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Question
Posted by: Craniahat | 2011/03/29

2 year old very sociable Labrador

When we go for walks and she sees another dog on a leash, she goes ballistic to get to greet the other dog and I cannot control her then. Not everyone appreciates that. Please help?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDog Behaviour Expert

Hi Craniahat, this can be such a frustrating thing and the worse it gets, the more you dont want to take the dog out as the behaviour usually escalates!
What you need to realize is that this is one of the ways that a dog reacts when it is fearful - yes, thats right, fearful! She doesnt know how to react and reverts to innate behaviour to chase away the perceived threat.
I hate saying this, but you do need to get professional help to assist your Lab get over this fear.
What you can start doing for the time being is to teach her the 'watch' exercise. All this entails is holding a piece of food between your eyes, on your forehead and then say dogs name and watch. As the dog looks at the food (and you)you immediately offer the treat. You build this up until you can hold the dogs attention for about 30 seconds. After this start doing it in the garden and outside on walks. This is called offering a Calming Signal. When 2 dogs eyeball one another it is a signal for reactive behaviour, so simply by turning the dogs head away from the perceived threat you are letting the dog both offer and receive a calming signal.
This will get you started while you look for the help you need. Additionally dont walk her/him in the street, rather drive to your local shops and walk your dog there. The chances of any other dogs are slight and you wont be reinforcing the behaviour until you get help.
Look up animal behaviour consultants on Google and you will find names. Always check out the persons qualifications and expertise that you are going to entrust your dog too. Good luck, thanks Scotty

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2
Our users say:
Posted by: Dog Behaviour Expert | 2011/03/30

Hi Craniahat, this can be such a frustrating thing and the worse it gets, the more you dont want to take the dog out as the behaviour usually escalates!
What you need to realize is that this is one of the ways that a dog reacts when it is fearful - yes, thats right, fearful! She doesnt know how to react and reverts to innate behaviour to chase away the perceived threat.
I hate saying this, but you do need to get professional help to assist your Lab get over this fear.
What you can start doing for the time being is to teach her the 'watch' exercise. All this entails is holding a piece of food between your eyes, on your forehead and then say dogs name and watch. As the dog looks at the food (and you)you immediately offer the treat. You build this up until you can hold the dogs attention for about 30 seconds. After this start doing it in the garden and outside on walks. This is called offering a Calming Signal. When 2 dogs eyeball one another it is a signal for reactive behaviour, so simply by turning the dogs head away from the perceived threat you are letting the dog both offer and receive a calming signal.
This will get you started while you look for the help you need. Additionally dont walk her/him in the street, rather drive to your local shops and walk your dog there. The chances of any other dogs are slight and you wont be reinforcing the behaviour until you get help.
Look up animal behaviour consultants on Google and you will find names. Always check out the persons qualifications and expertise that you are going to entrust your dog too. Good luck, thanks Scotty

Reply to Dog Behaviour Expert
Posted by: Nic | 2011/03/29

I think I have your dog''s twin :) My Lab does the same but she''s only 9 months. I thought she might grow out of it - so much for that idea!

Reply to Nic

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