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Recent aggression issue?

October 28th, 2011, 04:16 PM
We adopted Otis from a rescue about 3-4 weeks ago. He is a boxer/American bulldog mix. He is 2 years old, 80lbs. A very strong boy. I have started training and he is responding well to sit, down, come and walking "nice" on his leash. When we have met dogs on our walks, I speak to the other owners first then allow the dogs to have their sniff. He has responded well to other dogs of all sizes and breeds. In the past week he has been aggressive with other dogs. Viciously growling and pulling to attack them. I am at a loss and am embarrassed. Apologizing to the other dogs owner. What has happened? And better yet, how can I fix this?
Please help. We love our new pup and want him to be a part of our new family desperately.
Ian and Otis

October 29th, 2011, 03:53 PM
I would suggest having him assessed by a good trainer. If he is generally good with other dogs - is he good off leash? or with familiar dogs? then it could be a reactivity issue.

My dogs have been going to doggy daycare since they were little puppies and like other dogs. But put them on a leash, and they are very reactive to seeing other dogs. Frenzied barking, pulling etc is embarrassing and alarming.

Now it could be they are excited to see another dog and being held back on the leash creates tension, or they are responding to MY tension. They are 10x worse when I have more than one dog or when the other dog they see is barking, lunging etc etc.

At the moment, I do not let my dogs meet other dogs on leash, unless everyone is completely calm and they are able to sniff butts, approach in an arc etc.

In my case, at this point, I have to create a good 15-20 feet between my dog and approaching dogs. Sometimes this means crossing the street. It ALWAYS means being on my toes when walking that's for sure. Whatever I have to do to keep them below threshold and focus on me.

My trainer is going to do a reactive dog course based on Control Unleashed which I cant' WAIT to do. Maybe there is a trainer in your area that also does something like that.

I've read that most "aggression" is fear based. Address the fear.