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My dog gets stressed near new dogs

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Dash, Apr 16, 2011.

  1. Dash

    Dash PetForums Newbie

    Apr 16, 2011
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    I have a wonderful 3 year old male neutered Doberman who is the sweetest dog you could have indoors, outdoors is the problem both on and off lead.
    I have been advised it could be fear aggression or he is protecting me all i know is i want him to be happy outdoors and not so stressed out.

    His family live is fine he lives with our new puppy who is now 4 months old our 2 cats which he has no issue with and our 2 children who he adores.

    His history
    We got him at 17 weeks old as a rescue; he was re-homed because his original owner’s older dog would not allow him in the house and kept attacking him

    We went to puppy class training with him which he loved, we then started citizenship training but we never finish due to busy schedules.
    As a dog walker he spent most of his time with me at work and was very well socialized with other dogs and enjoyed their company.

    Things started going wrong when he turned about 18 months old and started to flex his muscles with other dogs including the ones i walked regularly which meant i could no longer take him to work with me.

    Although he knows his commands sit, down, stay and heal it is his heal that gives me the most issues since 18 months he has refused to walk next or behind be but always out in front even if i keep him on a short lead it’s a consent battle to keep him to heal, the only way he will heal is if i give him such a yank on the lead, he will then heal but if he sees another dog no matter what the distance he is straight back out in front.

    Once he sees another dog i can feel him stressing himself into such a state, he starts tip toeing and panting heavy, he is sometimes in this state only moments from leaving the house even when no dog is in sight it is this behaviour i want to understand and help him get over so he can be as laid back as he is in the house.
  2. lemmsy

    lemmsy PetForums VIP

    May 12, 2008
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    First of all, I'd recommend you get in contact with a good behaviourist (who only uses positive methods- the APDT or APBC are a good place to start). On a forum we can only advise generally, we cannot see the behaviour or the dog, so it would be foolish to diagnose an issue, especially if it is linked to reactivity and other such issues.

    I also would not yank him on the lead, for loose lead walking, this is counter-productive for a number of reasons:

    1. It creates tension in his neck which will make him more likely to pull (dogs have opposition reflex)
    2. It will be highly likely to stress him further, especially if he is in close proximity with other dogs.
    3. It is damaging to your relationship with him. You become unpredictable in his mind, when you should be a consistent, kind, protector.

    What have you done so far to teach him to walk nicely on the lead? Have you tried any reward based methods? Might be worth having a read of the following article for ideas:

    How does he react when other dogs approach him (either on or off lead)?

    In the short term, whilst you wait to hear from a good behaviourist, I would walk him in quiet areas where you are less likely to see loads of dogs or dogs that will charge up to you and invade his space. You want to keep his stress levels low and help him to relax.

    It may well be worth teaching him a "coping" behaviour. A McDevitt Control Unleashed style "look at that!" behaviour may be a good idea?
    More info on that here to save me some typing:
    Look at That! A Counterintuitive Approach to Dealing with Reactive Dogs « Dog Training for Dog Lovers Blog

    ... and a video here:
    YouTube - Yoshi Plays Look At That (using a clicker)

    Good luck and let us know how you get on :)
  3. noushka05

    noushka05 Unicorn denier. Snowflake. Activist ;)

    Mar 28, 2008
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    agree with this post:)
  4. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

    Jul 1, 2010
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  5. jessegee

    jessegee PetForums Member

    Mar 21, 2011
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    Our dog was worried around new dogs, sometimes i would drive up to a park and let him sit on my lap and watch dogs at play through the car window
    It seemed to help when we got out and joined in, but he definately picks his friends , not the other way around

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