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We were doing so good.....

1048 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Maryn
Reich has had issues with other dogs since a run in with a looney mutt back in february when she was small.

Up until last week she was still a spazz on walks. She would just totally melt down at the sight or sound of another dog. Try to dive under parked cars, high-tail it back home, whimper, yelp, try to escape her collar, etc. Trembling mess.

She's fine with my other dog and my mom's GSD pup...but that's it. Hubby is always what I refer to as 'super mega alpha' with the dogs. We are all above them, but they would jump through hoops of fire if he said to. He started walking her, and she started progressing. Hearing dogs in the distance didn't unnerve her, and she wasn't nervous the whole time.

Yesterday it was gorgeous out. Me and the boys decided to walk to the ball field and bring Reich. I had found the key! With the boys (7,6 and 4) she was the picture of grace, confidence, and manners. The only unpleasant thing is she can't stand for them to get too far ahead...she'd pull to catch up.
Another dog went nuts in it's yard barking and snarling, she charged toward it in ****-hound mode...verbal correction didn't quite get it, but a quick follow up leash correction did.

First time she hasn't ran FROM a challenging dog and gone to pieces right in front of me. Not better as it's aggressive behavior, but the fact that she acknowledged anything I did (which she would not while melting down before) AND obeyed was great.

We had a blast at the creek down bellow the field too -

Good outing!

Today the boys all had baseball practice and I decided to bring her. I knew this would be different. Alot more people, and usually other dogs on leashes in the park.
We were just getting past the initial scared parents...with the help of a little 1yr old girl who toddled up repeating 'PUPPY!!!' who was greeted with doggy kisses. (Reich LOVES kids)
And here we go, someone approaches with what looked like a purebred all black GSD. Younger than Reich, and a bit smaller.

She LOSES it. Not fearful, totally aggressive. Lunged, trying pulling to get at it, teeth bared, barking, snarling, growling. She was less responsive to verbal and leash correction. Took a few minutes to get her focused back on me and moving along. It's suprising how strong a 50 lb pup can be when they want to be.

She's only about 5 months old, I'm convinced we can change this. Getting her around other friendly dogs would be great...if I can get her near one without the above preceeding it.

When she gets like this, her flat collar is no match. I'm torn. I think she's too young for a prong, but think it might help.
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Sorry to hear she didn't have a good day today.

I can't remember if we've given you book recommendations?

Number one would be: Click to Calm

You don't have to be super alpha to get Reich through this and in fact the corrections, etc. may just be ramping things up a notch for her. Clickers work really well for this one. This book takes you step by step on how to work through these issues. The author had a dog who was so dog aggressive she was advised to euthanize him! I am using her techniques for Rafi (more reactive than aggressive but inappropriate and somewhat scary behavior) and they are working very well.
Chloe started on her prong at 6 months. I had been planning on using it but was not sure if it was too early. It was her trainer that started her on it and I love it.
It's so hard to quit when things are going well. But that's what you should have done. (Like I say, it's hard to quit - and hindsight is always 20/20.) Build up her confidence at a distance -- Whole Dog Journal again, goes into this sort of conditioning on a regular basis. Try some of Pat Miller's books (she seems to specialize in this sort of behavior & confidence building.) (BTW no prong collar, no leash corrections, keep it positive.)
Thanks guys.

We've laid off the park outings and have a 1 on 1 assesment with a trainer/behaviorist this saturday.

I stopped and thought, and I really don't want to inadvertanly make it worse.

In the meantime I grabbed a cheap dog whistle. I don't generally use treats/food for training -just not my thing, I prefer praise and play- but I now keep some edible goodies on me. Give the whistle a blow, and when she stops what she's doing to come, sit and look at me she gets treated.
I figure working on her leaving everything else be to focus on me is never a bad thing..and can't hurt with this issue.
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