.

Halo took Puppy 1, Puppy 2, a CGC prep class, Basic Manners 2, and Family Dog 2 before I decided she had enough basic obedience training and was ready for something more fun. After that we took a flyball class, then I found a flyball club and took two more classes with them, we started practicing with the club, and three months later we were racing.
 
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