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Pulling on lead to get to other dogs,mouthing and rough play

Discussion in 'Dog Behaviour and Training' started by SVMC20, Jun 13, 2016.

  1. SVMC20

    SVMC20 New Member Registered

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    Hi everyone

    Just joined so new here - hoping for some help and advice quite urgently.

    We have a 8 month old White GSD - we have had her since she was 12 weeks old. Initially walked on her lead very well and was very sweet with other dogs, played nicely as a puppy and socialised well. As she has gotten older she has become increasingly more resistant o her lead when she see's another dog walking anyway near her, often going up on her hind legs and pulling to get to the other dog. We have tried positive reinforcement such as trying to tell her to sit, giving her treats etc but nothing is working for long...nothing is sticking.

    More importantly however whenever she is around other dogs she is mouthing them. Her tail wags so i'm not sure how 'aggressive' this action is however she is a big dog with the ability to harm another either the same size or smaller and this really worries me. Again, we have tried everything we can to get her out of this habit. She joined a puppy day care up until she was about 6 months and did group walks and we feel her behavior has stemmed from this.

    Any advice on how we can stop this or improve this would be greatly appreciated.

    She is extremely food driven (normally) and loves fetching. She has a very soft and gentle nature with people. I don't want to be walking a dog that people feel intimidated by so trying to fix this as soon as we can. She is powerful on the lead and could, if she really wanted to, pull me over.

    Thanks

    SVM
     
  2. gypsysmum2

    gypsysmum2 Well-Known Member Registered

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    It always comes down to "why?". Is she trying to play? Has she had a bad experience and has become anxious around other dogs? Is she picking up "tension" vibes from the lead because you are tightening it when another dog approaches?

    If it is play then she just needs to be more motivated to play/be with you. This means interrupting her behaviour before it gets going and getting her to focus on you.

    Anxiety prevents learning. If she has become anxious for some reason then you need to address that by finding a way to get her to relax around other dogs. Often the lead gets in the way of this because a dog feels trapped on lead and so becomes anxious and it is all a vicious circle. Distance is the best way to reduce anxiety. Give her sufficient distance so that her anxiety decreases and you can find a window to get her to pay attention to you and learn not to be so anxious. Keep all your handling light and positive. It is very hard to be seen to be allowing bad behaviour by our dogs but if we scold and pull at them it just makes matters worse.

    Lead tightening is a big cause of dogs becoming anxious around other dogs. If you are in a tight space it is sometimes impossible not to do it but do try to move away and give her space without tightening the lead. Keep your voice upbeat and happy. I have found that it helps to say thing like "oh hear comes Barney!" and be happy even if you don't know the other dog from Adam.

    Once a dog has triggered into reacting then it can take a long time for them to come down from that emotion. They do not have the power of reason and we just have to wait it out sometimes until they are completely calm again. Studies have shown that, once a dog has gone over its "threshold" into reacting it can take 50=70 minutes for it to return to normal. This is because all sorts of stress hormones have been released and they take a while to leave the body.
     
  3. Raven oaktree

    Raven oaktree Active Member Registered

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    I have a black working line GSD and have put tons of work into her. More than any other dog I've had ever !!

    Adolescent GSDs can be munchkins !! It's usually around this time problems can arise , we breath a sigh of relief because they are no longer puppies but then they turn into sloppy teenagers !
     
  4. Wing Finger

    Wing Finger New Member Registered

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    I have very little knowledge and experience with dog training but we are having the same problem with the excitableness when our dog spies another when out a walk. We recently attended a training session and we were advised to teach our dog (a big mongrel) two things to try and aid us with this issue. Firstly we had to teach Skye to make eye contact with us which was easy to do and she now follows the command in our house and garden. The other thing we had taught taught her was a "get it" command that we could use in conjunction with scattered treats. She'll now allow other dogs to pass us without fuss on walks as she busies herself finding treats (high reward type treats is the only thing that will work in this situation for us). Her "look" command is still unreliable on walks so I've not tried using it yet. I'm also not totally sure how I'm going to progress from here but certainly having her snuffling around on the floor is better than me struggling to physically restrain her or having her bounce around at the end of her lead and howling the place down when she sees another dog.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 14, 2016
  5. GreyLee

    GreyLee New Member Registered

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    Hi, hope you don't mind but we have a very similar issue with a young lurcher cross and I can't find how to subscribe to a post without adding a comment :)

    Our boy was a rescue at around 3 months after being found abandoned. He's really friendly to everyone but goes mad when he sees other dogs (he even goes deaf when we meet other people as he loves to greet them).

    He's not aggressive in any way but he bounces all over the place and mouths other dogs. For these reasons we keep him on a lead - although have a secure area where he and our Greyhound can have a good run (outside our garden).

    He's not that food orientated and must advice send to focus around that, hence keeping an eye on this post on case of further additions :)

    Thanks all.
     
  6. gypsysmum2

    gypsysmum2 Well-Known Member Registered

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    If food does not motivate them then, after you have tried all kinds of food from chicken and liver to cheese and sausage, then try to see if a toy will motivate your dog. The idea is that your dog needs some sort of reward for giving up on a behaviour he is enjoying.

    If you are using a toy then your dog must be obsessed with it. Play with it at home until your dog will get really excited when he sees it. Then you keep the toy hidden for play times with you. Once your dog shows signs of ecstasy at the sight of the toy then you can produce it, on walks, to keep your dog focused on you. He must get the toy as reward for ignoring the distractions of other dogs and people.

    You might like to employ the services of a trainer from the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) to help you with your timing etc because it is important.

    At the end of the day the dog must enjoy the treat or toy more than it enjoys the naughty behaviour if you are going to make progress.
     

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