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Rescue Dog

253 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  parus
I am a new member.

We took in a Rescue Dog (Cross Collie) and she is the most wonderful, soft and friendly dog. She lets our other dog - a Poochon - climb all over her & play with her. However, when she is out on a lead, she is VERY reactive towards other dogs. She barks and lunges towards them.

Is there a reason for this and what can I do to stop it?


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I have a dog that is the same way. I avoid dogs like the plague on walks. I know that there are ways to improve it (search 'reactivity' on the boards), but honestly, she's so bad that I don't think I could even get to the first step (give treats non stop as soon as she has seen another dog) because she just goes crazy as soon as she sees a dog and just ignores me anyway... I did everything to socialize her (walks, puppy play classes, puppy classes) but it just made things worse... My other rescue was the same way - I don't know what happened to them as puppies or what their parents were like. Who knows.
Leash reactivity or frustration is pretty common. This article outlines a pretty standard way of working on it:
I taught Penny to "look at that" with the help of a clicker, but you could use a word like "yes!" to mark the behavior you like. Here are the basics of the "look at that" training we did:

We started at extreme distances where she could barely see the other dog, and every time she looked in the direction of the dog, I clicked, would wait for her to look at me, and then reward her with a treat. We then walked away from the stimulus--most leash reactive dogs simply want distance put between them and the other dog or person. Timing is crucial here!
We gradually decreased the distance between Penny and the other dog, and continued the same exercise. If she reacted, we knew we had moved too quickly, and added distance again.
Penny is highly food-motivated, and her desire for a treat overpowered her fear of the stimulus. I highly recommend using high-value treats like hot dogs or veggie burgers, and heating them up before training. Your dog won't be able to resist them!

It's much easier if you get buddy to handle the other dog, particularly at the beginning, rather than using randos at a park or something, as it gives you control of the situation. You can make sure you end every session on a positive note, for one thing, which is quite important.
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