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 I need help...

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Staffylover
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PostSubject: I need help...   Mon 12 Oct 2009, 12:37 pm

Need some help Guys

Reuben is very well socialised and loves nothing more than to play with other dogs in the park or when out walking. We still also attend training classes and have just started another 8 sessions with 9 new doggies and they all get on great and have playtime / socialisation at the beginning of the class.

When I am out walking I always ask the other owner if their dogs are friendly and if so allow them to meet. However there are occasions when this is not possible and Reuben gets very frustrated on the lead and will start jumping, snarling and growling at any dog he is not allowed to meet. I know if he was allowed to meet he would be fine and there would not be any issues as he constantly wants to play.

I spoke to my trainer and she has advised that if I do not deal with this now then he cold become lead aggressive which would be my worst nightmare. She has advised that at the point he fixes his gaze on the dog then I need to distract him, this has not proved very successful despite encouraging him with Spam and favourite toys. She did say that if this did not work them to remove him from the situation but without sounding negative this is not always possible when I am walking down the street/road and the dog is on the other side.

I am at my wits end as to what to do with him and have considered a one to one with the trainer. I have thought this morning that a gentle leader may help as I would have control of his face and could turn him towards me and try to take his fixation away by breaking his stare?

Help! I am open to any suggestion or experiences anyone may have had with their dog.
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Mattie
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PostSubject: Re: I need help...   Mon 12 Oct 2009, 1:54 pm

Staffylover wrote:
Need some help Guys
She has advised that at the point he fixes his gaze on the dog then I need to distract him, this has not proved very successful despite encouraging him with Spam and favourite toys.


When he does this it is too late to do anything, he is already in, simply put, fight or flight mode, you need to get his attention BEFORE he gets to this.

My little Gracie was terrible when I first got her but she taught me a lot about this sort of thing, I had to learn it so she could have alive.

First, teach "Watch me", if you don't know how to do it just say. Watch his body language, as soon as you see any signs of tension, often it is the ears and/or tail first, then get him to sit and "Watch me". Have yourself between Reuben and the other dog so he can see what the other dogs is doing all the time. Keep asking for "Watch me" and reward each time he does.

Once he is looking at you, you can then ask for a couple of seconds watching you, no longer or you will loose him and he will react. If he does react, stop asking for "Watch me" and giving treats and just body block him but say nothing.

When a dog goes into this mode, their brain shuts down apart from the fight or flight part, this is why once a dog is fixed on something you can't change it, your dog can't hear what you are saying or see what you are doing so you need to get them before they do this.

This does work, this is all I did with Gracie and she turned into a very well mannered dog with other strange dogs.
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Sandi
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PostSubject: Re: I need help...   Mon 12 Oct 2009, 3:20 pm

Hi Jo,
I got the same problem with my foster dog at the moment and its a bloody nightmare so I can understand what you are going through.

I had Staffie Rescue come out to me and they had another bitch in the car who is about 5 years old and quite territorial and a 15 week old puppy who boings along over every one and anything.

We tried walking Boris firstly up and down and he was fine, then introduced another dog from a distance and like on Dog Borstal walked up and down in lines, Boris of course (little bugger) never flinched or even bothered to look at her. Then they got the puppy out and tried the same thing, again Boris never bothered "lets let the puppy off lead" said one of them with the other person standing there saying "are you sure"? "yes" came the reply, "we are in control". The puppy boinged all over Boris and he just played away and thought it was great. Just like kids he made me out to look like an idiot. So then I got to thinking, maybe he liked Staffies, so we walked over to near where some other dogs were being walked and again he was fine. Out on my own with him and Kassi he is manic when he sees another dog. I am still trying to get my head around why, whether he is being protctive of Kassi when other dogs come along or me I don't know and because he knew I knew the other people he was fine with their dogs.

Boris is sweet and gentle and gets on fine with Kassi but when he is out he is nuts, he doesn't lunge just makes a lot of noise and nothing and I mean nothing will stop him from screaming out and barking!

I have tried "watch me" and he does but then looks at me as if to say "and"?, I have tried treats but he is not a great treat dog at the best of times. I have considered that he is obviously 'lead agressive' but no way would I let him off at the moment.

We have also considered a private trainer for him because the situation is getting silly especially now it is dark in the mornings he is becoming more determined to bark at others.

The Gentle Leader is a good thing, but I started using that for pulling, it's supposed to pull them back like their mother would when they are being naughty, but Boris hates it and I think it makes him worse, because when he sees another dogs he tries to claw it off.

Let me know if you come up with something and I will let you know the if we ever fix Boris what we do.
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Mattie
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PostSubject: Re: I need help...   Mon 12 Oct 2009, 6:56 pm

When dogs are off the lead they have a choice to go towards a dog or to go away, on the lead they don't have this choice but have to stay put. By walking them at a distance from each other you allowed Boris to see the other dog and realise there was nothing to worry about, same with the pup. He was at his safe distance were he didn't feel the need to react. This just shows that keeping them at a distance they can cope works.

The Watch me works with the distance, all you are doing is giving your dog something else to do instead of watching the other dog. If you are too close nothing will work, you still need to be at a safe distance.

If you are frightened of snakes and are behind a floor to ceiling window watching a room full of snakes, you may not be comfortable but feel safe enough not to react. Take that window away and you start to react, if like me you will start screaming. cheerleader A dog that reacts to other dogs when on a lead this is the same thing.

You need to keep them at a distance where they don't react, you will find that distance will get less and less and your dogs get used to this. This does work, there are many dogs been turned round by keeping them at a safe distance from other dogs when they are frightened.
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Mandy
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PostSubject: Re: I need help...   Mon 12 Oct 2009, 9:23 pm

my advice is to listen to mattie, all the advice he has given me has been very helpful, (Thanks Mattie). :D
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