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Hello,
We have a 4 year old labrador pointer which we believe to have fear of other male dogs because his neck fur stands up, he might lick his lips and growls. And if they meet it is very tense and it turns into a fight really quickly. We believe it is due to fear and not aggression/dominance.

We would like to ask if anyone has any tips to how we can train with him as the dog trainer has said she cannot help with that issue. I avoid greeting other male dogs of course, however he is a dog which requires a lot of exercise so letting him run freely in the woods is something he both loves and needs, but at the moment I dont want to let him run freely in case he meets another male dog. Also, other loose dogs might come up to us if they are not on a leash.

I think we have ruled out aggression/dominance behaviour because we tried chemically castrating him for six months and it only made it worse. That is why we believe it is due to fear. Female dogs he has no issues with.

Honestly I have no idea the root of the cause as he used to play with other male dogs in his earlier days.

He is an anxious dog though in general. For example he gets stressed when we are getting dressed at home and he can get very stressed if we leave the house and dont give him something to occupy him for a short time (a snack for instance). When we are at walks and we stop for even a second he will begin to whine because he wants to keep moving.
All of the above things are issues we are working with progress.

I was wondering if anyone have had similar issues with their dogs and managed to solve them.
All ideas are very welcome!

best regards
 

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The aggression toward other dogs sounds like reactivity, which is indeed usually based in fear.

The general advice is to find a place where your dog can observe the thing that makes them afraid from a distance they view as 'safe', and gradually decrease that distance over weeks or months as they learn not to be afraid.

However, I'd start with confirming that you aren't causing the reaction by anticipating it. I used to walk a really lovely dog for my neighbours. Initially, I was told she was "extremely reactive to other dogs". In truth, she was reacting to her people being afraid, which she interpreted as a fear of the other dog not fear of her reaction. In her case, at least, it was an easy fix: one walk with me playacting at being really happy to see every other dog.
 

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If I'm reading this correctly, you are really dealing with three issues. One is that your dog needs more exercise and stimulation than you can provide by taking him on a regular leashed walk. The second is that your dog is fearful of other dogs. The third is that he handles his fear by becoming aggressive.
First, dealing with his exercise and stimulation needs. Have you explored any kind of dog sports such as carting or skijoring to give him a cardio workout? I also find that trick training helps a lot with keeping my dogs sane. Practicing sitting, crouching, bowing, walking backwards, etc. exercises both their mind and their body. Think of it like yoga for dogs.
Second, regarding the fearfulness, do not let him interact with other dogs. Keep him out of environments where there are loose dogs. Get his attention and lead him away before the other dog comes close. Also, make the sight of another dog a cause for celebration. Keep treats in your pocket: lots of treats. (I've also heard a suggestion to use something like liver or cheese paste in a squeeze bottle, but I've never tried it myself.) Start shoving treats into your dog's mouth as soon as you see the other dog, before he starts reacting. I don't mean one or two treats. I mean handfuls. Keep stuffing treats into your dog as long as the other dog is within view. If your dog is too upset to eat the treats it means you are too close. Move away from the other dog and keep feeding treats. This treat tactic won't produce immediate results; it will probably take a month or two of distant dog sightings before his attitude starts to soften a bit. Eventually, though, he should start turning to you when he sees another dog. Both the reward (the treats) and the task (staying by your side within range of the hand that is dispensing treats) give him something to think about other than the strange dog.
Third, since he starts fights, take steps to ensure he doesn't harm another dog. Again, keep him out of environments where he can come close to another dog. You may also want to consider a basket muzzle to prevent him from biting another dog. Aside from the safety factor, the muzzle will make your dog look more scary. The visual effect might make other dog owners a little more careful about letting their dog run up to yours.
 

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Hello,
We have a 4 year old labrador pointer which we believe to have fear of other male dogs because his neck fur stands up, he might lick his lips and growls. And if they meet it is very tense and it turns into a fight really quickly. We believe it is due to fear and not aggression/dominance.

We would like to ask if anyone has any tips to how we can train with him as the dog trainer has said she cannot help with that issue. I avoid greeting other male dogs of course, however he is a dog which requires a lot of exercise so letting him run freely in the woods is something he both loves and needs, but at the moment I dont want to let him run freely in case he meets another male dog. Also, other loose dogs might come up to us if they are not on a leash.

I think we have ruled out aggression/dominance behaviour because we tried chemically castrating him for six months and it only made it worse. That is why we believe it is due to fear. Female dogs he has no issues with.

Honestly I have no idea the root of the cause as he used to play with other male dogs in his earlier days.

He is an anxious dog though in general. For example he gets stressed when we are getting dressed at home and he can get very stressed if we leave the house and dont give him something to occupy him for a short time (a snack for instance). When we are at walks and we stop for even a second he will begin to whine because he wants to keep moving.
All of the above things are issues we are working with progress.

I was wondering if anyone have had similar issues with their dogs and managed to solve them.
All ideas are very welcome!

best regards
I know that you said he had been a bit aggressive before, but - unfortunately - one of the side effects of castration can be an increase in fear and anxiety and / or related behaviors.

Here in the U.S., castration of males is promoted like a fix-all solution to behavioral problems and "prevention of heath issues", but - unfortunately - this is far from the truth. You did not indicate whether the males that your dog fears / goes after are altered or unaltered. Altered males do tend to take issue with unaltered males (which is why my Loki seems to be a magnet for aggressive dogs despite his incredibly calm demeanor).

Being that this is likely (at least, in part) a scent-based trigger, maybe it may help to keep a strong, calming scent handy to mask the pheremones of other males present? I know they make some pretty strong anti-anxiety aromatherapy clips that could be applied to a collar. Just a thought 🤷‍♀️

If I'm reading this correctly, you are really dealing with three issues. One is that your dog needs more exercise and stimulation than you can provide by taking him on a regular leashed walk. The second is that your dog is fearful of other dogs. The third is that he handles his fear by becoming aggressive.
First, dealing with his exercise and stimulation needs. Have you explored any kind of dog sports such as carting or skijoring to give him a cardio workout? I also find that trick training helps a lot with keeping my dogs sane. Practicing sitting, crouching, bowing, walking backwards, etc. exercises both their mind and their body. Think of it like yoga for dogs.
Second, regarding the fearfulness, do not let him interact with other dogs. Keep him out of environments where there are loose dogs. Get his attention and lead him away before the other dog comes close. Also, make the sight of another dog a cause for celebration. Keep treats in your pocket: lots of treats. (I've also heard a suggestion to use something like liver or cheese paste in a squeeze bottle, but I've never tried it myself.) Start shoving treats into your dog's mouth as soon as you see the other dog, before he starts reacting. I don't mean one or two treats. I mean handfuls. Keep stuffing treats into your dog as long as the other dog is within view. If your dog is too upset to eat the treats it means you are too close. Move away from the other dog and keep feeding treats. This treat tactic won't produce immediate results; it will probably take a month or two of distant dog sightings before his attitude starts to soften a bit. Eventually, though, he should start turning to you when he sees another dog. Both the reward (the treats) and the task (staying by your side within range of the hand that is dispensing treats) give him something to think about other than the strange dog.
Third, since he starts fights, take steps to ensure he doesn't harm another dog. Again, keep him out of environments where he can come close to another dog. You may also want to consider a basket muzzle to prevent him from biting another dog. Aside from the safety factor, the muzzle will make your dog look more scary. The visual effect might make other dog owners a little more careful about letting their dog run up to yours.
Solid advice!


The aggression toward other dogs sounds like reactivity, which is indeed usually based in fear.

The general advice is to find a place where your dog can observe the thing that makes them afraid from a distance they view as 'safe', and gradually decrease that distance over weeks or months as they learn not to be afraid.

However, I'd start with confirming that you aren't causing the reaction by anticipating it. I used to walk a really lovely dog for my neighbours. Initially, I was told she was "extremely reactive to other dogs". In truth, she was reacting to her people being afraid, which she interpreted as a fear of the other dog not fear of her reaction. In her case, at least, it was an easy fix: one walk with me playacting at being really happy to see every other dog.

DEFINITELY AGREE!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The aggression toward other dogs sounds like reactivity, which is indeed usually based in fear.

The general advice is to find a place where your dog can observe the thing that makes them afraid from a distance they view as 'safe', and gradually decrease that distance over weeks or months as they learn not to be afraid.

However, I'd start with confirming that you aren't causing the reaction by anticipating it. I used to walk a really lovely dog for my neighbours. Initially, I was told she was "extremely reactive to other dogs". In truth, she was reacting to her people being afraid, which she interpreted as a fear of the other dog not fear of her reaction. In her case, at least, it was an easy fix: one walk with me playacting at being really happy to see every other dog.
thanks for the reply! I am very comfortable with all dogs and I am pretty sure I do not give any signals of fear myself. Of course I dont know if my dogs feels the same, but this happens when I am not with him also, for instance if he meets some dog and I am 20 meters away. What I have been guilty of in the past is that I have thought it was dominance behaviour and I reacted to him growling in a more strict way instead of a more understanding way, only by the use of my voice or course,never harmed him in any way. I have completely changed that in the last months when I learned it was due to his fear and hopefully he will see that over time. Feel very bad that I havent read his signals well enough and that it could make it worse for him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
If I'm reading this correctly, you are really dealing with three issues. One is that your dog needs more exercise and stimulation than you can provide by taking him on a regular leashed walk. The second is that your dog is fearful of other dogs. The third is that he handles his fear by becoming aggressive.
First, dealing with his exercise and stimulation needs. Have you explored any kind of dog sports such as carting or skijoring to give him a cardio workout? I also find that trick training helps a lot with keeping my dogs sane. Practicing sitting, crouching, bowing, walking backwards, etc. exercises both their mind and their body. Think of it like yoga for dogs.
Second, regarding the fearfulness, do not let him interact with other dogs. Keep him out of environments where there are loose dogs. Get his attention and lead him away before the other dog comes close. Also, make the sight of another dog a cause for celebration. Keep treats in your pocket: lots of treats. (I've also heard a suggestion to use something like liver or cheese paste in a squeeze bottle, but I've never tried it myself.) Start shoving treats into your dog's mouth as soon as you see the other dog, before he starts reacting. I don't mean one or two treats. I mean handfuls. Keep stuffing treats into your dog as long as the other dog is within view. If your dog is too upset to eat the treats it means you are too close. Move away from the other dog and keep feeding treats. This treat tactic won't produce immediate results; it will probably take a month or two of distant dog sightings before his attitude starts to soften a bit. Eventually, though, he should start turning to you when he sees another dog. Both the reward (the treats) and the task (staying by your side within range of the hand that is dispensing treats) give him something to think about other than the strange dog.
Third, since he starts fights, take steps to ensure he doesn't harm another dog. Again, keep him out of environments where he can come close to another dog. You may also want to consider a basket muzzle to prevent him from biting another dog. Aside from the safety factor, the muzzle will make your dog look more scary. The visual effect might make other dog owners a little more careful about letting their dog run up to yours.
Thanks for the reply and advices!
Regarding exercise: the last six months I think he has lacked a bit of exercise because I normally take him running but I currently have a really bad back injury which prevents me from doing it and we recently had a baby which also takes a lot of time. That is why running freely in the woods would be perfect for him to run off some steam. I feel bad that he currently cannot run as much as he wants but we do through a lot of ball/fetch so he at least gets to do some sprinting. That helps.

I will try more intenselly giving him treaths when we spot another dog. That is usually not a problem though passing other dogs on the street. He does get a bit interested in greeting the other dog but it isnt that bad. The stress seems to start when he is actually greeting the other dog.

Would it be a good training if I managed to get another male dog to be close (some meters) and simply practise calmness with my dog? Is that a good way to make him feel calm around other dogs?

Regarding the last point: he has never harmed any other dog before. If I am there I manage to break up the fight within seconds fortunately. Wont work from a distance though..

thanks agaian!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I know that you said he had been a bit aggressive before, but - unfortunately - one of the side effects of castration can be an increase in fear and anxiety and / or related behaviors.

Here in the U.S., castration of males is promoted like a fix-all solution to behavioral problems and "prevention of heath issues", but - unfortunately - this is far from the truth. You did not indicate whether the males that your dog fears / goes after are altered or unaltered. Altered males do tend to take issue with unaltered males (which is why my Loki seems to be a magnet for aggressive dogs despite his incredibly calm demeanor).

Being that this is likely (at least, in part) a scent-based trigger, maybe it may help to keep a strong, calming scent handy to mask the pheremones of other males present? I know they make some pretty strong anti-anxiety aromatherapy clips that could be applied to a collar. Just a thought 🤷‍♀️



Solid advice!





DEFINITELY AGREE!!!
Thanks for the reply. Yes the chemical castration made it worse. It was an advice from our vet to try out to see if it helped. It probably took away his braveness so to speak so that is why it made it worse. The castration is wearing off now and he should return to his normal pre castration levels soon. He only reacts to non neutered male dogs. I guess it’s the only thing that he feels threathened about which is normal. That scent thing is interesting, never heard of it! Will see if I can find some info on it.

thanks again!
 

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I will try more intenselly giving him treaths when we spot another dog. That is usually not a problem though passing other dogs on the street. He does get a bit interested in greeting the other dog but it isnt that bad. The stress seems to start when he is actually greeting the other dog.

Would it be a good training if I managed to get another male dog to be close (some meters) and simply practise calmness with my dog? Is that a good way to make him feel calm around other dogs?

Regarding the last point: he has never harmed any other dog before. If I am there I manage to break up the fight within seconds fortunately. Wont work from a distance though..
I think some of these questions are best handled by a consultation with a certified animal behaviorist. I'm not one, nor have I seen your dog in person. I'm just a person on the internet who has owned some reactive dogs. I'm offering advice based on what helped my dogs. Some additional thoughts:

1) You don't want to put your dog in a situation where he is practicing the behavior you don't want. He's probably giving off lots of unhappy signals before a fight ever starts: stiff body posture, licking his lips, etc. We humans are quite bad at reading subtle dog signals. A danger of deliberately exposing your dog to something that bothers him is that he will rehearse the emotions without you realizing it.

2) Sometimes deliberate exposure to a frightening thing makes the fear worse. It also destroys trust. Imagine if your spouse tried to help you get over your fear of spiders by borrowing a friend's pet tarantula. Every day your spouse would bring the tarantula into the kitchen while you were eating breakfast: "See, she's a very sweet spider. So cute, so fuzzy, such lustrous black eyes..." Most likely you would not develop any love for the tarantula. You would start dreading breakfast. You would be torn between wanting to squash the spider and knowing it's wrong to squash somebody else's pet spider. After enough ruined breakfasts you might threaten a divorce if that spider didn't go home to her proper owner immediately. You might even learn to hate coffee, because every time you smell coffee you think of the big scary spider in your kitchen.

3) Consider the impact of a dog fight on the other dog. You know your dog gets upset. What about the other dog? Will the other dog leave the fight a little less happy, a little less friendly, a little less trusting of other dogs? Is it fair to other dog owners to risk an encounter that might permanently worsen the way their dog interacts with other dogs?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the reply. I am not going to put other dogs at risk. I was thinking of holding my dog on a distance from another male dog and practise calmness with my dog. Wasnt planning on letting them greet eachother. Not sure how that will be an issue for the other dog. If loose dogs come up to my dog when mine is on a leash I cannot take the blame for.

i am also seeking advice here because our dog trainer has said it cannot be improved which I dont really believe so I am trying to look for advice elsewhere.

thanks again!
 

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My previous lab mix was reactive to both dogs and people, (as is my current pup) it did/does take a commitment of empathy, time, energy and learning, but it is possible to work with them and make their lives easier and more enjoyable for them (and us).

This article may be helpful to you. Reactive Dog Behavior - Whole Dog Journal (whole-dog-journal.com)
 

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I was thinking of holding my dog on a distance from another male dog and practise calmness with my dog. Wasnt planning on letting them greet eachother. Not sure how that will be an issue for the other dog. If loose dogs come up to my dog when mine is on a leash I cannot take the blame for.

i am also seeking advice here because our dog trainer has said it cannot be improved which I dont really believe so I am trying to look for advice elsewhere.

thanks again!
The best approach often depends on the dog. I've had a few over the years who were varying degrees of reactive, and each required a different approach.

Bandit would only react to defend us from 'aggressive' dogs, so it was enough to keep him away from reactive dogs who would bark or growl. As long as we respected their reactivity thresholds, there was never a problem.

Arrow was afraid of men (but particularly men in hoodies) and strangers visiting his territory, and would approach them to nip at their heels. I suspect there had been some abuse when he was younger, which set him up to particularly fear men in hoodies, as well as having to contend with GSD territoriality and instinct to defend. In his case, because he had an exceptionally strong grounding in the Come, Sit, and Stay commands (atypically strong: he would stop mid-stride whilst chasing prey if I called), I never had to worry much except to avoid leaving him unattended outside when we might have unannounced visitors, and to give a wide berth to a very few strangers on walks whom he deemed suspicious. He would also take his cue from me: if I was friendly to someone, he no longer viewed them as 'suspicious strangers' - which was lucky for us when my cousins arrived for an infrequent visit having shot up like beanpoles and wearing hoodies 😅.

Sneakers, the neighbours' dog, just had to be convinced that none of her people were afraid of other dogs for her to stop trying to scare them all away.

Sky, my latest rescue, is very much a work in progress. She arrived reacting to anything that moved (cars, people, dogs, birds, etc.) at distances up to a km. I found it helped a lot to teach her to change direction quickly - essentially teaching her that we could literally run away from the scary things instead of trying to scare them away. I also used what in human terms would be 'exposure therapy' by sitting her down at the dog park fence. This is NOT something I would generally recommend (it started as more an act of desperation TBH, but is something I continued because she is always visibly happy and excited to approach the dog park in spite of being reactive while at the fence to begin), but in her case it helped her learn that the things on the other side of boundaries (people on the other side of fences, dogs barking in houses, etc.) were not something that could hurt her. I've also gotten her used to standing motionless at my side while scary things pass at a 'safe' distance - which definitely saved our bacon when a young off-leash dog ran up to us with their owner following behind shouting, "It's okay. He's just a puppy!" 🙄 Aside from that, it has been a gradual process of de-escalation. At 6 1/2 months of work, we can now pass almost everything on the opposite side of the street without setting off her reactivity, and if she does bark, it's usually just old habits showing up temporarily. Fingers crossed that someday we'll be able to pass people without crossing the road.

Whichever approach you take, it should be tailored to your dog's reactions. Ideally, they'll be having fun even if you are working on de-escalating their reactivity.
 

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OP, I am going to respond a couple of ways. First off, @Curls absolutely nailed it with his response and this should be required reading for everyone with a reactive Dog.

If you are not using one you need to buy a Herm-Sprenger pinch collar and use it every time you go out with your Dog. Pinch collars are not cruel when used right (I will hunt down and end anyone who butts into this thread and says that pinch collars are cruel!). I have a Male 90Lb German Shepherd who is an Alpha as well as Dominant and he is Dog on Dog Reactive. He wears a pinch collar every time we go out and whenever he puts the collar on it sends the message "Hey, it's time to get serious. We are going to work" and he and I are a Team. I guarantee you that your Dog's mentality will change for the better once you start using a pinch collar.

I strongly suggest that you locate and work with a good Trainer who is skilled with Behavior issues and stay as far away from "Positive Only" Trainers as you possible can.

Distance is your Dog's best friend but every situation and encounter with another Dog is going to be different. You have to learn to be flexible and how to adjust on the fly. The best advice I can give is whenever you see another Dog remove your Dog from the situation as quickly as possible. Speed up your pace, get behind a vehicle to block your Dog's view, go around a building, turn around and go back the way you came. Train your Dog to make eye contact whenever you call his/her name. Next train your Dog to come to you whenever you call their name. When you see another Dog; or in the case of Prey Drive a Squirrel, a Cat, a Fox, etc. quicken your pace, call your Dog's name to get him/her focused on you and not the other Dog, and if needed give a leash correction which should be low and to the side not up or back. Reactivity is caused by fear and what you are trying to do is keep your Dog from becoming fixated on the other Dog. As you are moving away it is OK if your Dog looks as long as he/she does not become fixated. Once you have moved past the critical area and your Dog has calmed down remember to praise him/her and heap on the praise. Dogs live to please their handlers and you have to acknowledge their efforts.

For those of you who want to jump into this conversation and say something like "he's full of it, he doesn't know what he's talking about" I have a Reactive Dog. 6 months ago he couldn't get within 300 feet of another Dog without losing his mind. Barking, lunging, hackles up, and all of it. Now he can come within 10 feet of another Dog and he is fine. My Dog will never get to a point where he is not Reactive. Getting him to where he is took a lot of hard work and the work continues. I manage his Reactivity and we do fine, we are a Team. Last week we were in Petsmart and my Dog was on Sit while we were waiting to check out. 3 other Dogs around us were acting up really bad but my Dog was solid. In fact he looked at me as if to say "what's their issue, Dad"? OP, where you want to get to is a point where your Dog is able to ignore the other Dogs. Your Dog will probably accept the other Dogs but your Dog can learn to ignore them.

In the Spring of next year my Dog and I are going to start trialing for his IGP BH Title. Not bad for a Reactive Dog from a Rescue that a lot of people were ready to give up on . . .
 

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The aggression toward other dogs sounds like reactivity, which is indeed usually based in fear.

The general advice is to find a place where your dog can observe the thing that makes them afraid from a distance they view as 'safe', and gradually decrease that distance over weeks or months as they learn not to be afraid.

However, I'd start with confirming that you aren't causing the reaction by anticipating it. I used to walk a really lovely dog for my neighbours. Initially, I was told she was "extremely reactive to other dogs". In truth, she was reacting to her people being afraid, which she interpreted as a fear of the other dog not fear of her reaction. In her case, at least, it was an easy fix: one walk with me playacting at being really happy to see every other dog.
This is spot on. Dogs especially Working Breed Dogs need calm, consistent leadership. If your Dog senses that you aren't leading the Dog will try to lead and that usually doesn't end well. In the case of a Reactive Dog the Dog is afraid and wants you to take charge and protect him/her. If you don't do this for whatever reason the Dog tries to take over and things don't go well.
 

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OP, I am going to respond a couple of ways. First off, @Curls absolutely nailed it with his response and this should be required reading for everyone with a reactive Dog.

If you are not using one you need to buy a Herm-Sprenger pinch collar and use it every time you go out with your Dog. Pinch collars are not cruel when used right (I will hunt down and end anyone who butts into this thread and says that pinch collars are cruel!). I have a Male 90Lb German Shepherd who is an Alpha as well as Dominant and he is Dog on Dog Reactive. He wears a pinch collar every time we go out and whenever he puts the collar on it sends the message "Hey, it's time to get serious. We are going to work" and he and I are a Team. I guarantee you that your Dog's mentality will change for the better once you start using a pinch collar.

I strongly suggest that you locate and work with a good Trainer who is skilled with Behavior issues and stay as far away from "Positive Only" Trainers as you possible can.

Distance is your Dog's best friend but every situation and encounter with another Dog is going to be different. You have to learn to be flexible and how to adjust on the fly. The best advice I can give is whenever you see another Dog remove your Dog from the situation as quickly as possible. Speed up your pace, get behind a vehicle to block your Dog's view, go around a building, turn around and go back the way you came. Train your Dog to make eye contact whenever you call his/her name. Next train your Dog to come to you whenever you call their name. When you see another Dog; or in the case of Prey Drive a Squirrel, a Cat, a Fox, etc. quicken your pace, call your Dog's name to get him/her focused on you and not the other Dog, and if needed give a leash correction which should be low and to the side not up or back. Reactivity is caused by fear and what you are trying to do is keep your Dog from becoming fixated on the other Dog. As you are moving away it is OK if your Dog looks as long as he/she does not become fixated. Once you have moved past the critical area and your Dog has calmed down remember to praise him/her and heap on the praise. Dogs live to please their handlers and you have to acknowledge their efforts.

For those of you who want to jump into this conversation and say something like "he's full of it, he doesn't know what he's talking about" I have a Reactive Dog. 6 months ago he couldn't get within 300 feet of another Dog without losing his mind. Barking, lunging, hackles up, and all of it. Now he can come within 10 feet of another Dog and he is fine. My Dog will never get to a point where he is not Reactive. Getting him to where he is took a lot of hard work and the work continues. I manage his Reactivity and we do fine, we are a Team. Last week we were in Petsmart and my Dog was on Sit while we were waiting to check out. 3 other Dogs around us were acting up really bad but my Dog was solid. In fact he looked at me as if to say "what's their issue, Dad"? OP, where you want to get to is a point where your Dog is able to ignore the other Dogs. Your Dog will probably accept the other Dogs but your Dog can learn to ignore them.

In the Spring of next year my Dog and I are going to start trialing for his IGP BH Title. Not bad for a Reactive Dog from a Rescue that a lot of people were ready to give up on . . .
Please be warned that advising the use of aversive methods, such as the pinch/choke collar, is strictly against forum rules, which you agreed to abide by on signing up to this forum.

OP, I advise you to disregard the advice to use aversive methods.
 

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Agreed. He said himself reactivity is rooted in fear- adding pain/disconfort to the stress that's already there is not going to fix this. It might suppress the behaviour for the dog to avoid the consequent pain but it won't do anything to address the underlying root cause.
stay as far away from "Positive Only" Trainers as you possible can
Yet, you use and recomment a positive method - positive punishment. Maybe you don't know as much as you think you do.
I will hunt down and end anyone who butts into this thread and says that pinch collars are cruel
That says a lot. When you only have a hammer, every problem becomes a nail.
 

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I guarantee you that your Dog's mentality will change for the better once you start using a pinch collar.
Sky arrived at my door highly reactive and wearing a pinch collar upon the advice of local animal control.

It isn't some magic solution. Badly used, it causes pain that the reactive dog ascribes to whatever they've fixated on (which makes them more afraid in the long run). You also run the risk of pushing their pain tolerance so high that no amount of negative feedback can distract them (Sky had welts on her neck from lunging against the collar). Not to mention the preponderance of evidence that using negative feedback substantially increases the risk of seeing aggression in a dog - not a risk worth taking, in my opinion.

Sky's reactivity didn't start to improve until I swapped the pinch collar for a regular slip lead (admittedly, not something this forum likes either, but I will stress that I do not use leash corrections as a technique, and would rather run with her than allow it to overtighten).
 

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Sky's reactivity didn't start to improve until I swapped the pinch collar for a regular slip lead (admittedly, not something this forum likes either, but I will stress that I do not use leash corrections as a technique, and would rather run with her than allow it to overtighten).

This is not the first time the use of a slip lead has been stated on this forum.
If one aware that this forum does not support or condone the use of aversive tools including slip leads, why continue with making statements that promote their use?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks all for the advices. The main thing I gather from all the replies is that we need to practise being closer and closer to other male dogs but a very slow pace for him to get more and more comfertable.
regarding leashes: I use mostly a vest for him as the dog trainer said that leashes could make him feel more «trapped» in a tense situation.

some follow up questions:
1) am I supposed to get his attention and then give him treats or should I give him treats without doing that? That is, do I want him to get treats while being observative of the other dog and if not, does it take away some of the effect?

2) when should I not give him treats? For instance, if he is visible stressed (neck fur straight up for instance and he makes «worried» noises), should I still give him treats or does that reward stresses behaviour?



thanks again all!
 
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