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A few months ago we were taking a class to learn the basics of rally just to have another activity to do. While Obi and I were doing our course, 2 different dogs charged at Obi, teeth bared full speed at him because when asked to keep their dogs out of the room while a dog was doing their course the owners decided that they knew better than the trainer and reentered the room to sit in separate corners while waiting for their next two turns. Thankfully 1 only got to the end of their leash and the other once putting their owner off balance was able to controlled again with the help of the trainer. But it still took Obi's jumping back away from them.

Since then Obi hasn't been the same with other dogs. He used to love interacting and playing with them and yes he would bark and get excited at the sight of other dogs but, he was never aggressive and he was really really calming down with his excitement. Now Obi is reactive at any dogs he sees unless they are a Yorkie size (we have one). I hired a private trainer who is also a behaviorist (I can attach her word for word advice) and her advice was to treat Obi for not reacting, throw treats on the floor and have him "find it" when he needs a distraction, keep distance to where he is most comfortable, etc.

Right after this he starting lunging at cars when they pass by, could be coincidence, could be butterfly effect, could be prey drive, all the above, etc. The trainers advice was basically the same, distractions.

I've been doing all these things every walk for months now and there is no progress and I am trying so hard not to get frustrated with this situation.

I constantly think I wish I hadn't taken that class. Even if the car problem was still there, maybe the reactivity to dogs wouldn't be. Who knows.

I just miss feeling comfortable bringing Obi anywhere without worry of him acting out. Just a couple months before the event we passed our CGC and CGCA and were well on our way to the CGCU, he was doing so well.

He just turned one when this happened, he is now 1 year 4 months, and I know some of these changes can just be from growing up and not wanting the interactions anymore. But I want him to act civilized. Even if he doesn't want to be around other dogs, I'm trying very hard to teach him that we still need to walk by them with some sense (same with cars).

A lot of this was just needing to vent. I'm feeling frustrated and I know that it takes work to get through these things and I'm more than willing to do that. It's just so irritating feeling like we were PUT into this situation because of two pet owners being irresponsible.
 

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Been there. It sucks. My dog loved other dogs with no fear until another dog in his class went after him. He’s never been the same.

I tried correcting with a prong. Working with treats and rewarding for non reactions. I worked with him outside of dog parks. I took him to 2 trainers.

What worked for me was a dominant dog collar. It allowed me to walk him with confidence around other dogs knowing I could control him. It also reduced his “flying into a rage” when a dog got too close.
 

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Time to try a new approach.With some dogs the distracting with treats creates more excitement and rewards the mindset that they are in.If it were me I would correct with a leash pop and then immediately give him something to do that he would be rewarded for.Look at me,Heel,Sit,etc.Create a new default behavior.
 
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There are a whole myriad of techniques or plans you could try. The one that fits both you and the dog is the one that will work.

There is BAT/LAT, Lou Castle's crittering protocol, strict OB with corrections for non compliance, flooding the dog at someone's house that had several well behaved large dogs (CM method)...

Lots of options that approach the situation from different angles. If you look through these options and have questions, just let us know and someone here can help you.
 

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First I would work under threshold. So that may mean going out late at night when the traffic volume is very little - then do focus when the "stray" car approaches & move away from the road a bit (edge of sidewalk, down the cross street a few feet, into someone's driveway) ask for a sit and attention and reward that. That worked for us.



Similar for dogs.


Make it safe.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you everyone. I'm definitely going to have to try out some new techniques for us. I'll continue communicating and such with the trainer for now, but you all are definitely right, it's time to try new methods.

With the suggestions of @David Winners I have some reading to do.
@dogma13 are you meaning pop with leash if he does the behavior? then doing an action that deserves a reward?
@IllinoisNative I really wish the people could be held accountable. It's upsetting seeing your dog change like that. I looked up the collar on Leerburg, I'll make sure to keep it in mind, thank you.

Tomorrow is a new day.
 

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When I focused more on training (rough version of "Heel" command + "look at me"), we made a lot better progress than with using treats alone (I found that my dog is not food-oriented at all when out in the big wide world). Being told to do something when passing another dog, was somehow calming for him? Hmmm, maybe it's like being about to go down a roller coaster or on a parachute jump, and somebody shouts, "Hold on here! And keep your left hand on this. And don't forget to do this!" Somehow that focuses your mind and keeps you from freaking out.

The lunging at cars...that is a scary habit!!
I use my "Stay Close" command for passing cars in streets that lack sidewalks. I have been doing it for so long now that he automatically moves into position by my leg when we hear a car coming. It began with the "Stay Close" in the house, then on boring quiet parts of walks, and turned into the currently useful "Stay Close" with passing dogs, runners, cars. Obi seems to be a smart easy guy to train...if you focus on Training and not just treats, I think he will learn fast...
 

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That's what I meant - a quick tug on the leash to get his attention,then a command/task to keep his focus on you.I had a dog that would whip his head around and focus on me when I carried a small squeaky toy in my pocket. "SQUEAK!" he'd look at me,I'd tell him to do something(rather than think about chasing that squirrel).Then praise,treat,or game of tug.Whatever gets your dog's attention.My guy Samson stops what he's doing and looks at me when I say Hmm! in an abrupt tone.
 
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There's a great behaviorist- Patricia B. McConnell, PhD. whose booklet "Feisty Fido- Help for the Leash Reactive Dog"
available on Amazon for $8.00 free shipping.

Her method of de-sensitizing and keeping them under threshold takes about 6 mo. but reviews say it works.
 

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A few months ago we were taking a class to learn the basics of rally just to have another activity to do. While Obi and I were doing our course, 2 different dogs charged at Obi, teeth bared full speed at him because when asked to keep their dogs out of the room while a dog was doing their course the owners decided that they knew better than the trainer and reentered the room to sit in separate corners while waiting for their next two turns. Thankfully 1 only got to the end of their leash and the other once putting their owner off balance was able to controlled again with the help of the trainer. But it still took Obi's jumping back away from them.

Since then Obi hasn't been the same with other dogs. He used to love interacting and playing with them and yes he would bark and get excited at the sight of other dogs but, he was never aggressive and he was really really calming down with his excitement. Now Obi is reactive at any dogs he sees unless they are a Yorkie size (we have one). I hired a private trainer who is also a behaviorist (I can attach her word for word advice) and her advice was to treat Obi for not reacting, throw treats on the floor and have him "find it" when he needs a distraction, keep distance to where he is most comfortable, etc.

Right after this he starting lunging at cars when they pass by, could be coincidence, could be butterfly effect, could be prey drive, all the above, etc. The trainers advice was basically the same, distractions.

I've been doing all these things every walk for months now and there is no progress and I am trying so hard not to get frustrated with this situation.

I constantly think I wish I hadn't taken that class. Even if the car problem was still there, maybe the reactivity to dogs wouldn't be. Who knows.

I just miss feeling comfortable bringing Obi anywhere without worry of him acting out. Just a couple months before the event we passed our CGC and CGCA and were well on our way to the CGCU, he was doing so well.

He just turned one when this happened, he is now 1 year 4 months, and I know some of these changes can just be from growing up and not wanting the interactions anymore. But I want him to act civilized. Even if he doesn't want to be around other dogs, I'm trying very hard to teach him that we still need to walk by them with some sense (same with cars).

A lot of this was just needing to vent. I'm feeling frustrated and I know that it takes work to get through these things and I'm more than willing to do that. It's just so irritating feeling like we were PUT into this situation because of two pet owners being irresponsible.
Maybe a little different way to look at this, or at least how I would. Like you said he's maturing, his perception of things and his awareness is going to change. Drives are kicking in now. They will even more around 2, and even more around maybe 4 or so. You get a dog that has some strong drives, classes, rally, things like that can be very restrictive for a dog that would do better being able to use those drives, or just to keep it simple and generalize, I'll just say drive. I look at it as not to different from holding him back from things all the time. You build frustration over time and then when something like this happens, you kinda open it all up. I think the dogs that are meant for rally, are the ones you don't have to remove other dogs from the room for.

I think throwing treats to distract him from something is backwards. The car is the distraction, not you. Basic obedience. Correct behavior is rewarded, wrong behavior is corrected. The correction can be as simple as a verbal no if that works, and the reward can be a good boy if praise works. Its making a clear distinction.

I like using distance and playing to make things nothing but background, then losing the distance gradually to keep things as background and not important. I don't demand look at me or anything like that, because I think in a way thats similar to opposition reflex, it actually makes something I want indifference to more important. I don't try to fight against their natural awareness of things. Most important about all of it for me though, I find it a lot more fun. I know parts of this are similar to what you're saying, but I think there's some subtle differences that would make a big difference for you.
 

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My dog club only allows mild, complacent dogs into their rally classes. So we never did Rally with any of our dogs, although I wanted to. I would be furious, too, but you can’t undo it. All you can do is work on improving his behavior now. Mine was in a puppy class where dogs were all attached by leash to a fence. I realized right away it was not going to work. Mine was frustrated and barking. They refused to give refunds, so I stuck it out which was a huge mistake, and finally quite anyway. Find something else for him to do and work on dogs at a distance. Mine has been charged right in our own neighborhood. The owners aren’t bad people and their dogs aren’t bad dogs, they are just untrained and uncontrolled.
 

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Don't dwell on the incidents, it's done. This kind of stuff happens and if your pup was solid prior to this (with work) he'll be fine. If your pup has drive for toys then try building on that and using it for reward. Toy rewards can have far more value than food for some dogs and can make working through distractions a little easier.

Making training fun as Steve mentioned is important, It must have been one of his posts I read when going through my struggles. I looked for ways to make training, walks, etc.. as fun as possible, lots of random tug sessions or fetch mixed in. It takes work, but you can get to a point where lunging/barking dogs are background noise. Unfortunately it may happen again, especially if you stay involved in dog sports, classes, or do neighborhood walks.
 

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There is BAT/LAT......
I've never tried BAT, which is Behavior Adjustment Training, a program developed by Grisha Stewart, but it seems to be effective. It's not something you can work on on your own though, you'd need an instructor who understands the program and helper people/dogs to work with. Here's some information about BAT: https://grishastewart.com/bat-overview/

LAT is the Look At That! game by agility instructor and competitor Leslie McDevitt from her Control Unleashed program. This I have used, and I really like it. I read her book Control Unleashed - Creating a Focused and Confident Dog shortly after it came out, now there are other books in the CU series that I have not read - the Puppy Program, and Reactive to Relaxed.

Rather than trying to keep your dog completely focused on you in the presence of a trigger (which can be very difficult and often unrealistic, and does not necessarily reduce anxiety), LAT gives your dog permission to check it out by putting it on cue, and then the dog redirects attention back to you. If you do the foundation work properly first by teaching your dog to look at a benign object in a non-distracting environment such as around the house or in your backyard, it becomes a familiar game that he plays with you when in the presence of other dogs. Staring is a huge trigger for many dogs, but a series of brief glances breaks up prolonged staring that can escalate into a reaction.

Working under threshold is important, so you'd play the game when there's a dog far enough in the distance that he notices it but is not yet reacting. Once he's over threshold he's no longer thinking and is not capable of learning so it's best to just get out of there. He would also need to understand marker training, so he immediately looks to you when he hears his marker word (or a click, if you use a clicker to train). This is also something you want to have down before attempting to use it outdoors in a distracting environment and where you may encounter a trigger.

Basically, you'd cue him to look at the dog, mark it when he does, and then he has to turn back to you for the reward. You'll want high value treats - string cheese, meatballs, peanut butter or cream cheese in a squeeze tube that he can lick, and you may need to lure his head around towards you at first. If he's not interested in food, he's probably already over threshold. The presence of the trigger predicts a familiar game that involves engaging with you. He still knows there's a dog over there, but he will not be forced to interact with it, and being able to check it out and see that it's still at a safe distance rather than being forced to try and ignore it (don't look at the spider, don't look at the spider, DON'T LOOK AT THE SPIDER!!!), can help the dog relax and gain confidence in the presence of triggers. He knows what to expect. Eventually, the goal is that your dog no longer cares about checking out the other dog, and when you cue him to look at the dog he continues looking at you. Yay, jackpot!

I made a video of Halo doing LAT on a hike at our local regional park many years ago. It's kinda crappy since it's very difficult to hold the camera and a leash and deliver treats all at the same time, lol. I have her in a sit sideways on the path, so the dog is passing behind her.

 

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Sorry you're dealing with this. I was in a class with another GSD owner whose dog would lunge and snarl and back at my Jupiter. She said it had started when, in another obedience class, an aggressive GSD lunged at _her_ dog. Then _he_ became aggressive. So all during the class, we had to deal with her dog growling and barking and lunging at Jupiter (who was about 8 months at the time).

It's sad, but I don't think one minor aggressive incident is the blame here. If two dogs lunging and snapping can cause a dog to become permanently fear-aggressive, then the dog wasn't that stable to begin with.

Jupiter was attacked and bitten at least seven times by a weirdo Weimaraner, but it didn't cause him to become fear-aggressive. He ran away, whined, and was playing fetch twenty seconds later. Nor was it the only time he encountered aggression. But that was also when he was 8 months, still a puppy, so who knows what behaviors he'll develop when he gets older and grows into his full orneriness.

I don't have any advice except that I think to blame other people for our dog's behavior isn't productive or fair. A dog running and snapping is not an objectively traumatic event--it's a normal part of life. Things would be so much easier if other dogs were well-behaved, if kids weren't crazy fools doing _everything_ wrong, and apparently deaf strangers would stop running up to our dogs and tapping them on the head, but... somehow we have to make it work and navigate these issues.
 

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@Nigel So much good advice, I'm having trouble replying to everyone haha. But, thank you for that. I try not to dwell on it, because I know things happen. It's just on the frustrating days, you know. But thank you for that. I use to use toys in one of his classes when I first got him into puppy classes, once we stopped needed them there so often I just forgot about it, so I'll get back into that habit. Tomorrow when I get off at work I'll stop and get some new toys that are only for walks so he is always more excited for them.

You are right though, it could easily happen again, so I am extremely thankful for all of this advice because I am really determined to get through this with Obi. As I have time in the next weeks to work in new ways with him I will be sure to come back here with what we are experiencing.

@CactusWren I completely agree, I don't blame them for how things turned out. It's just thinking that if they had stayed in the other room then maybe things would be different. I understand things could still be the same whether the event happened or not. We were doing "mock trials" in rally and they were supposed to stay out of the ring (room) anyways and they knew that. Hopefully you are right and it wasn't as traumatizing of an event. Thank you, I do appreciate your comment and perspective. It's just hard not to notice how things changed for him noticeably at that point in time.


@Cassidy's Mom Thank you! Keeping him completely focused on me is not going to work, you are right. I've recently started getting back into the "name game" to help with breaking his attention from staring. I'm ready to try out these various tips and see how things turn out for Obi and I.
 

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This stuff happens especially in a room of dogs at a training class. As long as there was no physical attack that would be quite upsetting. Otherwise yeah like other said a lunging should not effect your dog. Your dog can be maturing. It’s the distractions and things that can’t be controlled are the real challenge. Getting out in the world a lot of stuff happens and it happens fast many dogs are off leash. So it is good that the goal is to learn to ignore things. Quick glances are okay but a stiff focused stare is not. I worked on “leave it “and (videos on you tube)with treat rewards . If the dog ignores the command they get a leash collar pop correction. “Leave it “ is instruction given before the dog is heavily focused. Max attempted to chase cars as a young pup or attempted to - leave it helped with this and also look at me.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Figured I would update on our progress. The majority of the training has been rewarding him for ignoring things (mainly cars). Since the weather has gotten cold and it's always raining we rarely ever encounter a dog on a walk now and it's usually from a distance. The main encounters he gets with dogs right now is when one dog is going into their turn in scent work and another is going back to the car to wait.

Rain or shine, as long as it isn't absolutely terrible weather, I walk Obi and always have. On nice days he ignores 99% of the cars that go past. It takes a good distraction during the 1% and it's always someone speeding especially compared to the other dogs. We had one set back when a man on a motorcycle decided to drive on the wrong side of the road and speed right towards and past us. I was so angry.

At the night time Obi's senses are working more and so I've learned if we walk so he can see the cars closest to us are coming then we are both able to prepare.

The hardest time is if it has rained. The sound the cars make on wet roads are the hardest thing for Obi to ignore. I understand why, it makes them loader and much more attention worthy. We've had constant rain the past 5 days so the roads have been wet constantly. This is the hardest for him. He is good the majority of the time but there is still always a higher chance of him wanting to chase the car. I take routes where he is less likely to encounter cars, I take ones so he is slowly exposed to them, and I always keep his bag of favorite treats that he only gets while doing this training. Toys don't work with this until we can get far enough away to really really play, which isn't always the case and the treats work.

So we are still working on this BUT I know there has been absolute progress. We have plenty of work ahead of us and it's tough because this is very important for him to learn but at least I know we are progressing and will continue to do so.
 
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