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Old 07-05-2008, 01:31 AM
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Kayla Kayla is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Northern Alberta
Posts: 1,421

I wanna second what Red said. With proper precautions you can avoid a situation where anyone is put at risk however every dog is different and whenever your dealing with an unknown history and with a large dog it is better to not approach the problem alone. Luckily there are whole schools of thought dedicated to dealing with these problems, and with a good behaviouralist, (not like the recent reality shows that have become so popular, lets not forget what reality tv's main selling point it) some head way can be made, and every little bit counts.

I've been living with and successfully managing a formerly highly reactive dog for almost two years now only because I sought out a proffesional early on and worked hard with desensitizing and counter conditioning him in tons of different social situations and it has only been recently, almost 20 months later of work that I know my dog is safe in public, but none the less I still put his head halter on EVERY time we walk just incase. Unfortunatly with a dog who does pose a risk, regardless as to who is it directed towards, other dogs, children or certain types of adults you are always thinking about the what if situation, preparing for it, and be able to prevent it BEFORE it ever has a chance to happen. Period.

Because even with a dog whom you've gone through the whole system with, and know is reliable and know you can control him/her, you simply can't control everything else around you. You can't control the owner walking 50 m's away from you who has her aggressive dog on an extendable leash because it has never crossed her mind that prehaps her dog would be safer to the public on a stronger lead. You can't control the kids running towards your dog because their parents told them " LOOK KIDS A DOG!!! GO PET THAT DOG!"

I would also strongly strongly recomened switching to a head halter when walking. Forget no pulling, it's simply a matter of being able to safely manage a large dog. Because a dog cannot physically keep running forward when it's head is attached to a stationary object ( you, when you need to be) you have much more control then a traditional collar. Even with a dog that responds well to a pinch collar when working with a fear based condition you are working against your counter conditioning process which is trying to convince the dog the previously scary thing is now a predictor of super good things like yummy treats or a chance to play.

Lastly I would strongly urge you to pick up " Fiesty Fido: A Guide to the leash aggressive dog" It's a co-authored book but I can only think of Patricia B. McConnel right now.

You can begin teaching control commands which will become safety commands like watch me, emergancy down-stays and so on. All things the book breaks down in an easy to teach way.

And again I just want to say dealing with such an issue could be realtively easy to fix with proper instruction from an experinced behaviouralist OR it could be a very intensive, life long commitment, either way it's not a path to be travelled alone.

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