We adopted Shamas, a 55lb, 5y/old Labrador retreiver on October 27th, and he's sweet. He'd just been neutered, so wasn't quite himself whem he came home. we did notice some Territorial aggression barking and growling at dogs passing by...he got off the leash and headbutted the neighbour's chiahuaha.... but I've trained an aggressive dog before, so I wasn't too worried long term.
Now, 2 weeks after adoption, Shamas has in the last 2 days lunged at a King Shephard as we passed, tried to get at a Lab across the street, attempted to dig under a fence this morning to get to the dogs in the yard and tried to pull across the street to a fenced collie who was mouthing off at him. I frankly am so hard put dealing with his behavior that I don't have time to observe if it's straight up aggression, arousal, or what :/ It's not all dogs, he met my dad's dogs just fine, and the dog 2 doors down too. just on the walk. I had wondered if my short-leashed walk had anything to do with it, but I don't dare let him out right now with him so unpredictable.
It seemed to get worse after I used the Gentle Leader, suggested by a behavioralist, to walk him.(because he's fearful of traffic, and has on one occasion backed himself into the main road) He lunged at the neighbour's chihauaha a second time, found himself in a tug of war with his own nose, and has been worse ever since.
What I DO know is I need to get control of his head- this front clip harness is absolutely useless for controlling a lunging dog, and I've had to physically pick him up by the back strap to walk on tiptoes past the opposition. This morning even that didn't work, I had him by both the harness AND the collar, making corrections with the collar to turn his head away from the other dog. He calms down almost as soon as he can't see them so all I need to do is get him past, and I can reward his passing by without event.
I have a Training session coming up, and I'm going to use it to address this issue. If necessary I'll pay for further sessions. In meantime, I NEED control of his head, so I can turn him away and redirect his attention.
Can anyone suggest a collar/head harness/tool that will give me control of Shamas's head? I want the clip at the top, behind the skull, so that I can hold him firm and make him walk past fenced dogs if he sees them before me. I don't want something that I put on high, and it drops to his lower neck the minute he sniffs the ground-it's useless there, as he's all muscle on his lower neck and will just pull against me. So far I've used, and own Gentle-Leader head harness(rubbed bld spots on his nose in less than a week) Easy Leader no pull harness(fine for a loose walk but offers no control over an unruly dog. ) Standard flat buckle collar to hold tags
I Don't want to resort to the Prong collar, which I've used in the past training an aggressive shephard..he hasn't the fur on his neck to pad the prongs, and he is too damaged emotionally to suffer the pain. I don't know how to use a Choke chain, so I refuse to even touch it. I know some swear by them, but I also know that improperly used they can kill. I'm not willing to take that risk, when there are so many other tools at my disposal