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Discussion Starter #1
I see a lot of posts about dog reactive dogs lately and all the members that have one. My boy is one of them. I think it would be great if we all can share our experience with type of training we do to help the dogs and our progress.
So as for me, my boy is almost 2 years old, and his reactivity got crazy this spring, mostly on leash. So past 2 months we are in behavior modification class. We focus on getting use to other dogs and my stepping up the leadership role. I know this will take time, but sometimes I'm questioning the very slow progress. He is use to dogs (8 GSD)that trainer use for our training but he will still react to dogs on our walks.
Please share your experience!!!
 

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Riley is 8 months old and he is great around dogs he knows. He is VERY reactive to dogs he does not know.

We went to training and he did great. By the end of the class he was playing with the dogs, but he knew them after 8 weeks. We went to a park today that has a dog park area, but also a walking path. At times he resembled cujo. We placed him in a sit stay and worked on leave it. It worked much better if I gave the leave it command as soon as I noticed he may react. After about 45 minutes he was able to sit without reacting as the dogs walked by. There was no way I was going to put him in the off leash area.

It's something we will have to continue to work on. his reactivity amazes me, because he really is a sweet dog around people and dogs he knows.
 

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I have a fearful, reactive dog who just turned one year old. I had him in a 'Confident Canine' class with a trainer who specializes in these type of dogs. It only made him more reactive. Since January, I have had him in a group class with a different trainer. We started out with us being on the other side of a low fence from the other dogs. This gave us a safe place to work. Finally, in April we were able to move to the same side as the other dogs. He is still reactive but has improved. I also worked with a different trainer at the same time in a setting with only one reactive dog. By working with these two trainers, we have come a long way but still have a ways to go. My dog will never be 'normal' and will always have to be managed around other dogs as well as people. He is both dog and people reactive.
 

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Reactive to dog, especially on leash, mainly with dogs she doesn't know. Tried many things, including the treat / focus, etc. What worked best for her is keep going so she can't dwell on it, act like no big deal, and a heel command for her to focus on (or attempt to get her to focus to heel instead of the other dog). Constant exposure to other dogs, her maturing and stepping up of the you-do-what-i-say I believe has helped both of us. She's gotten pretty good, even when off leash around strange dogs so long they don't push her to play. A trainer told me it's because she didn't trust me to protect her or guide her and another trainer said I've to disagree with her behavior. I became more firm after that and it worked though she'll unlikely ever be "normal" but definitely a lot more manageable than I once thought!
 

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Almost one year old male reactive to other dogs, only when he is on a leash...them on a leash is not an issue as long as he's not. I'm still in the process of figuring out the best way to go about it and I mix things up. Sometimes I put him in a sit and have him focus on me, I turn around and in a happy voice get him to follow me, I throw treats away from the other dog so he can get into a hunt mode, and I also make noises to get his attention. Any of these things can work, sometimes more then one of them. We are in a very basic class and we are behind barricades. The problem I see is that about a half hour after doing the same thing, he gets very bored and starts focusing everywhere else. I'm moving and found a new trainer that will allow us in the class across the room, where we can do all of the obedience stuff that others are doing. If he's busy he is fine.
 

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. At times he resembled cujo. We placed him in a sit stay and worked on leave it. It worked much better if I gave the leave it command as soon as I noticed he may react.
Have you ever considered that when you stop the action your dog is doing, the moment he begins to focus on a target (another dog) you are actually teaching him to react? Meaning if you are walking with your dog and he begins to focus on another dog, you stop the action you are doing (walking) and YOU are actually reacting to the dog first?

When you tell your dog to "leave it" when he first begins to target on the other dog, you are actually telling your dog NOT to react and you are continuing with what ever work (or walking) that you were doing before your dog began to target. That could be why your dog does better with the leave it command.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Have you ever considered that when you stop the action your dog is doing, the moment he begins to focus on a target (another dog) you are actually teaching him to react? Meaning if you are walking with your dog and he begins to focus on another dog, you stop the action you are doing (walking) and YOU are actually reacting to the dog first?

When you tell your dog to "leave it" when he first begins to target on the other dog, you are actually telling your dog NOT to react and you are continuing with what ever work (or walking) that you were doing before your dog began to target. That could be why your dog does better with the leave it command.
This is great point!!! And my trainer said same think, do not react differently when other dog is approaching.
 

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Have you ever considered that when you stop the action your dog is doing, the moment he begins to focus on a target (another dog) you are actually teaching him to react? Meaning if you are walking with your dog and he begins to focus on another dog, you stop the action you are doing (walking) and YOU are actually reacting to the dog first?

When you tell your dog to "leave it" when he first begins to target on the other dog, you are actually telling your dog NOT to react and you are continuing with what ever work (or walking) that you were doing before your dog began to target. That could be why your dog does better with the leave it command.
I would agree with that if we were walking. He was in a sit stay, but if I waited for him to react it was difficult to gain his focus again. If I gave the leave it command as soon as I noticed a change in him he was much better to control and eventually did not react. After seeing his reaction a few times I knew what change to look for. :)

We weren't using the walking path. We were sitting in the field. (he was sitting. I was standing.) People were walking around the path with their small dogs. I was using that for a training opportunity.

I was surprised at how nice the people were. It was obvious I was not going to bring him to close to their dogs. When he remained in the sit stay with no reaction one lady as she walked by said . "he did good that time." I'm so happy they were understanding.
 

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The ecollar was recommended to me by my trainer especially because of my dog's nervy-ness and inability to comply under fear/stress. I was hesitant at first to adopt it but now I'm a believer. It reaches her in a way I would otherwise not be able to. It is a great re-direction tool and is much more timely in delivering a message anytime, anywhere, which is so important for my nervy dog as it actually calms her down much faster knowing what is expected of her before she gets into a much higher escalated zone. It has given us freedom that we otherwise would not have with a leash. She gets excited when I put the prong or the ecollar on her - it means fun is coming up. =)
 

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For me and my girl, Stella, the 2 tools I use are the prong and the e collar. I use the prong if we are going on structured walks. The e collar is for when she is on a long line and for recall training.
A tip I got today from her trainer....when she is in heel position and we are walking, stop looking at her! Just walk with purpose and expect her to do the same. Much easier said than done!!! I am so used to trying to watch her and read her, and prepare for Cujo mode.....of course I am feeding into her nonsense. Got a chance to experience that on a walk outside of class. (she does perfectly in class) She jumped around a bit and tried to keep looking at the other dog, but I just kept walking while commanding her to fus and to leave it. Not a very pretty sight but we eventually got on with the walk.
Once this hot weather breaks, we will be back to training outside of the dog park....
 

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Honestly, Delgado's dog reactivity has taught me a lot. It's made me a better trainer and forced me to listen to him and figure out how to work together. It's also taught me a ton about patience, reactivity is not an overnight fix 95% of the time and it can be so frustrating to deal with especially since this is truly his only flaw. In everything else he excels :(

For Delgado and I what has worked has been a mixture of LAT and BAT along with trial and error. Also, being careful to not push boundaries too far. As much as I would love to just walk by another dog and not focus on them and that would solve all our problems, it doesn't work for us. Learning the thresholds and working within them has helped and we've made great improvement with it. I've learned how to control him better even just using my voice and not relying on the prong

What really sets him off is very dominant dogs and very submissive dogs. Neutral dogs he does much better with and we're almost at the point that walking within 5' is possible. Dominant and submissive we're still stuck at a 5' threshold.
 

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I have a four-year old female rescue who is dog aggressive but otherwise perfect. :/ She will attack other dogs like they are prey if let off-leash and used to have problems barking and pulling on our walks.

We have tried many different things with her. I'll give a list and my opinion on their effectiveness:

1. BAT- we used this to curb her fear of dogs barking behind fences. It worked great. But used alone it may not be enough.

2. Look at that!- did not work. If anything it just made her staring worse because even at 40 ft away she didn't care about treats.

3. Bonus game- every time another dog barks, I say " bonus" and treat her. Was difficult to establish but now is working.

4. Snarky/growly dog classes- can be good with an effective trainer. I felt that the dogs went over threshold too often, but it was a lot of fun.

5. Classical counter-conditioning- find the point just outside threshold, and treat. Move closer to stimulus, adding greater frequency of treats. Retreat if dog seems tense or about to lose it. This has actually been the most effective, but set-ups are difficult.

6. Prong collar- corrections don't work well on her unless they are swift and clear. Correcting her for reacting is pointless, but I will correct her very gently for ignoring a sit or leave it command and usually get results. I tried it for loose leash walking but found Silky Leash was 100x more effective for that. The prong is mostly an "emergency brake" in case I screw up and misjudge her arousal level.

7. Distract by playing games like find the treats or run away. Doesn't work too well.

8. Hiding behind trees and buildings- Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do!

The most important thing I have learned is to understand what thresholds are and how to exploit them. Know your dog's behavior patterns like the back of your hand.

We are still having problems, but at least on the good days people tell me what a well-behaved dog she is. :)


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Discussion Starter #14
I read all posts really carefully and seems like ours trainers have same methods and tips for all of us. Also looks like with training our dogs do get better but still do react to some point.
Is there somebody who dog was reactive and after training and hard work got to the point of no reaction??? Looks like this can be managed but not really fixed.
 

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I read all posts really carefully and seems like ours trainers have same methods and tips for all of us. Also looks like with training our dogs do get better but still do react to some point.
Is there somebody who dog was reactive and after training and hard work got to the point of no reaction??? Looks like this can be managed but not really fixed.
I think it really depends on the reason for the reactivity. It's such a vague term and can mean so many different things. For instance, there are a lot of videos and testimonies on the web about fearful dogs that gained confidence and were able to do amazing things through desensitization training. There are also cases where reactivity is caused by a bad environment and is not the dog's fault at all. There are times when the owner's behavior can inadvertently create reactivity. This is all fixable. I'm pretty sure my dog's reactivity is due to lack of socialization combined with a tendency to go over threshold quickly, so I can never really "fix" her. Nothing in the world could replace knowing from puppyhood how to interact safely with other dogs. But we are gradually learning new routines that can replace the reactivity with something more positive, and I really hope this turns out for the best. In the end, the worst case scenario is that our dogs are better trained and better managed than they would have been otherwise- even if this doesn't change their innate psychology.
 

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I read all posts really carefully and seems like ours trainers have same methods and tips for all of us. Also looks like with training our dogs do get better but still do react to some point.
Is there somebody who dog was reactive and after training and hard work got to the point of no reaction??? Looks like this can be managed but not really fixed.
Dogs have bad days just like people. Knowing your dog's triggers and paying attention to the environment should mean very few if any reactions once training has been generalized.

My first reactive foster was so reactive to dogs that he bounced through half a dozen foster homes because the resident dogs wouldn't tolerate him. He stayed with me for four months before adoption and got to the point where he could be a big adoption events and be fine. He was even the friendly test dog for CGC testing at one all day. He is now great in his neighborhood and even makes dog friends.

My Holly has always been fear aggressive (highly reactive) with people and dogs. Was this way when I was asked to foster her at 5 months. She can ignore dogs and people as long as her socialization is kept up and she has regular exposure. If she's isolated too long she's reactive again.

Training is never done. Just like us, if you don't practice skills with the dog they will lose it. The more they get to practice good skills, they more proficient they will be.
 

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Training is never done. Just like us, if you don't practice skills with the dog they will lose it. The more they get to practice good skills, they more proficient they will be.

This^^^^^ Stella gets a lot more reactive if we don't get out and practice practice practice!
 

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I recently hired a private trainer who told me my dog is defensive aggressive. The best thing is timeliness of corrections. Personally I used prong collar. They need to understand basic
Commands while on a heel. She needs to be in a down and not get up until she is released. When she goes off at a dog in the park. I put her on leash and in a down made her mentally turn off. After being released she was calm and no longer going off


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Reactive young dog

I have a 14 mo. old shepherd mix. She is friendly but a bit timid around people. When seeing dogs approach, she lunges, barks and acts ferocious. She has had two courses in group dog training classes and did fine (though she seemed nervous). My problem is that now she is over 60 lbs (I weigh 105) and fear she can drag me over to other dogs even with the prong collar. Once she reacts, I can't get her attention. Part of the problem is our neighbors shepherd tries to bite her through our fence so she especially dislikes other shepherds.
 

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I am not certain, but I think my 6 month old GSD is reactive to other dogs. He just gets way over excited and just wants to get to them. It doesn't strike me as aggressive behavior by any means but it makes him impossible to deal with. He just forgets I even exist. I'm not really sure what to do.

We take him to the park to work on this. We put him in a down stay on the leash while other dogs walk by but he totally loses his mind. We work and work to get him to stay and be quite and it gets a little better after awhile but he is never calm. I'm afraid that it will never get to the point where I can trust him not to go nuts around other dogs.

Any suggestions?? Please help.
 
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