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As time has passed we've had a few more problems arise with Faelan. We've completely overcome the night time fearful behavior but are now onto something else. Lately he has been extremely reactive out on walks or when we've taken him places. If we walk by a dog inside a fence (that he can see) he is fine and ignores it, maybe at most casts a sideways glance but overall fine. If we pass another dog on a leash, he is extremely reactive. Sometimes it's "I want to play" and sometimes not so much. Both reactions are unacceptable. But it is not just with dogs, if we are out he will also do the same thing with people who enter our bubble. To him, our bubble is about 20 feet all the way around. Barking, growling, lunging... the works. He also does not obey commands that are instantly responded to at home. I've tried correcting this and distracting this to no avail, so then comes the second part of my problem.

So I take him to a local training/behavior center for the trainer to evaluate him as to whether or not he is a candidate for group lessons or because of his reactivity. We walk into the center and I am fully expecting him to be crazy because there are dogs and people everywhere and nothing. So she has us crash the advanced obedience class to see how he is with the other dogs...nothing. He is listening to commands, allowing others to walk, even suddenly run up to us. Completely fine with the other dogs. Meeting them politely. Then the trainer brings out "scary distractions" to see if he reacts and once again, nothing. He was so well behaved I'm pretty sure the trainer thought I was crazy. He was like the kid you take to the ER for being terribly sick and they are suddenly running around it.

So I take him out again yesterday with my other dog who is DA BUT is fine unless she is approached by another dog, to a softball game and he is once again doing beautifully. We walk past groups of people who are constantly entering "our space" and he is fine. We walk past a tiny black dog and he is fine. We spread out our blanket and still everything...fine. Then tiny black dog is suddenly unleashed on our blanket (which is why I absolutely detest most small dog owners) growling and charging. We are a good 30 ft from it's owners and my boxer reacts to the dog being there. The lunges and almost gets the thing in her mouth. At that point, Faelan lunges too. Both of them are trying to get the little dog while it's owner sits 30 ft away laughing at the situation :mad:. Im sure it DID look funny that I was trying to hold back two large dogs, especially because we were on a hill and they were pulling down hill so with every lunge I slid an inch or two, but it certainly wasn't funny to me. SO finally the owner sent his teenage daughter over to get the dog and take it away. I was able to settle my two down momentarily but after that incident Faelan reacted to everything and everyone that passed again. So now I am frustrated and don't know what to expect from him and where. He starts training again on the 12th of April (after we get back from break), and is using a gentle leader (which is probably the only reason the little dog survived because I wasn't getting the full force of his lunge) and he is getting exercised and worked with daily. Soo...:help:
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Not sure if this is always the case, but for sure your dog is following the Boxer apparently and would be better off not being out with him/her.

ETA - is the Boxer good with people?
Well after yesterday I decided that I am not taking them out together again until all the issues are worked through. He was for sure following her with the smaller dog but not afterward and has done it when I have walked him alone anyways.

And the boxer is EXCELLENT with people, especially children. She has frequented schools and special education areas and thrives on all attention, so he isn't getting that from her.
 

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I would still do things separately , and since he was so great at class, I would definitely continue with that.

I tend to agree with Jean, he is feeding off the boxer, and even tho you are sometimes alone with just him, he's doing it because he's done it before..

So keep up with the classes!! and go from there:)
 

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As time has passed we've had a few more problems arise with Faelan. We've completely overcome the night time fearful behavior but are now onto something else. Lately he has been extremely reactive out on walks or when we've taken him places. If we walk by a dog inside a fence (that he can see) he is fine and ignores it, maybe at most casts a sideways glance but overall fine. If we pass another dog on a leash, he is extremely reactive. Sometimes it's "I want to play" and sometimes not so much. Both reactions are unacceptable. But it is not just with dogs, if we are out he will also do the same thing with people who enter our bubble. To him, our bubble is about 20 feet all the way around. Barking, growling, lunging... the works. He also does not obey commands that are instantly responded to at home. I've tried correcting this and distracting this to no avail, so then comes the second part of my problem.
Is the boxer included in these scenarios or is just you and Faelan?

Think about your handling. How is it different when on these outings and in class?

Definitely separate the dogs and continue the class. His brain is engaged under distraction, a good thing.
 

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I am definitely going to take the "keeping them separate" advice, but I didn't realize that his reactivity when he is alone with me could be a result of what he has done when he was WITH my boxer.

Thinking about my handling though, the only difference I can think of between when we are out and how I was in the class was that I was constantly talking to him in the class and praising his perfect behavior. When we're walking I usually don't talk to him much unless I am giving a command. I don't know if that would be the difference or not.
 

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I believe that makes a huge difference. Think when you are learning a behavior or trying to figure out what is expected of you at work. When you are working well, everyone is quiet, you make a mistake and you hear about it. How much easier would it be if you were consistently reinforced (and not saying the paycheck as reinforcer) when you were excelling! You know you are doing well, headed in the right direction and able to build on that. I think dogs are similar (the nerve of me!).
 

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I am definitely going to take the "keeping them separate" advice, but I didn't realize that his reactivity when he is alone with me could be a result of what he has done when he was WITH my boxer.

Thinking about my handling though, the only difference I can think of between when we are out and how I was in the class was that I was constantly talking to him in the class and praising his perfect behavior. When we're walking I usually don't talk to him much unless I am giving a command. I don't know if that would be the difference or not.
Sure it would. Keep him engaged and focused on you. Make sure you are in a good place mentally, be confident and expect the best. He can feel anxiety or nervousness, so visualize him doing what he did in class, and be positive.

Carry his favorite toy, and when you pass something you think he may react to, pull out that toy, talk to him, have his attention on you. Praise after he passes without reacting. Give him the toy to carry for a while.

And do be careful about exposing him to bad behaviors from the Boxer. He doesn't need to be around that at all. Dogs learn more quickly from other dogs than from humans, so expose him only to behaviors you don't mind him copying.
 

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Wow. I never thought that my talking would have that much effect on him or even that my boxer would be teaching him the bad behaviors. She has been trained to walk past other dogs without reacting, it only happens when they come into her space, however I didn't even think she may be giving off more subtle signs that he was picking up on.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Today I took Faelan to the vet for a quick toe nail trim and weigh in and he did beautifully again. I left my boxer at home and talked to him the whole time like I did for training. We were surrounded by a pit, lab and shepherd. The pit and lab's owners both let them get in for sneak sniffs while I had Faelan's focus on me and I was pleasantly surprised at how he reacted, considering I was shocked when I realized their dogs were doing it (I was focusing directly on Faelan's front half haha). Anyways, all went well so hopefully you guys have given me a break through with his problems. We'll continue the classes and see how everything goes
 

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sounds great !!!
 

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In most cases its the owner. You can give off lots of signals the dog picks up on. I remember being at a friends and another friend brought a baby into the house. I asked if his yorkie was ok with kids and he thought about it and the dog read him. The dog became aggressive/scared and it was all because he read the owners uncertainty at the baby, and then assumed the baby was trouble.
 
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