I would appreciate some help with a reactive dog!

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Hi Everyone! I wanted to ask some advice about a reactive young pup we have 🙂

He is a 5 month old German Shepherd. We have him for over 2 months. From the beginning he has been a very clever and attentive. He learns quickly and he is eager to learn too! Honestly, we can only praise him…expect on walks!

When we walk him he is unbearable. We reacts to everything: cyclists, joggers, other dogs, other animals, motorcyclist and people. We live in the suburbs so it's fairly quiet and we have some fields and meadows near us ( perfect for walks!). But it's a very family orientated area; so lots of kids and other dogs. We can't go for a walk without bumping into someone/something else. Even on our road, it's impossible! He reacts by barking and lounging at the person/dog, sometimes he gets so fixated there's even foam and saliva coming out of his mouth. It also takes him a long time to forget about the experience and he can still continue to bark from very far away.

Due to Covid and working from home we have a lot of time to devote to him, so we're working on him a lot – but something isn't working. We would appreciate any help!

So far we tried:

– Being harsher during walks: i.e making him heel, look at us while walking, restricting his leash length,

– And we also tried being more carefree: i.e kinda just letting him walk ( within reason), sniff around, lead the way etc, on a much much looser leash.

– We tried different snacks and very high value treats. The problem here is that he has a very bad belly and doesn't take this well. He is currently on a kibble only diet – which makes it hard to encourage him to behave well on walks.

– We tried different leashes and collars, or harnesses.

– We tried turning away and changing direction when we see a dog/people/cyclist approaching

– We tried calming him down and getting his attention.

– We tried shorter walks to make them more effective – but like I said there's so many dogs around.

I think that's everything, although it's hard to remember. I know he's super young and there is time to train him, but I am just eager to get some advice from everyone. We are active people who love to walk, so it's important that he gets the correct training and is able to accompany us on these walks ( especially since he is a large and active dog)

Other information you may need:

– We have other experience with dogs. This is the first time I have a dog like this who isn't showing signs of change and that he is getting better.

– When we go to puppy play group, dog parks etc he does sometimes bark ( depends on the dog) but he is super eager to play and he is very friendly to other dogs. He has a blast. Therefore we believe the issue might be with the harness and the leash.

– He isn't aggressive or anything. He is the best dog ever – and when people approach him he loves to get petted and he cuddles up.

– He knows a lot of necessary commands: sit, stay, lay,come, look ( to look at us and concentration), drop it etc. Even other ones like: spin, jump, weaving though my legs etc. Like I said, he likes to learn! He performs them very well at home and in our garden ( or when we have the dog park to ourselves) but he tends to "forget them"and not listen when we are in these situations.

– We train with the clicker.

I think that's everything you guys need to know! Please let me know what suggestions you have 🙂 I really appreciate it!

All best and stay safe 🙂

submitted by /u/Polanina
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