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So for the last few months...Dexter has been becoming increasingly more temperamental when walking along a fence where dogs are on the other side barking. I am not sure if this is leash aggression or not. Here is a short video of how he acts. The dogs behind the fence are to the right on the other side of the road approx 60 ft. Any advice or tips on how to help him stop. I have tried getting close to the spot where he starts this then turn around and walk away and then try to walk back and get a bit further.

IMG_1192.mov

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Doesn't look like "aggression" to me...looks like he is excited, curious, wants to check it out, play? How is he otherwise with loose leash walking? Have you introduced other distractions? Does he know "leave it" or similar? I would be afraid he would bolt into the road.

 

We actually practiced this in class last week. The instructor had us turn and go the opposite direction if the dogs pulled when confronted with a distraction.

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We are still in the process of learning to loose leash walk. Some days are better than others. The method we have been using is when his leash becomes tight we stop until the leash becomes loose again then we start walking. He will sit down and look back at me to make the leash loose. He does know leave it and I have tried using that while walking by but it does not register in his head. I have also tried "leave it" and turning the other way. He also frustration snaps at my older dog when we walk them together and this situation arises. I guess just more and more practIce. Any other ideas would be much appreciated.

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I take Hannah to consecutive obedience classes just for the exposure to other dogs. If you can enlist the help of others, a very helpful excercise that the instructor does goes something like this:

 

Dogs/handlers made two facing lines. When the instructor says "go", handlers exchange places, walking by each other with dogs. Initially we have our dogs on the outside so there is a person between the dogs. Once the dog can pass appropriately, we up the ante and heel our dogs and exchange spots so that they pass each other. Finally, we pause in the center on our way to the other side, keeping our dogs' attention or placing them in a sit/stay if necessary. High value lures and rewards are used to get and keep our dogs' attention. You can also mix it up with different dogs/handlers.

 

This excercise is not going to translate exactly to a highly exciting outdoor situation where dogs are barking at your dog, but it's a start for practicing self control in the presence of other dogs.

 

Also, now that you know how your dog reacts--and looking at the video--for that dog, in that situation, what I would do differently is: a) have the dog on my left before approaching, so that I'm between dog and road/distraction B) put the dog on an easy walk harness or martingale so he doesn't slip his collar and run into the road c) do everything in my power to redirect his attention while passing; (perhaps a valued toy that he can ONLY have in this situation after you've passed successfully (I've used a squirrel tail from a hunter friend; sorry PETA). I also would not allow the dog to lunge; i.e. I would attempt to control the behavior before it starts, now that I know to expect it.

 

 

My two cents.

 

 

I can tell you a typical reaction for Hannah would be a visible difficulty weighing the value of lunging at dogs vs. attention to lure, and that the scale would tip in my favor with the added "leave it" when her attention diverted back to the dogs. I can also say that this type of thing takes a lot of practice and patience. Do not expect results after a few tries. You can get discouraged, but consistency is the key. Often, just when you think it's hopeless, the dog starts to rein itself in and allow you to divert its attention.

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If this happens consistently in this spot -- as in, you can predict that those dogs will likely be there and causing a ruckus every time you walk past -- distract your dog BEFORE he reaches the point we see in the video. Once they reach that level of arousal they are hard to get back.

 

So.... Pack along Dexter's absolute favorite treat (think out of the box -- steak! chicken! cheese!) or a toy. Walk him on your left side, putting yourself between him and the dogs. Before you reach the area where he typically starts to alert to the barking dogs, whip out your distraction. If using treats, hold a bunch in your palm and encourage Dexter to walk along with his nose stuffed into your hand, trying to get at the tasty treats. If he's a big tugger, start him tugging and try to keep him focused on the game of tug as you walk past that area.

 

You may find that the barking dogs bark less (or stop altogether) if they stop getting a reaction from Dexter, in which case life will get much easier relatively soon.

 

FYI, I would practice these distraction techniques prior to using them in a high arousal area so that Dexter learns how awesome and fun it can be.

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Thank you all for your wonderful advice. My hubby went and bought the easy walk harness for both of our dogs (we dont really have a problem with our older dog Tinker, but hopefully will help refine her loose leash walk). I will have to think long and hard about Dexter's high value treat, he pretty much goes bonkers for any treat. I'll also try his tug. Practice practice practice practice. :)

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Thank you very much I think he is pretty cute too most of the time. :)

We had a bit of success last night on our walk. We used the easy walk harness and it decreased his pulling and lunging quite a bit. Also got through the area where the video was taken a bit better cause I had his nose in my hand with treats and used "leave it". I also tried to keep myself in between him and the barking dogs.

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