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Ignoring Other Dogs

1519 Views 8 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  onyx'girl
Chance is now 10 months. He's always been a wonderful dog to be around and behaves wonderfully...Except when other dogs are involved.

Used to he'd ignore them but now he doesn't? He's never had a bad experience with any dogs and does great around all kinds. I've tried to socialize him as much as possible but this is really setting us back and it's rather embarrassing on my part because I want a well behaved dog.

He knows sit, lay, stay (I can leave for over a minute and he'll stay right where he is until I come back and give him a release command), heel, come, leave it, drop it, give paw (left paw), give other paw (right paw), high five and is learning "bang bang" (Play dead) and roll over. He even knows some hand signals. He's a smart cookie and I'm proud to say I've done all of his training by myself and I'm only 16 and never worked with a professional for any dog.

However, he gets on my nerves when he barks. It's not that he annoys me but he's embarrassing.
He can do so much but he see's a dog and he's choking himself on the lead and barking like an idiot. He just wants to play, he's never been aggressive and if you take him to the other dog he just wants to sniff butts and do his doggy thing. I've only done that twice since those were the only times I actually knew the dogs/owners. The rest of the time I took him out of the situation or tried to keep him in a sit turned away from the dog until he calmed down and the other dog was gone.

He only does it on walks or at the park. He's barked twice at dogs in the pet store but considering all the times he's been, thats not very much at all and was a rare situation.

I broke down and bought a prong collar to give it a try. It works great so far but like any training tool, I don't want this to be a life long thing.

Any ideas on how to get him over this?
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Oh and he's learning "focus on me" but he didn't listen when a dog came out yesterday on our walk. >/ (No prong collar yesterday) He doesn't have it down 100% though yet so hopefully with time he'll get better but I need some ideas for helping him get over this now.
I have the same problem with Bear. He will quiet down to an extent, but I cannot get him to behave and ignore them totally.
I had this problem with Onyx. The prong wasn't the best collar for us ans she felt the correction as a bite and it would ramp up her aggression, excitement level. I switched to a gentle leader collar and she is still controllable but she is much calmer with this collar. You could also try a sensation harness which is a front clip harness. When your dogs bark at others, put him/her in a sit and have them focus on you. When they are focused on you, give a valuable treat and praise them. The age of your pup has a lot to do with their behavior. Onyx is almost a year and a half and she is finally settling down!
One of the reasons I attend group dog classes is because I get the instant help and feedback with issues like this. The fact the room is full of dogs and people AND a person with the background and experience to help is what I need.

What's your obedience instructor recommending and why do you think it's not working?
I worry about gentle leaders because I don't want him hurting his neck if he pulls on it.
Plus it already looks bad that I have a German Shephed, having a "muzzle" on him? (I know it's not a muzzle but it looks like one and we've got stupid people around here. One guy up the road told his son to back away because "that dog'll eat you up" when Chance wasn't even looking at them and was panting along side my leg doing his own thing. o_o) At least his fur covers some of the prong collar (Wasn't even on him when the guy commented) so you don't see it as much. I might give the front harness a try though since it might work better for turning him around. :]

I've told people it's his age but it's still embarrassing since he doesn't listen and wasn't like this before.

I don't have an obedience instructor. I've never been to any sort of dog class in my life, I've never worked under a professional, I've always done all my dogs training myself. I did Chance's heel work on nothing but a flat buckle nylon collar. So I've never required anything special until now.
I do WANT to get into a class with him so that I can take the CGC with him, meet new people and be around the dogs. But I've got really bad anxiety and worry about being "trapped" in a class. (My fear of going places is like someone with a fear of spiders being put into a closet with 100 huge tarantulas.)
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I am sorry you have a problem feeling trapped that really does hamper some of the things you can do.

I wonder if having Chance with you will help you feel less trapped??

I think a group class would be good for both of you for the socialization aspect and increasing Chance's impulse and emotional control.

Do not feel bad, I think most dogs go through this stage but if we don't help them work through it and allow it to continue it becomes a nasty habit. My 10 month old, Havoc, is working on this issue too.

I have a book titled "Control Unleashed" by Leslie McDevitt. It was written mainly for agility but can be used in all situations. It is a how to book to help us teach our dogs control in distracting settings. There is one particular exercise that I really like called the "Look at THAT!" The dog gets rewarded for looking at the thing that sets them off. And then the dog learns on his own that he can look and then turn to you for his reward. You have to do this exercise before the dog barks as you do not want to reward the barking. So when you see a dog approach point to it and tell Chance to Look at that! Mark with a clicker or word and reward. Soon he will glance and immediately check in with you.

Slowly work on getting him closer to whatever sets him off and soon you will find he checks in with you as soon as he sees a potential distraction.

The key is getting him to look and check in BEFORE he loses control, so you have to be watchful and time it well. The pet store would be a great place to work on this. Every now and then let him greet another dog when he can be calm. The chance to meet can become a reward for calm behavior too.
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Group classes are FUN! Specially if you go in with a great attitude to learn while enjoying the time with your dog. The sooner you can go the better cause it breaks bad habits that may be forming quickly, while preventing others from even cropping up.

And try the most basic beginner classes available, even if you have been working with your dog. The fact it's a new place with new people and dogs makes it a change for everyone. So even a dog who knows basic commands may seem to go deaf.

Any clicker trainers or classes that teach tricks are also ideal. That way assures the fun while the learning is still taking place. I've really found training isn't really about 'training' at all. It's about me getting the skills (which I am still learning) to teach my dog the best way. WITH DISTRACTIONS. And the distractions make all the difference.
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Originally Posted By: Chance's MomI worry about gentle leaders because I don't want him hurting his neck if he pulls on it.
Plus it already looks bad that I have a German Shephed, having a "muzzle" on him? (I know it's not a muzzle but it looks like one and we've got stupid people around here. d) so you don't see it as much. I might give the front harness a try though since it might work better for turning him around.
I just found the same thing as a gentle leader at Wal-mart for around $6(no DVD of course!). I have a gentle leader and compared it, it seems well made, and the nose strap is just a little thicker, which I think is better. There is no hurting of the neck, the dog is lead by his snout. If he pulls, he is automatically directed back to the handler. I used it on Onyx tonight, we walked for an hour( 80's and humid), in woods and roads- one a two lane highway. After a while, I took off the nose strap, and just walked her attached to the strap, but not on her nose now it is like a flat collar, we had no problems. We walked by several people, houses w/dogs. I put the nose strap back on before we passed a JRT that was reactive, even before my dogs focused on him. I have the black collar(large size), so many people don't even notice it on the nose. She is a bi-color, so the black blends in. I think this type of head collar works much better for her than the prong ever did. I still have to get the sensation harness sized properly to not twist about when walking
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