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I just spent a little time reading the training tactics thread. I'd like to know if anyone has had luck working on the leash training or dog on dog interaction?

Our new rescue, Benji, is finally getting comfortable and there are a few things I'm noticing that I don't know how to work on. When I'm in the house, he follows me closely with his full attention on me. If I don't put a bed out or a blanket out, he will sit right beside me. This is unleashed, of course.

In our hallway, I started unleashing him to see if he had figured out where our condo is. He runs ahead curiously, then 8 feet out he will turn back to me and loop to a step or two behind me and run ahead again and repeat the process. Unless he's tired, then he will stay a step or so behind me.

When I put him on a leash though, he acts like a sniffer dog on the tail of a suspect. He does what I've dubbed the army crawl and MC-hammer (run in place because the leash really won't let him go any further).

When we get outside, if there are many people, the overstimulation makes him go nuts and it's impossible to keep his attention with toys or treats. The only thing that works is if I run nearly two blocks with him - then the leash is loose and he doesn't get distracted.

He's eager to meet other dogs, though we've been limiting his contact with them because he's getting over Giardia and we don't want him infecting anyone else. He's fine with dogs his size or slightly larger (He's only 9lbs), but if the dog is bigger than him, he growls and barks. We have a beautiful Great Dane in our building and I feel so bad because Benji starts growling the minute he lays eyes on him. The Great Dane is very contained and well behaved and never makes a sound, but I have to pick my dog up to go past him without a scene.

I realized I'm doing the tree wrong now (and I know that's just the start of things I'm doing wrong) - I've been talking to him as I do it, as well as when he greets dogs. To encourage him to be nice, as if he has any freaking clue what I'm saying, Right?

(I also realized he was crossing in front of me because I had him on my left (I'm left handed) and I think he may have been walked on the right at some point. So that has helped the crossing to some extent unless he smells something he wants to sniff. Is there anything I can do about this? Or do you think if I worked with him on the steps in the training tactic thread this will get better?)

I'm really new to this. If anyone has any pointers for how I can get him to chill on the leash and if I should continue to do the tree and not speak when he sees other dogs, that would be great.

As well as what to do when he sees the larger dogs.

Or well, any dog in general...

This morning he got really excited when he saw another small dog. He was so distracted that even after the other dog disappeared around the corner of the block, he kept looking for it and wouldn't go to the bathroom. I eventually had to walk him around the block so he would go. Then when we came back to the dog park, a larger dog was in the fence. When he saw a man standing inside the fence he stopped and wanted to go inside and when I said no, he wouldn't move because he knew the man inside the fence meant a dog was in there. Then when he greeted the other dog, everything seemed fine until he started growling and barking and freaked out.

The up and down on not knowing how he will react to other dogs is giving me anxiety. Especially considering I don't know why he acts this way or know HOW he will react to each dog. Not to mention I don't want my neighbors to hate me.


We are hoping in a few weeks when he is done with his second round of treatment and gets a clean bill of health, that we will be able to do a social evaluation. I just don't know what to do until then and if we should go ahead an hire a private trainer to come to our home.
 

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Just to be clear, all of this is on-leash, right? Some experts/trainers recommend that you do not introduce dogs to one another on-leash, as this modifies their dynamic. Using that logic, don't allow doggie meetings on-leash. My personal policy is I don't allow doggie meetings with any dog I don't know or at least haven't had time to check out. In the beginning, at least, I aim for positive doggie meeting experiences.

Another thing I do, when I see my Tessa tensing up because dogs are around while I'm walking her on-leash, I say "leave it." Most of the time, she eases off. If not, I do a 180, make her walk a few steps, then sit and eyes on me, followed by a couple of treats to settle her down. Right now (at five months) she's like your pooch: she hasn't seen a stranger, canine or human, that she doesn't want to go check out. I don't want to get into a tug-and-yank bout with her, so I don't let her get beyond the no-return point.

That's how I handle it, anyway. Curious to see what others have to say.
 
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