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Old 02-15-2017, 11:22 AM
SanDiegoTim SanDiegoTim is offline
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Dog Behavior Question

Couple times a years we watch our son's dog, a 4 year old 50 lb. mixed breed. Wonderful dog. Not being a dog owner I want to understand a behavior trait and know if I can work with him to change it.

Walking him on a leash he's very restrained. However, when we come across another dog a human or even a blow up Santa Claus he gets excited, barks, growls and want to lunge. If I were to release him, all he would do is sniff. Never seen him bite anything/anyone. He'll do the same thing even when he thinks he sees something/someone.

I suspect this isn't anything unusual. Would like to understand this in hopes I can change it.

Thanks.

PS: What is typical/proper with regard to how often to walk him?
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Old 02-15-2017, 11:29 AM
Shodan Shodan is offline
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What's proper is "as much as possible".

Leet the Wonder DogTM does the same - on leash, he is brave, off leash, like at the dog park, he is a great deal more circumspect. I interpret it as him saying "If it weren't for this leash, I would show you who's boss!" Like adolescent boys being held back from a fight and shooting their mouths off instead.

What is supposed to work is to keep his attention focused on you when you are walking, so he is seeing what he should do from you. That is not necessarily as easy as Cesar Milan makes it look.

Now if I could figure out how to convince Leet that the UPS guy is not a serial killer.

Regards,
Shodan
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Old 02-15-2017, 11:33 AM
Sunny Daze Sunny Daze is online now
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Does he know how to heel?

What is his normal behavior on the leash? Is he running around, getting ahead, falling behind, sniffing, peeing on things, goofing off? Is he pulling?

I think the first thing I would work on is making him rock solid on the heel. He can be loosy-goosy if you don't have a person or dog walking towards you, but as soon as something that gets him all wild is in sight, it's "heel" and he needs to do it. His attention, in other words, should be on *you*. Once you've reached the other dog, if all seems cool, and you want to release him to sniff and exchange greetings, then you can (since you indicate that all he does is sniff and say hello), but his attention should be on you until he has permission to do anything else. I would take him on past other distractions, such as people and inflatable snowmen, with praise for being well behaved. People find lunging barking dogs disconcerting.

If he doesn't know how to heel, come back to the thread, and I'll give you some tips on how to teach that, or at least how to make sure his attention immediately comes to you when you see a major distraction like a dog or person headed your way.

To answer your question, no, it doesn't sound like anything unusual. It sounds like some bad manners he's been allowed to get away with. Hopefully relatively easy to fix.

Regarding how often to walk - it depends on the dog and their energy level. At least once a day, possibly more if they are a very energetic dog. Definitely more if they need the walk in order to use the bathroom.

Last edited by Sunny Daze; 02-15-2017 at 11:35 AM.
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Old 02-15-2017, 01:40 PM
watchwolf49 watchwolf49 is offline
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Is he neutered? ... if not then that's 90% of the problem ... love is in the air during the season, poor puppy can't help but go crazy ...

Dogs are pack animals ... and if we look at the wolf pack we see very rarely an individual off alone ... wolves tend to stay together all the time ... so for the human/dog "pack" it's best to stay together as much as possible ... I took my dog with me whenever I could and trained him to behave in the wide variety of places I went ... I neutered him late so he did habituate to the whole seasonal thing ... fortunately he was an especially well-behaved dog so I really didn't have these problems with him ...
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Old 02-15-2017, 02:16 PM
JcWoman JcWoman is offline
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It's a pretty common issue with dogs called leash aggression. It has something to do with insecurity when on leash. Basically the dog knows that if anything bad happened - typically if an unknown dog rushes him - he won't be able to get away so he decides that offense is the best defense. There are other causes also, like poor discpline or leash manners like someone else pointed out.
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Old 02-15-2017, 02:38 PM
purplehearingaid purplehearingaid is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JcWoman View Post
It's a pretty common issue with dogs called leash aggression. It has something to do with insecurity when on leash. Basically the dog knows that if anything bad happened - typically if an unknown dog rushes him - he won't be able to get away so he decides that offense is the best defense. There are other causes also, like poor discpline or leash manners like someone else pointed out.
Also the dog on the leash isn't able to fight back if needed to. Dogs are packs animals and if their owner(s) aren't seen as the leader of the pack the dog will become the leader and take control of things . I wonder what kind of leash the dog is being walked on. I notice dogs being walked on leashes that extend are always in control of their owners when I walk my dog. I agree it would be a good idea to find a good dog trainer and have a few lessons to find out what is going on.
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Old 02-15-2017, 02:41 PM
JcWoman JcWoman is offline
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Good point Purplehearingaid. Dogs need to be able to trust the human at the other end of the leash in order to feel confident. If the human isn't a confident leader, or if he doesn't establish a solid relationship with the dog, then the dog feels the need to be the leader. Training is about more than just making the dog do what you want. It's about relationship building.
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Old 02-15-2017, 03:16 PM
Hilarity N. Suze Hilarity N. Suze is offline
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My dog is a bit leash reactive, which is to say he reacts more when on a leash than when off-leash. But he is usually on a leash. So.

I've found that if I'm watching out and see something ahead that might get him going, such as another dog, and I put him on heel as we walk, things are okay, but if I don't see it first and he does, it's harder to get him settled. On the other hand there are two dogs in the neighborhood that this won't work. Nothing will do for him but full-out barging/lunging, and if I think it's likely we'll encounter one of them (one is dependent on time of day, the other on area) then I use a pinch collar.

Also, the 12-foot Darth Vader inflatable got him and got him bad. He worried abou that thing for blocks after we encountered it, and was still a bit nervous walking on that block for a few weeks after the thing was gone.

Hard to say how much a dog should be walked. At least once a day. My dog is walked 3X a day, 20 to 45 min per walk. Training can take the place of some of the walk.
  #9  
Old 02-15-2017, 03:52 PM
Poysyn Poysyn is offline
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Training is a lot about rewarding the behaviours you want, and setting the stage for success.

So, for a reactive dog - when you see a dog coming, start then. "Sit, watch me" treat, if they start to growl "No, leave it, watch me" if they even pause, treat. I had to do this a lot in the Fall. What helped was a head halter (they are more attentive) and a "high value" treat - in my case, Costco hot dog.

Eventually, you will get to the point that the dog understands the desired behaviour, and doesn't react.
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