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Discussion Starter #1
We have had our beautiful German Shepherd for two months. She came from a family environment with kids. She is just 3 years old.
Since May this year we are the third family so she has not known whether she has been coming or going.
Her behaviour in general with me and family is excellent and very obedient around home and off the lead on our own in the fields.
However, here it comes, when it comes to going out onto walks she becomes extremely hyper and is all over the place going out. I've tried all the positive reinforcement around the dominance area and this seems to be getting through to her. But when she sees another dog hackles up vipping sometimes growling and lunging towards. Soon as we are past she calms to a certain degree. Again I try the sit mode to calm and try to attract her attention but she is oblivious.
She is the same towards people in general.
Any ideas please?

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I would get her on a prong collar, and get her attention BEFORE she reacts. My rescue was very reactive to other dogs and made walking her very difficult because of the kind of behaviour you describe. What worked for us is on-going, INTENSE obedience training, focus training, and prong collar corrections is she tried to break focus.

She got to the point where she would give me eye-contact heeling while loose dogs would rush us - but it took a LOT of work.

I was lucky enough to work with a great training club, where I could work Keeta around other dogs, re-direct, re-focus, and use a correction when necessary, and build on that foundation for every-day walks.
 

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I'm not sure if your dog is fearful aggression
Is your dog okay with other dogs offleash? Is this problem only occurs when he's on leash?
seems like just leash reactivity , +1 with Castlemaid
 

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Hi
Thanks for feed back. She has only been off the leaf by accident and come into contact with another dog. She charged it hackles up growling but never attacked or bit the other dog as we got hold.
One of the reasons why she came to us was that a smaller male dog pestered her when she was bright back by another family that it bit there dog quite badly.

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On her third home since May - no wonder she is anxious and hyper. For walking, she needs to learn that she can rely on you and that you are the leader. She doesn't need to worry about being attacked. I don't think giving her corrections with a prong collar is the way to build her confidence. I suggest you look at the walk in sync method developed by Colorado trainer, Alecia Evans. The website is Walk In Sync - The Easiest and Most Humane Way to Walk and Train Your Dog - Home
 

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if i were in your situation with a dog i would find a trainer/behaviourist.
 

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Two months isn't very long, after three rehomings :( I agree with doggiedad... If you can swing it, enlist a professional. Until then, skip the leash walks and let her enjoy the safety of your family and property. Set her up for success for now. The rest of the world can wait a minute.


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Discussion Starter #8
Hi
I agree it's not a long time two months.
She is our first shepherd I've had all sorts of working digs from pups. So this is a challenge. I am not in agreement with spring collars fir a while host of reason. I have a harness but find she is doing better on a choker as originally designed fir as a check.
Cant keep her within our boundaries as its not appropriate so she needs to go for walks. I will look at the humane way. She's so intelligent so she will eventually get the message. I do all the leadership bits. It's a mould that needs breaking in the right way. I will take on board all comments as I have not had to do this for a long time as my other dogs walked off leads to heal. They also worked on eye and hand signals. Long way to go fir that.

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Get the book Control Unleashed by Leslie McDevitt. The exercises outlined in the book really do help to manage a reactive dog. Once your girl is a bit more confident and trusting of you, the reactive behavior will diminish some.
I put a prong collar on my reactive young female, and the corrections ramped her up, it did nothing to help her during that time of her life. The prong did help me to control her 90#'s though! I had to go to a buckle flat collar finally because a gentle leader was horrible on her snout and the front clip harness was not strong enough to hold her strength. I didn't trust the plastic clasps.
I learned to do as Lucia suggested and get the dogs attention before reactions can begin.
And letting my dog know that I was the one in control so she didn't have to be helped relieve her anxiety and need to be 'on' constantly. BUT I can't train out genetics and for the most part her anxiety and lower thresholds can only be managed, not trained out.
 

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I struggled for a year with Keeta to try and control her on a regular collar - then I gave up and tried the prong - best decision I ever made! I was very hesitant about going to a prong too, they look so terrible! But looks are deceiving, if you try one on yourself, around your thigh or arms, it just tightens, it does not pinch - the force is evenly spread out.

The corrections are for breaking focus on me . . . not a correction for reacting. The corrections come after your dog knows the exercises and is reliable in a training environment.

Agree that two months is not a very long time, and as her obedience improves and her relationship with you grows, things can get better - I'm not sure though that her reaction is one of fear - how quickly she settles again once the dog and person has passed by makes me wonder if she just reacts because she can, and this is now ingrained behaviour, and she gets a "high" from the hormones and and neurotransmitters that are released when she gets stimulated like that. With my dog, is certainly wasn't fear, but just bad, domineering, bullying, behaviour.

Hard to tell when we can't see exactly what is going on, but you have a few suggestions in this thread from people that have dealt with the same thing, so that should give you a few tools to work with, and few options to mull over.
 

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Lucia made an excellent point, it is possible your dog isn't afraid. I was also wondering if she could be not trained to walk on a leash and/or if she wasn't walked much in different areas where there are lots of people and dogs. I would start from scratch as if she weren't trained to walk on a leash - start with heel. Since focusing is the problem and fear hasn't been ruled out, you may want to use clicker training - there are some excellent threads on that. The book My Dog Pulls What Do I Do? by Turid Rugaas has some good ideas about training with the problem you have with the reaction to other dogs and people. I would also do short walks and do lots of turns and sudden changes of direction to keep her focused on you. As Lucia posted, try to anticipate. So - when you see someone coming - turn the other way - even bump into her - she will learn quickly that she needs to pay attention to you. Have her sit when there is no one around so she doesn't get the idea that she sits because whenever there is another dog around. Reward her for doing so. Since she has shown a high drive - I also suggest playing tug so she can have an outlet - and be sure after a struggle that she ends up winning - that satisfies her prey drive and helps her to form a bond with you which carries over into the training. It is early days and I think with work and love she will be a fine companion.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hi
Yes take on board your comments font think the whole socialization bits been done with her. Also walks dont think she's had any work done in that department. However, plays up on way out as if almost winding herself up. Dine allsorts of delay tactics which are all slowly working I think. Walks back are greať. General obedience greať. Work off lead ok.

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That's great that she is good off lead, obedient and that you are making progress slowly but surely. Yes, I agree with you she is winding herself up because she is so excited to be going someplace. If you can, it does help to try to take the edge off of some of that energy before you take her for a walk. If she likes to fetch - a short fetch session will do it. With my husky - who was all eager and pulling and didn't care to fetch - I used to have her run circles around me before I would take her for a walk, sort of like lunging a horse :)
 

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Hi
Update on progress and a bit more advice needed so please feel free to comment.
Keisha has come on really well in the weeks we have had her as a young 3 year old. Settled well at home getting better with socialising and especially with people. However, still a nightmare going out on the walk especially the two daytime walks. First thing and last thing absolutely fine no pulling walks to heal no issues as such. Daytime walks pulls like crazy and becomes more agitated if Amy of the other digs in the village bark which she generally sets off from her yipping and being over excited.
Now I've tried kalms which have provided a slight calming effect normal chain work makes no difference so I've tried the vibration and shock collar which helps but as soon as its over she pulls like crazy again. Commands such as back brings hee back to heal but as soon as she is at heal she is pulling again.
Once at our destination and time to be let off she is excellent obedient and recalls well. With regards to other dogs she has been introduced to a few and been fine nose to nose and played with one ok. However, any aggression shown towards her and she changes. Scenario yesterday that leads me to post this is she was nose to nose with a puppy Labrador tail between legs no hackles and fine however, the pup git a crab apple which rolled towards us and the pup lunged toward it. Keisha immediately flashed her teeth and barked at the pup lunging herself. Again no hackles tail between legs Whats that all about?

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For the walking, I would try a front ring harness. The leash is attached to the front ring on the dog's chest that would discourage her from pulling because when she pulls the harness exerts pressure on her chest and a dog does not like to push against pressure. I would hold the leash (6ft leash) - left hand 2 feet from harness -right hand take up the slack. This basically keeps her next to you. Then walk - when she gets excited - turn - right into her (the knee nudge won't hurt her) - the idea is to keep her focused on you - change directions suddenly - zig zag - all this to keep her focused. When she follows reward her. For potty and sniffing breaks - then say okay (or I say "go easy) and let the leash out - but then after she is done - put the leash again in your two hands and walk on as before. It is very important that you do not grip the leash or hold it tightly or she will feel the tension. As she gets better, what you can do when a distraction is coming up and she starts to go forward - is just grip the leash tightly and release immediately - this will send the signal to her to ease up. Since you are walking to a place where she will be let off leash, she is excited and that is probably why all the pulling. I would take her for several short walks but not always end up with her off leash - that way she won't get all excited about that.
As for other dogs - when she has no hackles but tail between the legs is a sign of submission. But when the pup lunged for the apple which was rolling toward you, she then went into fear aggression not afraid of the pup, but you. I take it she was playing - then barked - then became afraid of your reaction to her behavior based on her past experiences in her previous homes.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Hi
Thanks for the feedback.
Will try the lead scenario and see where we go from there. Not sure I am with you over the behaviour around the pup. Just to clarify you think she might be fearful of my reaction based on previous owners. My reactions thus far to bad behaviour around other dogs and people is one if reprimand ie check back loud command such as No or Leave and to make her sit.
I do try to give her space and time to adapt.

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Hi
One of the reasons why she came to us was that a smaller male dog pestered her when she was bright back by another family that it bit there dog quite badly.

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This is the past incident in her previous home that I was referring to. The smaller dog pestered her and the family did nothing to stop or correct the smaller dog instead when the gsd couldn't take it anymore and fought back, she was made to take the blame. So, even though you are reacting calmly, because of this incident, she is afraid when she reacts to another dog in a negative manner when a human is close by. That is why she forgot herself, tried to get the apple and push the other dog away (this could all have been play and gsds can play rough) then thought " Oh no, there is a human -it is happening all over again I will be punished and sent away" so she went submissive. If you want her to play with other dogs, I suggest you screen the playmates carefully - they should be about the same size and close to her age - and then let her off leash to play but keep your distance.
 

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i agree i would be very choosey on what dogs she comes in contact with. submissive calm dogs. and even with that i would do it slowly and not overwhelm to the point of her reacting. sometimes with dog to dog introductions it is very helpful to get a good trainer to help you get through this issue, teaching you to recognize signs and body lauguage. much the same with people introductions. its a slow process one tiny step at a time. i think you can be very sucessful if you are consistant with the socializing and training.
 
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