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Hi:) I have a 6 year old German shepherd mix named Rico. I got him when I was in 2nd grade because he was a cute, playful puppy. Who doesn't love a cute, playful puppy? I did not, however, take into consideration the energy level that a cute, playful puppy would have as an adult. He received very little socialization, and don't remember doing much training outside the house.

Although I don't remember him being a very difficult puppy, what I have now is a dog who has to be continuously reminded to heal while on leashed walks. If he is not, he will race ahead of me, sniffing everything, jerking me around and trying to jump in front of cars. If he sees another dog, he goes full out bonkers, yanking on the leash (and my arm) to try to get to the dog. Sometimes, I'm not positive if he wants to start a fight with the other dog or if he is just frustrated that he can't go to interact with the other dog. Although he has gotten better, he is still way out of control.

What I think is the biggest problem is that he ignores me while we're out of the house. He knows what "good boy" means. He knows what "no" means. He knows what "heal" means. It's just that half the time, when we're on a walk, I feel like he doesn't hear me. He sees very little reward in doing what I ask - he doesn't respond to treats, doesn't respond to toys, and barely responds to praise. The main reason he walks by my side is that he is scared that I will yank on his collar. I hate that!!! But I feel like I don't have much of a choice!:(:(:(

Recently, I took him out to the front yard on a leash. A couple with a baby stroller and a dog walked by. I started to take him inside (I'm not sure why; I know I shouldn't do that!) and suddenly he was off his leash! I think the clasp was never completely closed, or it just wiggled out, but whatever happened, I was standing there at my front door holding a dog leash with Rico running to the dog in front of the house. He started chasing the dog around and around, the owner trying to calm him down, the other dog screaming and yelping, the woman pulling the baby stroller away, and he did not pay any attention to me calling him back. Finally, when he was standing over the other dog lying on the ground, he came back to me, and I pulled him inside. I don't think he hurt the other dog, but I'm really not sure.

We have taken him to the dog park 3 or 4 times... But I'm always on edge and we run before he goes in. The last time we went, there was an intact male golden retriever and an intact female Australian shepherd. The Aussie got all flustered because of the golden and snapped at him. Her owner came over to calm her down. Previously, Rico hadn't been playing with those dogs and had been checking out the other dogs. As soon as the Aussie was upset, Larry was right there, as if he wanted to fight! They would have if the owner hadn't grabbed both dogs by their cheeks and held them apart. Since then, we have not gone back. What if the Aussie's owner had not been there? I would not have know what to do if a fight broke out, other than call Rico and hope he doesn't kill anyone.

Lastly - he barks at the neighbors' little terriers, running around vigorously, up and down the fence, so on. It just seems so unhealthy!

Does anything know anything I could try? He is such a sweet dog (although my dad says he is the most stubborn he's ever known) and I wish we could relax and enjoy walks and trips to the dog park. I just feel stuck. Help!
 

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Have you considered taking an obedience class or working with a trainer?

Look for ones that are force-free, nothing about "dominance" or punishment or being the alpha. I'm also a fan of more local training clubs as opposed to the chains like Petco or Petsmart, but sometimes there are good trainers there too.

I think you both would have a lot of fun and gain alot from something like that.
 

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So, basically what you have is an anti-social dog that's pretty much learned to think for itself...

Here's what I would do, dog park is prime - since you already want to do it.

First of all, muzzle train your dog - your dog would be a good candidate for it. And it's not to be mean, used properly it generally has a calming effect - nor can the dog bite when wearing said muzzle.

Good leash and collar combo if you don't have one already. One that guarantees the dog stays leashed to you.

If you're really not comfortable, get a tie on banner for the dog that says "in training" for the first bit. You're really just looking to take control of the dog - let it socialize with the sights, smells etc on your terms. This is all practice about your terms, you're trying to take control of your dog.

Take the dog for a run or for some good exercise to burn off some energy. Never take a dog like yours straight to a park without burning down the excess energy - they will be more relaxed and willing to listen.

Then hit the dog park. Use the muzzle for at least the first bit of the walk. Yes, dogs are going to run up for a meet - watch your dog carefully, they should both sniff butts, just let it happen. Don't correct the dog, don't say anything to the dog - unless things start to go sour. Your dog may get growled at, might even get nipped at - but pay close attention cause if your dog is being a jerk, then these are corrections. Typically when I'm trying to get a dog social, I won't let my dog go to meet other dogs - other dogs come to him, they can read his energies better than you. If they are distant, it means there's something wrong with your dogs energies - they won't proceed with the meet. This is what gets your dog thinking - why don't the other dogs want to meet me, why won't they want to play. Once you get multiple repeat rejections - now your dog is going to start to figure it out.

If that goes well, simply rinse and repeat. But relax for the whole walk - don't yell at the dog, don't get excited - just relax and enjoy the park.


And let me guess, two high energy terriers that don't get anything else but a back yard in your neighbors yard? Fence fighting?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you thank you thank you to both of you!!!

So, basically what you have is an anti-social dog that's pretty much learned to think for itself...

Here's what I would do, dog park is prime - since you already want to do it.

First of all, muzzle train your dog - your dog would be a good candidate for it. And it's not to be mean, used properly it generally has a calming effect - nor can the dog bite when wearing said muzzle.

Good leash and collar combo if you don't have one already. One that guarantees the dog stays leashed to you.

If you're really not comfortable, get a tie on banner for the dog that says "in training" for the first bit. You're really just looking to take control of the dog - let it socialize with the sights, smells etc on your terms. This is all practice about your terms, you're trying to take control of your dog.

Take the dog for a run or for some good exercise to burn off some energy. Never take a dog like yours straight to a park without burning down the excess energy - they will be more relaxed and willing to listen.

Then hit the dog park. Use the muzzle for at least the first bit of the walk. Yes, dogs are going to run up for a meet - watch your dog carefully, they should both sniff butts, just let it happen. Don't correct the dog, don't say anything to the dog - unless things start to go sour. Your dog may get growled at, might even get nipped at - but pay close attention cause if your dog is being a jerk, then these are corrections. Typically when I'm trying to get a dog social, I won't let my dog go to meet other dogs - other dogs come to him, they can read his energies better than you. If they are distant, it means there's something wrong with your dogs energies - they won't proceed with the meet. This is what gets your dog thinking - why don't the other dogs want to meet me, why won't they want to play. Once you get multiple repeat rejections - now your dog is going to start to figure it out.

If that goes well, simply rinse and repeat. But relax for the whole walk - don't yell at the dog, don't get excited - just relax and enjoy the park.


And let me guess, two high energy terriers that don't get anything else but a back yard in your neighbors yard? Fence fighting?
Does it matter the type of muzzle I use? I'm comparing these three muzzles - not necessarily these exact brands but the general way it fits the dog:
https://www.amazon.com/Guardian-Gea...e=UTF8&qid=1471383998&sr=8-7&keywords=Muzzles

https://www.amazon.com/Trixie-Muzzl...=UTF8&qid=1471383998&sr=8-11&keywords=Muzzles

https://www.amazon.com/Baskerville-...e=UTF8&qid=1471383998&sr=8-2&keywords=Muzzles

I think I'm overthinking this. Does it really matter which style I choose?


**oh also, very close; there are three high energy terriers. They would fence fight, but Rico tore down the small chain-link fence so much that he could almost get through, so, after repairing it many times, the neighbor built a wooden fence inside his yard to keep Rico from tearing up his dogs. :(

We aren't exactly next door neighbors -- the yard of the house behind mine isn't as big as my yard. The next yard over connects with mine a little bit (like less than 3 feet) which is where the fence fighting was going on.
 

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The minpin used the style muzzle from the first link when at the vet, it's the only one that would fit properly and not allow the bite. It seems many with the larger breeds go with the baskerville style. Just make sure it fits well.

Again, don't consider the muzzle to be bite inhibitive - it's part of using it - but think calm. Put the muzzle on the dog in the house, and let him calm down.

Don't force it on the dog, you're not looking to hold the dog down and push it on his muzzle. Let the dog sniff the muzzle, rub the dog with the muzzle if you have to, just let him get used to it before putting it on - some dogs take it faster than others. Put the muzzle on, but don't snap it in place. Take it off - repeat as necessary. When the dog is calm, put the muzzle on the snout, let him relax, then snap it on. The whole point here is keeping the dog calm. Let him wear it for a while to get used to it - practice calm. There's some good videos on youtube if different opinions.

Do that several times throughout the first day - but don't take him outside with it on. Let him wear it for couple of minutes first, then take it off. Put it back on a half hour later for 5 minutes, then take it off. And repeat for longer periods - but don't leave him unattended with the muzzle on. I'd do it for at least a day or two.

The day you feel the dog is relaxed, do a couple of exercises of putting the muzzle on the dog and taking it off again. Give treats when you take it off if you wish. With the muzzle on, take him out in the back yard on leash - but try to do so when the terriers are not around. Drop the leash and let him wander the yard - you're still trying to get the dog used to wearing a muzzle without stress around. The exercise here is for calm in muzzle.
 

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So after your dog scared the bajeesus out of a woman with a baby - nobody went out to apologize and check on her?

I agree with others about muzzle training. Personally I wouldn't take him around other dogs or things that are triggers until his basic obedience is solid. If he's solid in the house then increase the level of distraction and practice there (yard, sidewalk, parking lot, etc). Give him lots of rewards for good behaviors.

Going to the dog park with a dog that highly reactive is like baptism by fire. It's too unpredictable and could make the situation worse if there's a scuffle.

If you can afford it - I would speak to a trainer that can come work with you and your dog. They can see the behaviors first hand and would be in a better position to advise you how to modify them.
 

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Lastly - he barks at the neighbors' little terriers, running around vigorously, up and down the fence, so on. It just seems so unhealthy!
You have a wonderful training environment right in your backyard. Leash up your dog and work the heel as far away from the terrier and fence as possible. Every time your dog breaks, correct the dog. While your dog is maintaining a proper heel, use your positive verbal marker and reward appropriately. Close the distance to the fence but only at a rate which allows a successful heel, this might take some time as in days.

I would also have the dog on a long line and bring an end to the fence charging, it is not productive and needs to be stopped.
 
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