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Hello. I'm looking for some advice on how to handle this dog situation.

The Situation:
I have a 8 year old 15lb boy Shiz-Tue Poodle mix that we have had since he was a new born pup. He's a sweet, mellow dog except that for as long as I can remember, he has bark ferociously at every stranger dog that he sees. If he sees the dog when he's looking out a window of the house, or we encounter another dog when I'm taking him for a walk, he tenses up, grows and then barks in a very menacing manner and goes tearing around the house barking. This is very disrupting for neighbors, a source of conflict in my family, embarrassing and very aggravating for us, since opening a window to let some air in means risking the dog exploding. He has never hurt anyone and, if not on a leash, stops 10ft away from his target and continues barking. He's made friends with other dogs that he sees regularly and is totally chill around them. When he was a few months old, he got ran over by a couple large dogs at a dog park. The other dogs didn't mean any harm, my dog wasn't physically hurt but he was very shaken by that incident.

What I've Done:
Only within the last year, have I taken any specific, longer term action to counteract this. My family used a Citronella spray collar for a while, that sprays some scent whenever he barks. It startled him at first, but after a few days, he totally got over it and continued barking regardless of the spray. So then we got a Vibration collar that has a remote. Whenever he starts to bark, you buzz the collar, startling him out of his barking fest. But its the same story as the Citronella collar, he got over it. So now Im trying to train him to bark and be quiet on command. Everyday for the last 5 days, I've played a game with him where I hold out my enclosed fist and tell him to Speak. When he speaks I open the hand and if theres a treat inside I feed it to him and if not then I pet him and say "Good boy!". Then when he starts barking before I say Speak (because he's learned the game) I say Quiet in a calm voice, and when he gets quiet I open the hand. The important part is that I give treats less and less frequently to get him to obey the command even when I don't have a treat.

This works well when he's calm, but when he's riled up about someone 'invading' his territory, he doesn't pay much heed to me.

Conclusion:
So thats the story. If you have any advice, information or can relate to this, please respond to this post. Thanks
 

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Welcome to Dog Forum! There are a number of people here with dogs who bark at other dogs, people, random objects, etc. It's generally referred to as reactivity meaning that the dog over reacts to ordinary things.

Unfortunately, as you've found, punishment-based techniques rarely work for these types of dogs unless it causes a state of learned helplessness (i.e., the dog realizes he can't escape pain or fear and stops trying).

The good news is that there are effective methods for working through reactivity and you'll get good support here. Do you have a sense of whether your dog is scared of other dogs or if he wants to play? The answer can help determine what steps you take. If you don't know, counter conditioning is always a safe place to start.

This sticky has excellent information: Reactivity, On Leash Aggression, and Barrier Frustration. These web sites, CARE for Reactive Dogs and Dogs in Need of Space, are other very good resources.

You may also want to work on Impulse Control and Calmness and engagement (Recall - this sticky on recall might give you some ideas as the basis of a good recall is making yourself more reinforcing than anything else in the environment).

Good luck! I have two reactive dogs and have found great success with the methods described in the stickies I linked.
http://www.dogforum.com/training-be...y-leash-aggression-barrier-frustration-12538/
 

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There should be something in the sticky about barrier frustration which is what is sounds like (in my very non-expert opinion). Since he's good with other dogs off-leash, he's probably not aggressive; although there is the issue of being rushed by other dogs as a pup which could lead to fear. (how's that for a non-committal answer :p ).

Barrier frustration is similar to a temper tantrum. He wants to get to the dog so badly that he gets angry when he can't. Think of a three-year-old who wants a candy bar and is told "no." In many cases, that would lead to a crying, flailing, screaming toddler.

If you think it could be aggression, I'd recommend finding a qualified, force-free trainer / behaviorist. Finding a Trainer, Behavior Consultant, or Behaviorist Even just one or two session for an evaluation of his behavior would be a huge help as you work with him. I believe there is a thread on dog body language in the sticky section that would be helpful, too.
 

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Since you have stated that your dog no longer responds to the vibration collar, I don't see much of a point in using it. What will be helpful is to limit his ability to practice the barking-at-passing-dogs behaviour while you work on impulse control. This may mean putting up screens on the windows as visual barriers, moving furniture away from the windows, avoiding routes where you know you're going to see dogs, etc.
 

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A combination of DS/CC and most importantly enhanced obedience and focus on you. If the dog is busy doing as you command and learns to trust in your leadership, the dog will slowly be exposed to it's fears ( below threshold ) because it is busy minding the engagement you offer. The dog will learn a better option because you provided it purposely, confidently and with a measured approach. It's a slow process beating fear/aggression and much of it hinges on your cool and commitment ( which it seems like you certainly have).
 
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