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ok, those sound like some good suggestions...
and when he does lunge at another dog, or barks at someone he shouldn't be barking at...
what should I do?
and when he does lunge at another dog, or barks at someone he shouldn't be barking at... what should I do?

I'd say the safest bet right now is to distract him away as quickly and neutrally as you can. If you're walking too near another dog, spin around and start skipping in the other direction, making chimpanzee sounds. Pretty good chance he'll focus his attention back on you and forget all about the other dog. (Dogs LOVE it when we make fools of ourselves. :} Ask him to heel or sit, which will help remind him that you're in charge and he needn't worry.

With people, be aware when somebody is approaching, and you'll have to ask them to please not try to pet him or even look at him. It's a pain, but you don't want to risk making it worse.
In other words, try to avoid situations that will set him off until you have help dealing with it.
And a group class, as another poster suggested, would be a very good idea. If the trainer is good, he/she should be able to determine whether or not he belongs in a class or should be in a private. I've had a lot of dogs who are reactive in the ways you describe in my classes, whose fears weren't as deep-rooted as they looked. Most of them made a lot of progress in class. I only had to refer out a couple of them.
I'd caution against a large class, though - you'd be best off in a class with less than 6 dogs, and only then if there is sufficient space between them.

Canine Action Dog Trainer
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Well, I can't speak for all dogs, but the correction I gave her certainly did not lead to any kind of increased reaction to other dogs at all. In fact, her barking and running the fence has dimished too, but I didn't mention that, so as not to go into overkill, trying to mae my point. It seems to me, you are reading a LOT into the simple, matter-of-fact correction that I used. It in no way made any kind of big deal out of other dogs. It simply allowed her to know that her usual behavior was unacceptable.
In fact, at the rescue, she played hard with the other GSD's. But most dogs did not interpret her lunging and barking as play, and hence the aggression ensued. When I first got her, I thought she and my other dog were going to kill each other, but after a week or two of controlled exposure, things evened out and they get along well now. Even though they are each somewhat jealous of attention given to the other.

I'm quite pleased with her behavior now and if she is thwarting some kind of deep seated resentment of having to inhibit herself, she certainly keeps it well hidden beneath a facade of happy exuberance at getting to go out in public.
Our method worked quickly and well, and I would not hesitate to use it again, as it did absolutely no harm and achieved the desired result. I'm sure there are other methods, but I mention this because it was so fast and effective.
Sara
Well, I'm sure the problem is that he hasn't been socialized properly. And assuming that is the problem, what can I do to help? I guess finding a trainer would be number one? Suggestions for finding a good trainer?

Most cities have an active Dog Obedience club, and they often offer inexpensive lessons. If you give us an idea of where you are, I bet someone can suggest a club (you don't have to join the club to take the lessons).
Our method worked quickly and well, and I would not hesitate to use it again, as it did absolutely no harm and achieved the desired result.

Certainly sounds like it did. I'm not debating you that it can work. You did let her know in no uncertain terms that she is not the boss of you. If her motivation was protection, she could have gotten the message that's your job, not hers.
The problem I see in it - and why I wouldn't suggest it as a first resort - is that there is classical conditioning going on that could be highly detrimental. Teaching her "strange dog means something unpleasant" by association is very powerful psychologically.
Now that said, there are times when I think immediate eye contact and a sharp "No!" is called for. Then as soon as eye contact is established, I begin praising. But I'd have to work with the dog to determine that, and I wouldn't recommend it if I didn't think the handler had decent timing.

There are many ways to train a dog, and some trainers in here who I trust to be very skilled with collar corrections. It's just not my preference.

Canine Action Dog Trainer
http://www.canineaction.com
My Kids, My Students, My Life:
http://hometown.aol.com/dfrntdrums/myhomepage/index.html
Well, I'm sure the problem is that he hasn't been ... would be number one? Suggestions for finding a good trainer?

Most cities have an active Dog Obedience club, and they often offer inexpensive lessons. If you give us an idea of where you are, I bet someone can suggest a club (you don't have to join the club to take the lessons).

Thanks, Theresa! I looked and there's a club very near me and they have new classes starting in about a month. I'm sending in our application tomorrow.
Obedience classes, get in them with a good positive trainer and stay in them until he can at least handle ... force him to meet people and don't coddle his fears. Reassuring him when he's fearful only reinforces his fears. Lauralyn

I agree, I think the obediance classes are the best thing I could do right now. He's not so out of control that he couldn't do a class with other people and dogs.
and when he does lunge at another dog, or barks at someone he shouldn't be barking at... what should I do?

I'd say the safest bet right now is to distract him away as quickly and neutrally as you can. If ... then if there is sufficient space between them. Canine Action Dog Trainer http://www.canineaction.com My Kids, My Students, My Life: http://hometown.aol.com/dfrntdrums/myhomepage/index.html

Ok, thanks again for the tips, these are definitely helping. I've found the local obediance training club here in town and e-mailed them. Tomorrow I'll look into classes at other local places. He's just such a sweetheart that I really think we can get this turned around.
ok, those sound like some good suggestions... and when he does lunge at another dog, or barks at someone he shouldn't be barking at... what should I do?

Most important is working very hard at avoiding situations where that is likely to occur.
Second is keeping aware of your surronginds so you can do step one.

Third is before he triggers do something to avoid triggering. What, exactly, to do depends on your dog. YOu will have to (a) experimnent to find out what works and (b) work on building and strengthing that attention and focus in less challenging environments. Soemtimes a game of tug works, sometimes buncing a ball works. someimes giving treats works, and eventauly you will have obedience and that really works. Obedience, by the way, accomplishes more than mere compliance. It gives the dog guidence. So when the dog is feeling uncertain your instruction removes that uncertainty.
If you see something approaching that you know from experience is likely to cause a reaction in your dog (1) do not turn around and go 180 degrees in the other direction unless there is no practical other choice. This movement covneys flight to your dog. You are telling your dog this is something to run away from. It might make the problem worse.

The best scenario is for you to stand off to the side and get and keep your dog's attention. However, do not do this unless you are really certain you can accomplish that. Everytime your dog engages in the lunging and barking behavior that behavior is strengthened and it will be that much harder to correct.
Try to go around the event by angling off at about 45 degrees. This is an "appeasement" move. It signals "I'm going where I'm going but I'm no threat to you." Ideally you will do a large enough circle to keep your dog from reacting but small enough for your dog to get it that you are still on the same course. Your movemet signals you are trying to avoid confrontation. Some dogs might read that as fearful which is why you need an outside observer.
Always carry your leash with a loop of it held in your hand. If your dog reacts AND if it is safe to do so, drop the excess loop so that the leash loosens then move off to the side calling your dog and moving quickly backwards keeping your dogs attention. Tension on the leash communicates tension to your dog. What you want to communicate to your dog in these situatiosn is that things are wonderful, and you are relaxed.

When speaking to people, even if you are warning them off, speak in a light hearted tone. Avoid shouting, and if you have a naturally low voice try to raise the pitch just a bit. You don't want to sound screechy or whiny, but you don't want to sound alarmed or growly either. Think "praise" not "scold." IOW think of the tone of voice that makes your dog happy and comfortable and use that when interacting with people. Even if you are going around someone signal to your dog that you think they are OK by the way you speak to them. It is (usually) OK to treat the other person is if they are so little concern to you that they don't exist - ignore them completely and your dog is more likely to ignore them.
If there are two responsible adults and only one dog another good move is for one person with the dog to stop while the other person continues forward and greets the person in a friendly manner. Stand slightly sideways, not face to face. Face to face is confrontation. Side angles is "not a threat." Switch off who stays and who moves forward. The other person should completely ignore the dog. The person holding the dog should move forward as soon as the dog relxes and continue walking right past the object of interest.
Keep in mind with whatever you do in any of these sitations that you have the following goals (1) keep everyone safe, all moves are secondary to this (2) every move you make and every tone you utter should be "this is nothing special" - you are calm and deliberate, not stressed in any way.

Diane Blackman
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