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Hi! My name is Sara and I have an English Springer Spaniel, just 1 in February, named Frodo. I got him at 8 weeks old and he's been fun. He's a great dog, loving, obedient (for the most part), great with our seven kids and a bit of a "Velcro" dog with me, which was just what I wanted in an ESS.
He does have anxiety related leash reactivity, which can be a little hard. He wants to play with other dogs so bad he sounds like Cujo :) It's got a lot better since we started walking him on a Gentle Leader- like from an 8 to 3. I got him hoping to compete in dog sports with him, or walk the easy hiking trails, and he can't attend classes or walk the trails cause he'd be around other dogs. Any recommendations for an online basic training class? (Heel, sit, stay, etc.,) I'm very hopeful- we met with a excellent behaviorist and laid out a good game plan

I am a homemaker, and I'm also disabled, both physically (fibromyalgia, myalgic encephalomyelitis,multiple hernias, arthritis, migraines, etc.) mentally- I suffer from bipolar I disorder and anxiety. Please be patient with me if some posts about the reactivity or other issues seem a little negative...when I'm depressed it's hard to remain cheerful about it. When I got Frodo my expectations were a bit high ;) . I've had dogs before, but I wanted a puppy to train, to compete, to love on, and it seemed like if I just did x, y would result. I should've known. They say that about kids too.

I'm glad to be here. I've browsed and everyone has beautiful dogs!
 

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Springers can definitely be like that- my cousins had one growing up named Bogart (AKA Bogie) that was the same way- a loveable dog but SUPER velcro and fairly leash/dog reactive.

I also have anxiety and depression (unipolar depression- it comes from the same genes as bipolar, which is strong in my family, but doesn't have a manic component), so I can relate. I honestly can't say how much my dog has helped me with it just by being a dog and by giving me a project to work on in training her. I got her during a low period and have been progressively doing better since then.

Also, I grew up with a high dog reactive dog (as in she would literally hurt herself trying to get at other dogs sometimes) and had a long road working with my lab/BC/mutt who was pretty reactive towards skateboards and scooters as a young dog, so I can relate to the difficulty. It's great you already have a plan with a behaviorist!

Depending on his level of reactivity and the quality of trainers in your area you may be able to find a trainer willing to take him on in their class despite his reactivity; if not you could probably find someone willing to do private lessons and maybe even help you with his reactivity by providing trustworthy dogs to aide in his rehabilitation (to begin with dogs that won't meet his level of excitement while you work on focusing exercises and then eventually dogs that would be able to deal with a slightly amped up/not so social dog). I'm currently in an intermediate obedience class with my puppy where all 5 other dogs are relatively reactive (1 strongly so towards other dogs, the others slightly towards other dogs and a lot towards things like skateboards) except for mine. In our current agility class there's a slightly reactive puppy (can't have other dogs near his face) and I actually continued with agility with my own dog reactive dog (who has since passed) for quite some time and the trainer was just careful to make sure everyone else in the class knew mine couldn't have interaction and to keep their dogs away.

Also, don't lose hope in competing- you may still be able to do that! There are competition agility dogs that started out dog aggressive/reactive. That could be your goal for him; he may not be able to do it at a high level and it will probably be frustrating at times but you may be able to get him to a point where he can go to a local trial. Plus, it's a sport you can practice in a back yard on your own if you don't mind investing in some equipment and it's a really spectacular way to keep fit (for both your dog and yourself) and build a bond. Also, having done it as a child myself (I did it with my first dog as a 10 year old) I think it's a great way for kids that are interested to get involved in training a dog in a fun way, so it might be something your kids could do with him in the yard as well- it's not that fun to walk the dog, but it's a lot more fun to run him over jumps, through a tunnel, and through some weaves in the back yard a handful of times.

I know how frustrating it is to have a reactive dog, but it's a great learning experience as well.
 

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Thanks! You know, I'd wondered if spaniels were more reactive...I talked to someone with a Welsh once, whose dog was mildly reactive. He's bad enough to avoid dogs on leash...but he can go to the dog park, no problem. I don't take him because I don't want a bad experience to make things worse.

My behaviorist is working on loose leash walking, engagement and focus, and relax on a mat. He's a little high strung, always has been, and she thinks gettting him relaxed, where I have some control on the leash, and getting his focus more on me, are first steps. She teaches a reactive dog class. I think she wants him on a flat collar though. Right now a walk of any length has to be on the Gentle Leader. She also wants me to practice engagement in various locations as well.

I got Frodo four months after my mom's death, and still had a bad episode when he was eight months old. I was hospitalized, it was frustrating. He became reactive about six months.

I love agility. The kids would love it. They miss walking him.
 
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