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Hi everyone this is my first post so here goes.... My dog roxy is a German shepherd x rotweiller we got her at 8 weeks of age from the nearby rescue. We found out that her whole littler bar her brother died as the owners left the mum to give birth in winter outside- they were gypsies.
She's not our first dog we had a rescue doberman who died last year just before we got roxy and he was a dream. She's coming up for 2 years old in December.
Basically we've totally failed her in all aspects and were now seeing the repercussions. We take/ took her everywhere with us is especially as a pup to shops, car rides, beaches, ferrys, boats, holidays. We thought we had socialised her well and trained her. Obviously not.
She's a nightmare on the lead pulls like a tank so much so I can't walk her anymore my partner has too( I could walk my dobe who weighed nearly double her!)This year has been utter hell. She's taken too barking and lunging in the car, she hates strangers and now lunges and growls so bad I fear the lead will snap. She is muzzled at all times and kept on the lead. She hates unknown dogs and I think would attack them for sure.
We live in a small welsh village so everyone has small dogs and I fear now she's known as the aggressive dog. We have to go out at odd times making sure no ones around. Were slowly introducing her to very willing people after 15 mins we can unmuzzle her and she's great. Just the initial snarling growling lunging barking puts people off.
I wonder if a small part was she had no siblings to socialise with? Being a gypsy dog I'm pretty sure her parents were bred to be guard/fighting dogs. With our close family she's amazing! Loving and great with family dogs loads of huskies and a little French basset hound.
We had a trainer last year who helped us walk her on the lead well...for a bit. This evenings walk was so bad I actually want to cry! She seen a neighbour walking their two small dogs she went ballistic I've never seen her so aggressive it took us both too try and handle her (were not weak people) they were terrified and practically ran the other way...
I fear she's too far gone and well never be able to enjoy walks or have any life again. (I would never get rid of her)
I'm so sorry for the massive page. If anyone reads this thank you so much.so much help is needed. I'm writing an email to the dog trainer next...
Maria ;-(
 

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First, stop blaming yourself. It's pointless and fruitless. Many dogs become reactive at about this age, for various reasons, including genetics. You're not alone. There is a good thread on reactivity in the training and behavior section.

Best advice is to get with a force free trainer and I'm glad you're looking into finding one. There is a section of the forum for how to find and evaluate a trainer. Same section as mentioned above.

You will get a good idea of what's needed from this site linked below. I'd limit all exposure to her triggers for the time being, as much as possible. Give her and yourself a respite. The more she's allowed to practice the behavior, the more entrenched it becomes.

Care for Reactive Dogs
 

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First of all - don't cry! It won't help, and this is not your fault. As @Grabby has mentioned, two years old is an interesting time for dogs. They aren't puppies anymore, and are settling into their personalties.

It is very important that your trainer is force free (no alpha rolls, pinch collars, e-collar etc.) as forceful corrections are going to make your dog much worse. The website linked above is such a great resource, please give it a good read.
 

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Thank you so so much for replying it means so much. It's always I wish I did more when she was a pup, but what's done is done. I think it takes its toll on you and as she's like our baby she's a massive part of our life, she's a dream in the house just as soon as we leave all goes to pot. She's quite nervous of things so I wonder if her acting out is a fight instead of flight? At 4 months old my brothers dog ( another rescue) husky attacked her for no reason and that seemed to be the start of her craziness. Thank you for the info I'll check these forums out and hopefully find more information.
I've got all ceaser milans books and TV shows saved it's hard to put into practice. But absolutely I think a different trainer this time the best I can find. Thank you Maria
 

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At 4 months old my brothers dog ( another rescue) husky attacked her for no reason and that seemed to be the start of her craziness.
This could very well be why she is now nervous of other dogs. In fact a lot of "aggressive" dogs are actually very fearful dogs.

I've got all ceaser milans books and TV shows saved it's hard to put into practice. But absolutely I think a different trainer this time the best I can find. Thank you Maria
You won't find many Ceasar fans on this forum. I highly urge you to use those books for firewood and delete his shows. He is unfortunately misinformed on dog training and behaviour. His methods will not help your dog. Please consider other trainers such as Karen Pryor, Emily Larlham (Kikopup), Dr. Sophia Yin, or Jean Donaldson.
 

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Maria, if your dog was attacked at age four months, that certainly could be why she developed the extreme reaction to other dogs. Almost all aggression is fear based. The lunging, screaming, barking, snarling is all designed to keep the scary things away from her. It's called distanced increasing behavior. There is a lot to learn. The terminology used may be new to you when you start the learning process.

Honestly, the best use of the Cesar Millan books and shows is for lining the trash can. He is not a force free trainer. He's a TV star who uses punishment. His methods are not meant to change behavior. Rather his methods suppress behavior which means it can reappear suddenly and much worse. Please consider reading more about force free positive training from these people who have a background in applied animal behavior and advanced education and degrees in the study of animal behavior.

Patricia McConnell
Sophia Yin
Jean Donaldson
Suzanne Clothier
Karen Overall
Ken Ramirez

I can list more but these should be easy to find on the web and offer you some insight into how animals learn and why using punishment, especially for a fearful/aggressive dog, is a disastrous choice.
Drayton Michaels has a lot of good videos. Look for Urban Dawgs. Great work with reactive dogs, force free.
 

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Thank you both for really great info and for that great list I will order them all in the morning i have not heard of those trainers so that's great to have some more info! I agree on ceaser my brother hates him! When she got bit...She is terrified of the hoover so ran and came near my brothers dog who's aggressive with hoarding his toys (poor thing was abused before my brother saved him) and he bit her quite bad on the head. She was terrified them tried to attack him she was so tiny then I was shocked at her fearlessness. So the more I thought of this lately it makes sense. A neighbours dog let this little dog off on the field and ran to roxy and she bit him I was mortified she was on the lead hence now always muzzled. But thought if you see us walking away why would you let your dog off. So she hates any unknown dogs. Thank you again so much for your replies! :)
 

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Thank you so so much for replying it means so much. It's always I wish I did more when she was a pup, but what's done is done. I think it takes its toll on you and as she's like our baby she's a massive part of our life, she's a dream in the house just as soon as we leave all goes to pot. She's quite nervous of things so I wonder if her acting out is a fight instead of flight?
I think it's fear-related. I have a five year old dog who is lovely in the house, with us - gentle, quiet, smart. But he's afraid of people and will bark/lunge at them, especially kids. With dogs, he's both excited and nervous, so while I'm sure he'd like to meet it's a bit risky since he might be fine OR his nervousness might take over and he'll snap at the dog.

He used to be extremely reactive towards all shapes and sizes of people, bikes, strollers, skateboards, plastic bags, paper bags, signs, bridges, styrofoam cups, statuettes in people's yards, garden ornaments, wind chimes ... etc. etc ... but through a lot of time and work, he now rarely reacts to any of those things. Now, the most likely thing to set him off are people with odd shapes attached to them, such as hats, umbrellas, bags, turbans, beards. He's also not too fond of large men but compared to the nightmare of walking him between ages 1 and 3, he's a dream.

He's still pretty reactive to dogs, but that's a lot easier to manage and he continues to improve there as well.

I've got all ceaser milans books and TV shows saved it's hard to put into practice. But absolutely I think a different trainer this time the best I can find. Thank you Maria
Yeah, I tried Cesar Milan methods on my dog, including a prong collar, and that made him MUCH worse, so please disregard that advice and toss those books and TV shows. Instead, check out these two sites: Fearfuldogs.com and Care for Reactive Dogs. Both sites can give you excellent information, explain why your dog reacts and the best way to help him learn a different way to behave.

You can also look up counter conditioning videos on you-tube with Victoria Stillwell, Kikopup, Zak George, and Kristin Crestejo.

Good luck and remember -- it'll take a while to rehabilitate him, so please come back often and update/vent as needed.
 

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You're definitely not alone! My boy is fearful of people and large dogs, it manifest as aggression towards them, rather then flight he's choosen fight. To work with him I use methods found on the website that Grabby and Dia linked to. The ONLY advice that I follow that Ceasar Milan (CM) suggest is to tell people do not touch him, do not talk to him, do not look at him, that's it all the rest I know will make my poor boy 100% worse even if it makes him seem better at first. What CM does is teach dogs to not show how they are feeling to suppress it, he teaches them that they have no option but to shut down because they cannot escape the situation, and eventually the owner may see a lot of fallout when the dog starts acting out even worse or in new ways. This thread explains all of that http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/suppression-modification-shutdown-fallout-4776/

To work with my dog, I am slowly teaching him that people cause good things to happen. It involves a lot of time, treats, patience, and frustration, but slowly it is working. He's beginning to learn that if he looks at people then looks back at me, without barking, he'll get a nice treat. Some days he does well, other days he totally loses it, but we are making progress.
 

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I suggest you find a trainer in your area certified with the Pet Professional Guild or the IMDT in your area. Fabulous trainers all of them and they will help you with your dogs issues.

Best of luck to you!
 
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