I'm a self-confessed wimpy lil' shy nerdy owner with physical weaknesses, who owns a ruff-n-tuff, powerful Czech 15 month old with a double-wide mastadon-like build and a will of iron, but a heart of melted butter. Strong dog, wimpy handler.
Grimm has issues with other dogs-- my fault-- due to lack of canine socialization. His barking and lunging puts frail me in danger. I'm doing some Feisty Fido excersises with him on my own when I can, (seems to make some difference!
) but I am looking for a trainer to help. Due to my disability,the trainer will either need to board Grimm for a few short weeks and work on this issue in concentrated fashion, or, hopefully if available, go with me and Grimm to a doggy class and do all the work him/herself, and 'be my hands,' as my hands are MUCH too weak to handle Grimm in a class situation.
Here are my concerns:
1) Grimm is an energy-reactive dog.. if you get exceited, he gets moreso.. etc... due to my extremely weak hands, I have been using a prong and a loose lead to walk him safely down the street on walks as there are many dogs here.... but, I know with such a reactive dog, prongs can escalate stress-reactivity, teach the dog to ramp up in charged situations like seeing another dog..
2) Most of the calm trainers willing to use calm energy, who have the necessary access to many calm, NON-aggressive dogs for Grimm to learn around, are from the animal protection societies here. This means: Haltis, clickers, and harnesses. No prongs.
Are methods like using a Halti temporarily to rehabilitate/condition a dog to accept being onlead around other dogs a bad idea with strong-minded workingline dogs who do need limits, borders, corrections?
As for the reason why he barks and lunges onlead when he sees other dogs, I am no longer 100% so sure it is only insecurity of the unfamiliar.... if I verbally correct him STRONGLY, as well as lead correction with prong, he can go by a few dogs and be nearly non-reactive, not barking. He is great offlead with other dogs. If the dog is far away enough, I can even get a 'Watch' command out of him for his treat reward.
I am, by the way, not contributing to the problem by tensing up.. I am too sight-impaired to usually ever see the other dogs until Grimm barks/lunges.
Is a trainer using positive methods like Haltis a waste of time for such a sweet but strong-minded, pushy dog who needs clear, firm limits? Or, are things like Haltis helpful in helping a dog react less, because a prong can exacerbate the tension in the situation? Ideas?