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Hi!
I have been walking this dog for a while who is very reactive to other dogs. Her reaction when on leash has regularly included sudden and fast lunges towards the direction of the other dog in combination with barking.

In the last couple of months we have been doing off leash forest hikes which have been going very good. I am careful to only do off leash in very remote places and always pay full attention to our suroundings. I have also trained her to stay close to me and have a leash dragging behind her which I can grab or step on if we were to stumble onto another dog. (Has never happened so far and we have been doing them 3 times a week for 4 months.)

I was however wondering what in a worst case scenario would happen, where we stumble onto a dog and I can't grab the leash in time. The dogs reactivity is very much fear based and I have heard that when off leash, dogs with this behaviour don't usually directly charge other dogs but instead try to scare them off with smaller lunges and barking. For people who have witnessed a similiar situation what happened?

The off leash hikes have been awsome for both me and the dog but I don't want to risk a dog fight even if the chances are very small, since we are being exposed to that small chance on a very regular basis. A long leash is not very practical in my situation since it gets tangled extremely often where we hike. Socializing is also not feasable in my situation.
 

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I would probably recommend muzzle training if you are able, for extra peace of mind.

The answer is really that it depends on a lot of things. My dog is fear reactive to both dogs and people. A few times when he has seen other dogs while he is off leash (dogs that have gotten into my backyard) he has run away. But one time he did run at a dog and initiate a scuffle (it was my parents' dog that he previously had gotten along with but does not anymore after being attacked). So I just don't chance it.
 

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Am I right in thinking this is not your dog?

If that's correct, I'd agree don't risk it. You could use a really long line to give her freedom but keep more control (only ever attached to a harness, never a collar, to prevent serious injury).

If it is your dog, or if the owners are happy for you to work on this, there are ways to change this behaviour. Please ask if you want to know more.
 

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My lab mix was fear reactive - though it only happened (by accident) twice in his life, (he was with me for over 10 yrs.) when it did, he went for the dog. In neither incident was the other dog hurt, but the first time, he did end up injured and required several stitches to close up the gash on his shoulder - which needless to say - did nothing to improve how he perceived other dogs.

Realistically - the risk of something negative happening outweigh the chances of a positive outcome, nor is it fair (imo) to either dog to knowingly put either dog at risk .
 

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I find tethering the leash to yourself with a walking belt helps keep hands free and I can walk as if I'm just walking, not trying to control my dog. Although he walks with me all the time now, so it took some training and practice, but he's a pleasure to walk with.
 

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There's some very good videos on youtube that cover this... Of course methods vary by school of thought and they all insisit that there's is the only right way. My advice, review several of them, bookmark the ones your comfortable with and pick one ... if it works great, good ... if it doesn't try another.

I put "fear reactive dog" in a search bar and this was the 1st hit I got
www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpA29bDMyl8

After arriving on the youtube site, did it again for a more complete list
www.youtube.com/results?search_query=fear+reactive+dog

We can't know what led to your dog's reaction, that depends much on her early life experiences; you can view a few of those vids and see if you can determine what behavior comes closet to what you are seeing.

I don't like the leash on ground thing ... would recommend a long leash / harness over a retractable, the latter "seems" like it's easier, and while they are functional and safe in very limited instances, they introduce several safety issues. With a long leash, I hold the handle in my left hand, run it behind my back and hold the leash again in my right hand.
humanesocietyhbg.org/2020/12/01/the-problem-with-retractable-leashes/

A muzzle may turn out to be necessary in some instances but also recognize that it can also heighten the dog's sense of fear because he now can't protect herself.
 
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