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Hello!

I'm having a bit of trouble figuring out what to do with one of my dogs. He is around 11 months old and is believed to be a Lab/Viszla mix. Here's his backstory from what I know:
He was found as a stray in Kentucky and was sent to a shelter that put him on the euthanasia list due to overflow. He was taken off by a rescue group where I got him from. During his time in the rescue group, he was fostered at a doggie day care (so he was around tons of dogs). I worked at the day care and from what I saw, he got along with every dog and loved playing with them. He was a bit submissive at first around people though. And I got him in November. Now he's barely submissive/shy and has really come out of his shell.

Here's my problem:
Whenever he sees another dog, he goes crazy. He has one of those coonhound bark/howls, but when he sees another dog it's more like screeching VERY VERY LOUDLY. I love to take both of them on walks, but whenever we walk by a house with a dog in it or he sees another dog, he goes CRAZY and it's very embarrassing. He looks/sounds like an aggressive dog, but I believe he just wants to go by those dogs to play or something considering he gets along with all dogs? (I could be wrong here, feel free to correct me if that's not a good assumption). We went to Petsmart once, and I will never go back because of how embarrassed I was how he started acting when he saw another dog!


Any tips how to correct this behavior?


Thanks, hope you guys can help!
 

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http://www.dogforums.com/dog-training-forum/191506-links-books-blogs-etc.html

Don't be turned off by the "leash aggression" wording. Reactivity, leash excitement, frustrated greeting, barrier aggression and such all have a lot of overlapping training methods. My guess is, he is excited and frustrated by not being able to meet other dogs (this does not mean you should allow him to meet all the other dogs on leash though...)
 

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It sounds like he is reactive to dogs because of excitement/overstimulation/frustration. This basically means that your dog is so excited to get to the other dog and OMG I WOULD LIKE TO PLAY that his brain falls out and he throws a fit, kind of like a toddler. It's a totally normal (although very embarrassing and inappropriate) behavior in many young dogs. Because he spent so much time in the doggie daycare he's probably used to just going up and playing with other dogs, so this increases his frustration.

My dog was very much like this, and still is sometimes when his brain isn't duct taped in properly, haha. What helped me was 1) obedience classes where he learned to work around other strange dogs and 2) Counter Conditioning. I always brought high value treats with me, and he only got those super good treats for ignoring people/dogs and recall. I taught him a "look at me" command (a whistle) and rewarded him for his attention around the distractions with the high value treat. He slowly began to ignore dogs on the other side of the street, then in yards we passed, and we are now working on passing other dogs on the street without a reaction. This has taken more than a year now, and my dog is 1.5, so it is no overnight fix. I imagine he will gain some maturity, too, as he reaches full adulthood.
 

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Boy, that does sound familiar! My guy's very much the same way, though it's been a lot harder working with him because I continued allowing him to greet on-leash in the name of 'socialization' for several years before I wised up. Definitely start working on it now! Start with focus work indoors, then slowly move up to quiet places outdoors (a backyard, a quiet street, etc.) before jumping right to expecting him to focus when there's other dogs nearby. I would disallow on-leash greetings until he can approach another dog without losing his brain, if even then. Being restrained, whether by a leash or behind a fence, naturally increases frustration because it limits the dog's choices, and now that I'm dealing with an excitement/frustration reactivity case, I'd rather my dogs learn that leash time is never play with other dogs time.

Good luck! You're definitely not alone!
 

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In terms of dogs who make extremely god-awful noises when they see other dogs, I had a husky who would screech like he was being tortured whenever he saw another dog. I made the mistake of telling him to "down" when he did this and he of course started hurling himself on the floor to scream instead. But he was really easy to train and hasn't done that since a few months after we got him (he was five). Now the tortured scream of anguish is reserved only for deer. (Coincidentally, Riley has no hunting instinct whatsoever. He'll chase the deer, bark at them, and run away expecting them to chase him now. I've also seen him watch a chipmunk climb right between his paws. This is not typical husky behavior. I think he's broken.)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks, i'm glad I'm not alone in this! I love everyone's advice and will definitely start training and working with him. Thanks for your help!
 

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You've gotten some great advice here, just one note as a moderator: swearing is not permitted in the forums at any time. I've edited your original post to remove the swear word, but please make sure to review the rules and abide by them going forward.

Thank you.
 
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