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  #1  
Old 26-11-10, 11:43 AM
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Excitable GSD - Tips to Calm?

We bought Roxy (GSD, spayed bitch, approx 3yrs) home from a rescue centre on Sunday & she is settling in really well (I also have another dog; Toby, GSD/Lab, 7 yrs neutered).

She was so excited the first couple of days; panting all the time, jumping up, over the top behaviour & whining whenever she got any attention, etc. She has calmed down alot as expected & we have been very calm in our approach with her so things within the home are settlng down now.

I am most concerned though when we are out & her behaviour towards other dogs. She is not aggressive but is just so excitable when she sees another dog that the other dog becomes defensive & that's when they both start barking at each other, this can turns into aggression from the other dog which then triggers her & her deperately lunging to try & get to the other dog.

When she met Toby this was also the initial reaction but she did soon calm down when both dogs were let off the lead together. They play really well, when she is too much Toby tells her off which she accepts & she is a really lovely dog. This just doesn't come across all the time when we are out unfortunately!! As she can't always be let off her lead or around certain dogs then I need to start working with her behaviour now.

From reading her notes it seems that this is an ongoing behaviour & previous owners (we are her 4th!! ) have avoided taking her places where there are other dogs which has added to this behaviour.

I am currently speaking with the rescue shelter who are arranging sessions with their behaviourist but would also be really grateful for any tips of how to manage this problem in the mean time.

She is currently wearing a DAP collar is is taking Zylkene as recommended by the vet at the rescue centre.

At present I (becasue she has had no training & pulls on the lead ALOT) I am walking her on a walkease harness.

I know that she has not been with us long but I am keen to start working on this issue as she is such a lovely dog that I want her to enjoy our walks & not get stressed at seeing other dogs.

Sorry for the long post, just wanted to try & get all relevent info in!!!
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  #2  
Old 26-11-10, 12:20 PM
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Hello

Firstly well done on rescuing, your dogs look gorgeous.

It sounds like she's way too excited and needs to learn to calm down, do you know of any other dog owners in your area with calm dogs that she could walk with and be introduced to? I find keeping them leaded and walking together helps to get them focused and then when all is calm you can introduce.

Also I found with my lad if he played up when I walked over towards another dog I would simply turn around and take him away, get the focus back on you then turn back towards to the dog, keep this up until you are able to meet, they soon realise excitement = no meet.

Have you thought about training classes? Does she know many commands? 'Watch' is an invaluable one.
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  #3  
Old 26-11-10, 12:29 PM
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I think some of her behaviour is normal for GSDs. It is early days yet, she's working you out. When you're walking her she needs to feel your confidence - if you're nervous at approaching other dogs she'll sense this. I can only advise what helped with mine, I'm not a trainer.

Try teaching her the 'leave' command around the house to start and then outside with distractions. If you've a clicker I'd try that - show her a toy or high value food she really wants and with her on the lead put the item down out of her reach. She'll lunge towards it but don't let her get it, use your command and as soon as she moves away from the item and looks back at you click and treat her. It takes a while but the dog learns that lunging doesn't get the reward and what Leave means.

The other one I do when we meet friends' dogs is if mine pull, I turn 180 and walk away. Then turn back and try again, they learn not to pull to get to say hello (mostly!) I'd sort out the lead pulling first, as that sets the foundation for her getting what she wants - to lunge towards other dogs, to pull you to where you're going etc.

How you do this is up to you - the only thing that worked for me was to stop or change direction at any lead tension and then start walking slowly again. So this could be just stop and wait a few seconds, or walk a few paces back, varying them, or turn and go the other way.

Socialising her with plenty of willing dog owners too will help if you've friends or join a local dog walking session - your behaviourist might know? I think it's lovely you've taken her on and knowing she's had a few homes - I'm sure with love, training and plenty of exercise she'll come right
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Old 26-11-10, 12:43 PM
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Thanks for the replies & advice.

We have just moved to the area & don't know many people, unfortunately there aren't many dog owners but our neighbour has 2 so may ask if he can let them out in the garden when we walk past to practise with her.

She has been very quick to learn at home with a clicker - in days she has learnt to sit, down, wait (although not for very long but we're getting there!).

She was initally displaying similar behaviour with the cats; she just wanted to play with them but they weren't so keen for some reason!!! She's bee much better now, we have several 'introductions' a day where she sits calmly & watches them, i call her name & every time she looks at me she gets a reward. The cats have even started to move around her (although a bit warily & always supervised) & she has remained calm.

I think it's true that my behaviour will have a massive impact so will try to remain calm & simply change direction if things get too much .... why didn't I think of that the other day?!

I agree that 'watch' is a really valuable thing to teach them; she wouldn't even look at me at first (she was a bit nervous of people) but this has massively improved, it's just when we are out & there are lots of distractions that her interest in me wanes.

I will definitley get her booked in to a training class once she has seen the behaviourist.

Despite her excitement with other dogs she really is lovely - her notes indicate that she hasn't had a great start in life & I think she has been hit in the past as she was a bit sick this morning (too much water, too quickly). She was cowering & shaking in the corner - I had to sit with her for a while & convince her that everything was ok before she felt confident to move. It was horrible to see her like that

Last edited by Cleo38; 26-11-10 at 12:45 PM.
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  #5  
Old 26-11-10, 12:54 PM
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Well it sounds like you are already doing the right things and she's coming on in your care, keep up the good work and I'm sure in time her excitement will lessen and she will focus on you....don't forget to post some pics
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  #6  
Old 26-11-10, 06:48 PM
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Red face

Out on our walk this evening we met a man with 2 Labs. Both my dogs were off the lead & I went to put Roxy on when I saw the other dogs.

As the man approached he shouted that his dogs were fine if I wanted to let my two off. I did explain why I was concerned but did let her & Toby off to play. She was fine - a bit over excited at one point & got told off by his dogs but calmed down again.

It's defintely when she's restrained that the problems start as there is no aggression at all with her when she meets & plays with other dogs off the lead.

The embarrassment turned out to be Toby instead as he decided that he wanted to hump both the other dogs rather than play nicely!!!
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  #7  
Old 26-11-10, 07:31 PM
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Great to hear she enjoyed a good play They will always embarrass you eh
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  #8  
Old 26-11-10, 07:32 PM
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Welcome to the forum Cleo
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  #9  
Old 26-11-10, 07:48 PM
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No real tips as such, but if you're looking for socialisation you might want to try bagsd classes. We're lucky to have one run close to us, and a few of the adult shepherds in the grownups class have issues like this and are progressing well.

It might be a good place to get her socialised with people who understand shepherds, plus classes are only 2/hour, which is dead cheap really.

I'd also second the walking away when she's getting a bit boisterous.

The other thing to remember is not to panic if there is a bit of a snarlyargument thing going on between dogs. Sometimes it takes a few seconds of one dog grumping at another to settle "you trod on my foot!" "yeh, well, you pulled my tail!!!1" type problems between dogs. Once they've had their say, they settle back down to important business (i.e. playing!!)
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  #10  
Old 26-11-10, 08:07 PM
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Hi + welcome xxx

I have the same problem with particularly my boy, he's far worse on the lead than off it

I put a lot of that down to me, if I'm attached to him + another boisterous dog comes hurtling over I panic + he picks that up + goes into protective mode

I think I'm calm + try to stay calm, but the thoughts of what COULD happen terrify me. I HATE PEOPLE WHO LET THEIR BOISTEROUS DOGS RUN UP TO MINE

Off his lead he's the most placid friendly bubba in the world, I think I need to start doing pilates or yoga or something
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