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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 20172
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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I have taken on a young dog who was found roaming the streets.

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I have taken on a young dog who was found roaming the streets. She is frightened of other dogs and won't go past them but if they come close to me she does display passive aggressive behaviour. What can I do to help her
Hi JaCustomer,

My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

In order to supply you with the best information, I do need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your answer, it will likely take me about 30-45 minutes to type up your response. I hope you can be patient.

How long have you had this dog?
Can you estimate her age?
What breed is she?
How much training have you done with her so far?
Are you allowing other dogs to approach her when walking around or are you walking around with friends who have well behaved dogs?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I have had her since October. She is about 2-3 years and has already had puppies. She is a JR cross

I haven't done an awful lot of training with her as yet as she was such a frightened little thing and I wanted her to feel happy at home. At first I couldn't let her off the lead as she would doa runner but eventually I let her off on the way out on our walks. She still tries to run if another dog chases her but she doesn't go to far and sits and waits for me

She has begun to go past other dogs by planning her escape and running past at speed. She then waits for me. This is a big improvement but she is starting to really bark at them. I think this is to tell them to keep away. I don't want this behaviour to change into her being more aggressive.

She is a little treasure at home and gets on well with my older JR

I do let smaller dogs come near to her particularly when they approach my other dog first but she is terrified of ni**er dogs or if she hears dogs fighting in the distance. I don't know what happened to her when she was on the street

Thanks for the additional information. It is helpful. I am so glad this girl found you. You sound like a carry owner who really wants to help your little girl.

She does sound like she has a little fear aggression starting. Prior to this her way of dealing with situations that scared her was to retreat. On the streets this was an effective solution. Now she isn't "allowed" to do this and is finding other ways of dealing with that "fear" by becoming more aggressive.

So my recommendation would be to start her obedience training preferably in a class environment so she it is in a controlled atmosphere where all the dogs are under their owners control. Until you get in, start training at home. The following site is helpful for teaching you how to train your dog. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.

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.

Obedience training helps her gain self confidence by letting her know what you expect when you give certain commands. A self confident dog transfers that confidence to other areas of their life reducing fear. In addition, obedience work establishes you as the leader. The leader is responsible for protecting the rest of the "pack". So if you are established as the boss, you need to take over that role.

There are ways to do that. One is to not allow strange dogs to approach your dog. In cases where dogs approach on leash ask their owners to stop the dog a short distance away and then let her decide if she wants to approach them. You should also care a few things in case the need ever arises. Pepper spray is a good deterent if a large dog should approach in a very aggressive manner. An umbrella with hooked end is a great tool as well. Besides its obvious use, it can be opened and placed between a charging dog and yours until you can pick your dog up. Additionally if an altercation should occur the hooked end can be used to hook the collar of a dog and pull them away.

You can also teach her not to bark. It sounds crazy but you will want to teach her the speak command and then the quiet command. It seems easier to teach the quiet command after the dog has learned the speak command. The following site explains teaching speak and quiet commands.

You also have the option of getting a bark collar such as citronella spray collar, shock bark collars and even shaking a can of coins that will stop excessive barking. You can and should also give a reprimand when she barks inappropriately. A reprimand is a short tug to get her attention and a firm low toned NO.

You can also encourage the desired behavior by rewarding her with small tasty vienna sausage slivers when she interacts with other dogs in an acceptable manner. This helps her associate meeting other dogs with good things.

Remember also that you can not reassure her when she is exhibiting unwanted behavior as that actually encourages the behavior rather than correcting it.

I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. 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 .
Jane Lefler and other Dog Training Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you. I had wondered about training classes but had thought that might be too traumatic. However after reading your comments I think that will probably the best thing after all. I will certainly check all the other links you have given


Classes give you the structure and all the dogs there are under an owners control unlike many dogs you meet on a walk or in a dog park. You also have a trainer present to help guide interactions and correct possible owner errors in dealing with interactions. It is usually a win win situation. If she becomes too fearful there, you can just take her a little ways off or sit to the side until she learns to relax there and is more confident.