Reactive dog help

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Reactive dog help

This is a discussion on Reactive dog help within the Introductions forums, part of the DogForum Community Welcome category; Hi please can I have some advice. I have a 2 year old japanese akita who is fearful of other dogs and reacts with aggression. ...

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Old 11-28-2014, 09:37 AM
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Reactive dog help

Hi please can I have some advice. I have a 2 year old japanese akita who is fearful of other dogs and reacts with aggression. She was attracted by another dog when she was 10 months old and since then we've had this problem. I try to distract her when she sees dogs which mainly helps. But I don't know what to do when a dog on the field comes running up to us and their owner is far away. I know my dog won't get hurt with little dogs but I'm worried what she will do to the them. And I don't want to muzzel her because if a big dog comes bounding over to us then she's got no way of protecting herself. When a dog comes running to us she gets ready to pounce on them and then im trying to hold her back. I Really want her to be friendly with dogs and for other dog owners to be able to control their off lead dogs and not allow them to run up to all dogs especially if that dog is on a lead. A dog is on lead for a reason. Please can anyone give some advice
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Old 11-28-2014, 09:39 AM
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I meant attacked at 10 months
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Old 11-29-2014, 03:29 PM
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Welcome! Check out the threads and stickies on reactivity in the training and behavior section.

My dog is reactive with people and, while she's good with other dogs, I think off-leash meetings are unsafe and lots of loose dogs approach us. I've taken to shouting "She's not friendly!" as loudly as I can, if that doesn't work, you could always try "she bites!" though that might be problematic. Being clear helps put a spring in the step of less than responsible owners. Also, if I were you, I'd carry good treats and throw them for the loose dog to chase to give its owner a little more time to get t you. And consider a can of citronella spay to really deter the dogs that look dangerous so you can get away. Finally, don't be afraid of muzzles! That safety device gets a bad rep. I'd use one in a hot second if I suspected my dog was a bite-risk. Best of luck!

Maybe @Kwenami can weigh in here too? She's done amazing work with her dog Koda on dog reactivity.
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Old 11-29-2014, 03:41 PM
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As much as some of us want our dogs to be friendly to other dogs, as you mentioned, not all dogs like other dogs. Akita's are usually not very social dogs in general.

I agree that you should condition her to wear a muzzle if you're going to put her in situations where she might bite another dog. Keeping your dog under threshold and away from other dogs while you train is important.

It's not possible to control other people's dogs. It's our responsibility to recognize that and keep our own dogs safe. If your dog does injure another dog, your dog could face serious consequences. If you're concerned your dog may be hurt by loose dogs, find somewhere you can walk/exercise where you can avoid contact with other dogs. I know that's not always easy but as a responsible dog owner it's the right thing to do.

Take a look at this site for some excellent advice.

Care for Reactive Dogs

Here's a video on how to condition your dog to wear a muzzle.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BjPpXer8IE
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Old 11-29-2014, 03:56 PM
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What level of aggression does she react with? Snapping, lunging, or actual bites? At what distance away? if your dog is drawing blood, or even making contact, I would recommend finding a behaviourist right away. They'll help you faster than your own research can.

There are ways to make this..less stressful. it doesn't necessarily go away completely. Most dogs, once they have issues with reacting strongly, never become 100% comfortable and confident around those situations. Building confident in other areas of their lives helps, and you can build confidence around dogs as well, but these situations need to be controlled. Off leash dogs running in Koda's face is one of my nightmares, and she has good bite inhibition when she's scared-she isn't actually doing damage yet. We avoid these situations at all costs-even if that means I pick up my 50 lb dog. Some people carry umbrellas to startle/scare the dog away, and there have been so many times where I wanted to yell and scream at the idiot who lets their dog race right up in her face rudely, but it's going to be YOU and YOUR dog that get the worst of it if something bad were to happen, whether fair or not. Your responsibility is toward keeping your own dog safe, and others around you. Just because they're sometimes suicidal doesn't mean you don't have your responsibility to keep everyone safe.

Akitas are known for not being very social with other dogs, I wouldn't anticipate her or even attempt to force her into play dates. They won't be fun for anyone.

You might want to check out Fight! By Jean Donaldson for some basic tips/understanding. It short, but very well written and has lots of useful advice. The stickies on reactivity are also helpful. If you feel like reading a novel/training diary, Koda has a progress thread you might find helpful since we've been through the exact same situation.

Mostly, we walk in BUSY traffic areas, which means no nature hikes :'( It keeps us away from off leash dogs, mostly. The few that are off leash are easier to avoid because it's so crowded that they stick with their humans. If we encounter a dog, we go the other way if she's not ready to handle it. Once you get some management under control the training comes into play-you'll want to read up on counter conditioning, and pavlov's theory. That only comes AFTER management. If you're still having incidents commonly, then that needs to be the first thing to change.
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