Dogcharmer: Conan’s not calm

With a special device and consistent training, he may be able to make new doggy friends.

A large dog may need special training if it's too heavy to hold back when needed. —Vladislav Tsankov

Dear Dog Charmer,

Our dog Conan is a one-year-old German Shepherd who is very friendly with people and impossibly aggressive when it comes to other dogs. At 90 pounds, I can’t hold him back any more and my husband is losing his patience and actually talking about getting rid of him. Please help!

Frustrated dog owner

Dear Frustrated,

The first thing I’d suggest is acclimating Conan to a gentle leader. It will reduce his ability to pull by 90 percent. The gentle leader works on the principle of leverage as opposed to pain. The gentle leader will turn his head, which is immediately followed by the rest of his body. At the same time Conan needs to be taught the “Leave it” command. When he hears “Leave it” he has to ignore whatever he’s focused on, be it a squirrel, a pizza crust on the ground, or another dog.

I would also highly suggest teaching him basic cooperation in sitting, lying down, and staying. All of the above needs to be taught by a competent professional so as to avoid a tragic end for Conan. As politically incorrect as it is today, I am still a proponent of an e collar when used properly. If you read “Click to Calm” by Emma Parsons it’s clear that all rewards can work in some circumstances of aggression, if you’re willing to put in tremendous time and effort. Parsons very much revolved her life’s chores around the training regimen. One hundred percent of the people I dealt with didn’t have the time, patience, or money do what Parsons did.

Not long ago I received a gift and thank you from a lady who has a six-pound Maltese that went berserk when it saw another dog. First acclimating the dog to the collar so that it represented the joy of taking long walks, using the words “Leave it” immediately followed by the collar’s tone, immediately followed by the startling mild stim, by the second lesson she was cooperating on the tone to avoid the stim. And in the same 40-minute walk the tone wasn’t necessary, she was civil with just the words “Leave it.” The Maltese owner’s thank-you letter called the change a “game changer” in her life.

Dog Charmer Tom

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