I've had my boxer, Layla, for just under a year. She's about 2 1/2 years old, and is a very well behaved dog. She's a little shy around new people, but that only lasts about two minutes. She is good with kids and with other dogs as long as she can get to them. The only signs of aggression she shows is towards passerbys through the front picture window. To sum it up, I've never been worried about her doing any harm to a person.
We go on daily walks of at least a half hour. I usually try to do two a day so we get at least an hour of exercise. When I walk her, I do so with a pinch collar. She tends to get VERY excited about walks, no matter how often we go on them and pulls. I've tried a normal collar, a choker, and a sporn, and she still pulled. The pincher seems to work. Yesterday however, we came up on a fenced in chain link yard. A weiner dog was in the yard and came running up to the fence and freaked out. I pulled Layla tight, giving her about a foot of leash. She was absolutely straining against the pinch collar. Then, she turned around, and without growling or snarling, bit me on the leg. It wasn't too bad, one of her canines broke the skin, but only produced a couple drops of blood. It swelled up a little bit but the injury isn't grievous.
So how seriously do I need to take this? Can I just attribute it to me misusing the pinch collar and her striking because she was in pain? Is it aggression I need to be worried about? Any tips on how I can keep her calm in similar situations? I know Cesar says to make them sit until they're calm, but I don't want to tick off other dog owners by sitting my dog there and tormenting their pets. What do you think? Thanks in advance.
When she was pulling you to get to the dog behind the fence, how was her demeanor? Was she acting aggressively towards the other dog herself? It sounds like she bit you out of frustration at not being allowed to reach the other dog. Something that sounds like redirected aggression.
You are absolutely right in thinking that you cannot sit there and work on her while another dog is going beserk. That's not fair to either her or the other dog. What you need to do is work more on her heeling next to you, which will also eliminate the pulling issue. Take her for a walk. As soon as she starts to pull turn around and start walking in the opposite direction. You will not get very far in these walks, probably only a half a block and yes, you will most likely look a little foolish in the beginning, but it won't take too many lessons like this to get her to pay more attention to you while you are walking then to what's around her. If need be, depending on how stubborn she can be, you may need to actually walk in tight circles, always walking into the dog instead of pulling her around you. It's easier to start that way and once she has mastered that, then you can walk her with her on the outside of the circle. When changing direction I would give a command such as, "this way" or "follow me" and just immediately turn and start walking. Don't wait for her to "answer you". She will have to turn around because she will not be given a choice about it. Walk a few steps and repeat. Eventually you won't even have to say a word because her focus will be on you and she will be able to tell when you are going to turn just based on your body language.
After she has acheived success with this start taking her on walks where there are no distractions. Then walk where there are distractions, such as that dog behind the fence. As soon as you come upon a situation like that, give her the cue words & turn around and walk in the other direction, away from the distraction. After success with that, then try walking past the dog and instead of turning around, just give her the vue words and continue walking by.
BTW, pinch collars are not designed to inflict pain. IF (and I don't believe pain had ANYTHING to do with her reaction) the collar is painful to her, you are either using it incorrectly, or it is not properly fitted to her.
Started working on this last night with a gentle leader easy walk. Have noticed some pretty significant changes already. We're going to keep working on it and slowly work our way to some "distraction areas" but I'm very encouraged by the progress in about an hour of working with her. Thank you very much.