Dealing with a dog aggressive on leash..

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Mattie
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Re: Dealing with a dog aggressive on leash..

Post by Mattie » Thu Mar 10, 2011 4:28 am

runlikethewind wrote:I personally do not spend my walks avoiding triggers; however, nor do I put her right in them (flooding), but I use them for learning opportunities. That's just me. Not saying it will transpose to your situation.
The worst thing you can do is to avoid the triggers completely, this isn't normally suggested on here, if a dog doesn't see what triggers him off he will never get to accept them. What we do say is to keep him at a distances where he doesn't react, he can still needs to the trigger unless there isn't the distance between him and the trigger for him not to react, then you hide. If hiding behind a car your dog can still see the trigger if he looks under the car. If a dog is walking towards you by standing in front of your dog, he can still see round or through your legs, it adds a barrier for him as well.

dgtrainer, a friend once saw a Dalmation break his neck leaping about on the end of a headcollar, if he had another lead onto a harness his body would have been controlled as well. A lead clipped to a collar will help but not as much as clipped to a harness. This friend is a quite well known behaviourist down south, she worked with The Dogs Trust for 15 years as a behaviourist.
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jacksdad
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Re: Dealing with a dog aggressive on leash..

Post by jacksdad » Thu Mar 10, 2011 10:44 am

Mattie wrote:The worst thing you can do is to avoid the triggers completely, this isn't normally suggested on here,
I think some times "take a break, avoid trigger all together for a week or two" is mistaken to mean avoid triggers completely forever.

I know I tend to recommend that a lot, but the idea behind that is that often when people come here looking for help they and their dogs are often at a "end of the rope" point. the idea is a break...de stress, to rest, relax, learn some new info, build a few skills etc. then take back on "the road" rested and with a plan. probably need to keep working on explaining that better.

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Mattie
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Re: Dealing with a dog aggressive on leash..

Post by Mattie » Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:41 pm

jacksdad wrote: I know I tend to recommend that a lot, but the idea behind that is that often when people come here looking for help they and their dogs are often at a "end of the rope" point. the idea is a break...de stress, to rest, relax, learn some new info, build a few skills etc. then take back on "the road" rested and with a plan. probably need to keep working on explaining that better.
To me this is destressing the dog, dogs that are reactive are very stressed, before we can start to teach them that other dogs are not scary monsters from outer space we have to get rid of the stress. Once the stress has gone we can work with our dogs.

When we are working with them there are occasions were something goes wrong, nothing to do with the owner and how they are handling things but more to do with idiotic owners who don't control their dogs no matter what we say. No matter what the reason, if our dog becomes stressed it is better to take a break until they calm down again.
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jakesmom
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Re: Dealing with a dog aggressive on leash..

Post by jakesmom » Thu Mar 10, 2011 3:08 pm

Hi jacksdad

.
jacksdad wrote:I personally wouldn't recommend relying on something like the dogmatic, which from what I can see on their site it is just a variation of the gentle leader concept. I briefly used the Gentle Leader with Jack and the way he flailed about in a full on reaction I was worried he would break his neck. he was that worked up and that "out of control" of him self. it also did nothing to resolve pulling, only training resolved that.

A good harness is your best and safest tool once the dog is in a full on reactive mode. Like mattie said though, you can use the gentle leader type head collars together with a harness if you really want. But I would never, ever my self recommend relying solely on neck or head collars to control your reactive dog.
What I actually said was :-
jakesmom wrote:I coupled the dogmatic with his harness and for the first time in his life we actually enjoyed our walks. It then took a further 3 years and a strong extending lead to stop him being reactive (well 90% of the time) because it was like starting afresh.
I didn't recommend using a head collar alone. I must admit my gut instinct made me think the same as you - that my dog could break his neck. That being said, I expressed my concerns to 3 different vets, and they all said the same - the muscles in dogs necks were so tuff there was no danger. But I still went with my gut instinct.

Having used the gentle leader and the halti, I can honestly say there is no comparison with the dogmatic because:

They come in so many sizes, they are more or less made to the measure, so they fit each dog correctly

It does not ride up to the dogs eyes,

It does not twist round their snout no matter how hard they pull forwards or sidewards

The loop with the ring where you attach the lead is perfect for holding your dog still by. It is very sturdy and is particularly useful when you need your dog not to react at all e.g. in the vets waiting room.

My current dog Jake (GSD) sits perfectly relaxed in a full waiting room with me loosely holding the loop of his halter. I feel confident and so does he.
jakesmom wrote: It then took a further 3 years and a strong extending lead to stop him being reactive (well 90% of the time) because it was like starting afresh.


Sorry I didn't explain this well enough. Over the 3 year period I started with a short lead, moved on to a 6 foot lead and then the extending lead.

I agree completely that the extending leads can be dangerous if not used properly. My OH never uses it, he just cannot use it safely.

Personally I never use the brake, it is always able to recoil, or I hold it short when needed - I've got the knack of holding it very short and safe. When I use it I always wear thick leather gloves in order to slow my dog down slowly without carpet burning my hands, I remain 100% alert and move away from the dog if he getting too close to a possible danger, rather than putting on the brake.

Obviously each to his own, but I was not recommending anything I was just telling my story, in the hope that yummybagel would feel better. Because if I could learn how to control my nutty dog, anyone can.

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Mattie
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Re: Dealing with a dog aggressive on leash..

Post by Mattie » Fri Mar 11, 2011 3:45 am

jakesmom wrote:Hi jacksdad

.
jacksdad wrote:I personally wouldn't recommend relying on something like the dogmatic, which from what I can see on their site it is just a variation of the gentle leader concept. I briefly used the Gentle Leader with Jack and the way he flailed about in a full on reaction I was worried he would break his neck. he was that worked up and that "out of control" of him self. it also did nothing to resolve pulling, only training resolved that.

A good harness is your best and safest tool once the dog is in a full on reactive mode. Like mattie said though, you can use the gentle leader type head collars together with a harness if you really want. But I would never, ever my self recommend relying solely on neck or head collars to control your reactive dog.
What I actually said was :-
jakesmom wrote:I coupled the dogmatic with his harness and for the first time in his life we actually enjoyed our walks. It then took a further 3 years and a strong extending lead to stop him being reactive (well 90% of the time) because it was like starting afresh.
I didn't recommend using a head collar alone. I must admit my gut instinct made me think the same as you - that my dog could break his neck. That being said, I expressed my concerns to 3 different vets, and they all said the same - the muscles in dogs necks were so tuff there was no danger. But I still went with my gut instinct.
Vets cause so much damage with their ideas, a friend, who is also a behaviourist, saw a Dalmation break his neck with a headcollar on, he was leaping about on the end of the lead they way the dog reactive dogs do when they see another dog.

Well done for going with your gut instinct, they are usually right.

While you didn't recommend this, this forum is read by many looking for answers to their dog's behaviour, most don't post, even though you didn't recommend this, many will take as being recommended by this forum. Giving advice on the internet is very hard because we have to take these people into account as well as those who's first language isn't English.

Having used the gentle leader and the halti, I can honestly say there is no comparison with the dogmatic because:

They come in so many sizes, they are more or less made to the measure, so they fit each dog correctly

It does not ride up to the dogs eyes,

It does not twist round their snout no matter how hard they pull forwards or sidewards

The loop with the ring where you attach the lead is perfect for holding your dog still by. It is very sturdy and is particularly useful when you need your dog not to react at all e.g. in the vets waiting room.
My current dog Jake (GSD) sits perfectly relaxed in a full waiting room with me loosely holding the loop of his halter. I feel confident and so does he.


I have heard that they can ride up to the dog's eyes and twist round their noses, like all gadgets they are only as good as the person using them.

jakesmom wrote: It then took a further 3 years and a strong extending lead to stop him being reactive (well 90% of the time) because it was like starting afresh.


Sorry I didn't explain this well enough. Over the 3 year period I started with a short lead, moved on to a 6 foot lead and then the extending lead.

I agree completely that the extending leads can be dangerous if not used properly. My OH never uses it, he just cannot use it safely.

Personally I never use the brake, it is always able to recoil, or I hold it short when needed - I've got the knack of holding it very short and safe. When I use it I always wear thick leather gloves in order to slow my dog down slowly without carpet burning my hands, I remain 100% alert and move away from the dog if he getting too close to a possible danger, rather than putting on the brake.

Obviously each to his own, but I was not recommending anything I was just telling my story, in the hope that yummybagel would feel better. Because if I could learn how to control my nutty dog, anyone can.
Like you I teach my dogs how to walk on an extending lead, no matter how well trained they are on these accidents can still happen. It only takes a second for your dog to get to the end of the lead at speed and be brought up so fast they fall over backwards. I do use the brake because of this, if any of my dogs attempt to take off fast, the brake goes on immediately before they get any speed up, I also have these leads clipped to a harness and not a headcollar, at the speed some dogs can reach before they get to the end of the lead is enough to break their necks. Much better to stop as early as possible when they are not going as fast. I don't have to think about them taking off at speed, putting the brake on is automatic now.

It is good to discuss these because everyone has different experiences and ideas.
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yummybagel
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Re: Dealing with a dog aggressive on leash..

Post by yummybagel » Sat Mar 12, 2011 1:01 pm

Thank you for all of your wonderful advice!
I really do love this site :D
Mattie wrote:What may help is 2 leads or a double ended lead, once clipped to a harness the other to the collar, you have 2 points of contact that you can use to help control him. The harness will keep his body closer to you and the collar his head and neck. Walk him on the harness and only use the collar when you need extra control.
So when I'm not using the collar, would I be still holding the lead attached to the collar? I guess this is a stupid question but..just to make sure 8)
Mattie wrote:Personnally, I wouldn't take a reactive dog to school until I have sorted out my dog's reactive problem, my attention has to be on my children and not my dog, when walking a reactive dog they need all your attention, both children and your dog needs your full attention.
I usually take him to school after all the kids have gone, like around 4:00PM. The school is over by 2:30 so by the time I get there nobody's there except for the few teachers.
runlikethewind wrote:Try ditching the chuckit which IMHO is a nightmare to carry if you have a reactive dog and teach him to enjoy a ball-on-a-rope (which can be a tug toy and a throw toy in one).
The ball-on-rope sounds like a good idea since he loves tug of war. And yes, I learned quickly that it is a pain to carry it around when I'm walking Bagel...I got so excited when I first got it because I always see labs and their owners playing with them, but Bagel made sure I realized that he's a beagle, not a lab. He knows how to play fetch but most of the times he's more interested in sniffing the ground and chasing imaginary squirrels that, I think, he smells after they have left a trail..Now I'm trying to do the scent training that Victoria did with the Weimaraners in season 1.
runlikethewind wrote: The important thing to do is to do them at a safe distance (where there is no reaction). This is the distance where the dog will learn and I think you can do them all together.
So the emergency U-turn must be done before he lunges and growls? I realized that he is fine with most small dogs. He doesn't mind much when he sees small dogs, and occasionally he even wants to sniff them. It's the big dogs that he has a problem with. And dogs that are running freely without a leash on. So I was wondering, if he doesn't react in any way, but he does look at them is the emergency U-turn still required? Sometimes he stares at them, but there's no stiffening or growling.

Also, it's been awhile since we've taken him to the dog park. I was advised before to stop going to the dog parks for awhile. So we've stopped, but I was just wondering when you think it would be a safe time to start taking him back? It's just that sometimes, I want to let him loose and let him run around freely. There's not much fenced area around me. Most of the fenced areas forbid dogs, and the one that dogs are allowed in, (the fenced field near a school that I was talking about) is taken by a little league base ball team either practicing or playing games most of the times. If it's available and open and there's no tiny baseball players running around, then it's my lucky day or it's just a rainy day..And my back yard, we're fixing our back yard so it's not suitable for him to run around..I don't have a car yet (I'm a student) so I have to walk to take him somewhere, and the dog park is the only fenced field that is available that is also in a walking distance. So I would really love to take him back to the dog park...but I don't want to take him when he's not ready.
jacksdad wrote:I personally wouldn't recommend relying on something like the dogmatic, which from what I can see on their site it is just a variation of the gentle leader concept. I briefly used the Gentle Leader with Jack and the way he flailed about in a full on reaction I was worried he would break his neck. he was that worked up and that "out of control" of him self. it also did nothing to resolve pulling, only training resolved that.
I thought of getting the Gentle Leader, but I also afraid that I might injure his neck. I know alot of dog owners love it, but I'm just not comfortable using it...and I don't trust myself to use it correctly. I currently have the Easywalk harness but I'm not really satisfied with it..Because the lead attaches at the front and Bagel is so low to the ground (he has short legs :) ) the lead sometimes go between his legs. I've been wanting to try out the walkeez harness...Is it a good harness to use?

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Mattie
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Re: Dealing with a dog aggressive on leash..

Post by Mattie » Sat Mar 12, 2011 4:25 pm

yummybagel wrote:Thank you for all of your wonderful advice!
I really do love this site :D
Mattie wrote:What may help is 2 leads or a double ended lead, once clipped to a harness the other to the collar, you have 2 points of contact that you can use to help control him. The harness will keep his body closer to you and the collar his head and neck. Walk him on the harness and only use the collar when you need extra control.
So when I'm not using the collar, would I be still holding the lead attached to the collar? I guess this is a stupid question but..just to make sure 8)
Yes, you must keep hold of the lead clipped to the collar all the time but unless you need it have it slack. it is better to hold a lead in either hand than both in the one hand, this gives you more control because you can use them seperately.
runlikethewind wrote: The important thing to do is to do them at a safe distance (where there is no reaction). This is the distance where the dog will learn and I think you can do them all together.
So the emergency U-turn must be done before he lunges and growls? I realized that he is fine with most small dogs. He doesn't mind much when he sees small dogs, and occasionally he even wants to sniff them. It's the big dogs that he has a problem with. And dogs that are running freely without a leash on. So I was wondering, if he doesn't react in any way, but he does look at them is the emergency U-turn still required? Sometimes he stares at them, but there's no stiffening or growling.
Nobody knows or understands your dog better than you do, if you think he is going to react them get him away, if you are 100% sure he won't react then carry on but watch his body language in case it changes.

Dogs running loose are a nightmare if you have a reactive dog, I put myself between my dog and the other dog and give the dog a command like sit or down, this will often stop dogs.

Also, it's been awhile since we've taken him to the dog park. I was advised before to stop going to the dog parks for awhile. So we've stopped, but I was just wondering when you think it would be a safe time to start taking him back? It's just that sometimes, I want to let him loose and let him run around freely. There's not much fenced area around me. Most of the fenced areas forbid dogs, and the one that dogs are allowed in, (the fenced field near a school that I was talking about) is taken by a little league base ball team either practicing or playing games most of the times. If it's available and open and there's no tiny baseball players running around, then it's my lucky day or it's just a rainy day..And my back yard, we're fixing our back yard so it's not suitable for him to run around..I don't have a car yet (I'm a student) so I have to walk to take him somewhere, and the dog park is the only fenced field that is available that is also in a walking distance. So I would really love to take him back to the dog park...but I don't want to take him when he's not ready.
jacksdad wrote:I personally wouldn't recommend relying on something like the dogmatic, which from what I can see on their site it is just a variation of the gentle leader concept. I briefly used the Gentle Leader with Jack and the way he flailed about in a full on reaction I was worried he would break his neck. he was that worked up and that "out of control" of him self. it also did nothing to resolve pulling, only training resolved that.
I thought of getting the Gentle Leader, but I also afraid that I might injure his neck. I know alot of dog owners love it, but I'm just not comfortable using it...and I don't trust myself to use it correctly. I currently have the Easywalk harness but I'm not really satisfied with it..Because the lead attaches at the front and Bagel is so low to the ground (he has short legs :) ) the lead sometimes go between his legs. I've been wanting to try out the walkeez harness...Is it a good harness to use?[/quote]
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runlikethewind
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Re: Dealing with a dog aggressive on leash..

Post by runlikethewind » Sat Mar 12, 2011 4:36 pm

The emergency U-turn (for me)..it might mean different to others.... but for me, it is used at that exact moment when the dog reacts or starts to reacts so it's for your use when things don't go to plan or when something pops up unannounced and sets him off. Some dogs don't give any warning they are about to blow so that's difficult but either way, you use it just as he is about to go off or if he has started already. The second he reacts, you go Oops let's go!! Or This way! Or whatever HAPPY word you want to devise yourself. It is important you devise a word or phase that sounds happy to you and to your dog. I try not to use the word Come or his name because it can sound panicky. There's more about teaching emergency u-turns online. I have to do them once in a while in the forest when something unplanned pops up. Make sure you DON'T reward for having done an emergency u-turn because there's nothing you want to reward in that at all. Difficult I know.. but try not to say good boy or anything, during or after.

And sorry.. I realise I did not make myself clear in my previous post. Don't reward for a blow up and having to do an emergency u-turn. BUT DO REWARD FOR THE GAMES AND ACTITVIES BELOW. 2 EXAMPLES YOU CAN HAVE A GO AT. OTHER PEOPLE WILL HAVE OTHERS YOU CAN TRY.

There are two ways of working at the park I think. You should make sure you look carefully for those dogs who are under control and are not going to run up to you. Pick a time which is quiet and I would start off with him on the lead at the moment (you can progress later to off leash with dogs you know and trust...) and concentrate on locating the bigger dogs as you wander around, always making sure he is below threshold - as long as he stays under threshold ie not barking and no lunging. There is no point doing any of this above threshold.

Watch him looking at dogs. You want to reward these moments with either bits of yummy food or the tug toy. So if you use a clicker, click and reward for him looking at dogs. Or use the word Yes! or Good! And carry on wandering around. Then you might like to start pointing dogs out for him to look at, maybe saying something like Look there's a doggie and clicking and rewarding for him looking at them. After a while, the game becomes second nature that looking at dogs is not a big deal. Dogs can even get closer and the point being, he knows they are there, but he is not bothered because he's glancing at them and back at you for a reward. yeah.. "I've seen it, so what..." These games are explained in Control Unleashed.

The other option is where you wander around and you watch your dog looking at other dogs but rather than rewarding looking at dogs, you actually watch him carefully as he is standing looking at the dog and then you click and reward the moment he looks aways. As he has done the perfect thing, you walk away as his reward with a happy Good Boy!! As you can see, this is different to the above in that you are marking and rewarding a dog for not fixating nor staring nor even looking at another dog. It might seem strange logic (it did to me first). This type of training is about showing the dog that he can do something ELSE other than looking at dogs. They become background noise and he chooses whether to engage with them or not. Doing something else is calming to him and to the other dog. This type of training is explained by person called Grisha Stewart. There is more to it than this, but I've not gone into it here. Best if you were interested, to look her up.

Whichever you pick is completely up to you and how you feel your dog is 'getting it', you might not like the sound of any of the ideas, it's all up to you and your dog. But they are positive methods and if carried out under threshold, very rewarding and improving. Don't try to work over threshold - no puffing, no barking, no growling etc etc... if this starts, just either U-turn or walk calmly away and start the games further away. I'm not being blase here in that I feel bold enough to say, these games can work quickly and it is exciting to look for opportunties to do them. It is rewarding as you can see the distance reducing. There are other methods and ideas which the trainers will explain I'm sure - all in the same vein. Ultimately, what you are aiming for is your dog to change his emotional state around other dogs.

If you practice clicker rewarding or marker rewarding (eg saying yes! or whatever you like to mark the moment you like what he is doing), you will get a focused dog.. one that probably might not need a control collar or control lead anyway soon. You dog must recognise the connection between doing something nice/good, with a marker (click, yes or good) and the reward. If there is no connection there with this yet, you should try to get it sorted before going out. Won't take long - a couple of mins., 2 or 3 times a day, for a couple of days. There's more about clicker / marker training in the articles section.

yummybagel
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Re: Dealing with a dog aggressive on leash..

Post by yummybagel » Wed Apr 20, 2011 1:17 am

So I guess for an update, Bagel has been doing fantastic, up until today.

I've been working on him being reactive towards other dogs while on a walk, and I've been doing the watch me, the emergency u-turns, etc. and he's shown great progress, or so I thought. He had been ALOT more calm even when he saw another dog. There was no lunging, no going crazy. He even wanted to sniff alot of them and say hi politely. But seems to me that he suddenly lost all the progress. Yesterday, he met a dog (a spaniel) while on a walk and he stayed calm, said hi and moved on. Then at an open field, he saw another dog, and because he was so calm with the spaniel before, I let him sniff it. They seemed to like each other very well, and they started playing, not seeming to mind the fact that they both still had the leash on (not very safe, I know....). Then eventually Bagel and the dog parted ways, and did our own things. Bagel walked away with us, and the other dog played with its own owner. Then about ten minutes later, the other dog came bounding in our direction. Then it stopped not too close to us, but not too far either (if that makes sense), and Bagel seemed to want to sniff him again. I let him, and all of a sudden Bagel made a big growl and tried to bite it, kind of lunged at it. Now, the other dog didn't react to him, he just stood there taking it. He was still a puppy. He was bigger than Bagel, but he was still only 13 months (Bagel is now almost 2 years old). So I took Bagel and left the field. Then today, I went to the same field, and we were walking, and this female shar-pei shows up. I was a little nervous because she was walking around with no leash. The owner was behind her, and I was about to ask her if she could leash her dog when the shar-pei came running towards Bagel. She very carefully and gingerly approached to sniff him. He sniffed her too, and they were very carefully sniffing each other on the face when Bagel all of a sudden turned aggressive, did a big growl and then within a matter of seconds "attacked" her. Now, I say "attacked" because it seemed like Bagel was the one who started the aggressive response, but in the end it was Bagel who was being attacked. The "fight" only lasted maybe five seconds, but in the end it was Bagel who had his tail between his legs.

Now I'm kind of disappointed and confused. Should I not have let Bagel sniff other dogs? Should I not from now on, let him sniff other dogs on our walks? I know that I've done loads of things wrong. What did I do wrong specifically?

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Mattie
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Re: Dealing with a dog aggressive on leash..

Post by Mattie » Wed Apr 20, 2011 4:56 am

It sounds like you are going too fast for your dog, watch his body language, there is a thread in the articles section on a dog's body language it may help you understand your dog's. You did right to move him away the first day but the second he was still stressed from the day before and he shouldn't have been allowed to sniff another dog.

Dogs like us can only learn when they are relaxed, just slow it all down, watch your dog's body language, it is better to go too slowly than 2 quickly. You now need to take him back a few stages and let him recover especially as he has taken a beating from another dog, he can come through this but it must be at his pace not yours.

You have seen improvement, we all misjudge at times, you did this time, it isn't the mistake that matters, that can be worked through but how we handle the mistake, you know you took it too fast and came and asked, well done, you will get there.Image
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yummybagel
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Re: Dealing with a dog aggressive on leash..

Post by yummybagel » Wed Apr 20, 2011 5:10 pm

Thank you for your reply. It was a big encouragement :D

I think I got too excited seeing all the progress. I guess I pushed it too fast.
We'll have to take several steps back..

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Mattie
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Re: Dealing with a dog aggressive on leash..

Post by Mattie » Thu Apr 21, 2011 6:35 am

That is normal so don't worry about it, just look at it as part of the learning curve so you don't make the same mistake again. Making mistakes is how we learn, by putting up our mistakes and what we learnt we are helping others not to make the same mistakes. It won't be long before you will be joining in with your experience, it all helps. :D
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