German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
445 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Stupid question? I know, right? So I did everything right when he was a puppy, socialized him around other dogs but he still just has dog aggression. I can be playing at the park with him and he sees another dog 50 yards away and *BARK BARK BARK* Walking him and along comes another dog "BARK BARK BARK" Correcting him doesn't work, even with a choke chain in the proper place. Here's another thing, he'll get up to the dog and be completely okay with it. He'll play to no avail with it. It's just when he sees the dogs he barks like a crazy dog and his hackles go up and he even puts in a little growls occasionally. Every time I go in Petsmart with him the same dog trainer lady comes up to me and is like "You've got an unsocial dog don't ya." It kind of makes me mad because she just says something and doesn't offer advice or anything. I guess what I'm asking is why does he bark like he wants to do something but then is okay with other dogs when approached by one?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,388 Posts
Sounds like your dog is leash reactive, not aggressive. A dog aggressive dog won't enjoy playing with other dogs like your dog does.

I'd ignore what most petsmart trainers have to offer. Their certification is only two weeks of training and that's it if they haven't been trained somewhere else. Some of them don't even get any training if the store doesn't have enough trainers. When I worked at petsmart, there were 2 certified trainers, and 3 trainers that had no experience or training. Of course, they never told the customers that they had no training. I remember there was a petsmart cashier switching into dog training who already had clients and was teaching classes while she was still a cashier. Her experience?: She had just got her first beagle puppy a month before deciding to be a trainer.

My petsmart trainer thought my puppy was aggressive(he was 4 months old) because he was leash reactive and she didn't know what leash reactivity was. When he finally got close enough to a dog to start playing with it, she thought he was attacking the dog even though they were both having a great time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
224 Posts
Stupid question? I know, right? So I did everything right when he was a puppy, socialized him around other dogs but he still just has dog aggression. I can be playing at the park with him and he sees another dog 50 yards away and *BARK BARK BARK* Walking him and along comes another dog "BARK BARK BARK" Correcting him doesn't work, even with a choke chain in the proper place. Here's another thing, he'll get up to the dog and be completely okay with it. He'll play to no avail with it. It's just when he sees the dogs he barks like a crazy dog and his hackles go up and he even puts in a little growls occasionally. Every time I go in Petsmart with him the same dog trainer lady comes up to me and is like "You've got an unsocial dog don't ya." It kind of makes me mad because she just says something and doesn't offer advice or anything. I guess what I'm asking is why does he bark like he wants to do something but then is okay with other dogs when approached by one?
Part of it can be contributed to a lack of some aspects of socialization. So the PM trainer may not be far off the mark.

See: Canine University: News -- Canine Behavior - So Your Dog Is Reactive!

He doesn't appear aggressive to me by what you've said. He wants to play with other dogs, not to fight and destroy them. However, He needs to learn how to greet others properly, and that takes understanding what triggers his outbursts, lots of positive training and ..... socialization work.

What I mean is, say you're out walking and he sees another dog and starts barking and lunging. Move away from the other dog until he stops barking. When he does and sitting calmly, mark and reward. Move forward again, if he remains calm, mark and reward. If he reverts, move away.

It takes some time. I worked and worked with Sadie until she finally got it. That being quiet and calm got her closer to her goal, and barking and lunging didn't. Ultimately, it led to calm walks and play times and less stress for me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,988 Posts
I personally haven't seen this video, but know a few people who have attended this seminar and got a lot out of it. There is a sale this weekend, 50% off, so use the code BF50 in the coupon/discount box. I bought a few other videos so couldn't justify this one.
Kim Moeller Dog Training video and book

Here's a clip-note the GSD as demo dog.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
135 Posts
A couple of the replies above seem well thought out and sounds like good advice. All of my last four GSD's have exhibited the behavior you describe. To be honest, I kinda think it is natural behavior for a GSD until they learn otherwise.

John
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
224 Posts
See how she moves the dog away from the source, even then, it don't work all the time. You must redirect, wait for calm behavior, mark and reward. OB class, video, no matter what, you have to put in the time in the zone where the trigger occurs. Eventually, they catch on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,834 Posts
A couple of the replies above seem well thought out and sounds like good advice. All of my last four GSD's have exhibited the behavior you describe. To be honest, I kinda think it is natural behavior for a GSD until they learn otherwise.

John
I agree. Deuce is 5 months and does the same thing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
445 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Thanks Bocron for that video, that's EXACTLY how Riley acts except worse. He pulls which makes everything worse. Thank you everyone for your advice!! I have never heard of leash reactivity. I am definitely going to start working on it ASAP
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
224 Posts
Thanks Bocron for that video, that's EXACTLY how Riley acts except worse. He pulls which makes everything worse. Thank you everyone for your advice!! I have never heard of leash reactivity. I am definitely going to start working on it ASAP
Something that really helps is off-leash time. I found a couple places where I can go to let Kelly run without any other dogs or people. Usually, I go in the early morning. I throw the frisbee or ball for her until she runs low on steam.

Then we go work the store, usually Petsmart, just taking in the scenery, all the weirdos, kids, maniacal dogs and nosey do-gooders. I think the exercise beforehand really helps us bond, and form that essential trust. She's learning I will protect her from anyone or anything.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,571 Posts
What I mean is, say you're out walking and he sees another dog and starts barking and lunging. Move away from the other dog until he stops barking. When he does and sitting calmly, mark and reward. Move forward again, if he remains calm, mark and reward. If he reverts, move away.
Sorry. This is bad advice. You don't ever want to get your dog above threshold (the point at which the barking explosion begins). That means YOU have to be on the ball. You can't simply toodle along and wait for your dog to react. You'll need to go places like parks and ACTIVELY train your dog, setting him up yards and yards away from other dogs.

You want to keep him BELOW threshold at all times. Go FAR away from other dogs. Approach slowly. Inches at a time. I don't even care if he can sit (sitting puts the dog in a submissive position. A dog that is reactive is usually fearful, so I don't want to force him into a submissive position at first). Can he look at the other dogs? Can he easily be redirected back to me and the toys, treats or games I have for him? Good. Do that, then move forward a bit.

If he barks/lunges/explodes, I've gone too fast. I've made a big error. I DON'T want to put my dog in that position.

Why not? First, it's stressful for him. Leash reactive dogs almost always react that way because they are afraid, and they don't have "flight" as an option (and have been bred and trained that "fight" is not a good option either). Second, as dogs grow, their brains are growing too. The pathways in their brains are being created. The more our dogs rehearse behaviors, the more likely these behaviors become default behaviors. Neural pathways can be created with reactive behaviors just as easily as they can for behaviors that we work really hard to train into the dog.

So we don't put our dogs into places where they will explode -- ever, if we can help it. It's bad for them. It's terrible for our training.

And finally, that Canine Universtiy link is interesting and has some use. But socialization isn't the end-all, be-all. Every dog owner needs to read this entire article:

Temperament is a function of genetics. It is inherited, not developed. A dog's core temperament never changes. Some behaviors can be modified through training, but the temperament itself never changes. For example, a high energy dervish of a dog isn't going to learn to be a laid back, low energy dog. But, the dog can be taught to control his energy, to an extent.

Most dog owners absolutely refuse to believe this. If I only had a dollar for every time someone has told me "It's all in how they're raised!" ... No, it's not. It's all in how their DNA came together. A dog with foul temperament will always be a dog with foul temperament, no matter how wonderful the environment. A dog with sound, stable temperament will always be a sound stable dog, even in a lousy environment.

Good early handling, training and socialization will help develop desirable traits in the dog, but those traits have to be there.
(Elements of Temperament, by Joy Tiz )

Yes, consulting with a trainer is a good idea. After all, we can't fix genetics at this point. We can train and socialize. But we have to socialize PROPERLY and with great care.

Reactive dogs often don't recover quickly (and may lose elasticity over time if their reactivity isn't worked with appropriately). So every time that we stick them into a bad situation, we make the situation worse. A reactive dog that is pulled OUT of a scary situation learns "hey, my barking worked. I'll do that again!" (or worse, "I'll bark bigger. I'll lunge harder. I'll try growling or snapping next time.")

We need to know what we're doing with reactive dogs. As John points out, many GSD adolescents do this. Many "outgrow" it. But they do so with PROPER training: their owners made good decisions. Some may have weak temperament. If that's the case, then a good trainer will teach you how to actively manage that.

Consult with a trainer experienced with reactive dogs, so that you'll be one of those people who comes out the other side with a reasonable calm adult. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,662 Posts
Hi Heagler870, my 7 month old female is doing the same thing.

I've only had her just over one month and one of the reasons I have her is because her previous owner admitted, he just did not have time to work with her.

So I've been taking her as many places as possible and keeping her experiences as positive as possible.

Just yesterday we met up with three neighbor dogs, one of them a tense snarling little daschie mix. I was so proud of her, she raised her heckles a bit but did not bark and they ended up greeting each other very nicely. We also bumped into a border collie mix that she has seen once before and they played without the previous BARK BARK BARKing first. She was on the leash when she first sighted these dogs so I was pleased with her lack of reaction!

I've read all the good advice in this thread (especially about being mindful of threshholds) and I must doing o.k. because the more I take her out the better she gets. One thing that I think has really helped is taking her to the dog park but keeping her outside of the fenced area. She watches the other dogs run and play, come and go and I noticed improvement after only a few visits.

No matter how tired I am I get myself up and we go somewhere 5-6 times a week. If we don't go somewhere in the car we go for a walk and visit with neighbors.

Also agree with the advice about excercise before going out to meet/greet other dogs. I found it takes the 'edge' off and helps her settle.

Thanks for sharing you story and good luck with your boy! He's very handsome fellow btw. :)


Stupid question? I know, right? So I did everything right when he was a puppy, socialized him around other dogs but he still just has dog aggression. I can be playing at the park with him and he sees another dog 50 yards away and *BARK BARK BARK* Walking him and along comes another dog "BARK BARK BARK" Correcting him doesn't work, even with a choke chain in the proper place. Here's another thing, he'll get up to the dog and be completely okay with it. He'll play to no avail with it. It's just when he sees the dogs he barks like a crazy dog and his hackles go up and he even puts in a little growls occasionally. Every time I go in Petsmart with him the same dog trainer lady comes up to me and is like "You've got an unsocial dog don't ya." It kind of makes me mad because she just says something and doesn't offer advice or anything. I guess what I'm asking is why does he bark like he wants to do something but then is okay with other dogs when approached by one?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
224 Posts
Sorry. This is bad advice. You don't ever want to get your dog above threshold (the point at which the barking explosion begins). That means YOU have to be on the ball. You can't simply toodle along and wait for your dog to react. You'll need to go places like parks and ACTIVELY train your dog, setting him up yards and yards away from other dogs.

You want to keep him BELOW threshold at all times. Go FAR away from other dogs. Approach slowly. Inches at a time. I don't even care if he can sit (sitting puts the dog in a submissive position. A dog that is reactive is usually fearful, so I don't want to force him into a submissive position at first). Can he look at the other dogs? Can he easily be redirected back to me and the toys, treats or games I have for him? Good. Do that, then move forward a bit.

If he barks/lunges/explodes, I've gone too fast. I've made a big error. I DON'T want to put my dog in that position.

Why not? First, it's stressful for him. Leash reactive dogs almost always react that way because they are afraid, and they don't have "flight" as an option (and have been bred and trained that "fight" is not a good option either). Second, as dogs grow, their brains are growing too. The pathways in their brains are being created. The more our dogs rehearse behaviors, the more likely these behaviors become default behaviors. Neural pathways can be created with reactive behaviors just as easily as they can for behaviors that we work really hard to train into the dog.

So we don't put our dogs into places where they will explode -- ever, if we can help it. It's bad for them. It's terrible for our training.

And finally, that Canine Universtiy link is interesting and has some use. But socialization isn't the end-all, be-all. Every dog owner needs to read this entire article:


(Elements of Temperament, by Joy Tiz )

Yes, consulting with a trainer is a good idea. After all, we can't fix genetics at this point. We can train and socialize. But we have to socialize PROPERLY and with great care.

Reactive dogs often don't recover quickly (and may lose elasticity over time if their reactivity isn't worked with appropriately). So every time that we stick them into a bad situation, we make the situation worse. A reactive dog that is pulled OUT of a scary situation learns "hey, my barking worked. I'll do that again!" (or worse, "I'll bark bigger. I'll lunge harder. I'll try growling or snapping next time.")

We need to know what we're doing with reactive dogs. As John points out, many GSD adolescents do this. Many "outgrow" it. But they do so with PROPER training: their owners made good decisions. Some may have weak temperament. If that's the case, then a good trainer will teach you how to actively manage that.

Consult with a trainer experienced with reactive dogs, so that you'll be one of those people who comes out the other side with a reasonable calm adult. :)
Well.... The trainer in the video failed on the second dog. :)

From what I saw, There wasn't enough room to back away from his threshold but obviously as a trainer she believes she can *fix* it and says so. :eek:

To be honest, there is no way you can avoid infringing on the threshold during training from time to time. There will be success and failure, but key is persistence and yes having a good trainer helps. I know I did, and she helped me tremendously.

Lastly, when I posted the link, it was to provide a bit of reading for the OP because another had posted on reactivity. My apologies, I didn't think I would have to do a summary/response on the article. I guess I give people enough credit to read and extract for themselves what is pertinent for their situation. ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,662 Posts
Hi Kelly's Buddy,

I do not have a lot of formal experience training dogs but over 30 years with horses....and I'll hop in with just a couple of observations which I think apply/support your post above.

Horses are reactive but they don't tend to resort to aggression, they are prey and hard-wired for flight and will bolt when they are faced with a situation they aren't comfortable with (hang on to lead rope, dig in heels, hop, dig in heels, hop.....)

Sometimes, though, I see similiarities in how to handle behaviours which in human world aren't considered good. A couple of similarities is:

1) you can't always control your environment (think dufus rich dude landing helicoptor to watch his wife ride in a dressage show, while the show was going on for example...horses and helicopters not a good mix....but back on track here). The little daschie mix I mentioned was off leash and we walked around a corner...whoops there he was!

2) the best trainers usually have excellent timing and ability to read the dog (or horse) and anticipate reactions. I was pretty good at reading horses but dogs I am learning still so I'm sure there are going missed opportunities but I'm trying my best to help my little girl grow into a confident well adjusted dog.

I've learned a lot from all the posts on this thread and hope the OP will update on his progress as I'm going through the same process with my Ilda. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
224 Posts
Hi Kelly's Buddy,

I do not have a lot of formal experience training dogs but over 30 years with horses....and I'll hop in with just a couple of observations which I think apply/support your post above.

Horses are reactive but they don't tend to resort to aggression, they are prey and hard-wired for flight and will bolt when they are faced with a situation they aren't comfortable with (hang on to lead rope, dig in heels, hop, dig in heels, hop.....)

Sometimes, though, I see similiarities in how to handle behaviours which in human world aren't considered good. A couple of similarities is:

1) you can't always control your environment (think dufus rich dude landing helicoptor to watch his wife ride in a dressage show, while the show was going on for example...horses and helicopters not a good mix....but back on track here). The little daschie mix I mentioned was off leash and we walked around a corner...whoops there he was!

2) the best trainers usually have excellent timing and ability to read the dog (or horse) and anticipate reactions. I was pretty good at reading horses but dogs I am learning still so I'm sure there are going missed opportunities but I'm trying my best to help my little girl grow into a confident well adjusted dog.

I've learned a lot from all the posts on this thread and hope the OP will update on his progress as I'm going through the same process with my Ilda. :)
You don't know how much it means read this message this morning. Thank you. I think you and I represent real people who are trying to do the right thing, and are realist. Success is born from failure, keep trying.

Guess what, we're going to keep learning and as the relationship with your dog grows, more trust will develop and the circle grows.

Best wishes with your pooch.
;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,662 Posts
You're welcome. :)

Another horse dog comparison while I'm thinking about it:

Leading a horse, squirrel jumps onto the path horse thinks "EEEK it's a horse eating squirrel RUN!!" drags owner AWAY from squirrel.

Walking a dog, squirrel (foolishly) jumps onto path dog thinks "YEAH a live furry squeaky toy/prey CATCH IT" drags owner AFTER squirrel.

That's life full of surprises! :D

You don't know how much it means read this message this morning. Thank you. I think you and I represent real people who are trying to do the right thing, and are realist. Success is born from failure, keep trying.

Guess what, we're going to keep learning and as the relationship with your dog grows, more trust will develop and the circle grows.

Best wishes with your pooch.
;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
224 Posts
You're welcome. :)

Another horse dog comparison while I'm thinking about it:

Leading a horse, squirrel jumps onto the path horse thinks "EEEK it's a horse eating squirrel RUN!!" drags owner AWAY from squirrel.

Walking a dog, squirrel (foolishly) jumps onto path dog thinks "YEAH a live furry squeaky toy/prey CATCH IT" drags owner AFTER squirrel.

That's life full of surprises! :D
That's funny! But true!
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top