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Ask Jane Lefler Your Own Question
Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 20180
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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i have always had boxer and they have all been good

Customer Question

i have always had boxer bitches and they have all been good with other dogs, however my new boxer bitch who is now nearly 3 is really bad tempered to other dogs when out on the lead, snarling and birse raised on her back, when out at beach etc i am scared to let her off lead when other dogs are about because i dont know how she is going to react, at home she runs along fence and does the same barking and snarling, i have had her since a puppy she is good with my granddaughter and no sign of aggression to people, could it be a protection thing for me or what do think it is really embarassing
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 3 years ago.
Hi Customer,
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.
Thanks for the information. It is helpful. Since you have had boxers before, then you do know they are prone to some health issues which might lead to sudden aggression such as hypothyroidism or pain. Special testing would need to be done to rule out some conditions.
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. As hard as it is, you need to have a relaxed stance when walking a dog on a leash.
there are some things you can do to help stop this behavior. One would be to get her off the fence line. Using a second barrer such as an underground fence or hot wire set a couple of feet from the actual fence can help stop the fence aggression. This tends to help stop that aggression since each time they rush the fence to show aggression, an immediate reprimand is given.
The other thing you might do is keep a leash attached and enlist the help of someone you know who has a dog. You can use this method for when she is inside the yard on on a leash. You will be using a long leash when she is in the yard.
What you will do is have your dog on the leash. You will have your helper off in the distance. Your helper will gradually move their dog a bit closer to you preferably walking past your position in the distance. As long as your dog ignores them, you can give your dog praise and a treat. The second you see her fixate on the other dog or show any other sign of aggression (hair standing up, etc.) give your dog a correction by giving a short tug and a firm low toned "NO". It shouldn't take your dog long to realize you will not tolerate the aggression and that if she ignores the other dog, she gets treats. Once this happens you can repeat the training moving the other dog closer until she is no longer trying to lunge at other dogs. You will need to practice this when you and your dog are walking as well.
It is important that the treats be high value like liver or vienna sausage slivers for this to be effective. Another method is called bat. You can read about this here:
If she hasn't had extensive training yet, I do suggest that you do start with obedience training. 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.
You asked if it is a protection thing and it may well be if she thinks you are not the leader and thus need protection, but obedience training and the other techniques should let her know you are the leader and she can depend on you to protect her rather than the other way.
In addition, if the situation is not improving using the techniques I describe, 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.
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 .