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Focus Issues

January 30th, 2006, 06:35 PM
I have a german shepherd / JR cross, she just turned a year old last October. We have been doing obeedience classes since the fall.
I have a LOT of trouble with her in class, out on walks, etc. In class she wants to literally kill any dog that comes near her! She snarls, snaps, lunges, I can't get her to focus on me with any amount of treats or toys. At class if there is a large enough distance I can get her attention and hold it for a few minutes, but the second any kind of other dog-related distraction occurs, I've lost her focus. :sad:

She is 'ok' with dogs in groups when she is off leash. She has had the odd play that has turned into more of an argument. But for example today I was walking down the road with her, and a pit bull came out of someone's driveway. So of course I was terrified, thinking it's going to come kill Dizzy (my dog.) The man ran out after his dog, and the pit bull greeted Dizzy like a perfectly well mannered dog! Dizzy had her lip curled, growling, and eventually tried to lunge at it! The poor dog just looked at her stunned. How embarassing!

I am at my wits end - I don't know what to do with her! I need some serious advice and help.
Thanks in advance.

January 30th, 2006, 07:07 PM
Right now she thinks the world is hers to run and boss around :evil: . You are like the embarassed parent :o in the grocery store with the out of control child.
You need to work on your relationship with her as a parent and leader. She needs to start looking to you for the answers not just doing as she pleases 24/7.
I would start making her world very small and regimented. She is on the leash when ever you go out. She is on the leash attached to you in the house as much as possible. She is doing drills and obedience for anything she wants in life.
You need to start correcting her for her bad manners and teaching her that good manners get good things.
She needs to respect your word and that will happen when you are willing to meet her challenges and ensure things happen your way.
We have relationship drills that we do to ensure this transformation of relationship. Some which involve no pulling on the leash, others that are all about boundaries. All of which are done with no treats and no gimmicks. She is totally capable of behaving and working for you out of love, trust and respect. Let us know if you would like us to PM any of the drills to you.
I would suggest that you work your obedience in the house and as you are successful you go outside and then to the parks. But right now she hasn't earned the parks or long walks. I would rather you work for 20 minutes on your obedience than do a 20 min. walk that leads to failure. You will be surprised that 20 mins of mental workout can be just as tiring as a 20 min walk. Granted she needs exercise but she needs manners even more.