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Opie is half husky and half rat terrier mix who is now 14 months old. We were given him when he was only 4 weeks old, unbeknownst to us! When we arrived at the vet (the same day) she showed us that he barely had any teeth, covered in fleas, tons of worms, and had mange from being born/living outside in the dirt.She informed us that we would probably face socialization issues with him due to his age of separation but we had NO idea it would be this bad! The vet took the previous owners information, reported the incident and animal control made the couple surrender their animals because of the horrible living conditions. We had no idea because Opie was kept up front in a pen and they told us the puppies were "a neighbors puppies." He only weighed 1.25 lbs!



He is an absolute sweetheart to those of us that live in our house (my husband and I, 3 kiddos, and his fur sister) and has none of the issues I'm about to discuss. BUT when other people visit or we're on a walk he is completely OUT OF CONTROL! When we have visitors he yaps/barks/whines incessantly, zoom around, jumps on them, weaves through their feet, licks them, scratches them, and nips. To keep visitors from being "mauled" we have to put him in a crate in a closed room because he will bark constantly until they leave. The vet suggested we take him on longer walks so I began taking him for 5 mile walks in the morning but while on walks he pulls like crazy!! To the point that I had to stop walking him because he was causing nerve damage to my hands! We've tried traditional collars (he's broken 3 while on a walk), harness's (causes him to pull harder), and a head halter (he's learned to pull with his head turned). During the walk he will begin to calm down and enjoy his walk but as soon as he sees another person or dog, he is COMPLETELY out of control again. He's literally pulled so hard for so long that he's almost made himself pass out and I had to call my husband to come get us! I've tried treats, making him sit, trying to get him to walk passed them quickly, turning and walking the other direction, and allowing him to meet the other person.



He has NEVER displayed any aggression and lets our kids just roll all over him without a care in the world. His fur "sister" (german shepherd) has absolutely none of these issues- she walks nicely on the leash, loves visitors but leaves them alone when they don't attention, and can be left off leash outside.



I'm at my wits end! I'd love to be able to take him to get-togethers like we do with his sister and enjoy our morning walks.He has been exposed to other people, places, and things since we got him! Our dogs go everywhere with us, even when we are going out of town. He is scheduled to be neutered in 2 weeks but his vet is unsure if that will correct the problem since it's been going on since he was 12 weeks old.
 

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My advice would be to call in an experienced dog behaviorist.

He/she might be able to identify other triggers or signs that Opie is about to go ballistic and in so doing identify the problem and come up with a solution. We will always try and give appropriate advice based on our own experiences but in such a case the best option is someone that can physically work with the dog.

PS: does the fur sister sometimes try and discipline Opie by growling etc?
 

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First, what kind of harnesses have you tried? My dog has a front-clip no pull harness (this one to be exact) and it is literally impossible for him to really, REALLY pull in it. He's a very strong dog that I cannot walk without the harness and who also has bad leash reactivity (barks and lunges when he sees a moving thing: dogs, bikes, people, etc). Anything other than the front pull harness didn't work. The key is making sure it is fitted correctly, though. If it isn't, it can slip and slide and then the dog will be able to pull.

His behavior on walks seems like he's getting over threshold and if that's the case, you can't train when they are over threshold. When Quill hits that point, he is focused only on his excitement and absolutely not on me. Working on the pulling needs to happen in the house, then the yard, then a quiet new place, and THEN on regular walks. Jumping straight to being on a walk is too much stimuli. Build up to the most exciting place rather than just jumping straight to what Opie sees as the most fun part of his day.

Secondly, the visitor behavior sounds almost more like an extremely excited young dog who has yet to learn to accept visitors in the correct way rather than a lack of socialization bringing out bad behavior. Quill was miserable with guests for the longest time and is hands down one of the most excitable dogs I've ever met. The woman who lived above us while he was a puppy would give him attention to quiet him down when he squealed in excitement when he saw her (despite us constantly telling her not to), and he developed a habit of barking and screaming for the first 5-10 minutes when he met new people because he thought it was the way to get attention. We finally corrected it because for an entire summer, the only new people he met were the same people who I had told to ignore him when he acted like this. He quickly learned barking and screaming does NOT equal attention. Quill still gets excited when he meets new people, but he's come a long way.

I would assume your puppy is behaving similarly and has similar excitability issues. Do you have some friends who are patient and willing to help work on proper visitor behavior? Like I said, Quill's worst behavior fixed pretty quickly with people ignoring him so I can't offer much advice beyond that. We're now working on going to his mat when the door bell rings, but for more in depth training to behave with visitors, maybe someone else can offer better advice.

You can't fix excitability over night. I 100% understand the frustration that comes with an excitable dog, but it does get better with time and patience and hard work! Quill has had a long road of learning to calm the heck down and he STILL struggles with it even at two. Impulse control has helped him so much.

It teaches him he needs to have self-control to get what he wants. He doesn't get anything without showing me he can restrain himself. We started with food when he was young (waiting before eating dinner, the "it's yer choice" game, etc). Now, when playing tug he knows he doesn't get to just grab the toy and play. He has to sit until I give him the go ahead to take the toy. He doesn't get to race outside for walks. Squealing and racing around before a walk means we put the leash back and wait for more calm behavior. He has to sit patiently while the door is opened to go outside. And so on. You can really use every aspect of a dog's life to teach impulse control and that seems to help with an excitable dog.

I would look into It's Yer Choice (you can do a quick google search) and highly recommend starting work on impulse control.
 

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This sounds like pretty normal young dog stuff to me.

Leash Pulling: He's excited to be on a walk, simple as that. You can use the "be a tree" method, which basically means the dog gets nowhere unless he is walking nicely. There are other ways, as well, but I've had the most success this way and am most familiar with it. He can pull all he wants but that will get him nothing. When he releases pressure, start walking again. He will most likely snap to the end of his leash, so you stop again and wait for him to release pressure. Rinse and repeat. It will take time and patience, and you will not get far on your walks, but you will see improvement. I suggest watching rewards based trainers on YouTube for some of their methods. I also rewarded my dog for walking nicely along side me, so more often I saw him choosing to walk nice to get a treat!

Visitors: Sounds like overexcitement. I would suggest keeping him on a leash, and when he begins to act inappropriately, remove him from the room for a time out, then try again. Rinse and repeat as much as needed. He will learn over excited behavior = removal from thing he is excited about. If you can convince people, set him up. Have your guests completely ignore him when he is acting badly, and only offer him attention when he is calm. Dogs don't generalize well, so although he may know that kind of rude behavior is not ok with you, he does not know it's not ok with strangers, too.

Reactivity: This is something that can happen out of fear or excitement. Sounds like excitement for your pup. Basically, they are so OMG A PERSON/DOG SO EXCITED that their little brains just fall right out. Teach your pup a "look at me" command. When you are on walks, bring really awesome treats with you, like cheese or hotdogs. It helps if they don't usually get these treats, only for things they do really well. Remember, you want to be far enough away from the trigger so the dog is not reacting. When pup sees the thing and does not react, feed him a treat. You can also tell him "look" so his focus is on you, and you keep moving past the thing, distracting with a treat if necessary. You can look up LAT training on this forum for more detailed information. It is info for both fear and excitement reactive dogs, but the training is basically the same.

Your pup sounds like a dog who simply lacks impulse control. I would also suggest going to a few obedience classes. They helped my dog immensely in learning how to work and focus around other dogs and people. Neutering is unlikely to fix the issue. It will just make sure he can't produce offspring, that's it.
 

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Not crazy all the time............. loves the family , loves the kids, so not a crazy crazy...... terrier traits in a husky size body.... is the way I am reading what you have wrote...
 

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My advice would be to call in an experienced dog behaviorist.
Not sure if a behaviourist is really required here or not. I think a simple, qualified positive reinforcement trainer would probably suffice. Look for someone who has CPDT certification.

Group classes for basic dog obedience would likely help quite a bit too.
 
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