I am posting this in hopes someone who has similar issues can see behavioral training does work.
As some of you know, when I first got Lola, she was very afraid of many people, almost all women, was squirrelly around children, and absolutely couldn't tolerate anyone reaching down to touch her, always backing up and growling, and sometimes spraying her anal glands. She never had a problem with other animals, only people. I spent some time in denial because she was just a puppy, and spent most of the time doing slow socialization with lots of treats. Things got better, but you could just tell she was nervous when out and about, and started to be very leash aggressive if someone was walking directly toward her/us in a straight line. My older dog, Watson, is a sweet, gentle, protective, anxiety-ridden boy, whose fear of some dogs escalated when I got Lola, and she started picking up on his energy and following whatever he did. He was and is leash aggressive with dogs and larger men. Things weren't good, even after multiple training classes and individual sessions. My dogs LOVE training, but their emotions were getting in the way, and I'd become that woman in the neighborhood with people thinking why doesn't she get control of her dogs. Ugh. I'd worked with a behaviorist vet and her techs off and on with Watson for a couple years (we're definitely back on right now), and started with Lola separately a few months ago, with half hour sessions every two weeks.
Jump ahead a few months, and many many many hours of working with her...
Today, I can take Lola anywhere. She's confident, happy, and really sweet with everyone. If she knows she's going to get petted (I use a "go pet" cue after first teaching "go touch"), she enjoys it. No one would guess that she was once so fearful and reactive. I just spent six hours with her out on the town, where she charmed dozens of people, letting every one pet her, even the children, just wagging her tail and sitting pretty when done. At the end of the street event, we went to a restaurant on a busy street, where she stayed on her mat, out on the sidewalk, with people and dogs walking by every second a few inches from her. She was calm and just happy to be out with me on a beautiful day. My girl is 17 months, and though we still have some ways to go, I'm so proud of her and happy that I now believe she'll have the life she deserves.
I can only bring my two dogs out together to selective locations because they still feed off each other in a bad way with their fears, and I don't want set backs. Watson is improving, too, but not enough to keep him off meds, which we'll be starting next week after trying to avoid it for too long of a time. His bad incidents are fewer, but the ones he has are getting worse and really scary. I'm hopeful for my sweet boy, but I didn't start working with him until he was much older of a dog than when I started working with Lola, so we've got a lot of undoing to do.
Anyway, thank you all for being here. Even if I haven't directly posted much on this topic, I feel your support, and have use all the resources I've learned about here, starting with Dave's links, and the collective wisdom and experience of all your posts. Gonna take a little nap now. We've had a big day.
Last edited by boomana; 09-24-2016 at 05:13 PM.