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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I have a 6 month old female Australian Labradoodle. She is a very smart and loving dog but she has a TON of energy and is very excitable. We’ve just completed six weeks of confidence building training. She did very well in the class and is very good with the skills learned. The biggest issue we have with her is that she is very leash reactive. We live in an apartment around many other dogs. When she is on the leash around our apartment or while on walks she goes absolutely crazy when she sees other dogs. We know that this is only the case when she is on the leash, because we take her to the dog park constantly and she does very well there and enjoys playing with other dogs. We have asked for suggestions and tips from our trainer, however they do not seem to be working. She suggested trying to distract her when we are approaching other dogs by having her sit and keeping her attention with treats or trying to distract her with a toy. We’ve also tried other methods such as walking on the opposite side of the street, expressing our assurance to her that it’s okay and not yelling at her or tensing up when she barks. Even with a front clip harness it is very hard to control her. She sprawls everywhere, spins in circles and we have no control over her - she is basically in a trance and cannot be distracted once she sees another dog. We are starting to run out of ideas on what to do. It is very frustrating to us as we have a 3 year old male Golden Doodle who we never experienced these issues with and we do not want her to develop bad habits going forward. Any suggestions or tips would be greatly appreciated!



Thanks!
 

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Hello, I feel your pain. I am dealing with this issue in my 6 month old lab mix. I recently made a post and members did help with ideas so read that post but I forgot to ask is this a puppy issue that they can grow put of? I am going to try behavior training and a calming collar next. Hope that helps a little,
 

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when you see a dog, you need to go the other way before she freaks out. when she's already excited, she's not in a trainable state, the only thing that can happen at that point is the behavior worsening
Find out the distance at which she is aware of. but not overly excited by, the dog, and work t that distance. Gradually decrease distance from there. The tips your trainer mentioned are helpful for situations where you can't walk the other way, though, so keep that up. Have you tried standing in front of her so that she cannot see the other dog?
is this a puppy issue that they can grow put of?
Yes and no. it's a common puppy issue, yes, but you can't expect a dog to just "grow out of" any behavior. Any behavior will remain the same until it has been trained out. (one exception could be chewing caused by teething, but even with that, the behavior must be addressed)
 
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Thank you kensi. I am praying that she dose well with training.do you know is it normal for a 6 month old to be reactive already? Also so far it seems like blocking her from seeing other dogs by keeping the blinds shut is the best quick fix but the trainer I will be working with said she wants to de stimulate her, do you think that is a good option?
 

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You might want to start your own thread if you have questions specific to your pup's situation, @Calmlittlebuddha! Just so the original question doesn't get too lost.

@amoore31321, I strongly recommend the book Feisty Fido by Dr. Patricia McConnell. It has a lot of information about why dogs behave like this, how to work with it, and why the techniques she recommends works - all in a very concise, easy to understand way, so you don't need a background in dog training or behavior to get a lot of good advice out of it. It's relatively inexpensive and available as an e-book too.

This is definitely something you want to nip in the bud when she's young and it hasn't become a habit yet. Work a lot on getting her focused on you, starting by teaching her a "look at me" or "focus" cue where she turns to look at you. Practice this a ton and make it really fun, starting indoors where it's super easy and then practicing outside in low-distraction areas. The goal is to have it be so automatic she doesn't think before she turns to look at you, because being able to turn away and redirect her attention from what's triggering her leash reactivity is a huge step in preventing her behavior from escalating. In her case it sounds like she's acting out because she's frustrated she can't greet the other dog RIGHT NOW, but even if it's not fear or aggression related, it's not a pleasant state of mind for the dog to be in and can escalate to her being actively distressed around other dogs.

You might even want to avoid the dog park for a while until she learns to be less fixated on other dog, sticking to low-key playdates with one or two doggy friends that you know she gets along with. Dog parks are often high-energy and chaotic and when you have a pup who's already prone to being excitable and overstimulated, you can easily get a situation where she's practicing being in that hyped-up state and making it harder for her to learn how to calm down and disengage. If it gets bad enough, you might start seeing over-the-top rude behavior from her that could actually be dangerous for her if she upsets the wrong dog.

I'm speaking from experience here - my older dog went from being super hyped and excited at dog parks and over-the-top excited at seeing other dogs on leash to being frantic, stressed, and snappy as he aged. I did not see the problem until he was an adult, and so we're constantly working with him. He'd likely be a lot better off if he hadn't been able to practice being hyped up and overaroused at dog parks and I'd known enough to work with him being neutral around on-leash dogs when he was still a puppy. So it's really good you're already aware of the problem, and want to get working on it ASAP!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
when you see a dog, you need to go the other way before she freaks out. when she's already excited, she's not in a trainable state, the only thing that can happen at that point is the behavior worsening
Find out the distance at which she is aware of. but not overly excited by, the dog, and work t that distance. Gradually decrease distance from there. The tips your trainer mentioned are helpful for situations where you can't walk the other way, though, so keep that up. Have you tried standing in front of her so that she cannot see the other dog?

Yes and no. it's a common puppy issue, yes, but you can't expect a dog to just "grow out of" any behavior. Any behavior will remain the same until it has been trained out. (one exception could be chewing caused by teething, but even with that, the behavior must be addressed)
Thank you for this advice. I will begin trying to implement it and see how it works out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
You might want to start your own thread if you have questions specific to your pup's situation, @Calmlittlebuddha! Just so the original question doesn't get too lost.

@amoore31321, I strongly recommend the book Feisty Fido by Dr. Patricia McConnell. It has a lot of information about why dogs behave like this, how to work with it, and why the techniques she recommends works - all in a very concise, easy to understand way, so you don't need a background in dog training or behavior to get a lot of good advice out of it. It's relatively inexpensive and available as an e-book too.

This is definitely something you want to nip in the bud when she's young and it hasn't become a habit yet. Work a lot on getting her focused on you, starting by teaching her a "look at me" or "focus" cue where she turns to look at you. Practice this a ton and make it really fun, starting indoors where it's super easy and then practicing outside in low-distraction areas. The goal is to have it be so automatic she doesn't think before she turns to look at you, because being able to turn away and redirect her attention from what's triggering her leash reactivity is a huge step in preventing her behavior from escalating. In her case it sounds like she's acting out because she's frustrated she can't greet the other dog RIGHT NOW, but even if it's not fear or aggression related, it's not a pleasant state of mind for the dog to be in and can escalate to her being actively distressed around other dogs.

You might even want to avoid the dog park for a while until she learns to be less fixated on other dog, sticking to low-key playdates with one or two doggy friends that you know she gets along with. Dog parks are often high-energy and chaotic and when you have a pup who's already prone to being excitable and overstimulated, you can easily get a situation where she's practicing being in that hyped-up state and making it harder for her to learn how to calm down and disengage. If it gets bad enough, you might start seeing over-the-top rude behavior from her that could actually be dangerous for her if she upsets the wrong dog.

I'm speaking from experience here - my older dog went from being super hyped and excited at dog parks and over-the-top excited at seeing other dogs on leash to being frantic, stressed, and snappy as he aged. I did not see the problem until he was an adult, and so we're constantly working with him. He'd likely be a lot better off if he hadn't been able to practice being hyped up and overaroused at dog parks and I'd known enough to work with him being neutral around on-leash dogs when he was still a puppy. So it's really good you're already aware of the problem, and want to get working on it ASAP!
Thank you for your advice. I will try and check out that book and also try implementing your other suggestions.
 
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