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My 3 yr old shepherd mix has always been overly excited by skateboarders and lunges & barks when we walk and is getting worse. Recently I wasn't paying attention (didn't hear the usual "clackety-clack of the board) and he lunged across the sidewalk to bite a skateboarder. He's shown this behavior to adults on razr scooters and rollerblades too but oddly, not children. I'm a runner (we run almost daily for at least 3+ miles) and Smokey comes with me but it's hard to be on high alert for anything with wheels on the sidewalk while running. Recently (in the past 4-6 weeks) he's taken occasional interest in runners running toward me too though he's never cared before.
When confronted with a skateboard situation (and I live in Santa Cruz CA- a very very skateboard heavy town) I have him sit and focus on me but he's still trying to lunge and bark. I've tried treats when he's (mostly) complied and I've also straight up grabbed him by the muzzle and forced his head down saying "no" in my deepest, most serious voice.
I'm so afraid he's going to bite someone again. A few days ago I was walking him & a skateboarder approached so I was putting Smokey into a sit as he's trying to lunge toward the guy. The guy picked up his board and told me his Rottie has the same issue and how can it be resolved (his dog had already bitten two of his friends). What to do?
 

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You really need to get on-hand help from a good trainer or behaviorist on this or the next time you could end up losing your dog or being sued (or both).

It's your responsibility to make sure your dog does not do anything inappropriate and if you can't do this when running, don't take the dog. Take him when you can pay close attention to his behavior and body language, not when you're distracted.
 

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Before it happens again, get a Basket Muzzle, and get your dog used to it and have him wear it. A basket muzzle allows the dog to open his mouth and pant etc. but he cannot bite.

Punishing him may escalate the behavior, especially if it is fear induced. If it is chase and prey drive induced it is handled differently.

Not knowing the dog, it would be best if you consulted with a Trainer or a behaviorist. Before engaging this person, get references.
For a behaviorist, consult this site:
http://www.iaabc.org/suchen/
 

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Take him when you can pay close attention to his behavior and body language, not when you're distracted.
In order to make any headway on this issue, you must control the environment. You have to first determine which things set the dog off, and at what distance he becomes reactive. You have to be able to call helpers in to the proper distance, on cue. You can then appropriately control the dog's behavior, while you work to modify it.

If you can control your dog's environment, you can control your dog's perceptions of it.
 

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My dog has the same problem. I have to be on 'high alert' when I hear one approaching. He also has a 'thing' with men jogging towards me in the cooler months and they are wearing a hoodie. he too does not like scooters, but is better w/bikes now.

although I don't have suggestions, I have always wondered what it was about these things that do make a dog go into 'defense' mode?

sometimes kids on skateboards will get off when they approach(I'm guessing that they have experienced one too many dogs try to scarf at them).
 
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