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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 20217
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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I have a 4 yr old Border Terrier rescue dog, he is good with

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I have a 4 yr old Border Terrier rescue dog, he is good with people and calm children but is aggressive towards other dogs and will occasionally jump up at children if they scream or rush at him. It is early days yet as I have only had him for 3 weeks he is fine in all other respects.
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.
Whose children are screaming and rushing at him?
Are they yours or someone else?
Can you explain what the circumstances are surrounding the dog showing aggression toward other dogs?
What exactly does he do?
Is he neutered?
What position is his tail in? Is it up, midway or down?
Are the other dogs male or female or both?
How is he with other dogs when he is off leash, if you know?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I have no children living with me however according to his past history he would jump up at any child that ran up to him making a noise. In my own experience this happened as we walked down the street and a passing child, obviously not happy around dogs started screaming and waving his arms, my dog jumped at him before I realised what was happening.

Hi shows aggression whenever another dog of either sex, size or attitude approach. He starts to hunker down and as the other dog passes he strains at the leash and, back legs scrabbling yelping. His tail as best I can tell is midway to down. According to the kennels he was boarded at before i rescued him he would run with the other dogs ok, I haven't tried this. When no other dogs around will happily walk off the lead and comes when called.

Thanks for the additional information. Dogs and children often have issues because a dog associates hight tones such as screams and yelps as invitations to play since that is how they communicate. So when a child jumps around and vocalizes in high tones (which they all tend to do) a dog often thinks they want to play. Two dogs play jump on each other and run around chasing one another so it is natural for a dog to do the same things when a child makes high pitched noises and jumps around or runs.
Being a herding breed makes it even more difficult for your dog to control the urges to jump and run after them since it is their nature to herd and run after running objects. So your boy will need to learn how to react around children which I will discuss in more detail further doen.
In addition that hunkering down sounds suspiciously like a dog crouching down to elicit play from another dog. Aggressive or dominant dogs usually have a tail help high and even straight up. They might lunge at another dog, growling or barking furiously. So it may not be aggression that the dog is displaying but an invitation to play. However, when you start worrying about what a dog will do and pull back on the leash and tense up, you can communicate that worry to the dog. Then when the dog does approach other dogs, it might start acting aggressively in order to protect you since you are worried. They don't think you are worried about their actions but the other dogs. So try not to tense up and we will tackle these issues in a different manner.
You can test this theory by enlisting someone that has a calm submissive dog and letting the two dogs play in a neutral territory such as a tennis court or other enclosed area. Leave the leashes on and let them trail them so you have something to grab if they should get into an altercation. If they do fine then odds are he is trying to play rather than fight.
However, you do need to keep him focused on you rather than other dogs. One way is to keep some paper thin hot dog treats in a fanny pack with one in your hand on the side he walks. As you are walking along and he walks at your side, give him one as he is moving forward paying attention to you. The hot dog slivers coat your hand so it smells like them and the dog can't tell if you have one or not, but initially keep one in your hand. Practice this when dogs are not around so he is used to getting the treat. After he seems to be doing good with this add a distraction such as kids in the distance. You might also have a helper with a dog in the distance walking past.
If he stops paying attention to you, give a little tug to break his concentration and a firm low toned NO. If he stops and starts paying attention to you, give the treat. As he improves, you can have your helper move a little closer until they are walking past you with little or not interest from your dog.
I would arrange for some play times with other dogs for yours since this breed has a lot of energy. You might also get a backpack and fill it with bottled water or cans so he is tired out more.
I'd also concentrate on obedience training with him. 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.
Once he has the commands down pat, you might want to take him outside a play ground or school yard and walk him using the same techniques as you did for other dogs to teach him to ignore the sounds of children. He does need to learn that. However, you also have to be a good owner and make sure children are not jumping around him him or squealing. Take the time to educate them about how to act around dogs. It will help. Practice your obedience work around the school yard rewarding him with the tasty treats or liver slivers.
I don't think it will take long to see improvement as he sounds like he really isn't aggressive, just needs some boundaries set and additional exercise. 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 3 years ago.


Thanks for that, I'll give it a go. I'm sure your right, he's not aggresive but just not had a good start in life.

You are very welcome. I'll follow up in a few days but it will likely take a few weeks to see a lot of improvement.