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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello, wonderful people!

I have a new dog, Loki, who I rescued about a month ago. Best we can tell he's a now 11mo GSD mix of some sort, but unsure of what with. Feel free to check out his album here or his story here.

He's doing really great with literally everything except for passing other dogs when on a leash. When he's off-leash, he's great. Yesterday at the dog park (yes, yes, I know the dangers of these!) he was running to play with another dog but I could tell the owner was trying to work with their dog so I called Loki and despite being mid-run, he turned right around and came to be when I called him. He did it again today when we went swimming. Ridiculously proud of him for how fast he is learning, he's a fantastic dog.

And really, it's rather rare for him to want to play with other dogs, mostly he just kinda goes with the motions in the dog park, sniffing and following other dogs, but only playing with a chosen couple. He seems to "diffuse" so to speak and focus better when he's off-leash.

However, when we're walking around, despite a loose and relaxed leash with his head at my hip (though, admittedly, he sneaks in front still sometimes), he'll spot another dog and go absolutely crazy. Yesterday, he literally flipped over onto his back, almost growl-barking, hair-raised, wanting to play so badly. It seems to help when I tell him NO and walk in the opposite direction until he's calm again and then we can start walking back towards the dog. My hope is that he'll learn that freaking out like that won't get him anywhere, but staying calm means he gets to play.

Is this the right way to be dealing with it? Does this get better with time? I mean, it already is in the sense that he's doing it less with dogs who are calm but if another dog starts it he will, too. It's incredibly frustrating. Any tips/feedback would be great.

Thank you!
Leigh Fields
 

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If you can catch him before he gets worked up,give him something else to do - Look at me!then reward with treats or offer a favorite squeaky toy or tug rope.If your timing is a little off do something to snap him out of it - a leash pop strong enough to get his attention,then immediately give him the alternative behavior.Loki sounds like a great dog!I'm glad you found each other:)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
@dogma13 - I will definitely try that, thank you! I am (re)learning that timing is everything in training.
 

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I'd personally not allow any random interaction when he's on leash. Letting dogs meet on leash from what I've seen tends to just create dogs who get amped up whenever they see another dog. For example on a hike the other day a couple had a puppy on leash that is used to getting to greet every dog he sees. He was freaking out and crying because he didn't get to come say hi to mine. It was pretty bad and can imagine it'll only get worse as he gets older. They just seem to get into the mindset of other dog I must go see them! I always get to say hello so of course I'll get to and then they get worked up when they can't and such.

Maybe work more on being on leash means no playtime, even if he is being calm. If you go to the dog park let that be his other dog fun time. On leash walks and such can be a different ballgame.
 

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One of the “dangers” of dog parks (especially with a young dog and this early in the relationship) is exactly what you’re experiencing. excitement / stimulation / frustration when they can’t get to other dogs. not to say that it can’t be fixed but it’s likely to be a game of one step forward two steps back if you continue to frequent the parks in the same manner while working on it. look up “leash reactivity”. bottom line, whether the root is fear, excitement or aggression - the dog needs to get the message that that behavior is not acceptable regardless. there are different approaches and schools of thought on how to accomplish this.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
@Kazel - huh, good call! I will consider that for sure. Never thought about it that way, but you are right. Thank you. :)
@Fodder - will look that up, thank you!
 
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