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Discussion Starter #1
As many of you know, Shane is very dog aggressive. We have been working on this, but it has been very very very difficult road. His trainer said because he very strong dominant tendencies. The trainer and I were discussing other alternatives, such as the e-collar. However, i was thinking I should try the gentle lead first. The trainer thinks, Shane may not respond well to the gentle lead but I don't want to jump into "shock therapy" yet. Should I at least give it try? Any thoughts please.
 

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Hmmm, I don't know if I'd use either on a "very dog aggressive" dog. The GL will give you control, but if he's very dog aggressive I assume he lunges and flips out at other dogs and he could risk injury to himself being held on a head halter. That will make dog experiences even more terrifying for him.

I'm not against e-collars either, but shocking him in the presence of other dogs will just reinforce that other dogs are bad/scary and he should bark and growl and lunge at them to protect himself.

I'm sure people will have differing opinions and experiences, but personally I use these tools for training specific behaviors (ie, recall, heel, etc), not so much for behavior modification or working out "issues".
 

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I am not crazy about the gentle leader, but it has it's place which is assisting with some dogs that pull a lot. For your issue, you need a combination of control along with the ability to deliver an effective well timed correction for aggressive behavior. I have no idea how that can be done with a gentle leader. I do know how to do it with a prong or e-collar. Please understand that if you do use an e-collar you are not just shocking your dog (at least you shouldn't be).
 

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im with john..im not a big fan of the gentle leader either, i tried it but i really didnt need one. i've got my boy on a prong collar. he's almost to the point of "graduateing" from the prong to just useing his flat collar because he takes correction just as well with a tug on the flat collar as he does on the prong. other reasons i use it is to stop pulling because he's still young and rambuctious so i do not want to risk injuries because he saw something so interesting that he has to charge full speed. not that he does that but u never know..just my 2 cents
 

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The gentle leader head halter can be a very effective tool in the right hands. It has the benefit of directing the dog's head to where you want it (like facing you instead of the other dog) and it also closes the mouth which helps prevent biting. But there is usually a period of time needed for a dog to adapt to it, and many "attitude" dogs have a hard time with this because they don't WANT to be restrained and head halters are very restraining.

The e-collar has it's place too, but using it for aggression can have bad results if not done with a great amount of skill and knowledge. What you don't want is to have your dog learn to hide his aggressive side because he doesn't want shocked - you want to teach your dog control without building hidden aggression. I've seen dogs who learn to hide the aggression and it can build up and explode at random times (which is really scary, having a dog that shows no signs that it's going to have an aggressive rampage).

If it's control at this point that you want, I would suggest looking into the gentle leader HARNESS instead (or any of the harnesses that have the ring for the leash on the chest strap. This harness will help guide your dog around away from the other dog and back to you without engaging his head and making him fight the restraint. And then I would suggest doing some desensitization exercises at a distance from other dogs so that he learns that controlling his impulses results in good things. Then you gradually work closer to other dogs over a period of time, instead of expecting him to be up-close and in control. I've had really good success with students doing desensitization.

If he's highly dominant as you mentioned, I would also recommend a lot of rules and boundaries. He shouldn't have ANY privileges if he's thinking he has the right to be dominant even when you say he's not to be (like when he acts aggressive toward another dog in your presence). Use NILIF and control every single thing in his life - his food, his treats, his toys, his access to outdoors, his water, etc. When he has to look to you and provide you with behaviors for everything he gets (well, air is still free) then he will start to view you as a leader and as someone who has the right to say "no, you can't act this way".

Good luck!

Melanie and the gang in Alaska
 

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I agree with Melanie. I have tried the gentle leader with all kinds of dogs but I've been much more pleased with the front clip harnesses for control. My friend has a dog aggressive gsd and I recommended the Sense-ation Harness (the other front clip harness besides the Easy Walk by Gentle Leader). She has been able to use that along with counter conditioning.

My Basu was very difficult to walk when we first adopted him because he was in a constant state of panic. I first tried a prong, then a gentle leader and then the Sense-ation. Hands down, the Sense-ation worked best. He learned very quickly to set his head against the GL and so it really didn't work at all.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks everyone for their input. No matter what tool I use, my trainer will be there to help me and guide me, it is just a matter of finding the right tool. We tried the desensitization, but the closer we get to the dog, the more amp-up Shane will get. He is very good about everything else (recall, sit, down, leave it, etc etc), it is just this one thing that seems like we can't get under control. I need to do more research and see what else is available, because I definitely don't want Shane to feel he has to hide his aggression. Thanks again.
 

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No, I never got the book because the trainer told me we doing very similar exercises that the book recommended. I don't know, maybe I should order it.
 

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Just buy them--I'm sure you can get used copies. When I'm dealing with an issue with my dogs I read the books over and over and over again. FF is super short and basic and Click to Calm is much more extensive.
 

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I have a dog that is highly food agressive and one of the things my trainier told me to do was to put a wire muzzle on her and feed her around other dogs so she learns that other dogs around her food still means she gets food if she behaves. Have you thought of muzzling your dog and rewarding him for being around other dogs with food or something else. Another thing that I have heard trainers do with dog agressive dogs is to put muzzles on all of them and let them work it out on their own, and that eventually the dogs will be okey. I do not know anyone who has acctually tried that before, but I thought I'd throw the idea out.
 

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Haven't followed posts on Shane, but I'd say neither until you have him well trained, and under control, in basic obedience.

If Shane listens and obeys a platz or sitz command, he cannot simultaneously go after another dog.

I don't like head halters and have an e-collar, but think it's most effective (with limited experience) with a dog that is already schooled in the basics.

Bottom line, if you aren't sure this trainer is giving you good advice, get another trainer.
 

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I love Patricia McConnell and def recommend FF.

I have a question as well, Would a prong be a good choice for a dog that is reactive to other dogs on leash? or would it be like the e-collar where the dog would associate something bad with the other dog coming near? My pup Dexter has been quite reactive on leash, not aggressive, and when he dose get to play with other dogs hes great. I think its more of a barrier frustration thing, just wondering what your thoughts are on a prong in this type of situation?
 

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Is your dog dog aggressive? If not, why the muzzle? You are only preventing your dog being able to defend itself. If it IS dog aggressive, then you shouldn't be around other dogs with it.

Sounds like your trainer is a [Removed by Admin].

If it is just excitement and behavior issues, those are things you need to train out. Still, a muzzle is not necessary for that.
 

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Personally, I don't think dogs learn anything with a head collar - it is a band aid.....they must learn right to identify their own right and wrong behaviors. An e-collar is a great tool, when used correctly and the dog is conditioned to it......not just used in the face of inappropriate behavior.

Lee
 

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Head halters used correctly are a great strength equalizer. I used one on Skye for less than a month before going to a martingale, then a flat collar.

I used a prong years ago and it was also a good temporary collar. One of the things I like is that I don't see as many dogs permantly on the head halter as I do a prong.

I have never used an e collar - never needed it so far and I hope not to.

Head halter, prong, e collar - as long as they are used correctly so no harm is done, they can work. They are all training aids to help us get our dog where we want them so a flat collar can be used.

Of course, some handlers become dependent on the aid and don't allow their dog to prove what has been learned and graduate to a lower level collar.
 

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Originally Posted By: nysirk
or would it be like the e-collar where the dog would associate something bad with the other dog coming near?
If your using the e-collar properly, your dog is NOT going to associate the stim felt from the collar with something bad. If the dog associates "BAD" with the e-collar, the stim is too high!
 

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Originally Posted By: Skye'sMom
That was quite offensive, LedZep.
Simply a common phrase to emphasize a point. If anyone with skin of normal thickness was offended then I apologize, as that was not intended.
 
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