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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19100
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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Our dog is aggressive with only some dogs. It is

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Our dog is aggressive with only some dogs. It is difficult/impossible to predict which dogs etc. What should we do about our dog, should we get a muzzle when we walk him at all times? I love him to be off lead and free but not at the cost of another dog being attacked.

Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.
Hi JaCustomer, My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today. In order to supply you with an informed answer, it is necessary for me to collect some additional information from you. When I receive your response or reply, it will likely take me between 30-45 minutes to type up my reply if I am still online when I receive notice that you replied. I hope you can be patient. How old is your dog? What breed is your dog?What obedience training has he had ?What have you tried so far?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

He will be 3 on 19 December 2015.

His father was a Portuguese Water dog and mother Alsatian.

We went to puppy training and I have used 'food treats' to continue his recall and do that every day when I walk him. I work and so my husband walks him on the other days.

I use a 'nose' restrainer when walking as he pulls but is very good with it on. My husband does not use it. Even on it if he sees a cat (and I haven't seen it) he can be difficult to control.

Just an aside I regularly walk with a friend and her two dogs and I have been on local 'dog walks' with up to 20 dogs and there have never been any problems.

I know there must be signs before he launches, but as we approach a dog it starts off with the sniffing and that is ok, then suddenly he attacks and turns into an aggressive dog.

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.
Sorry for the delay, I just got notice you replied. It sounds like he is becoming a bit dominate. Dogs are aggressive toward other dogs for a variety of reasons. It might be that they are fearful of other dogs and thus are aggressive before the other dog can be. In other cases, a dog is aggressive in order to dominate the other dogs and be the alpha member of the pack. Other causes could be that the dog feels they are the boss and as the alpha boss they must protect the pack (you) from threats (other dogs)..In addition, owners sometimes make the situation even worse by tensing up and worrying about what will happen. The dog senses the owner worry and feels that he is justified in his aggressive stance because you are obviously worried about the dog. They don't know you are worried about them attacking, they just feel that you are worried and assume it is the other dog..You might try having the dog wear a basket muzzle anytime he is not in your own house or yard. This will not only prevent bites but also allow you to feel more at ease when walking him. If the behavior is better when you are more relaxed, that let you know that your worry is a contributing factor. .He has had obedience training, but it should be an ongoing process with regular training session. We recommend daily, but it has to be ongoing to preven misbehavior like you are seeing. The following site is helpful for teaching owner to teach their own dogs. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.http://www.schutzhund-training.com/training_theory.html.Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below.http://www.pets.ca/articles/article-dog_nilf.htm. http://www.cairnrescue.com/docs/NILIF.pdf Use hot dog slivers for treats. Most dogs love them and are eager to work for them. I'm also going to give you some sites on body language. You can then interpret what both dogs are feeling when they meet to see if one is being dominant. If they are both dominant dogs that can trigger a fight. If you see the symptoms of dominance, you can move on from the meet before a fight can break out or not even allow the encounter to happen. http://www.apdt.com/petowners/park/body-language/http://www.pawsacrossamerica.com/interpret.htmlhttp://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/dog-behavior/canine-body-language They also make harnesses with a leash clip on the chest. They are quite effective at stopping pulling as well. It might be an option if you decide a basket muzzle might help. There is also the BAT method that has proven to work with aggression issues. Read about that here:http://functionalrewards.com/BAT-basics.pdfhttp://www.petexpertise.com/behavior-adjustment-training-dog.html In addition, if the situation is not improving using the techniques on the previous website, you may have to consult a professional behaviorist. You can usually find a behaviorist by asking your Vet for a recommendation or you may be able to find one using the following site.http://www.apdt.com I do think this is more than likely to be related to dominance but it can be due to medical causes so let me give you those sites that discuss medical reasons for aggression. http://www.petplace.com/dogs/medical-causes-of-aggression-in-dogs/page1.aspx. http://www.apdt.com/veterinary/assets/pdf/Dodman_MA10.pdf I hope this information is helpful to you. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have . If you do find this helpful, please take this opportunity to rate my answer.
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19100
Experience: Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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