Reactive after being non-reactive for a long time

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Reactive after being non-reactive for a long time

This is a discussion on Reactive after being non-reactive for a long time within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; My started showing signs of reactivity close to 2 years back. Since then we've worked up to the following: we can pass other dogs (as ...

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Old 06-19-2018, 08:23 AM
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Reactive after being non-reactive for a long time

My started showing signs of reactivity close to 2 years back. Since then we've worked up to the following: we can pass other dogs (as close as across the street). I also bring him on trails but now go off the trail path so he can see dogs at a distance but have some long line freedom. In addition, he has social interactions/play sessions in a controlled small group on an ongoing basis at his training facility. He also goes to classes here and there.

It's been months now (maybe close to a year) and he has not reacted up until just a recent encounter. We were on the trail path and another dog he sighted about 30 or so feet away (it's a path we go to often, see numerous dogs at a distance and again he has not had reactions for months). In fact he's never had a reaction when on a long line (15ft +), this was the first time. In addition any blow up he had was always on a short lead and a dog in closer proximity...that's why I am rather stumped about this one.

Something caught his attention about this dog and next thing I knew he took off and hit the end of the line. He went pretty crazy from that point, continually trying to lung (let out a couple growls which he rarely did, think I heard him only vocalize twice ever). It wasn't just stand there react, this was trying to chase full speed, almost like a prey driven response. But when I looked at the other dog he was a rather large dog so the prey thing wouldn't make sense right? (thought maybe he though it was a rabbit, cat, etc). I kept him moving and that was that.

But now I'm rather shook up about taking him on a long line as the impact of him running like that was a little challenging (he's a pit mix, muscular and very strong!).

I should say I am always very aware of my surroundings and if I do see him getting the least bit fixated/aroused I redirect immediately. Mostly now though he will just look and go on his merry way, or on the occasion he's unsure he'll look back at me and I'll mark that/praise him or might add some movement and reward for a good choice either with food/play.

So it got me thinking after all this time what set him off at such a far distance when his threshold has been so much closer than that? Also, maybe there might be a better leash/collar/harness set up for when he's on a long line (right now I was using biothane) maybe something with a better grip, etc. I'm not anticipating it to happen again, but with a strong dog I want to be absolutely prepared.

Just wondering if anyone had any ideas of what might have caused this reaction and if anyone had experiences similar I'd be very interested and would appreciate to hear!
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