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Overprotective and reactive

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by MissAlice, Jul 17, 2018.


  1. MissAlice

    MissAlice PetForums Newbie

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    My dog is wonderful. She is sweet and cuddly and wants nothing more than love ... and treats. That is, she is all these things at home.
    The problem comes when we go outside. As soon as we step out the front door, she is on high alert. Ears are up and she is scanning the area. If she sees someone even from a distance she is barking or growling or lunging. However, she is only like this with me.
    When my fiancé takes her out, she can be slightly reactive but not nearly to the same degree.
    When I adopted her about 6 months ago she seemed to love people and dogs! I know this is a learned behavior, and it is up to me to correct it in her and in me. But I just don’t know how. It’s gotten to the point that I beg my fiancé to take her out because I’m too scared.
    Help?
     
  2. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    She is probably feeling anxious.

    Ask your vet to refer you to a good behaviourist who uses positive, reward based methods.

    If she came from rescue ask if they have behaviourists on board.

    Look at kikopup and positively.com for some tips
     
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  3. Jackie Lee

    Jackie Lee Banned

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    When your dog sees a person, start giving your dog tiny treats, one after another. Save the yummiest food for this exercise, so your dog learns “scary person = steak” (or string cheese or turkey hotdogs or whatever else your dog loves). Start the treats when your dog sees the person and stop when the person is gone. If the person is taking too long to move on, you and your dog may need to be the ones to leave. Keep in mind that you are not trying to distract your dog; you are trying to change your dog’s negative association with people.
     
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  4. JoanneF

    JoanneF PetForums VIP

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    I would second the suggestion to get a good behaviourist. In order to address the behaviour, you would need to understand what is causing it - is it fear; or something else such as resource guarding you. The method you use to address it could differ, depending on the cause. A good behaviourist will watch you and her and give you strategies to manage her behaviour.
     
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  5. StormyThai

    StormyThai Moderator
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    I'd say get yourself a force free trainer or behaviourist to help give you the confidence you need, I bet you are hyper vigilant too which isn't fun for you at all and your dog will pick up on that (maybe the reason why she is over reactive with you and not your partner).
    This is a really good resource to help you http://careforreactivedogs.com/
     
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  6. Jackie Lee

    Jackie Lee Banned

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    If she can do it by herself, why does she still needs to hire a behaviourist? She must try it first and if it doesn't work, then that would be the time. No need to rush, not all dog owners are wealthy.
     
  7. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    The cost of a behaviourist via a vet is often covered by insurance.

    The trouble with trying things out alone first is that the average dog owner won’t actually know why their dog is behaving in a certain way.

    If handled the wrong way the situation can be made worse.

    Not such an issue if you are just trying to perfect a sit or stop pulling on the lead. Quite another if dealing with fear, anxiety or possible aggression issues.

    The internet is swamped with bad advice and how would an owner know which is which?
     
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  8. labradrk

    labradrk PetForums VIP

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    That is completely up to her, isn't it? if she wants to try and tackle it herself then she can, however if she's at the point where she's too afraid to walk the dog, then getting a fresh perspective can be a real confidence boost. Because so much of handling a fearful or reactive dog is actually how WE handle situations, so it's actually equally beneficial to the owner in that respect.
     
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  9. MissAlice

    MissAlice PetForums Newbie

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    I appreciate all the replies! Keep them coming if you have more ideas.
    I am going to try to work on it a bit on my own for now. I ordered a book by a professional dog behaviorist so that should help. If I don’t see some progress I will have to take her to a behaviorist for more help. The problem is money at the moment, but I can pull it together over a few months if needed.
     
  10. labradrk

    labradrk PetForums VIP

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    Do you walk her from the house? can you drive?
     
  11. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    Which book, out of interest?

    Do you have insurance?
     
  12. StormyThai

    StormyThai Moderator
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    They don't if they don't want to...A trainer or behaviourist doesn't have to cost the earth and if you get a vet referral the OP's insure will likely cover the cost (excluding excess)
    However IME having someone that is qualified and experienced with "reactive" dogs gives the owner the right skill set and the confidence to make progress...I have a couple of clients that worried constantly about walking their dogs until being shown how to manage their dogs...now they find walking their dogs a joy and in turn the dogs behaviour has improved immensely.

    OP you can also contact the rescue that she came from, most reputable rescues offer training help or can point you in the right direction :)
     
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  13. ZodiacTide

    ZodiacTide Paw prints next to my footprints...

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    Hi,

    I have had experience of a dog like this with my parents. She was a GSD who was adopted by them at 18 months old. She was perfect at home, the best dog you could as for, very willing, loving etc. She would get very excited as soon as you got her harness and lead out for a walk but as soon as she was out, it was like someone had flicked a switch and boom, here came the beast. She would pull on the lead constantly looking for scary things, was lead reactive and being a full black GSD is kind of a scary thing to walk towards and if you were to let her off the lead, she would run if another dog would approach or a certain type/build of person.

    Having tried to work through the issue with her alone and trying a multitude of things I would personally get a behaviourist in from the word go. At least you know they have the experience to deal with the issue. As a safety measure as people are so quick to call 'vicious dog' get her a cage muzzle where she can still pant, bark and drink but she can't bite anyone and no one can accuse her doing so.

    Also, if you are in the UK there is a charity out there who sell 'I need space' tabards which the dog can wear to make others aware she is not to be approached.

    Please, please, please, if you don't have the experience to deal with such an issue get a professional in, the dog is clearly anxious enough without your own anxiety feeding through to her, which it will as you'll already be on guard as soon as you think about going out for a walk.

    Good luck, I hope you manage to solve your puppers problem soon.

    Megan
     
    Lurcherlad likes this.
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