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Discussion Starter #1
How do you deal with off-lead dogs approaching full-tilt at you and your dog? What if your dog is, or has been in the past, leash-reactive to other dogs?

Grimm was away at send-away training for 4 weeks. I worked EXTRA hard with him when he returned. No more leash-reactivity! Grimm CALMLY walked by other dogs. Now, with the nice weather, people are out more and letting their Fifis zoom around off-lead.
In the past few days, four times has an off-lead dog raced right up to us walking! Sometimes barging right into Grimm's space, barking furiously at him as he heeled along!


The past two days, Grimm has been giving longer looks to other leashed dogs we see on the sidewalk. He is hackling, too.
There is no barking, no growling, no lunging, and he does continue to heel-- but he is looking much more intensely than he should be.
What I do is keep the lead loose-- zero tension. But, I stride along directly-- we ARE walking right past this other dog who is on lead. We WILL just keep moseying on past. I am using "Leave it" and when we get past, he sometimes looks back at the other dog (leash correction for that), and sometimes, rarely, looks up at me, sooooothing praaaaise for that.

Should I treat this as I am doing, and let him learn that we just walk past-- and NOT do the throw chain for the looks getting too long, because this is insecurity, and he was totally calm before the off-lead dogs situastions happened? Or, should I assert my leadership and NOT allow a long look-- period, regardless of why? I either need to tighten up ship and discipline for the longer look-- or just show him that with time, we just keep walking calmly by and nothing happens, period.


Edit to add-- even with the hackling now and urge to look, Grimm walked past a huge Husky tonight that he always used to go ballistic at before training... and he passed today two dogs who rushed a wire fence at us, barking insanely, and at the moment he was about to give a second look, I warned "Leave it" in a DeathMomma voice, walked directly forward with him in heel, and after we passed, he looked up at my spontaneously, and he got huuuge praise for that.
 

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Re: Off-lead dogs&the leash-reactive dog ARRGGHH!!

We get this a lot. Kenya is not aggressive or leash reactive, but can get a little too nervy and snap if another dog approaches fast and I pull back. The reaction is caused by me, which I've come to accept. To diffuse this, I've worked on two things:

1. I've done a LOT more exposure with dogs in controlled environments. We have training 2-3 times a week, and before/after each training session we all allow our dogs off leash and let them check each other out and get their play-willies out so they aren't trying to get at each other during training. Just in the past few weeks, I've really learned to take a chill pill when it comes to Kenya and other dogs. She has played with ten different dogs in the past two weeks. There were times where she corrected other dogs (mainly one that tried to hump her) and times that other dogs fairly corrected her.

2. When we are out walking and there is an off lead dog approaching us, I asked for a sit-stay. To me, a trained dog will do the command in almost any situation. I ask for a sit-stay and I expect one as long as the approaching dog is not attacking. Some are very rude and/or vocal in their approach, but we've never been outright attacked. Kenya holds a stay, which allows me to let the lead remain slack (again, when I tense up and there is tension on the line, that's when she reacts) and gives me a chance to "read" the strange dog. If the dog appears friendly, I allow Kenya to break the stay and sniff at the dog while I dance around trying to keep the leash slack. If I'm not interested in the strange dog, I ask for a "heel" and we leave. The strange dog can follow us if it wants, I'm not going to catch it and bring it back to the owner.

I do not allow Kenya to give hard stares or prolonged stares at strange dogs even if they are rude and deserve it.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you, Lies-- you may be really right here. I will NOT allow a long look, even if he has had a few rough experiences in the past few days.

I like your sit idea with Kenya when another dog zooms in. The good thing is, Grimm does respond to me fairly well for what I ask in these situations.

I don't think
I have done anything differently in my management with Grimm since I have began the new Queen of the Walk deal. But since the offlead dogs barking right in his zone, the longer looks and hackling?
I just don't want to allow this to start up again beginning with too-long looks. GOOD point, I will not allow it.

Thanks for your Kenya management tips-- I do totally keep the lead loose.
 

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Re: Off-lead dogs&the leash-reactive dog ARRGGHH!!

This is one of my biggest pet peeves. And I really worry about what will happen because I know Ris is leash-reactive.

However, my attitude really effects how the meetings go. For the most part, I'm very 'whatever' about it. Assuming the other dog is only rushing up to us and not showing signs of agitation or aggression.

Since Ris' issues are more caused by fear, I try and get her around other dogs as much as possible. So she can see that they're not scary and not out to get her. She doesn't always get to play with the other dogs (though I like to let her) but she does see that nothing bad happens and that there is nothing to worry about. I also work with her to show her that I am in control and won't let bad things happen (though I understand that it's not always possible).

Last week, when we were coming home from a walk, we passed two dogs in the courtyard. Ris did key in on them but I kept on walking and encouraged her to keep coming with me. I didn't realize that one of the dogs had broken away from its owner and was coming for us which is why Ris was focusing so intently. As soon as I realized what was going on, I let Ris have full range of the leash and just stood back and let her do what she needed to do. She gave a barely noticeable air snap and then just stood there and let the other dog sniff her. The owner came and got her dog and Ris and I continued on our way. I praised Ris for her excellent behavior.

I don't let Ris focus intently on other dogs but I use verbals to get her attention back on me. If I can't get her attention, I will either apply pressure on her leash to get her to return back to me or poke her until she breaks her concentration. I don't mind if she looks at other dogs, however, since I want her to be able to look at her fears if she feels the need.
I have no problem with Ris correcting other dogs for 'space intrusion' during obedience class (though I'd still prefer she didn't) but would prefer she not do it in public since most people aren't so well-versed in dog behavior.
 

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Re: Off-lead dogs&the leash-reactive dog ARRGGHH!!

Originally Posted By: BrightelfThank you, Lies-- you may be really right here. I will NOT allow a long look, even if he has had a few rough experiences in the past few days.

I like your sit idea with Kenya when another dog zooms in. The good thing is, Grimm does respond to me fairly well for what I ask in these situations.

I don't think
I have done anything differently in my management with Grimm since I have began the new Queen of the Walk deal. But since the offlead dogs barking right in his zone, the longer looks and hackling?
I just don't want to allow this to start up again beginning with too-long looks. GOOD point, I will not allow it.

Thanks for your Kenya management tips-- I do totally keep the lead loose.
Yep, just DONT allow it, don't worry so much about not being able to not allow it, you know? If redirecting with obedience doesn't work, turn and walk away....and if he won't budge, give him a shove! Yep, I've given my dogs a few bumps and shoves to move them right along! The second you see the look (or even before that if you happen to notice the dog before he does) just move along. If he doesn't give a hard stare, he can continue his approach. When it becomes more than an exuberant doggy "I wanna come see you!" type thing, it ENDS at that point.

It takes a while to get the hang of. Originally I was turning Kenya away right away. I didn't trust her enough; I didn't want to find out if she was reactive! Turns out I was the reactive one, not her.
 

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Re: Off-lead dogs&the leash-reactive dog ARRGGHH!!

Jamie, I thought of Ris as I posted the first time. To me, this is extra unfair for dogs like Ris when owners let dogs race around off-lead. You really do such a great job with her. And just an air-snap? Perfect. GOOD girl Ris!! You are so doing an awesome job with her!

I am staying calm.. I agree with you about attitude. But, I cannot afford to allow Grimm to begin his old habit of "locking on" visually, and I absolutely MUST throw the startling throw-chain at his shoulder right now to remind him that this is no longer allowed. Lately though, I am just lead-correcting sharply, and striding forward with attitude. Not as often using throw chain and just walking with attitude may be a good thing, or this may be the cause of the new problem, too-- Grimm is one of those dogs who needs very strong and clear boundaries to relax and function well and calmly and not fall apart behaviorally. Sometimes I even have us pass the other dog, then he must do a U-turn with me and we do yet another pass.. just to cement in his mind that NO, we go right BY the other dog, no fracas allowed.. just calm heeling, loose lead. Period.

I think you are doing great managing Risa! We have a dog class tomorrow. I am nervous about it, hoping Grimm respects and responds to my leadership well. At least all the dogs will be on-lead until after class playtime.
 

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Re: Off-lead dogs&the leash-reactive dog ARRGGHH!!

Lies, what do you do when the dogs are both on lead and coming straight for eachother, both heeling along nicely-- but your dog's gaze becomes too intense? Correct for the intense look, even when the other dog is in front and both dogs are approaching in opposite directions?
 

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Re: Off-lead dogs&the leash-reactive dog ARRGGHH!!

Patti, if you can, I'd simply turn and go the other way. If he's still facing the dog, chances are he will lock in and throwing the chain or giving a correction even a mili-second too late might only exacerbate the reactivity. You can create the boundary by removing him and the opportunity to interact with the dog. If he behaves, he gets to move in closer. If the hackles go up or he locks his stare, he is removed.
 

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Originally Posted By: BrightelfLies, what do you do when the dogs are both on lead and coming straight for eachother, both heeling along nicely-- but your dog's gaze becomes too intense? Correct for the intense look, even when the other dog is in front and both dogs are approaching in opposite directions?
Swing in an arch so the movement is not directly head on (like in the Calming Signals DVD, she shows different ways for dogs to approach each other). If Kenya is the one dropping her head and starting the stare, I will say "eh eh" and make our approach happen more from the side, or stop and ask for the sit-stay with her attention on me so the other dog can come forward and initiate the greeting. At ALL TIMES I avoid any pressure on the leash or physical corrections. If she ignores my lead, then we go back home and work more on obedience and focus and I examine why she would rather get at the other dog than come along with me. Again though, I probably have an easier time with this because Kenya really is not reactive (it's usually the other dog) and she has a soft temperament.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Lies, maybe I can do this curve thing sometimes, but probably not. We currently live, for now, in the European equivilent of downtown Manhattan. A bicycle lane with heavy bike traffic whizzing by means the sidewalk is very, very narrow, buses, cars, trucks, etc-- and a crowd of people, baby-wagons, etc all crowding the same sidewalk I am trying to use-- coming right uo behind us, to the side, etc. I think in most cases, curving would put us into traffic-- people, cars, or bikes.

Yup, I totally can have no pressure on the lead.
I guess I will however need to correct to not allow the lock-on to happen.
He is a strong-minded guy, a bit different than Kenya. We just need to be able to keep moving forward down the sidewalk.

We are moving within a year to the country..
what an education we are having here in the metropolis!
 

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If you can't curve (sometimes I can't either, but usually there is a strip of grass between the walk and the road), I'd try having him stop and sit, looking at you (maybe you face the dog so he is facing you) and wait for the dog to pass. I do this all the time with joggers. The hard stomping right next to her sometimes startles Kenya a little, especially if they are coming from behind us. Also I don't want the jogger to trip on Kenya, so I stop and have her sit, wait for the jogger to pass, then off we go. It's annoying if it happens a lot, but it seems to work b/c lately I've been letting some joggers go past without the sit and she has been fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Good job with Kenya! It sounds like joggers are less and less a concern to her!
Good work with her, Lies!

The interesting thing is, Grimm sometimes spontaneously looks to me after we pass another dog, especially when I am verbally remiding him in a stern low voice to HEEL... "SEE, Mom? See?? Was GOOD! Was a GOOD dog. Right Mom? Right??" I praise lots for that, even if it is not at the time we pass.

Right now, we just need to walk calmly past. The sidewalks are SO busy and crowded here. I think for Grimm, that means verbal reminders, and if needed, throw-chain correction. It is lightweight, but loud-- startles. We just gotta get by whatever dog is a-comin' our way along the sidewalk. Just think the off-lead dog incidents have not helped... nor has my (possible?) laxity in using the corrections for those longer looks.
 

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Re: Off-lead dogs&the leash-reactive dog ARRGGHH!!

If Ris really gets locked on, I go the other way. This works with both canine and other distractions. The more you focus and pull, the faster Mom backs up. She may want to go after that rabbit but the more she tries the farther away from the rabbit she gets. It doesn't work all the time but we've only really started doing it within the last month or so. We aren't to the point where we can walk past most other dogs on the sidewalk. I still have to step off into the grass to give space. But she's getting better at least.


Grimm will get there too. Just keep up the great work.
 
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