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When we first got our dog, Katie, she barked and pulled around other dogs. Her first obedience trainer said she was just over excited and that we should work on impulse control and focus. We've done that and she has improved significantly. However, she still barks and pulls around some dogs, but not others. For example, today, there were three encounters:

First, a smallish, loose terrier that got close to us, but we walked past with only a few lingering looks. No one barked. Next, there were two bigger dogs (lab mix and shepherd mix??) who ran to the edge of their yard barking. We simply turned and walked away, not even a backwards glance from Katie.

Finally, there was a springer spaniel-looking dog in his yard who started running and barking as soon as he saw us. Instead of just walking past as with the previous incidents, Katie started barking, whining, and pulling towards the other dog. We kept walking, but Katie continued to bark, whine, and pull. Even when we were past the house, she sat and stared back at the house (the other dog was still barking).

Why the different reactions? Is there something I should look for (e.g., body language) that would help me identify which dogs will trigger negative reactions?
 

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It sounds like she is dog selective. This might be redundant for you, but here's a neat post a friend sent me explaining how dogs evolve socially at Bad Rap. I think other more experienced posters might be able to give you more suggestions for how to read your dog's body language. I'm still working and learning with my own dog selective Pyr mix.
 

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Thanks. I know it's an excuse, but I find reading Katie's body language difficult. She's black, floppy-eared, often has hair covering her eyes, and maybe doesn't have enough hair or the right kind of hair/fur to notice if her hackles are up. Her tail was wagging quite a bit - not as much as when she sees me or my husband, but more like when she sees a stranger who might give her attention (she's quite the attention monger).
 

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Like the above post sounds selective but when we look for why's it always seems the list can go on and on si we just try and forget the whys and get to training :)

A few reasons why maybe you passed this house for first time , maybe that type of dog color size, maybe that dogs. Body language was more of a threat and other weren't , maybe your dog had enough of other dogs barrier fighting with him/her on that walk, Maybe it was the turn and walk away instead of keep walking basically it's hard to say even if we seen it. Body language can always help you know what your dog is feeling in you case with reactive dog most likely everything seems to move forward , body, ears , mouth, mouth closed, and possibly a quick freeze all before reacting.

I would suggest watch me or look command , when dog checks in with you reward. It's always good to have dog check in with it's handler. I find that works great with reactive dogs when they feel unsure about something they begin to check in with handler and then you have there attention to move past distractions.

You can also reward when you see dogs and for good behavior after awhile when dog sees another dog they check in.

Leash reactive is a very common thing in a lot of dogs which can be from fustration of being on leash and not able to greet, can be fear and on leash no flight so fight, or bad experience with another dog so they wanna react before other dog.

I mentioned a few things above I would try because in my experience the more it gets reinforced the harder and worse it gets. "dog reacting is self reinforcing"

Good luck hope it makes sense. Should be a sticky somewhere on leash reactive dogs as there are so many :)
Main thing is for anyone with a leash reactive dog don't feel embarrassed and start using aversive techniques it will make things much worse for MANY reasons.
 
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