German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 4 of 4 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
So we have two big boys who are 3 months a part. The younger one (15M) is called Milo (he's half GSD and half malamute) and the older one (18M) is named Niko (full GSD).

When I walk Milo solo with me down to the shops, or cafe's. He's happy larry and calm, placid, doesn't pull and responds OK to voice commands (is still a little distracted). Milo shows interest in passing dogs, and will try and go over for a sniff. But majority is quiet, and we are able to continue on our walk without much of a commotion.

When Niko is walked solo, he's a bit more stronger on the pull and also extremely leash reactive to other dogs he sees. He does the whole lunging, barking, and whining. His reactivity isn't fear or aggression based. It's more excitement and his drive for play. It's a massive commotion but we are slowly working on this. He has his good days, and then there are some off days.

When my husband and I walk the two of them together (Milo with me, and Niko with him). It goes to this whole other dark place. Niko is usually "alpha" at home, and so Niko and my husband usually walk in front, also just because I walk slower (lol) with Milo. But whenever we do a 'group' walk, Milo goes from this placid bear that I am used to to this maniac machine who is lunging, pulling, heaving and out right HOWLING the neighbourhood down if he's even slightly left behind. Refuses to focus on me and cannot listen to anyone or anything besides getting to Niko.

Because Niko is leash reactive, and overly excited when there are other dog's. And because he is at the front of the 'line' on our walks, when he see's another dog, he obviously barks. Which is excitement. But still quite loud. BUT, it seems that because Niko barks, Milo interprets this as 'I HAVE TO BACK HIM UP' and Milo seems to lose it at this dog in a scary way from the back, he's barking, growling, lunging and being all out savage looking as to him, this other dog has somehow offended his pack.

We can't have Niko in the back and Milo meeting dog's first because it makes Niko's reactivity 100x worse that Milo has gotten to 'meet' this dog before him, and he loses his mind screaming that he needs to be there too.

We can't walk them side by side in these instances either because I don't want the two of them to rush a new dog. (poor dog).

Is this pack mentality of Milo's something I can out-train or is this something that he just has embedded into him? What type of training would you recommend? We don't have any dog parks around and it'd be hard to just 'borrow' someones dog to walk past over and over again...

Anyone else have similar experiences? Does it get better with age also?
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
7,112 Posts
I'm afraid it won't get better with age.The more times they practice a behavior the more ingrained the habit becomes.Dogs absolutely feed off of each other's excitement.Mine are way more animated during group walks.
The fix is simple in theory but difficult to implement without help initially.Catch the dog BEFORE he reacts and show them what behavior you expect.Reward heavily for compliance.Correct firmly for noncompliance of the command.Firmly enough(depending on the dog's temperament)so he will focus on you and comply.Reward,reward,reward for success.If you can find an experienced balanced trainer to work with you a few times to help you with your timing and confidence it will be well worth it:)
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
8,508 Posts
Pack mentality, eh sure, but more so it sounds like you’re raising two adolescent boys that are very close in age - one who is a bit rowdy and ill-mannered, and the other who has bonded too closely with his older brother. (At what ages did you acquire them?)

I’d continue to work on Nikos dog reactivity (however, if what you’re doing isn’t getting results, you may need to change that up).... and get firmer on Milo, insisting on good behavior simply when he’s around Niko.

Essentially with the goals being A - get Nikos reactivity under control, B - establishing a stronger relationship and clear expectations with Milo when he’s around Niko.... resulting in Milo getting his cues from you, not big bro, and big bro behaving appropriately which should reduce Milos triggers (aka perceived need for “back up”)
 
  • Like
Reactions: CometDog

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,843 Posts
I separated 2 unrelated young dogs because of this. Fortunately I have a BF who was able to help with that as we don't (and won't anytime soon) live together. When we are together we deal with this behavior. Each dog is a dream on their own on walks..together they are obsessed with jockying for position. We just calmly work on it..we go places like big fields where we can work on the dogs heeling through different pattern from each other..passing with neutrality, same way you would do in a good group class that teaches neutrality (rather than the fur baby dogs need to play together places)

I don't have any other advice, and I can't tell you yet if it resolves with time. However I can tell you that it is improving? We put the 2 together when they were 5.5 months and 9 months. They are now 15 months and 19 months. When they are off lead like in a big isolated field or backwoods hikes, or in the yard, there is no issue. They recall independently and key more to people than each other. Like, I can call them off playing and have them run through commands one at a time. There is just something about that pack walk on leads.....not very relaxing for anyone at this time lol
 
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
Top