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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm really sorry if this sounds negative. Just that Dex's reactivity seems to have taken a turn for the worse. I'm not even sure if it is 'normal' reactivity any longer.

If I didn't have other, serious, ongoing stress in life, I think I would be coping with Dex's issues a lot better. Without going into details, suffice it to say that someone close to me is seriously ill and has been for many years and I help care for them.

Today: Dex and I walked past one of our neighbours; a really nice man, and his three young children. Dex has seen them countless times. They are never anything but friendly and smiling.

So I had him on a relaxed lead as we walked past. The husband was carrying a small carry-cot and just as he drew near to us, suddenly Dex lunged - I don't know who was more startled, the man or me :001_unsure: The kids froze. I apologised profusely and the man was lovely about it. (I don't think it was the carry cot he was holding, we often walk past people carrying them).

This has happened a few times lately - sudden lunges at people walking past. I CANNOT find any rhyme or reason for this behaviour.

Almost the entire walk - Dex is licking his lips. Anxiety? Fear? Of what though???

I try a relaxed lead - no change.

I try a relaxed but shorter lead - no change.

I use a headcollar - no change.

I try without a headcollar - no change.

I have managed to help Dex with some SPECIFIC fears - i.e. people with umbrellas, fluorescent clothing, motor bikes.

But the generalised, unpredictable 'reactivity' - I am at my wits end to get a handle of this.

My apologies for such a 'woe is me' post - just having a tough time right now.
 

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what sort of lunge though?

our two BC's would happily pin anyone down and kiss em to death, only once has Glen "gone" for someone, a man walked towards us and all was well but at the last minute he raised his hand in a wave, Glen charged, i only just stopped him making contact, i dont know if he thought the guy was attacking me, or him, maybe a memory of bad treatment, who knows

tilly wants to herd everyone
 

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I wish I had some advice to give but my Weimaraner bitch is exactly the same with reactivity. She lunges at people at random if she gets the chance. Some people she will completely ignore as they are coming towards us but with others her demeanor changes (she gives them what I call the "look") and I know if I slacked up the lead she would lunge at them.

With her there is no pattern to it either.

I have no idea why she does it. She was well socialized as a puppy and is from a good breeding line. I guess she just doesn't like strangers. Or she is just a pain in the arse. :eek:ut:
 

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Not sure I can offer any practical advice but didn't want to read this and run :eek:

What is he like offlead? I know he can't be offlead all the time but Scooter can be reactive towards men when he's onlead. If he's offlead and able to give passers-by a wide berth then he will. Yesterday he completely ignored a man picking blackberries in a meadow I take them through and apparently ran past the chap (who I didn't initially see) twice without bothering him.
He needs the option to distance himself or he becomes worried - head-on meetings often result in a bark or grumble so I do my utmost to avoid them and hope to start counter-conditioning him to men using a clicker.

Does he know "watch me" or similar? If you can take his focus off other people and onto you this may break the habit, or at least distract him for a moment.

If you're really struggling then my vote would be to find a behaviourist to help you work through this with Dex.

Best wishes x
 

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yellow lab- I know exactly what you're feeling and sometimes it feels like it's never gonna be any different. Ive had a great week with charlie, mostly because we havn't been around many people or dogs! On sunday he was so rowdy playing with a wee collie that he knocked the old owners walking stick out of his hand- I was mortified! He was nice enough about it but commented that it was a good job it wasnt crutches. Tuesday he kept trying to flatten a dog on the beach (and its owner) I just get worn out trying to cope with it and Im feeling a bit down today about it too. Chin up, keep plugging away... tomorrows another day I guess :rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I think it is time you had a complete check up by the vet, a thyroid panel done and then a referral to a reputable behaviourist.
We have the orthopoedic specialist at the start of November so I was thinking of doing that first, in case the behaviour is stemming from discomfort/pain... But you are right, I have to get the other things looked at too.
 

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I don't know Dex's history but Rupert goes through phases of being much more difficult to manage, I think his steroids affect his behavior. Today he was lunging to sniff at a tiny dog who did nothing but saunter along out of our way alongside his owner :( anytime we go past anyone or any thing I am holding his collar just in case, I hope you can get some help/advice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks guys :)


If it was just men, I could cope fine.

It's just SO unpredictable. He'll be fine with men - then lunge at one.

He's great with cars - then will suddenly lunge at one.

Ditto with vans.

If he sees a cat or horse he goes BESERK. A bird will cause a lunge.

Even someone who simply MOVES or bends over can send him over threshold, it seems....
 

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I think it is time you had a complete check up by the vet, a thyroid panel done and then a referral to a reputable behaviourist.
I agree with you, a vet would be my first call just to check that Dex is OK.
 

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I would agree that you a vet check & seek out a good behaviourist for this.

In the mean time I would always be aaware of who is passing you & give them plenty of room.

Roxy used to be very unpredicatable for a while & would also react like this. Even now I am still aware of this & will anticipate anything that may cause her anxiety.

We seem to have got over alot of her anxiety but at training class a few weeks ago a man came in to the class area to join his wife & he was carrying a large golfing umbrella. I knew Roxy would be wary of this so moved aside & made sure she watched me, we then played tug & once he was further away she could see he was no threat so relaxed again.

It maybe that you can try & put more distance between yourself & passers by. Do you think he has always been scared of the carrycots & you have missed the signs previously? I'm not being funny but just wondered as I think this is what I may have overlooked with Roxy, her fear was always there but I just didn't notice until she made it so obvious by lunging/snapping.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Do you let Dex offlead?
Yes, in certain places. He is much much better off lead. He will still react to a few things but not nearly so tense.

e.g. have taken him twice to Hampstead Heath, and he was fab, took everything in his stride. The only time he kicked off was when we sat down for lunch and all the dogs were on lead, Dex saw some birds and went MAD.

That said, even off lead he has kicked off a few times - he will run towards the 'trigger' barking, get close to it, stop, wag his tail a few times, and then come running back to me......
 

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Can honestly feel your pain. Bodhi has good and bad days. Tonight recall was all over the shop but then dog meeting was fine but it can be the other way round, you just don't know when. The house elf is blaming the weather and the darkening nights for Bodhi's senses going a bit nuts.

Sounds like you're thinking of good practical steps, just try to be positive about yourself. If you've already seen improvement before no reason to think it won't happen again.

Tomorrow is another day and all that :)
 

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Can honestly feel your pain. Bodhi has good and bad days. Tonight recall was all over the shop but then dog meeting was fine but it can be the other way round, you just don't know when. The house elf is blaming the weather and the darkening nights for Bodhi's senses going a bit nuts.

Sounds like you're thinking of good practical steps, just try to be positive about yourself. If you've already seen improvement before no reason to think it won't happen again.

Tomorrow is another day and all that :)
I agree with that, but also know how thoroughly demotivated, exhausted and just downright perplexed their behaviour can leave you.
It's good that you recognise how other things impact and can shorten your ability to shrug and carry on.
Hope things pick up soon for you, take care x
 

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I cannot add anything to the wise words already 'spoken', but I am sorry to hear things are tough at present and hope that they improve soon x.
 

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Awww poor you and poor Dex, Im afraid I cant help as I dont know his history etc, I personaly think you should get an experienced behavourist involved so they can see first hand what is going on.

Hope you get him sorted soon tho:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Awww poor you and poor Dex, Im afraid I cant help as I dont know his history etc, I personaly think you should get an experienced behavourist involved so they can see first hand what is going on.

Hope you get him sorted soon tho:)
I don't know his history either :( only that he was abandoned at the age of 14 months.

The trainer we had when I first rehomed him said she felt he had definitely been treated poorly, but he still likes people, thankfully.
 
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