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- By Lorripop [gb] Date 28.07.17 10:51 GMT Edited 28.07.17 10:54 GMT
my 4 year old boy is becoming aggressive to other dogs, often they are on leads but not always and has been quite nasty to a couple of pups. I think the other dogs have been male and either old or entire also.
Its making us a little nervy when out on walks as we don't know which dog he might decide to have ago at and 90% of the time he is fine and there are dogs we see everyday that he is fine with, there is one he avoids as this dog grumbles at him and is first to show his dominance.

He goes up to EVERY dog we see and as soon as he has seen a dog in the distance his recall is rubbish as he fixes on the dog and runs up to them, his recall without a dog around is perfect, its like we don't exist when he spots another dog. He doesn't want to play with other dogs but sniffs and sniffs every part of them and in particular the bottom, he's obsessed. If we see a dog on a lead we get him on his but this isn't always possible if he's a bit further ahead.
I am sure this is because he is entire and his age maybe, but he doesn't do any humping of anything and is really a placid boy when at home and with people. We have a another dog of the same breed who has been neutered and is younger but the older one gives in to him all the time over toys etc, you can see he backs down.

I am thinking of using superlorin but I show him and I guess I won't be able to if his bits shrink?. Don't have any problems with him at shows but he is always on a lead and if I notice any strange body language from other dogs or him I just keep my distance. Are there any natural remedies that might help his hormone level and dampen them down a bit?? I've also read about Medroxyprogesterone acetate but has anyone used?
- By Nikita [gb] Date 28.07.17 11:49 GMT Upvotes 1
At 4 years old the hormonal surges have passed and he should be settling down, so I suspect this is becoming (or has become) learned behaviour now - habit, rather than purely down to gender and being entire.  Perhaps it started with one dog he didn't like and was rapidly generalised to other males - I've had this happen with two of my boys, towards entire males.  One of mine was entire at the time, the other had been neutered just over a year prior.  They had incidents with individuals that quickly became a generalised problem, to the degree in the end that all males (and some females for the second dog) became potential triggers.  It took a lot of work but both are/were ok in the end - I still have to watch Linc with some males but if I manage the initial meeting and don't allow him to bully in the first 10 seconds, then he's fine.

I'm concerned as well that it sounds like he's still getting opportunities to practice this behaviour by being off lead around other dogs (however unplanned that bit may be).  If he has no recall around dogs and is a risk of aggression then you should not be letting him off lead at all, for the time being.

Have you had any professional help with this?  How are you currently handling his behaviour, apart from trying to get him back on lead to prevent it happening?
- By monkeyj [gb] Date 28.07.17 11:52 GMT Upvotes 1

> Are there any natural remedies that might help his hormone level


I think it is his behaviour that needs to be addressed, not the hormone levels. The high likelihood things are only going to escalate.

> Its making us a little nervy when out on walks as we don't know which dog he might decide to have ago at
> He goes up to EVERY dog we see and as soon as he has seen a dog in the distance his recall is rubbish as he fixes on the dog and runs up to them, his recall without a dog around is perfect, its like we don't exist when he spots another dog.


In any case I would not let him off lead not for a second, even when you think there is no one around unless you are 100% certain (e.g. your own fenced field, or rented field etc). You really don't want a situation when he runs up and attacks another dog, or god forbid a puppy - even if his attack is "only barking".
- By Lorripop [gb] Date 28.07.17 12:05 GMT
Its difficult not letting him off as has always been an off lead dog and hates walking on lead and he's difficult as wants to run BUT I know we need to do this. we live in the New forest and so many walks are fine as we don't see anyone on some mornings or we see the same old dogs that he knows (doesn't stop him sniffing the hell out of them though).
He's always been totally obsessed with sniffing other dogs, never plays, all he wants is to have his nose up their bottoms but its not a quick sniff and go, he does it for ages. Some dogs tell him off and he backs off.

When he his going to be aggressive this has been quite instant on meeting the dog, like I said more often the dog is on a lead but not always because its funny with other dogs but purely it runs off, I ask the owners why. He never barks, it usually a quick sniff then he gets over assertive and then goes into aggression mode. Once away from the dog he carries on with us as if nothing has happened, he's not looking to go back to the dog and when he is back on his lead he behaves, he isn't still trying to get at the other dog.

I just thought this was hormonal behaviour.
- By MamaBas Date 28.07.17 12:14 GMT
I have only seen this twice with my hounds - the one was with my last male, entire but over 11 years.   After his sister died, when we took him out, everytime he saw another dog, his hackles went up and he started rumbling.  This was down to him not ever being a sole hound before and he was clearly adopting an attack being the best form of defence attitude.   Very embarrassing in a breed not known to be aggressive.   

The other, previous one, was with a pup we'd kept back from an all-male litter (!).   By the time he hit 2 years (and never used at stud), he started challenging his uncle (who had been used) with the result we never knew when it would kick off, but the fights became increasingly serious.   I tried what I could to make he settle down, including putting the two of them in the outside pen we had, at which point they lay together, noses pretty much touching - at the gate waiting for me to let them out again.   Not a sign of any fighting (I felt it worth trying outside where I had access to a hose!).   Later that day, long after I'd let them out again and back indoors, he set about his uncle again.   In the end I had to find a good home for him, with his own bitches and the lad was happy as larry - plus peace returned to my lot.   I would say he was fine when out vs other dogs.

Best I can say is you'll probably have to not let him off the lead when out, other than if he's somewhere quiet with no other dogs around.  I'd not go for neutering (but then I only do that for medical need in any case) - I think this is more about training, prevention.
- By monkeyj [gb] Date 28.07.17 12:18 GMT Edited 28.07.17 12:21 GMT Upvotes 1

> When he his going to be aggressive this has been quite instant on meeting the dog, like I said more often the dog is on a lead but not always


This is another thing that would concern me, a dog should never be allowed to run up to another on-lead dog, unless the other dog's owner has indicated that it is OK to let them say hello. Otherwise how could you know the reason the other dog is on lead? Perhaps it is aggressive. Perhaps it is nervous. Perhaps it likes to be left alone. Perhaps its owner likes their dog to be left alone. On the most basic level, it is a matter of simple courtesy to respect and not to intrude upon another person's and their dog personal space. 

But by what you describe he does sound opportunistic as opposed to hormonal, as if it was his way to entertain himself - plus he appears to target on-lead and as such restrained dogs (while backing off the dogs that tell him off), all does suggest bad habits developing which must be nipped in the bud.
- By KeesieKisses [gb] Date 28.07.17 14:51 GMT
Sadly I'm currently experiencing this as my dog has become fearful since being attacked, just as he turned one so was at the start of adolescence as it was! :neutral:

We've been playing the engage-disengage game while on walks and he is walked on a long-line so he still gets a bit of a run but I still have complete control if I spot another dog

He only growls, never bares teeth or snaps but as soon as he does it he is walked away from the other dog. We now have him on herbal relaxers as well to help him feel at ease

As your dog is 4, could it possibly be a medical reason? I know of a dog that starting snapping at other dogs because she was in pain from her hips:sad:

I know too well how hard it is, but you need to try and stay calm and keep confident as if you are feeling nervous, your dog will too
- By Lorripop [gb] Date 28.07.17 15:58 GMT Edited 28.07.17 16:00 GMT
I have brought a Flexi today and will use. When we see another dog on a lead we always shout and ask if they want ours on leads, most say no as their dog is on lead because it runs off or because they feel its too bouncy, if we get no answer we do put on a lead if he's near enough to grab him before he runs. He is a gundog and likes to run a wide area.

This is not growling its straight to an attack and its started by him. Very horrible for other dog owner and us and I apologise of course. It isn't everyday either and most dogs we know but we get a lot of visitors to the area at this time of year.
I haven't noticed anything difference in him physically and his hips have a very low score and he hasn't lameness but who knows what goes on internally I suppose.

The only thing that has happened recently, but I don't like to use as an excuse as really didn't think it would cause this, is that we lost our 6 year scottie 6 weeks ago in a horrible way of him just collapsing after his dinner and died within 10minutes and then 2 weeks later we lost our old springer of 16. So thats obviously changed things in the house but the springer hadn't been out on walks for about 6 months and the scottie was always on a lead as hated other dogs, runners, cyclist and ponies (great dog for the new forest!!) he shouted at them all.

Its his obsession with smelling other dogs in a very persistent way but like I said he has always done this, he's never been a dog that will engage in play, only as a pup.

I certainly don't want to neuter as that would do me out of my hobby plus I would try superlorin first to see what difference if any it would make.
- By monkeyj [gb] Date 28.07.17 17:38 GMT
I too wouldn't neuter in this situation. I'm not sure if you mentioned, does he also sniff the dogs he lives with, or just those he meets on walks? It could indeed be just an obsession, in a similar way as some dogs get obsessed with throwing a ball - it starts as normal behaviour and then escalates further and further unless the owner takes it under control.

It could also be that his attacks are related, when dogs sniff each other's ends the situation for those few seconds is usually a little tense. And given that he persists in this behaviour for longer than usual, he would feel the other dog's discomfort, some dogs would growl at him etc, and this could tempt him on occasions (when he feels safe to do so) to take the things "a bit further".

I would work with him towards neutral behaviour with other dogs, either walk past with just a glance, or brief sniff on the nose (not the rear end so that not to allow his obsession to continue) and then distract him with a brief training exercise and his favourite treat so that his focus in on you.

One of my dogs a terrier male, is also an "unsocial" dog outside. At shows he knows how to behave, at home he allows my other dogs to do anything to him, he is the most friendly and placid friend to them and all he wants is cuddle and play. But when he steps outside everything changes, he becomes a hunter. He never growls, barks, or screams, no hysterics at all, he just pulls towards another dog (or deer or rabbit or anything that moves pretty much excluding humans) and wags his tail slightly in anticipation, and when he is sufficiently close he strikes.

He came to live with us already grown up so I don't know how this behaviour has developed. It has never bothered me though, I just accepted him the way he was. He walks on lead only and he wears a muzzle (sadly due to so many owners who can't/won't control their off-lead dogs), he is just a totally happy and loving chap who has this "thing" about him. :smile:
- By Lorripop [gb] Date 28.07.17 19:20 GMT
He takes no notice of my other dog at all, no interaction with him and no sniffing. The only dog he did this too was the old boy that we lost a couple weeks back, it wasn't daily, but he would get fixed on sniffing him mainly his abdomen area or leg and very occasionally he would get excited and want to hump him but I put this down to the other dog giving off strange smells due to age and maybe things going on internally that he could smell. He would get very sniffy when my old boy had had a wee.

He is a routine dog down to the second and very difficult to change his habit of say waiting for his bedtime biscuit when he's been out at 10pm, he will not come back into the lounge until that biscuit has been given.
He is also very undemanding on attention, not like our other dog that follows you and barges in to get the cuddles. He likes fuss in the morning and at certain times in the evening but thats it. He does get very excited by new people and one friend of mine and my daughter and her husband. Goes bananas when he sees them!

If you all think this is not hormones and being a full boy I will try the Flexi lead and control of meeting other dogs for a while and not let him sniff in his obsessive way, he loves treats so I know I can get his attention on a lead.
- By Nikita [gb] Date 29.07.17 08:17 GMT Upvotes 1
Losing the other dogs may well have had an impact.

In any case, treat it as 'normal' aggressive behaviour/bullying behaviour: close management (strictly on lead) so he isn't able to practice it; do not allow close meetings for a while; and reward the hell out of anything that isn't aggression.  And that includes nothing - if he sees a dog and does nothing, reward it.  For at least a few weeks I wouldn't allow him any closer to a dog than he is comfortable with - so as soon as you see signs of stress (hackles, any grumbles, tight lips/face, wide eyes, staring etc) back off and make a mental note of how close you were and next time, keep a bit further away.  Even dogs who bully for fun typically show stress signs when they get close enough - the body still gets the stress hormones even when the dog is doing it for kicks (as Linc does, he goes still when he's deciding he's going to bully a dog so I have to get him on side before he reaches that point).

The engage-disengage game that KeesiKisses mentions is excellent for this sort of issue, both for getting him to start focusing on you around other dogs and for building both calm, thoughtful behaviour from him (as in, thinking about what he's doing instead of going straight in to bully) and good experiences around other dogs.  Build the positive, as that is what will help the behaviour.

If you do come into close quarters with another dog, don't allow him to start sniffing obsessively - one or two seconds at best, then on with the walk in a jolly, upbeat way to encourage him to go with you, and reward him the second he looks away from them (even if he hasn't yet moved, because rewarding that look-away will encourage him to move with you anyway).  For this dog, anything that disengages him from another dog - looking away, turning his head away, walking away - is the best decision he can make and you need to treat it as such.
- By Harley Date 29.07.17 08:45 GMT Upvotes 4

> He goes up to EVERY dog we see and as soon as he has seen a dog in the distance his recall is rubbish as he fixes on the dog and runs up to them, his recall without a dog around is perfect, its like we don't exist when he spots another dog. He doesn't want to play with other dogs but sniffs and sniffs every part of them and in particular the bottom, he's obsessed. If we see a dog on a lead we get him on his but this isn't always possible if he's a bit further ahead.


This would be my nightmare if I was walking my reactive dog. I have spent years getting him to walk past another dog, that is in his personal space, without reacting. An off lead dog approaching him in the way that yours might do would throw all that training out the window. I know it's not easy having to have your dog on lead or on a long line but it is the safest thing for all concerned and to be brutally honest it is the only thing at this point in time. Your dogs problem behaviour can seriously affect the behaviour of other dogs who might not put up with his rudeness and the situation could very easily get out of hand. I also don't think it is fair nor reasonable for your dog to interfering with the training of other dogs. I don't mean to sound rude nor harsh but it is sooooo frustrating when all the steps forward made with my reactive boy are lost due to the actions of another persons dog. I put all my dogs back on lead if I see another dog on lead - even Mr Super Friendly with impeccable manners - as I know just how frustrating and damaging it can be for the other owner. I would love to have my reactive dog off lead more than he does but I have a responsibility to both him and other dogs/owners so he is only offlead in open country where I have 360 vision.
- By Lorripop [gb] Date 29.07.17 10:05 GMT
So this mornings walk on Flexi, wasn't easy in the sense I forgot the harness so just had on collar and he nearly pulled me over as he's 31kg and when he saw another dog he was determined but I got his attention and treated him. this was ok but as soon as treat eaten he's back looking trying to catch up with the dog. We changed directions and he was fine.
we went to a part in the woods where we rarely see another dog as its off the main walk areas so he he had a run and good sniff about.

Met a jack Russell by the river and again as soon as he saw her he was deep to get to her but once by the river she kept her distance and he wasn't bothered. I think because she was girl plus she snapped at my other boy when he went closer to her.

We then met a terrier he knows who loves my boys and rolls over for them and licks all their faces etc so he was allowed to meet Rolo but only sniff for a second and he came away with ease. All tails wagging.

Forgot to say before  when he's off lead and sees a dog coming towards him sometimes he does all the crouching cat crawl until they get closer, then he stands up and wags tail until he's decided about the dog.

Anyway tomorrow it will be harness and Flexi or head collar and Flexi so I have more control, he's so strong.

The vet rang me back re Medroxyprogesterone acetate and this is not available in uk but there is something called Tardak anyone used?

Thank you all
- By Lorripop [gb] Date 29.07.17 10:13 GMT Upvotes 1
Harley I know exactly what you're saying and it doesn't sound rude. My scottie we lost was always on lead as any dog that come close would send him crazy and he bite if given the chance and I would tell people this if other dogs were around or coming up to us.

We do always shout if we see another dog on the lead and of course put them on leads if close enough to get him, sometimes he is way ahead though and I would never ever blame the other dog on the lead if my dog got attacked as I know it would be my fault, but appreciate the harm it can do to the dog on the lead also.
Its so frustrating how he is starting to get as is good with all the ponies and foals of the forest, never bothers with them.
- By Harley Date 29.07.17 10:36 GMT Upvotes 4
Can I just say that you should never, ever use a flexi/long line with a head collar. Imagine the force on his neck when 31kg of dog comes to an aprupt halt when it runs but reaches the end of the flexi - the force you feel when he does this on an ordinary lead will give you an idea of how much stress it places his neck in. I have heard of dogs having their necks broken in such circumstances :sad:
- By furriefriends [gb] Date 29.07.17 11:58 GMT
I second all.u have said Harley and also not meaning to be rude but the situations that are being described by the op would cause so much stress for both my dog and me for exactly the reasons u state.i am sure many don't realise that their dogs approach and not even with bad intentions cause so much difficulty
- By furriefriends [gb] Date 29.07.17 11:58 GMT
I second all.u have said Harley and also not meaning to be rude but the situations that are being described by the op would cause so much stress for both my dog and me for exactly the reasons u state.i am sure many don't realise that their dogs approach and not even with bad intentions cause so much difficulty
- By Nikita [gb] Date 29.07.17 12:00 GMT Upvotes 1
Absolutely, no headcollar with a flexi or any lead over 4ft long.  The risk is just too great, especially with a big dog.

If you can't hold him on the flexi then you will have to walk him on a short lead until he begins to be calmer - if he's lunging that hard I'd be doing that as flexis can easily be pulled out of hands by charging dogs.  A harness and headcollar combo, with a double ended lead, tends to be the best option to give you control.

I would also ask around to see if there are any secure fields round you that he can run free in - some dogs absolutely do need to be off lead so if it's not safe for him to be loose usually, then this could be a useful stopgap for you and him.
- By Goldmali Date 29.07.17 12:18 GMT Upvotes 2
Just to point out- a dog rolling over and licking faces is being submissive, tail wagging can be included as well, so the terrier might not so much love your dog as making sure he won't get hurt.
- By monkeyj [gb] Date 29.07.17 14:09 GMT

> Can I just say that you should never, ever use a flexi/long line with a head collar. Imagine the force on his neck when 31kg of dog comes to an aprupt halt when it runs but reaches the end of the flexi


Its been over a year since Flexi introduced a shock absorber attachment. Add to that learning the correct way to use flexi - moving your arm in the opposite direction of the dog's movement (which becomes a semi-automatic response once you get used to the lead) - and there is absolutely nothing wrong with using Flexi with a collar.
- By Tommee Date 29.07.17 14:48 GMT
Tardak is the old "chemical" castration drug that suppresses the testosterone production but it has to be renewed frequently rather than stopping the production as Superlorin does.
- By Lorripop [gb] Date 29.07.17 15:16 GMT
So no dogmatic bridle type head collar with Flexi?
Harness with front ring is also what I have, walk your dog with love its called. When we road walk its either a harness or figure of eight head lead.
I need more than neck collar as he will pull if gets a smell of any sort or sees something he wants to get closer to. Even on a normal lead he won't walk without pulling, I guess we've never really done loads of lead walking, its out the car and go. It seems he just really pulls against the restriction of being held, he won't walk right beside me either, the tighter I pull him in to me the harder he pulls against it. He only trots properly on loose lead in the show ring!

The other dog that rolls over actually comes up to mine, we were stood still and he came out of the river to see my boys, he wasn't forced into meeting them, he genuinely is happy to be around them and runs up to them.

I'll ring the vet Monday about Tardak.
- By MamaBas Date 29.07.17 15:59 GMT Upvotes 2
No Flexi lead - these may seem a good idea, but if the dog has to be on a lead, then it needs to be a sensible LEAD.   Once the dog can be reliable when off the lead (solid recall) then let him off the lead.

I have had two of mine given Tardak. but on both occasions it was to sort out a prostate problem at a time I wasn't prepared to go for a full castration.  I see what's going on with your dog as described, as being a TRAINING issue, not necessarily down to hormones.
- By monkeyj [gb] Date 29.07.17 17:56 GMT Upvotes 2
The terrier male I spoke above who has to be on lead, is on Flexi lead. It keeps him very sensible, and in addition very happy when he is roaming the grounds around me as I walk. Currently there is no better solution for those dogs who have to be on lead to enjoy a touch of freedom during the walk.

As we did discuss on the other thread, not all dogs can be taught 100% reliable re-call; just as there is no guarantee that the OP will be able to accomplish this feat with her boy.
- By furriefriends [gb] Date 29.07.17 19:20 GMT Upvotes 1
One other thing to think about with any dog that pulls and or lunges and is on a collar and lead is the very real danger of causing damage to the neck .this isn't necessarily immediate damage but later or over time . I have no idea of the collar and lead I was using before I changed to a head collar and now a harness is the reason but my gsd suffers from laryngeal paralysis .this is ahorrible peripheral neuropathy. that affect his  ability to breath and causes  weakness of.the hind  legs and is incurable . I wont be using. Collar and lead on any dog again especially one that pulls even if this was not the cause .according to our vet it is far more common than is often realised
- By Harley Date 29.07.17 22:06 GMT Upvotes 2

> Its been over a year since Flexi introduced a shock absorber attachment. Add to that learning the correct way to use flexi - moving your arm in the opposite direction of the dog's movement (which becomes a semi-automatic response once you get used to the lead) - and there is absolutely nothing wrong with using Flexi with a collar.


Sorry - whatever shock absorber is used the impact on a dog's neck, if it is running at any speed and comes to an abrupt halt when reaching the end of a flexi lead, is going to cause damage. The dog in question weighs 31kg so is no light weight to begin with. I have a dog of the same weight and there is no way I would even be able to hang onto a flexi lead if he took off. Moving your arm in the opposite direction when a dog is rushing off makes no difference whatsoever to the force applied to the dogs neck when it comes to the end of its lead. The longer the lead the greater the impact as the dog has time to get up speed. I have nothing against flexi leads used in open spaces well away from traffic and other people but would only ever use one in conjunction with a harness. My terrier is often on a flexi lead with a harness, my BC and GR would never be on one due to both the speed they run at and their weight. With my smaller dog, the terrier who weighs around 5-6kg, the flexi is fine but even then if he runs to the end of it with any great speed it is hard to hold onto the handle - which is why I often use it attached to a walking belt.
- By monkeyj [gb] Date 30.07.17 07:41 GMT Edited 30.07.17 07:45 GMT

> Sorry - whatever shock absorber is used the impact on a dog's neck, if it is running at any speed and comes to an abrupt halt when reaching the end of a flexi lead, is going to cause damage.
> Moving your arm in the opposite direction when a dog is rushing off makes no difference whatsoever to the force applied to the dogs neck when it comes to the end of its lead.


What I wanted to say is there is no such thing as "abrupt halt" when you move your arm in the opposite direction, because the dog receives a notice and prepares itself to the halt. Shock absorber adds to this by providing an extra notice as it stretches. This is the difference in question, there is no abrupt halt, and no damaging force on the neck.

I walk very feisty you may say wild and "mad" terriers. But not a single one of them have failed to recognise the notice from its day 1 of using the lead. They slow down, while my arm smoothly moves towards them without any jerk or halt at the end (sometimes when the dog is particularly eager I help this a little by leaning my body forward with my arm to make the stop extra smooth).

There truly hasn't been a single occasion where I felt it was hard to hold on to the handle of the Flexi. My dogs weight about 20lbs, similar to yours. I have dropped the handle on couple of occasions, for the main reason of holding it very softly, like you hold reins when riding a horse. This is the overall "sensation" I get when using Flexi, a smooth soft tactile contact with the dog, just like you do it with the horse.

When I walk I always concentrate on the dogs, however there are of course times when concentration briefly focuses on something else. This is where the shock absorber helps too, while the arm moving response usually takes place even when the person is not fully concentrated, it is still important to focus as the dog slows down. As I said in my experience it will slow down 100% of the time, but if particularly enticing target the dog on slowing down would switch into the "pulling mode". This is when I dropped the lead couple of times, when the dog pulled it out of my hand, not jerked etc, but simply pulled when I wasn't concentrating and my hand was holding the Flexi very softly.
- By monkeyj [gb] Date 30.07.17 07:53 GMT

> which is why I often use it attached to a walking belt.


Unless I misunderstand what you mean by "walking belt" - I take it you mean a belt attached to your waist - this is what I would *never* do nor recommend anyone doing. Flexi must be held by the hand, because the arm *must* move in the opposite direction to give the dog a notice.

Attaching it to your waist belt is little different than attaching it to a pole, so far as a small dog is concerned. You do that, and you can hardly complain about abrupt halting.

With large dogs, doing this could be a recipe for a nice flying lesson for the owner.

Duh?
- By Nikita [gb] Date 30.07.17 08:05 GMT Upvotes 1

> So no dogmatic bridle type head collar with Flexi?


Never, under any circumstances, and least of all with a strong 31kg dog who's already nearly pulled you over.  Not on any kind of headcollar or anything but a normal walking harness attached to the back ring.  A dog like you describe, running full pelt on a flexi is an accident waiting to happen and with a headcollar attached as well, is going to get seriously injured or killed.  I wouldn't have him on a flexi at all, at the moment.  Not until he's progressed considerably in his behaviour towards other dogs (i.e. has stopped charging to them and is thinking first and responding reliably to you), if at all - double ended lead, headcollar and harness would be my preferred combination for this dog.

I will use flexis for some dogs who don't have a reliable recall, either during training (because I just don't get on with long lines) or permanently, but not every dog is suitable.  I use one on a small JRT I walk who isn't very reliable in any way, but he's small enough with enough of a recall that I can easily control him on it; but I do not use it on the springer I walk because he just charges to the end and keeps going and lunges to sniff everything.  It's not fun for either of us and he is very strong.  That sort of dog, and a charging dog like yours, should not be on flexis.
- By Jeangenie [gb] Date 30.07.17 08:17 GMT Upvotes 2

>What I wanted to say is there is no such thing as "abrupt halt" when you move your arm in the opposite direction, because the dog receives a notice and prepares itself to the halt. Shock absorber adds to this by providing an extra notice as it stretches. This is the difference in question, there is no abrupt halt, and no damaging force on the neck.


I've found that pulling the handle of a flexi back makes not a blind bit of difference and the dog doesn't notice it at all. It only means that you're less likely to get your arm injured when the dog is jerked to a halt when it reaches the full extent of the lead.
- By monkeyj [gb] Date 30.07.17 08:21 GMT

> I've found that pulling the handle of a flexi back makes not a blind bit of difference and the dog doesn't notice it at all. It only means that you're less likely to get your arm injured when the dog is jerked to a halt when it reaches the full extent of the lead.


Absolutely contrary to my experience.
- By poodlenoodle Date 30.07.17 09:57 GMT
Until recently I used a 30m (100foot) lunge line on a soft padded fleece lined harness with a back ring on my 28kg standard poodle. Even with a harness he could easily get up enough speed on that to yank my arm and presumably himself pretty hard. My braking technique was to step with increasing force on the line on the ground beside me and to shout "wait!" at the dog. On a few occasions I still had to just let it go and once was pulled over and dragged. Now he is off lead. I watch all the time and put him on lead if there are dogs coming. When close I ask if he can play and if the other owners are happy I let him off to run about then put him back on the lead to move on. If he is running up on a strange dog a firm "wait" or "off" now makes him pause and if I call him in that pause he will come. He's 16 months old. This took MONTHS of work. He was on the long line for probably 9 or 10 months.

The flexis have their place - I will be using one for my small pup later this morning to keep him close to me while his brother and their pal horse around off lead - but imo are best for small, light dogs in open spaces.
- By Lorripop [gb] Date 30.07.17 11:05 GMT
The Flexi I have is 5m.
Just to clarify he does not lunge at other dogs he just runs or trots up to them, but is strong and once he started pulling I struggled to keep of hold him even on short lead!, mainly because also I was a little slope. He can't get into a full run on the Flexi.
Today we had him on his harness and this was perfect, he trotted about no problem and when in the woods where no one else goes we let him off. His recall was fabulous, lots of treats etc. & my other boy is always really good and comes back in an instant.

We saw new people walking, one had a little toy breed and was keen on saying hello so my bigger boy was allowed to have a sniff on short lead and then I called his name and treated him, no issues. We then saw another dog running with bikes and he was fixed at looking at this dog but stood still as it was coming our way but about 15m away, I called him to get his attention which wasn't instant but I got closer to him and pulled the lead towards me and then he came for his treat, once the dog had passed he looked briefly at where it was going then just carried on as normal with us.
The other dogs we then came across, one was on lead and very obviously fear aggressive. We chatted from a distance (they were keen to chat and ask the breed of ours)but my boy made no pulling towards hers, he looked but was happy to have treats and walk away without issues. I think the other dog gave good signals and my dog would have avoided him once he had got closer if he were off lead. he probably would have just sniffed intently at the off lead dog instead.

I've probably made my dog sound very aggressive and wanting to attack everyday but he really isn't like that, its the odd one to two he takes a dislike to instantly, usually on lead or male. I guess its the way he sometimes stalks when meeting a dog that makes it look worse, but stalking isn't the indicator that he will be horrible, often he then gets up and just sniffs the dog. I really think its what ever the dogs maybe giving off in scent or behaviour that triggers him. 

We will keep going with the Flexi as this morning it was fine.
- By monkeyj [gb] Date 30.07.17 11:30 GMT Edited 30.07.17 11:36 GMT

> I've found that pulling the handle of a flexi back makes not a blind bit of difference and the dog doesn't notice it at all. It only means that you're less likely to get your arm injured when the dog is jerked to a halt when it reaches the full extent of the lead.


I should also add that this is contrary to experience of virtually all animal trainers.

The very idea of training is possible because animals respond to a cue. Whether it is a click, a voice, a difference in the pressure, it is a cue. If a particular consequence follows the cue with any consistency, the animal will always recognise it and will be alerted to it. Sorry but dogs aren't as dumb as you are trying to paint them.

I haven't had an experience with Flexies and large dogs. However I've lived and worked with horses all my life. When we first put youngsters on a lunge attached to their head collar, they weigh way more than a 31kg dog. Yet they don't break their necks or anything remotely drastic. Instead they learn to understand what to expect from the lunge. Then they move on to wearing a bridle, then they are being ridden. During all these exercises they respond to cues in voice and pressure. (I hope no one would fool themselves into thinking that a person controls a horse by physical strength alone.)

Personally I don't see how it can be different with dogs. If one is using a lunge, the aim is to teach the dog to respond to the increased pressure when the person begins to apply resistance. If one is using a Flexi, the aim is to teach the dog to respond to increased pressure when the person begins to apply resistance. In the former case, resistance is applied by sliding the lunge line through one's hand while applying force. In the latter case, resistance is applied by the person's arm moving from its position away from the dog towards it thus applying force. There is a touch greater control with the lunge line method. But Flexi method is sufficienly similar to act as a cue for the animal.

In the OP's case, I would absolutely give Flexi a try. I would however take longer time for training, given that the dog does not like being on the lead, that he is used to run off-lead.

I would use Flexi from day 1 with him, but keep it shorter in the beginning, and allowing the lead to extend gradually when the dog is calm. To me this would be the best way to make a transition from off-lead to on-lead, letting the dog know that he is under control and must behave, but that when he does behave he is allowed that bit of freedom.

The principle would be exactly the same as teaching the dog not to pull - it is not the pulling that must be addressed, but the reason which makes the dog pull.
- By Nikita [gb] Date 30.07.17 11:52 GMT

> I've found that pulling the handle of a flexi back makes not a blind bit of difference and the dog doesn't notice it at all. It only means that you're less likely to get your arm injured when the dog is jerked to a halt when it reaches the full extent of the lead.


>  I should also add that this is contrary to experience of virtually all animal trainers.


This depends on what you actually mean.  Just pulling the handle of a flexi back does make absolutely zero difference because the pressure on the line remains the same, because the line is always under the same tension from the spring mechanism within the handle.  However, if you mean putting the brake on and adding pressure then yes, the dog will notice that and with training, should respond to it.  But if he's as focused on other dogs as he currently can be, then it still won't help unless that is addressed as well.

What some people do is put a little pressure on the brake mechanism so it clicks on the line but doesn't grip it, and use it as a predictor of the brake being applied fully to stop the dog.  Many dogs do respond well in terms of learning what this means and slow down when they hear it but again, if he is very focused on other dogs, it may not be sufficient so again, that side needs to be worked on as a priority.
- By Jodi [gb] Date 30.07.17 12:09 GMT
I've used a flexi lead with the last three dogs and have taught them that when I say 'steady' that means they are coming to the end of the lead. The current dog also listens for the 'click' when I apply the brake mechanism.
Flexis have their place and are a great tool for allowing dogs a bit of freedom but with you still retaining the ultimate control. However the bigger the dog it's more likely that you could end up being pulled over or dropping the lead unless you take care. You do need to have your wits about you and not daydream on a nice sunny day as I've found out to my cost in the past:grin:
- By monkeyj [gb] Date 30.07.17 12:34 GMT

> This depends on what you actually mean.  Just pulling the handle of a flexi back does make absolutely zero difference because the pressure on the line remains the same, because the line is always under the same tension from the spring mechanism within the handle.


This is the bit: "resistance is applied by the person's arm moving from its position away from the dog towards it thus applying force." The pressure on the line increases the moment the person's arm starts applying the force. While the arm needing to travel from its position away from the dog towards it ensures the gradual application of force in order to give the dog a notice. This could be done either with you thumb on the brake if the line is shorter, or no break at all if the line is extended to its full length.>
- By Harley Date 30.07.17 13:31 GMT Upvotes 1

> I haven't had an experience with Flexies and large dogs. However I've lived and worked with horses all my life. When we first put youngsters on a lunge attached to their head collar, they weigh way more than a 31kg dog. Yet they don't break their necks or anything remotely drastic. Instead they learn to understand what to expect from the lunge. Then they move on to wearing a bridle, then they are being ridden. During all these exercises they respond to cues in voice and pressure. (I hope no one would fool themselves into thinking that a person controls a horse by physical strength alone.)


I too have worked and owned horses and yes they certainly do weigh a lot more than a 31kg dog. The huge difference between the two is that I weigh far more than most dogs so a dog rushing to the end of it's flexi lead (or long line for that matter) is brought to a sudden jerking stop by my weight being on the end of that line. On the other hand a horse far outweighs me so if they take off they aren't brought to a sudden halt. The headcollar helps to direct their head in the direction you want it to turn thus giving one far more control but it's not a sudden jerking at full speed whereas with a dog of a lighter weight the force is transferred straight onto their neck.

Yes training would help to prevent this happening but when it comes to fight or flight training can often go out the window however well trained one's dog is. My reactive dog has huge prey drive too - comes from having to catch his own food - and although he has a brilliant emergency stop it is only really effective if I can catch him within the first three or four strides when he takes off after a rabbit or squirrel at warp speed. Having him on a flexi/longline attached to a collar would be a disaster waiting to happen. When walking the dogs they take my full concentration but I don't always spot that rabbit or hare before he does.

Said my bit now and I still stand by my beliefs so we will just have to agree to disagree :smile:
- By monkeyj [gb] Date 30.07.17 13:50 GMT

> I too have worked and owned horses and yes they certainly do weigh a lot more than a 31kg dog. The huge difference between the two is that I weigh far more than most dogs so a dog rushing to the end of it's flexi lead (or long line for that matter) is brought to a sudden jerking stop by my weight being on the end of that line.


The whole point of my post was to explain that there is no sudden jerking stop, whether it is a horse on the end of the line, or a dog. A lunge line, a Flexi lead, a collar, a bridle, etc are all tools which must be used correctly if they are to be used. It's not the tool's fault when a person uses it incorrectly.
- By Lorripop [gb] Date 30.07.17 14:15 GMT
If you can re read my post from 12.05 today we had no abrupt ending on the Flexi and he can't get into full pelt running on it and he has never lunged at dogs if he's on a lead, the harness was good, clipped at the front, and we had a good walk. This is not the first time I have used a Flexi but its been on a smaller dog.
I will be continuing to use it for now but the back of my mind is still saying some of this is hormonal.
- By Nikita [gb] Date 30.07.17 15:03 GMT

> The whole point of my post was to explain that there is no sudden jerking stop, whether it is a horse on the end of the line, or a dog.


But there is, if the dog suddenly starts running.  They can get big speed going over a very short distance and even not at full speed, there is a lot of impact when they reach the end of the lead, especially in a bigger dog, which is why we're concerned - that impact on a headcollar can do damage with relatively minor speed.  Unless the owner is able to react just as quickly and stop the dog as soon as they start running, or start running themselves to reduce the impact, there very much can be a sudden stop.  Flexis are not well made for gentle stops: there is no mechanism by which to add gradually increasing pressure, and moving the handle backwards without applying the brake adds no pressure whatsoever.  And no matter how well trained, dogs can still take off - they might be startled by something, or in this instance, the dog might just ignore the owner and run towards another dog as she has described him doing.

Lorripop - do you mean you had the short lead clipped on the front?  I'm finding your posts confusing.  A flexi should not be used clipped on the front of a harness for the same reason that a headcollar should not be used with a flexi, as above.  If he does decide to run, he'll be twisted when he hits the end of the lead and that can cause problems.  Not as much as a headcollar, but still.  Back of the harness only for a flexi or long line of any kind.  The front ring is for use on a short lead only.

If this was hormonal then I'd expect to see a lot more of it than you've described, directed at a lot more males, in a 4 year old dog.  He is fully mature, his adolescent hormonal changes are long finished.  Of course as with any dog, there is a chance that removing testosterone may help; it may also make things worse.  You could try the suprelorin implant to see if it will help but if you don't intend to neuter him anyway, then you may as well just work on training him, which you need to do in any case.  As I said in my first reply, one of my boys who showed similar behaviour was already neutered, and while the other was entire when it started he was neutered shortly after and it made absolutely no difference to him.
- By poodlenoodle Date 30.07.17 15:14 GMT Upvotes 1
Well I ended up giving my pup quite a bit of time off the lead anyway today as the flexi was just annoying. I think my main issue with it is that mine doesn't seem to have a braking effect in the mechanism. It's on or off so either the dog can dash to the end of the line or he can be abruptly halted by me but either way it doesn't give flexible control. I also just don't love the clunky handle and much prefer the actual lead in my hand. I too think of it like a rein on a horse but imagine riding a dressage test with two flexis for reins! :lol::lol::lol:

The horse comparison is an obvious one to me too. My older boy is currently in a kumfi headcollar as I slipped a disc in my back and the odd occasion he was too keen to get to another dog to try to play was delaying the healing. Anyway we went through a few designs, halti, then dogmatic, and ended up at kumfi which doesnt tighten. And initially of course he wasn't keen and a few people including a trainer said to me that dogs hate them and they shouldn't be used. I persisted with positive experiences and lots of treats and praise and now he is fine in it. I thought of all the many foals I've first put a headcollar on and how many instantly accepted it (none!).
- By monkeyj [gb] Date 30.07.17 20:11 GMT

> But there is, if the dog suddenly starts running.  They can get big speed going over a very short distance and even not at full speed, there is a lot of impact when they reach the end of the lead, especially in a bigger dog, which is why we're concerned - that impact on a headcollar can do damage with relatively minor speed.  Unless the owner is able to react just as quickly and stop the dog as soon as they start running, or start running themselves to reduce the impact, there very much can be a sudden stop.  Flexis are not well made for gentle stops: there is no mechanism by which to add gradually increasing pressure, and moving the handle backwards without applying the brake adds no pressure whatsoever.


It matters not whether the dog started running suddenly. What matters is whether the already running dog receives a cue that the lead is about to stop it. If the dog receives such a cue, the dog will prepare itself for the stop. The stop will not be sudden. There is no need to run with the dog. This is not about ignoring or listening to the owner. This is about the dog receiving a notice of what is going to happen physically, and adjusting its body accordingly.

The "mechanism by which to add gradually increasing pressure" is the same whether one uses a lunge line or Flexi: it is not inbuilt in the line/lead, but comes from the person using it. In the former case, the gradually increasing pressure comes from sliding the lunge line through one's hand while applying force. In the latter case, the gradually increasing pressure comes from the person's arm moving from its position away from the dog towards it while applying force. Both are cues for the dog that the stop is about to come.

The brake on Flexies will need to be engaged only when at the time the owner wants to stop the dog, the extended lead is shorter than its full length. In this scenario the person places a thumb on the brake when her arm is extended away from the dog. Once this took place the force of the running dog moves the person's arm forward, which the person resists slightly thus creating the increased pressure and by this giving the dog a notice.

The brake will not need to be engaged if at the time the owner wants to stop the dog, the extended lead is at its full length. In this scenario the person holds her arm extended away from the dog. Once the line is fully extended the force of the running dog moves the person's arm forward, which the person resists slightly thus creating the increased pressure and by this giving the dog a notice.
- By debbo198 [gb] Date 30.07.17 21:10 GMT Upvotes 4
I've forgotten, yet again, how to quote; also trying to remember who said what is difficult.  However, my views FWIW

horses have different anatomies to dogs - esp. neck length and flexibility   Horses can weigh half a tonne - no human can counter that weight at full speed so abrupt, damaging stops are unlikely - unless it damages the handler/human

horses are also a flight/prey animal as opposed to canines who are hunters of prey.
Lunging horses usually/should start with very small circles with a horse already used to, at least, walk on/trot on, whoa/steady/stand/back etc verbal 'commands' from the ground if not from the saddle; this progresses to very small, controlled circles, gradually letting out more rope as the horse settles (works even with unbroken, little/badly handled..)
Lunging horses is generally done in an enclosed arena that they are usually previously conditioned to stay within

I used a Flexi on my Elkhound as a pup/youngster with a harness, on the un-fenced common nearby, and used the 'steady' and clicking of the brake as early warning systems though she didn't really get up to full speed - too busy sniffing :) . This worked well but I wouldn't use it on a dog that wanted to really run/run at something

Going back to my initial points - anatomy and weight ratios are vastly different as are initial training methods - using a flexi or long line on a dog's collar or even worse, head collar is very different to lunging a horse
- By monkeyj [gb] Date 30.07.17 23:41 GMT

> horses have different anatomies to dogs - esp. neck length and flexibility   Horses can weigh half a tonne - no human can counter that weight at full speed so abrupt, damaging stops are unlikely


The point of comparison was the ideas of training the animal whatever it may be, and using the tools correctly, which eliminate abrupt stops and other damaging consequences.


> Lunging horses usually/should start with very small circles with a horse already used to, at least, walk on/trot on, whoa/steady/stand/back etc verbal 'commands' from the ground if not from the saddle; this progresses to very small, controlled circles, gradually letting out more rope as the horse settles


No here you are incorrect, many and more horses are lunged as youngsters as part of their training; and never ever in small circles as this would place great strain on their developing bodies.

> Lunging horses is generally done in an enclosed arena that they are usually previously conditioned to stay within


A training of any animal follows this and other basic principles, dogs included.
- By Nikita [gb] Date 31.07.17 08:51 GMT Upvotes 5

> It matters not whether the dog started running suddenly. What matters is whether the already running dog receives a cue that the lead is about to stop it. If the dog receives such a cue, the dog will prepare itself for the stop. The stop will not be sudden. There is no need to run with the dog. This is not about ignoring or listening to the owner. This is about the dog receiving a notice of what is going to happen physically, and adjusting its body accordingly.


If it listens.  When a dog is totally focused on another animal, as it sounds like this dog is, or if it is suddenly startled, the ears tend to switch off and any cue given that the lead is going to lock can be disregarded or literally not heard in the first place.  So sudden stops can and do happen.  As debbo says, dogs are predators - they will focus intently on something by their nature, if they want to get to it (whethere that's to hunt it or through fear and offensive defense), which can interfere with cues to slow down.

You've also said yourself that you've never used a flexi on a large dog - I have.  On quite a few, over the last 14 years.  If a large dog is the kind that focuses on something strongly and runs at it, trained or no, it may ignore the cues to slow down and it WILL come to a sudden stop on the flexi.  The only way to fully avoid it is for the owner to hit the brake and stop the dog before it's gotten any speed, or to run a short way with the dog to absorb the impact of the brake.  There is no mechanism by which to warn the dog of a stop through the line, only by the auditory clacking of the brake, which is easily ignored or not heard at all when the dog is focused.  Hence why I would not use one on a dog who has shown himself to ignore his owner and run at other dogs.  I might, after a lot of training on a shorter lead to steady the dog generally, in particular where other dogs are concerned: reduce the dog's focus on them and increase it on me, so he's less likely to run in the first place, and then I'd consider it.  As indeed I have done, when I got my first rescue in the shape of a dog aggressive dobermann who charged dogs at full speed on sight.  Long line was not suitable for her and neither was a flexi, in the early days.  Once she was steadier and listening to me, I could use one more safely but even then, if she panicked and charged, nothing I said or did would have registered and so the abrupt stop would happen.

> The "mechanism by which to add gradually increasing pressure" is the same whether one uses a lunge line or Flexi: it is not inbuilt in the line/lead, but comes from the person using it. In the former case, the gradually increasing pressure comes from sliding the lunge line through one's hand while applying force. In the latter case, the gradually increasing pressure comes from the person's arm moving from its position away from the dog towards it while applying force. Both are cues for the dog that the stop is about to come.


I'm afraid I'm still not understanding your meaning, here.  There is no gradual addition of pressure on a flexi.  If a person holding a flexi locks the brake and moves their arm away, the pressure is abrupt because the line cannot be slid through the hand or the handle mechanism as a lunge line can.  If you move your arm away from the dog, with the brake, you put immediate and complete pressure on the lead.  If you move your arm away without applying the brake, there is no difference at all because the tension on the line remains the same.  The only way to do it gradually would be do lock the brake while moving the arm toward the dog, to lessen the impact of the brake before the dog meets it fully, but if the dog is running at the time, that is still going to be to all intents and purposes an abrupt stop rather than a slowing down.

The only way to do a gradual increase of pressure with a dog as you describe would be to have it on a lunge line, and use it as you describe using it on a horse.  Flexis are not designed to work that way.  The cue to slow down can be provided by clacking the brake with a tiny bit of pressure from the thumb but that doesn't add a little pressure to the lead - it's all or nothing, with flexis.  They're under tension and running, or they're locked.
- By monkeyj [gb] Date 31.07.17 10:27 GMT Edited 31.07.17 10:38 GMT

> If it listens.  When a dog is totally focused on another animal, as it sounds like this dog is, or if it is suddenly startled, the ears tend to switch off and any cue given that the lead is going to lock can be disregarded or literally not heard in the first place.  So sudden stops can and do happen.  As debbo says, dogs are predators - they will focus intently on something by their nature, if they want to get to it (whethere that's to hunt it or through fear and offensive defense), which can interfere with cues to slow down.
>If a large dog is the kind that focuses on something strongly and runs at it, trained or no, it may ignore the cues to slow down and it WILL come to a sudden stop on the flexi.


I think the only "total focus" that would cause the dog to disregard any cues bar their "focus" is an extreme and truly unusual situation, where the dog's sensation virtually "switches off". This can happen, as any other accidents. But the fact that accidents can happen is not the reason to give up living, and neither it is the reason to give up using the tool. For what its worth, I did mention this before that walking feisty very excitable terriers for the past several years has never resulted in a dog failing to recognise the cue, and they do routinely attempt to chase rabbits pheasants and similar during our regular countryside walks.

I also made it clear that the way I use Flexi has nothing to do with hearing or listening. It is a physical sensation of the changed resistance of the lead. It is the most reliable and consistent cue one could provide using the Flexi, because the distance which the person's arm can extend - and so can travel during which the extra pressure is applied - is very constant each time the cue is used. And given that the number of times that the cue is used - every time the dog is walked on the lead, many times during the walk - it becomes virtually instinctive for the dog to respond. There is absolutely no difference whether the dog is small or large, or whether it is a dog at all. All animals will recognise a cue once they learn it. Just as it becomes almost automatic response for the person to extend their arm whenever the lead's extension is approaching its end, or when the dog needs to be stopped for any other reason.

As I stressed in my previous post, recognising the cue is not about listening or ignoring the owner. It is about registering the cue, and knowing what is going to happen following the cue. Once the dog knows what is going to happen, that happening will never be sudden. The dog will always respond, it will always prepare itself for the happening.

And it is only here, where depending on how well the dog is trained, the differences in the dogs' responses become apparent. Well trained dogs will stop, obeying their owner's wishes. Less well trained dogs may not stop, if they decide to disobey their owner's wishes (because the target is particularly enticing etc). Yet in both scenarios the stop is not sudden. In both scenarios the dog has received a cue, and realised that the lead is about to make it stop. The only difference is that in the latter scenario the dog decided to try to "fight" the lead stopping it by going into the pulling mode. As I mentioned above my terriers do this from time to time, they always slow down however which allows them to tense their bodies in preparation to fighting the lead, i.e. pulling, in order to try and get to their enticing object.

>The only way to fully avoid it is for the owner to hit the brake and stop the dog before it's gotten any speed, or to run a short way with the dog to absorb the impact of the brake.  There is no mechanism by which to warn the dog of a stop through the line, only by the auditory clacking of the brake, which is easily ignored or not heard at all when the dog is focused. 


No, you are incorrect here. The "mechanism by which to warn the dog of a stop through the line" is the same as when using a lunge: the person creating an increased resistance of the line. With lunges, the increased resistance is created by sliding the line through the person's hand while applying force. With Flexies, the increased resistance is created by the person's arm travelling from its position away from the dog towards it while applying force.

> There is no gradual addition of pressure on a flexi.  If a person holding a flexi locks the brake and moves their arm away, the pressure is abrupt because the line cannot be slid through the hand or the handle mechanism as a lunge line can.  If you move your arm away from the dog, with the brake, you put immediate and complete pressure on the lead.  If you move your arm away without applying the brake, there is no difference at all because the tension on the line remains the same.  The only way to do it gradually would be do lock the brake while moving the arm toward the dog, to lessen the impact of the brake before the dog meets it fully, but if the dog is running at the time, that is still going to be to all intents and purposes an abrupt stop rather than a slowing down. The only way to do a gradual increase of pressure with a dog as you describe would be to have it on a lunge line, and use it as you describe using it on a horse.  Flexis are not designed to work that way.  The cue to slow down can be provided by clacking the brake with a tiny bit of pressure from the thumb but that doesn't add a little pressure to the lead - it's all or nothing, with flexis.  They're under tension and running, or they're locked.


In order to create an increased pressure with Flexi, as opposed to sudden jerk, the person extends their arm in advance of applying the brake, or in advance on the lead's extension to its fullest. Once the arm is extended in the opposite direction of the dog's movement, the person applies the brake or waits for the line to come to its end. When that happens, the force of the running dog moves the person's arm forward, which the person resists slightly thus creating the increased pressure and by this giving the dog a cue.

The time during which the increased pressure is applied with Flexi (which is the time it takes for the person's arm to move from its extended position away from the dog, to its extended position towards the dog, while applying force) is very similar to the time the increased pressure is normally applied with lunge line (where it is allowed to slide though the person's hand while applying force). As I said before, the lunge line method allows a touch greater control. But Flexi method is sufficiently similar to create the same cue for the animal.
- By Nikita [gb] Date 31.07.17 14:08 GMT Upvotes 4

> I think the only "total focus" that would cause the dog to disregard any cues bar their "focus" is an extreme and truly unusual situation, where the dog's sensation virtually "switches off".


This can happen in any situation where an aggressive or fearful dog is over threshold.  It is anything but extreme and truly unusual.  Focus is all but complete and I see it often - some people might refer to it as 'redzoning' but it's simply a dog that's over threshold.  The remedy to this is to work at a distance, improving the dog's focus on the owner and general steadiness/calmness around other dogs before moving closer.

I think I understand what you're describing now with the flexi but for some dogs, I don't believe it's going to be sufficiently gradual a change, if they are already moving at speed because they will move the arm too quickly for it to even register.  Especially if focused on something else, as above.  But, as before, I think we'll have to agree to disagree on this one.

> But the fact that accidents can happen is not the reason to give up living, and neither it is the reason to give up using the tool.


Overdramatisation much?  And I haven't said it's a reason to never use the flexi at all.  But only after much work on steadying the dog first so that they aren't inclined to go running at other dogs.  Then, if the dog is responsive around ALL other dogs and steady, then by all means, use a flexi.  Appropriate equipment for the current situation.  Potentially it could be used if the owner remains at a considerable distance so there is no chance of the dog hitting that focus threshold but nothing less than that and when the owner moves the dog closer to continue progressing them, they should return to a normal lead for a time until they are again sure that the dog will not ignore them run.

A consideration of risk: if a terrier catches a rabbit, there is basically no consequence.  If a large dog (or indeed, any dog, although large dogs tend to be blamed more) runs up to and is aggressive towards another dog, especially unprovoked, there are a raft of potential consequences that dog and owner may face, and a huge potential for damage (not necessarily physical, but psychological and lasting) to be done to the other dog.    That is why I am so insistent about being careful in situations such as this one - because I've been on the receiving end of dogs frightening mine and causing lasting damage, and because I often work with people who have been through the same and now have their own fearful, aggressive dog as a result.  And dogs do not have to be actually attacked for this to occur, not with the wealth of poorly bred dogs with less than rock steady, resilient temperaments.  People these days are far less tolerant of this stuff as well.  It is serious for all involved and essential that any owner of a dog that has shown itself to be aggressive, however infrequently, takes every possible precaution to prevent it happening again and utilises appropriate equipment to that end.  That equipment is likely to change as the dog progresses - so where a flexi may not be appropriate to begin with, it may become so later on - but at all times, the full risks and potential consequences must be acknowledged and catered to.
- By monkeyj [gb] Date 31.07.17 17:05 GMT Edited 31.07.17 17:13 GMT

> This can happen in any situation where an aggressive or fearful dog is over threshold.  It is anything but extreme and truly unusual.  Focus is all but complete and I see it often - some people might refer to it as 'redzoning' but it's simply a dog that's over threshold.


I was thinking mainly of "ordinary" dogs when I said extreme, that's why I equated it with accidents. (These are also the only dogs I've ever had experience with, we've never had a rescue, always well bred dogs with more or less good/stable temperaments.) Dogs with deep problems as you describe would of course be another matter, for some of them it could even be a usual occurrence to go over threshold. For these I would fully agree, no Flexi or even lunge line until their problems are resolved.

But otherwise I would not hesitate to use Flexi during training. Just as we use lunging/double line lunging as part of training of young horses, to teach them their first steps of control. I put my puppies on Flexies once they've learned the meaning of the lead in the garden. Then I proceed as I suggested to the OP in this thread, keep the lead short when the puppies are excitable, and the moment they calm down I relax the lead and they trot "freely" for a bit, sniffing here and there, until the next excitement comes on and I shorten the line, and so on. They learn very quickly. The shock absorber attachment helps too as puppies can be so quick when they are excited.

I don't think your advice is wrong though, not to use Flexi until the dog is well under control. Your way is probably safer, but I think my way is OK too, just different approach.

In the end, to me Flexi is what it sounds like, its flexible. Shortened it becomes an ordinary lead, extended it allows the dog some freedom. But it is also a tool which at any point maintains a physical contact with the dog, just as when a person rides a horse, their hands maintain a physical contact with the horse's mouth and their legs with the horse's body. I think physical contact counts for lot in our communication with animals. An animal might be deafened, blinded, terrified, running amok, unresponsive, etc, and it is the physical contact that I think has the greatest chance to reach out to such animal. This is why I place such a great deal on this pressure differential cue with Flexies/lunge lines, but I see your point of a large dog moving so fast that it becomes difficult for the person to apply sufficient resistance in that little window of time given the dog's weight. Incidentally I've never tried 10ft Flexies, I don't like the idea - I think this length would be too long and could lead to this exact situation occurring, even with smaller dogs perhaps, that they could gain too fast a speed for the person to be able to react accordingly. But 5ft ones I find fairly manageable.
- By monkeyj [gb] Date 31.07.17 17:10 GMT
P.S. I'm totally in agreement regarding uncontrolled dogs and it's my worst nightmare too, especially when I walk young puppies, the damage that could be caused to them by such an encounter. That's why my very first advice was to suggest OP to put the dog on the lead 100% of the time, even when they think that no one is around. Because you can never be certain unless it is your own/rented fenced field (many people actually prefer to go places where "no one is around", and that's where they are going to meet....)
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