I have a female shepherd a little over a year. I have been pulling my hair out on trying to figure out what will work with the same situation. I’d like to note that she doesn’t sleep in the bedroom, she’s not allowed on furniture and I eat before her.

We moved away from family at 4 months into an apartment. The trouble started right away. Had I known then what I know now things might be different.

I pulled her away from people because I didn’t want her to jump and she took that as I need to be worried. I placed her in front of me. I made all kinds of mistakes not knowing I was making them and encouraging the behavior.

I had a behaviorist come out. He gave me a prong collar and no follow up. That costs me $300.00. If she really wants something she will pull on that prong it has no effect.

The next trainer was one day of the week only and training was wait in the car then come out to the field and chase the ball on a whip and get treats at the end. She learned to become barrier aggressive in the car. It’s no longer fun to transport her anywhere. That costs me another $300.

I had a trainer come out to my apartment with his dog. He worked mine for an hour weaving her back and forth while never actually letting her sniff his dog. That was 175 and then the group lesson in the park. A bunch of lack of mannered dogs walking thru the park. It taught mine to pull even more and to stay very focused on that dog in front.

So we go out early morning and late at night. We get a pee break in the afternoon. My dog has knocked me down in petsmart while wearing a muzzle. We were trying to get to the groomer with out incident. I was going broke trying to find a trainer that would help me with the distractions outside and listen.

Inside I couldn’t ask for a better dog. There’s no chewing, barking, no potty, she sleeps while I’m away but the minute we go outside she’s in a panic. All over the place. I’ve tried ecollar. Again not effective if she really wants something.

We walk in morning. We train and train and train. Loose leash, sit, stay and I drop the leash and walk away. People at a distance or even dogs it’s a look of focus but it’s not crazy and I can redirect her. Let one of them enter her invisible boundary and it’s hang onto your seat.

If there’s a scent on the wind when we walk out the door she’s in a reactive state. She doesn’t even have to see the dog. It’s hard to catch her in the moment in an apartment. There are things that come out of nowhere that she senses and I don’t.

I’m learning to watch her ears and brace for impact. I do know without a doubt she’s not aggressive besides all 3 trainers telling me. I had 2 girls walk into the little park with puppies. Amidst my shepherds I’m going to kill you behavior when they brought them closer she got curious and they eventually played on the ground with her.

It’s manners she’s lacking and I’m just not sure how to fix this because most people won’t let their dog nor themselves near her when she’s acting as a furry monster.

Do I get another dog and risk her turning that one into a nightmare? Oh and I did get her a treadmill. I’m just at my wits end on what method I need to take now to break her of this reaction. I’m tired of walking in the dark and I don’t want to fall again. I’m old.


3 Answers 3


I’m learning to watch her ears and brace for impact.

With my dogs I've found that this is the moment at which you need to coach and treat. As soon as you notice something that will trigger your dog, start to coach her. For me, my dogs reacted while we were walking past other dogs. So I begin to coach, calmly, "on by, on by." Then, as soon as the trigger has passed, praise and reward. You teach the dog that if she can focus on you and ignore the trigger, she will be rewarded.

I run with my dogs (border collie and Australian shepherd mixes) and as they went through adolescence they both started becoming aggressive when we'd pass other dogs. I had to spend a couple of weeks with each where I would carry treats to coach them to focus on me. Now it is second nature.


One thing I would suggest with a dog like this, if you haven't been doing it already, is the "Look at That" game. Basically, you reward them for experiencing the reactive trigger when you're far enough away that they don't react, and then gradually move closer as they get better at remaining calm. There are a couple of books in that link that my wife has used to help our reactive BC/GSD mix. But LAT is very useful because it encourages the dog to look at you instead of what it's reacting to.

Dealing with reactivity is kind of a life-long battle, but it should get easier over time with training.


Your dog may have anxiety. This isn't your fault at all. My dog has it too.

Calm her down. Choose preferably chewier treats that take her a while to eat

Hold the treat in front of her when she gets panicked or anxious. Allow her to sniff it and when she turns her attention away from the scene reward her with the treat as you're walking.

Give her an area in your house that's just hers. A beanbag or a dog bed that isn't a crate will do. This might help make her calmer as it gives her a space where she feels is her own and just hers. This method has helped a few dogs in my area including my own.

The last suggestion is CBD oil dog treats. Giving one before a walk or before bed may help to calm her as well.

  • 1
    Hi, I noticed that this answer has a problem that makes it look like spam. Although you give vague descriptions of the treats you recommend, you don't actually name the ones you link to. Any user who wants to know their name is forced to klick on a link to an online shop. If this link ever goes bad, your answer isn't as useful anymore. Please take a moment to edit your answer and write the names of the products. If you are in any way affiliated with a shop or product, you must clearly and unmistakably disclose this affiliation.
    – Elmy
    Sep 14, 2021 at 5:21
  • @Elmy I am not affiliated with any shops, just sharing ones that worked well for my pets. Sep 14, 2021 at 13:01
  • +1 This is the first answer which states the panic the dog seems to have outside! Inside (secure) it is a perfect dog, and puppies (no danger) cause no reactions, but other dogs seem to scare, maybe it never were socialized? Sep 23, 2021 at 6:07

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