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So, crate him then? That's definitely an option, but they will be highly offended (they are "dog people" who don't really know that much about dog behavior). Also, we go there, with the dogs for the holidays. We can bring the crate and keep him locked up, but it won't set well with the in-laws.
I know. The worlds full of "All dogs love me" folks. Lol. If you don't want the conflict, maybe board him instead of taking him.
 

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Such great advice by very knowledgeable people here on our board. I have learned a lot from hanging around here too.

I would just also add - do not let the breeder try and insinuate you did something wrong. We can always have "done better" in life with dogs, kids etc. Can't say for sure by reading your posts of course, but I don't see any evidence you did anything off the reservation enough socializing wise to have made an impact on what is sounding like genetic nerve issues. Though I am not super knowledgeable in pedigrees I know enough to say that one doesn't look like what I am use to seeing (we will leave it at that) and also that USUALLY the terminology "straight back" means run straight back to the car with your money. Even though ok, maybe a little more correction was in order beyond the word no, I am not pinning this on you :) So don't let someone pass the buck by acting like you ruined the perfectly well bred dog. I am 99.9% sure that is not what is happening here.

You seem open minded, caring, and you are taking heart to good advice. That, being black and white, and consistent all under the guidance of a breed knowledgeable trainer will be your formula for making your dog the best he can be and being able to manage what can only be managed.
 

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Don't wait UNTIL he is 'amped up'. A correction at that moment will aggravate him more. Try this after you studied and worked the prong collar without the presence of distractions. Once you and Titus are comfortable working with the prong collar, go out to places where you can expect LEASHED dogs, also called 'training opportunities'. Keep the distance far enough to make him succeed. As soon as you see that he sees the other dog (ears up, stiff body, closed mouth), you tell him "leave it" (make sure he knows the meaning of it) and turn away and work/play with him once he has calmed down. Be matter of fact, commands only, no sweet talk or grey noise in these situations, or telling people "he is friendly!" ;) . Ignore people because going into a discussion distracts you from the training.
Up the obedience and don't let him get away with anything. I don't believe so much on these secondary fear stages; too easy of an umbrella for adolescent antics. My breeder calls them 'knuckle heads' and rightfully so.
He is not ruined, just needs more training and leadership IMO.
 

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So, crate him then? That's definitely an option, but they will be highly offended (they are "dog people" who don't really know that much about dog behavior). Also, we go there, with the dogs for the holidays. We can bring the crate and keep him locked up, but it won't set well with the in-laws.
You will have to learn to be firm with people especially family. “Dog people” doesn’t mean to me what it does to everyone else. It doesn’t mean they understand dog behavior. They may love dogs, they may have some experience, but they don’t have experience with your dog or your situation.

It’s coincidental, I was just planning to start a thread on types of dog lovers.
 

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Discussion Starter #26
Thank you, everyone for all the information and advice. I'll be doing a couple things differently, and see howit goes. He is pretty comfortable in the crate, unless I try to put him in when he's already amped up. I do 'pop' the flat collar when I say no, but I agree it's probably not enough. When he was younger and got to crazy with the kids I would grab his scruff and very firmly tell him no, and that usually stopped it. That doesn't work as well outside the house, and people don't like to see it. I guess it looks really mean, but I know I'm not hurting him a bit.
 

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Has someone said a correction is mean? Or are you assuming they think that, and does that keep you from correcting your dog? A quick correction that works is less mean than allowing a dog to continue to misbehave.

You said in another post your dog had pano. Did that interfere with socialization? Mine was bedridden a lot due to serious pano, which interrupted all our early training and time with strange people and dogs. Given that, we have had excellent results with him but it made all training more challenging.
 

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My in-laws think I'm really mean to the dogs, there have been serious disagreements because of that. So, yeah, I am more hesitant than I was. I shouldn't be. And yeah, the pano really interfered with early training and socialization. So did his extreme fear of riding in the car. He would throw up on even short rides. We can medicate him and go on rides now.
 

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On top of some really good advice already here, I'd like to stress the importance of absolutely black and white communication with fearful dogs, no matter what type of training you are doing.

I really like low level e-collar stim paired with rewards when working with fearful dogs. NePoPo is the term coined by Bart Bellon. It provides absolutely clear communication and any correction is behavior driven and doesn't come from your hands.

Fearful dogs take comfort in knowing what's going on and what's going to happen next. Obedience training is your friend here. It gives the dog a clear mission. Once you get obedience to commands like heel, leave it, place, down stay, here, kennel... You can control behavior. Once the unwanted behaviors are under control, the dog can see that following you makes life easy and that you are the one to handle the decision making.

I'm not suggesting you try and tackle e-collar training yourself. I would find a trainer that doesn't look at you like a unicorn when you mention NePoPo and have them walk you through a few training sessions. It's not rocket surgery, but there are a few pitfalls you want to avoid. I typically put the collar on the client and use quarters for rewards. I run them through a few exercises to show them timing and then we switch places and I wear the collar. I also help them find a suitable working level for their dog.

Once you have the timing down and a decent working level for the dog that isn't too high or low, you stand a pretty good chance of making quick headway.

A word of warning. Don't just slap an e-collar on the dog and stim them for bad behavior. You will have a train wreck on your hands. It will increase confusion and reactivity.

I'm also not saying that the same results can't be had with a training collar and a leash.
 

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And, it's nice to hear that maybe I didn't ruin him.
You did not ruin him. I hate saying anything derogatory about people's dogs. It seems rude.
Your dog is not well bred and your breeder is not knowledgeable.
If it were me I would assume genetics and work from that angle.
My dog is a genetic nightmare. We do ok. I love her and don't put expectations on her that are unrealistic.
 

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My in-laws think I'm really mean to the dogs, there have been serious disagreements because of that. So, yeah, I am more hesitant than I was. I shouldn't be. And yeah, the pano really interfered with early training and socialization. So did his extreme fear of riding in the car. He would throw up on even short rides. We can medicate him and go on rides now.
Ha, ha, my in-laws were the same. I got the silent looks of disapproval, was not allowed to walk any of their dogs. Funny thing was that I was the only relative with well-behaved dogs but their quarters never fell. Instead, they resorted to neuter and spaying (many of them were vets), which of course didn't change anything beside turning their dogs' coats to mush.
 

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Titus loves his ball, but not on a walk, or even if the neighbor dog is out. We will be having my in-laws toss it to him along with treats when they get here today. I think he'll like that. His prey drive is so high that he's on constant alert outside, I can get him to take treats most of the time. It's there any way to make him want the ball more, so that it's better than squirrels?
You can build value in how he views toys. Limit his access to the toys, don't let him possess them throughout the day, bring them out for games/fetch sessions and put em up when done. Keep sessions short, Don't try to exhaust him through fetch, stop before his interest begins to fade. During the tug/fetch sessions be animated and make it fun as you are trying to add value to yourself as well. As you/your dog progress and his drive builds, you can add structure, impulse control etc...
 

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I really like low level e-collar stim paired with rewards
This is what I did for my Jax who was fear aggressive towards dogs. Counter conditioned with LAT. It worked beautifully. E to shut down the reaction. LAT to counter condition and rewards.
 

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Titus loves his ball, but not on a walk, or even if the neighbor dog is out. We will be having my in-laws toss it to him along with treats when they get here today. I think he'll like that. His prey drive is so high that he's on constant alert outside, I can get him to take treats most of the time. It's there any way to make him want the ball more, so that it's better than squirrels?

This is how I read this post.

"Titus loves his ball but can easily be distracted from interacting with me. When he goes outside, his suspicion and reactivity possibly based in fear cause him to be on alert constantly. I don't have good focus and obedience on him so he will leave me to chase squirrels."

I'm not mocking you. I'm putting your words into dog context. I think you are misreading your dog and your relationship with him. The answer is Yes, there is a way to want the ball more than squirrels and other dogs. But it's not about the ball. It's about the interaction with you. The ball is just an extension of you. Some dogs have higher ball drive. Some less. He might have less and you need to find whatever he loves that will make him WANT to interact with you.

If you learn how to create the relationship so that his focus is more on you, and playing your game, then the obedience will come easier and the control to overcome the reactivity will come. If he's pushing into you to play, then he's not barking at other dogs. If you say Leave It and he understand the command and understand that doing the right thing gets him good things, he's not barking at other dogs.

You have to balance that Want To and Have To.
 

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I really like low level e-collar stim paired with rewards
This is what I did for my Jax who was fear aggressive towards dogs. Counter conditioned with LAT. It worked beautifully. E to shut down the reaction. LAT to counter condition and rewards.
I use this method for reactivity, but I'm sure to collar condition first using recall and known commands. I want the dog to understand the game before I start piling on new rules.
 

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We are all responsible for our dogs actions but you are not responsible for the reasons why your dog is having these actions. Timing is the most important you want to correct before the dog is hyper focused on something. My dog does not like dogs. - leave it command was always practiced at home naturally and was a word he knew well. It works well before any kind of reaction occurs and if ignoring the leave it command and the dog is still in a focused stiff state a correction is used with a prong collar or ecollar that is shown how to use by a trainer.

You mentioned your dog does not feel comfortable around all your relatives. Just put him away. If you have a busy home and he feels uncomfortable with anyone visiting the home then could be challenging make sure everyone in the house knows the rules.
 

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No, you did not ruin your dog.

There are dogs that have been raised in puppy mills and never been socialized or been exposed to anything but life in a cage. Some of them can come out of a situation like that and make very fine pets with very little socialization/training. Others that are genetically weak-nerved will never recover.

I got a puppy at 8 weeks. The breeder was a friend, and I watched the puppy being born, and rubbed her dry. During her first 8 weeks, she was exposed to other dogs and cats and a young teenager. She passed her puppy evaluation with flying colours.

As she matured, there was a big change, and by 8 or 9 months, she was frightened of everything: strange dogs, cats, strangers, children and men. She had never had any bad experiences with anyone or anything. It was just poor genetics coming to the surface. I did tons of socialization with her, obedience classes, etc. and she made very little progress.

At 2 years, she was still not able to pass a basic temperament test. I rehomed her to a single woman who had no kids and a very quiet home with one other dog.

Sometimes you just get bad luck with the way the genetic dice roll. The mother and father of this pup both had good temperaments, and so did some of the other pups in the litter.
 

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I use this method for reactivity, but I'm sure to collar condition first using recall and known commands. I want the dog to understand the game before I start piling on new rules.

I taught everything before. LAT was taught in my livingroom. Leave It was taught by putting food on the ground and rewarding from my hand. The ecollar was taught by a trainer at a session using commands she knew.

It's so important for the dog to understand all components you will be using before being put in the setting that will entice the reactivity. Also important to not just throw the dog into the setting. But to start from a distance and move forward as they understand what is required of them.
 

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Just want to share our story with you……..looooong story short, I had to retire my now 5.5-year-old Malinois from ringsport due to severe epilepsy in early 2018. Hubby and I got a Malinois puppy from a very reputable breeder (mentioned here multiple times) in December 2018 for IGP. I wanted a puppy that was similar to my other Malinois, happy, bubbly, sociable, and loves to train. Imagine our surprise when we got a puppy that was scared of people, reserved, and didn’t want to interact with us.

We got our puppy at 7.5 weeks of age. She is now 11 months old. Looking back, it seemed like in her mind, if she hadn’t met you by the time she was 8 weeks old, then she didn’t want to have anything to do with you.

We took her to our IGP club when she was 9 weeks old, just for socialization. She did not want to have anything to do with anyone, didn’t want to be petted by anyone, barked at anyone who looked at her/tried to give her treats/approached her. When we took her in for puppy vaccinations at our vet, she snarled/snapped at our vet for trying to touch her (our vet has a “fear-free” practice so the staff was very patient and gentle with her). Our vet literally wrote “could not examine” on her records during all 3 of her puppy vaccination visits.

We communicated with her breeder multiple times (he lives several states away). He gave us suggestions along the way, they helped to a certain extent but she was still very fearful of people. When she was 4.5 months old, we met her breeder at a trial (he was competing). He spent 30-45 minutes evaluating her. We didn’t want to take up too much of his time during trial time. We told him we would contact him in a week, and he could let us know what he thought then.

By that time, everyone around me was telling me to return her. I messaged breeder and he did not give me a hard time. Told me he could give me a refund or an exchange. We even set up a date to drive her back. At the end though, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. So she stayed.

We kept in touch with breeder and he was very adamant about me building a play-based (not treat-based) working relationship with her. I took his advice and watched Ivan Balabanov’s possession game video. When she finished teething at 5.5 months of age, I started doing possession games with her. It made a huge difference and really brought her out of her shells! She used to be a very “serious” puppy, rarely smiled. Within a few weeks of playing possession games, her personality changed. She was happier, became more forward/playful with us, and her confidence grew. She started to regularly initiate play with me, something she had never done before.

Other than the possession game, here are a couple of other things I did…..

To get her used to being around people, I take her to outdoor malls. I play tug with her in the parking lot until she is relaxed, then walk her through the shopping center while she is still panting happily. She gets to carry her toy in her mouth, if we have to walk by people at close proximity, I tug on the toy to re-direct/reward her. I walk her on a prong and she understands leash pressure. I did that several times a week (until it got too hot, we will re-start these walks now that it is starting to cool off) and they really helped to teach her to ignore people.

We muzzle-trained her. It came in handy when we had to take her to a vet ophthalmologist (she had a corneal foreign body) several weeks ago. We muzzled her during examination and she actually did very well, took treats through her muzzle and showed minimal stress.

She is still work-in-progress, but has certainly come a long way. Here is a video of her from a few days ago, when she accompanied us to our older dog’s neurology appointment. It was at a large teaching hospital. The first time she was there back in April, her ears were pinned/tail was tucked/refused treats/toys and low growled at anyone who looked at her. Fast forward 6 months, she is now learning to relax in public.

Sorry for the long post but I just want to tell you not to give up. I know it is hard but I hope you find a good trainer that can help you bring out the best in him!

 
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