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Hi, Welcome to Just Answer. I'm Chris, a small animal Vet based in the UK. I am reviewing your question and will get back to you as soon as possible
Sorry to hear this. Lead aggression or reactivity is actually a very common problem. It all stems from fear of other dogs. When scared dogs are placed into 'fight or flight' mode, and sadly if on the lead they cannot escape thus triggering this aggressive behaviour to try and chase away the threat.
Thankful this issue can be helped, although may not be able to be fully resolved. We need to overcome his fear of other dogs through increased (careful) exposure and positive reward based training to help recondition him to not be so fearful. I note that he doesn't respond much to toys, is is food orientated? Also how close can you get to another dog on lead at present before this behaviour starts?
Hi yes, I'm still here. As an email based service there can sometimes be delays
Ok so it sounds like we need to try and work to decrease his anxiety so that we can get him to accept treats. An adaptil collar may be worth looking into - it may help to provide him some reassurance, there are also anti anxiety drugs which could be considered, these would need to be prescribed by your vet.
We need to try and get him to accept a treat when another dog is at a great distance and slowly build on this, turning him away, walking away a little then turning back towards and giving the treat can help as this will allow for some of his 'flight' response and may help his anxiety to be less when you turn back in the direction of the other dog.
Lurchers are very movement focused, so sometimes throwing treats in.front of him can achieve a better response than giving by hand.
It will take a lot of time and patience to overcome this issue, working with a qualified dog behaviourist may help to give you extra ideas and support.
Please let me know if you would like me to go into more details regarding any of those points.
Just checking that you were able to view my response?
Do you mean what to do when encountering large numbers of dogs on a walk? I would certainly try and avoid contact with dogs 'en mass' at this stage, we need to get him comfortable with just one dog before we can look at introducing to groups of dogs. If you have already tried the above steps with limited success then some pharmacological intervention may well be the next step. I can give you further information about this if you wish
Well as I said above, some anti anxiety medications can improve the success of behaviour modification programs. They will not 'cure' the anxiety, but may make it more manageable and allow your dog to become more receptive to treats and other positive rewards if some of the overbearing fear can be reduced.
One such drug would be fluoxetine (prozac), so it may be worth discussing use of such a medication with your vet.
Please let me know if there is anything else I can do to help.
You're welcome. Also if you find a limited response to 'normal' treats, try boiled liver or kidney pieces. My non food motivated lurcher goes mad for them!