How to Train Your Dog to Stop Growling at Other Dogs

Medium
3-6 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

Going out for a walk or to the local dog park with your four-legged friend should be a lot of fun for both of you. But the fun can suddenly come to an end when your pup takes it into his head to growl at other dogs in a menacing way. It can only get worse if your dog and one of the other dogs decide to get into a fight, as the situation can easily turn dangerous. While growling is more than just a nuisance noise, there are times when it is appropriate and times when it is not.

In most cases, your pup growls simply because he is trying to communicate. He might be trying to tell you he is afraid of the other dog or he may be verbally staking his claim on "his territory." Most owners quickly become upset when their pup growl and quite often their first reaction is to scold or punish their dogs. In most cases, all this does is make your dog more anxious and growl even more. The only way to move past this is to teach your pup that this type of behavior is simply unacceptable. 

Defining Tasks

The idea is to teach your dog to behave in a more social manner towards other dogs while you are out walking, in the yard, or at the local dog park. You need to be able to take your dog out for a walk or to play in the park as he needs the exercise, plus it will help him to burn off excess energy and become more balanced and calm.

While teaching your pup not to growl at other dogs is the idea behind this training, you also need to train yourself. "What," you say, "why do I need to train myself?" If your dog is already growling at other dogs, chances are good that you become nervous and anxious any time it looks like your dog is going to get close to another pooch. Your dog will pick up on this fear, which will only make him more protective and more likely to growl. Teach yourself to remain calm in the face of the "enemy" and your pup will learn to copy your behavior. 

Getting Started

There are several ways you can go about training your dog to not growl at other dogs. When it comes to this type of training, you don't need much in the way of supplies. However, you will need the following:

  • Treats: Keep a steady supply of your pup's favorite treats on hand to give your dog as a reward.
  • Leash: To take your dog out for a walk
  • Another dog: See if you can arrange for a few friends to bring their dogs over for training sessions.
  • Space to work: Whether it is in your yard, the dog park, or on the sidewalk, you need space to work.
  • Patience: As with any other type of training, you will need plenty of patience. Never get over-excited or angry with your dog, it will only make the training harder and less likely to succeed. 

Remember that your dog will pick up on your emotions (dogs are funny that way), so no matter how frustrated you get, remain calm and keep on training. 

The Positive Reinforcement Method

Most Recommended
4 Votes
Step
1
Start on a leash
Clip your dog on his leash and remain as calm as possible, he will pick up on your vibes and calm down as well.
Step
2
Go for a walk
Take your dog for a walk in an area where there are other dogs, give him a little extra leash to start with.
Step
3
Every time he growls
Every time your pup growls at another dog, use the 'quiet' command. When he obeys and stops growling, give him a treat. When he doesn't, make him lie down until the other dog has passed.
Step
4
Repeat this process
Continue having your dog lie down each time he growls. This will help to teach him that this behavior is simply not acceptable. Every time he remains quiet laying down, reward him and give him a treat.
Step
5
Keep practicing
It can take a few weeks of practice to get your pup to stop growling at other dogs. Remember, the more you socialize your pup with other dogs, the less he is likely to growl at them. Be patient, the payoff is more than worth the effort when you can take your dog for a walk and not worry about how he will behave.
Recommend training method?

The Desensitization Method

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0 Votes
Step
1
Have guests
Arrange for one or more "guest" dogs your pup does not know to come to your home.
Step
2
Create a blind
Since your pup growls when he sees other dogs, you need to keep the other dogs out of sight at first. The easiest way to create a blind is to park two cars end to end with a gap between them.
Step
3
Walk on by
Have your friend walk his dog slowly past the gap while you stand 20 feet away from the gap. If your dog starts to growl, give him the 'sit-stay' command to distract him. If he obeys and stops growling, praise him and give him a treat.
Step
4
Rinse and repeat
Have as many people as you can arrange to walk their dogs past the gap. Each time your dog starts to growl, make him sit. Reward him when he complies.
Step
5
Move closer
Move the spot you and your pup are standing on half the distance to the gap and repeat the training. Be sure to use lots of treats and praise when he gets it right.
Step
6
Practice
Keep repeating this training until your dog no longer growls at the dogs walking by him.
Step
7
Out on the street
Take the training out on the street by taking your pup for a walk. Start by cutting a wide path around the oncoming dog and reward your pup when he doesn't growl. Keep working him in closer until the two of you can go anywhere without having to worry about whether or not he is going to growl at any dog you might happen to come across.
Recommend training method?

The Signs of Aggression Method

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0 Votes
Step
1
Signs of aggression
Pay attention to the early warning signs such as whining, ears pointing forward, pulling on his leash, raised hackles, or staring the other dog in the eye. These are all signs of aggression that are likely to be followed by growling and more aggressive behavior.
Step
2
No rewards
Giving him a treat or praising him for this aggressive behavior is simply not acceptable, all this does is teach him to behave in this manner. It also means not giving him any attention whatsoever as this will also serve to reinforce the behavior.
Step
3
Avoidance is better
When you see another dog coming your way, take your dog across the street, or if this is not possible, walk at an angle perpendicular to the one the dog is coming from. In time, your dog will learn that avoidance is better than being confrontational.
Step
4
No leash pulling
Simply walk away in the other direction. Just do it, don't pull on the leash, your dog should automatically follow you. Give him a treat if he does.
Step
5
Use positive reinforcement
Each time your dog follows you without growling, reward him with a treat and praise. Each time he doesn't, don’t punish him, just go back and repeat the training.
Step
6
Slowly cut the distance
Slowly cut the distance between your dog and the others, rewarding him each time he passes another dog without growling. With practice, your pup will soon learn to be in the company of other dogs or walk past them without growling.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Millie
Poodle/Lab/Samoyed
1 Year
4 found helpful
Question
4 found helpful
Millie
Poodle/Lab/Samoyed
1 Year

My dog has started to growl at some dogs when they approach her, both on and off the lead. She does this despite knowing most of them and sometimes after the growling she is happy to play with them. What can I do to stop this growling behaviour.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
308 Dog owners recommended

Hello Diane, Millie probably needs a lot of positive but calm experiences with other dogs. There are two different things I suggest you work on. The first is to take Millie to as many places with other dogs as possible. When you take her, keep your distance from the other dogs at first. Go where she can see them from a distance and every time that she looks at another dog, before she growls, praise her in an upbeat, happy tone of voice, and then give her a treat when she looks at you when you praise her. If she starts to get upset, then call her name and then quickly have her do at least five commands in a row, to address her attitude, remind her to depend on you and respect you, and to get her focus back on you and off of the other dog. This might look like: "Millie, Heel. Good girl. Sit!. Good girl. Down! Sit. Good girl. Heel. Sit. Good girl. Attention. OK. Sit. Good girl. OK". These commands would be given quickly to address her attitude and to keep her so busy that she could not look at the other dog. When you do this, your attitude should mean business, and being firm but calm. Think of a drill sergeant telling you to do push ups or run laps in quick succession. By correcting her growling by shifting her attention back onto you and having her work for you, and by rewarding her for noticing other dogs but still remaining calm, you are addressing her anxiety, frustration, and possibly rude behavior, and teaching her to pay attention to you, remain calm, and view the other dogs as boring. As she improves, you can practice this closer to the other dogs, and when dogs pass by her. If you have other friends with dogs, then I would also recommend going on "Pack Walks" together. Do this with as many different well socialized, friendly dogs as you can, one or two at a time at first ideally. When you go on a walk together, keep the dogs moving forward and focused. Have the dogs heel and pay attention to you and the other owner, rather than pulling and competing to be in front or sniffing and bothering one another while walking. To get the dogs close enough to walk together practice either "The Walking Together Method" or "The Passing Approach Method" from this Wag! article, "How To Train Your Dog To Greet Other Dogs", bellow: https://wagwalking.com/training/greet-other-dogs Going on walks with other dogs should help Millie to socialize with other dogs in a calm, focused, and controlled way. Right now she is likely experiencing anxiety, frustration, or simply rude behavior during interactions with other dogs. Her expectations of interacting with other dogs need to shift from tense or anxious to relaxed, calm, and almost boring. Changing her emotional state while she is around other dogs should help with the aggressive tendencies. Begin training as soon as possible. The earlier that you begin working on something like this, the easier it typically will be to address. If the issue gets any worse, then do not wait to contact a trainer in your area with experiences dealing with reactivity and aggression. Reactivity is often caused by the frustration, anxiety, and arousal that build up while a dog is anticipating another dog's interaction. Overtime the dog can become reactive due to all of those heightened emotions and the dog's view of other dog's becomes unpleasant. Reactivity is less severe than aggression because most reactive dogs are still friendly when they are off-leash with other dogs, but the issue can get worse overtime. It is easier to address early while the dog is still social with other dogs while off-leash. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Rudy
collie x husky
2 Years
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Question
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Rudy
collie x husky
2 Years

My dog is great with other dogs outside the house. He loves to play chase etc. he is very obedient generally although he has had food issues since a pup as he was the runt of the litter and i think he was being bullied by the others. he is improving with the food issues, and is not really food orientated. My friend moved in 18 months ago with her 2 greyhounds. They are very food orientated. My friend feeds them what she is eating from her hand etc etc. They will try and eat my dogs food and he will snap at them. They are generally disobedient, doing what they want, on the furniture, sleeping on my friends bed. The male greyhound who is 9 and has been castrated can be snappy at other dogs and people. I don't allow my dog on the furniture or to sleep on my bed. My dog snaps at them occasionally in a half hearted way at the backs of their legs. He will also stand in the way of them getting past sometimes. My friend also has other dogs visiting and Rudy snaps at them in the same way, particularly if he has uneaten food in his bowl. My dog is being treated like he is the problem and being told off but I think there is a much more complex dynamic going on here. Please advise what I should do.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
308 Dog owners recommended

Hello Emily, In an ideal scenario all three of the dogs would be your dogs and you could deal with this issue by building all of the dogs' respect for you and being the one to create and enforce the house rules and not let any of the dogs be in charge. Since that is not your reality here are a couple of other suggestions. First, Rudy needs to be fed twice a day and only twice a day and the food should not be left out. Feed him in a secure location, such as an Exercise Pen, gated off area, or room with the door closed, where he can eat in peace without feeling threatened by the other dogs. Give him fifteen to twenty minutes to eat in that area, and then if he is not actively eating it by the end of that time, take the food up and try again at dinner time. At dinner time give him both his dinner portion and whatever remaining breakfast amount there was also. Expect this to take about a week before he will catch on to eating when it is presented. Many dogs will eat more at one meal and less at the other, and that is fine. You can also feed him the entire amount at breakfast and then simply feed him what is left at dinner time also if you discover that he is a bigger breakfast eater than dinner eater. If you are concerned about him not eating at first and you normally come home for lunch, then you can offer it at lunch also at first. It is simply not realistic in your situation to expect the other dogs to leave his food alone, and it is creating unnecessary stress for him. If you can supervise him the whole time that he is eating out in the open, then you could work on the issue by standing five feet away from him while he eats and blocking the other dogs with your body and walking towards them to herd them out of the area while telling them "Ah Ah! Out", in order to communicate that they should leave him alone, but that is only guaranteed to be effective while you are in the room, and he will likely eat more if he is undisturbed in a calm location. Also, if the greyhound has been known to bite people, then you will have to consider your own safety. Help Rudy relax more about the presence of the other dogs by feeding him treats whenever the other dogs come into the area but before they are close enough to come over and beg for a treat also. If Rudy prefers toys and affection, then play with him with a toy and really love on him and make things pleasant for him whenever they come into the area instead of giving him treats. If he finds the toy and affection very rewarding, then that would actually be a better reward for him since the other dogs are so food motivated. As soon the Greyhounds leave the area, stop the fun and go back to being calm so that he will begin to associate the fun with their presence and enjoy them being around more. Ideally, come up with rules for all of the dogs with your roommate. Make these rules practical and something that you can both agree on. A compromise will probably have to be made. See if your roommate will agree to you and her both having permission to teach and gently discipline all of the dogs when one dog breaks a rule. The word discipline means "to teach", not simply punish, so have in mind what type of corrections, communication, and boundaries can you use in different situations to teach the dogs what to do and not do. For example, if one dog is sitting on the couch and growls at a person or a dog who approaches the couch, then that dog must immediately get off of the couch and leave the room. If one dog takes another dog's bone, then a person disciplines the dog who took it and gives the bone back to the original dog who had it, but the dog whom it was stolen from is not allowed to bite the thief. You be the one to handle the situation. If your roommate agrees to this but the Greyhound tries to bite people, then I suggest temporarily using a soft silicone basket muzzle on him until he stops trying to bite when you enforce a rule. You want all of the dogs to respect the people in the house and their rules, and not be allowed to be in charge, make rules for another dog or person, or enforce those rules. Build the dogs' trust in you by being consistent and enforcing the rules for them so that no dog has to be the enforcer. If Rudy is blocking a doorway and not letting another dog through, then tell him "Ah Ah! Out" and herd him out of that doorway by gently but firmly walking into or toward him until he leaves the area. He is not allowed to own the doorways and the greyhounds are not allowed to own the couch, and prevent others from being there. What the Greyhounds do in your friend's room should not effect Rudy so I would not fight the bed battle with her, but you and her will have to decide what you agree on about the downstairs furniture. I personally have no issue with dogs being on the couch IF those dogs are not being possessive of it, will immediately get off when told "Off", and everyone in the house is okay with the dogs being on the couch. Some dogs have dominance and aggression issues and should not be on furniture. Other, generally well behaved, respectful dogs are completely fine being on the furniture if that is what their owner desires and they are obedient when told to get off. You and her will have to evaluate whether or not it is causing any issues and agree based on that criteria if she is willing. When there are other dogs visiting, advocate for Rudy. If another dog is bothering him, then block that dog from getting to Rudy and patiently but firmly tell the other dog to go somewhere else. Make sure he has space of his own when he needs it while other dogs are around, so that he does not feel a need to defend himself. He should believe that you will defend him and that it is your job and not his. It is also okay to encourage Rudy to be polite toward other dogs and to allow them to briefly sniff his bottom and say hi, but they should not pester him if he does not want to play afterwards, and you be the one to interrupt any dominance establishing behaviors. Sniffing bottoms is the dog version of a hand shake and a good canine interaction should involve that and not just nose sniffing, but it should be brief and respectful. Reward him if he allows that and try to act confident, in control, and up beat yourself. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Daisy
Terrier of some kind
8 Years
0 found helpful
Question
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Daisy
Terrier of some kind
8 Years

My son was transferred to Japan for 3 years. He left his wonderful family dog Daisy, and 2 cats, with us. My husband is disabled. Daisy is great company and a comfort to us while my son and his family are so far away. Daisy loves running across the street to the city lake, where we currently live. She goes to the edge of water and will play with

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
308 Dog owners recommended

Hello Maggie, It looks like your message explaining your problem and question was cut off and not finished when you submitted your question. Please let me know exactly how I can help you, and I would be glad to reply to your question. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Sami
miniature poodle
5 Years
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Sami
miniature poodle
5 Years

Sami generally gets on well with other dogs. However, when we're at the dog park there are a couple of dogs who want to play ( he's not much for playing). He will warn them by growling, but very often they will continue to pester him. I try to get him to follow me to another part of the dog park but most of the time the other dogs follow and after a time he just gets fed up with them being in his face and goes for them. I give him credit for warning them over and over with the growls, but I'm afraid one of these days he might actually bite one of them. What else can I do?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
308 Dog owners recommended

Hello Elizabeth, When the other dog bothers him, you either need to block the other dog from getting to him and herd the other dog out of his area by walking toward the dog until it leaves, or you need to leave the park. If you were outside of a dog park you would do the same thing, but you could also give Sami treats being tolerant to create a positive association between him and the other dog. Inside of a dog park giving out treats is very dangerous because of food possessiveness and potential fights. It is also typically banned. By keeping the other dogs away from him when he has had enough you are increasing his trust in you and you are decreasing his defense drive, which is leading him to finally attack. If he feels like you will handle the situation, then he will be less stressed out by the other dogs and feel less of a need to attack. If he attacks anyway, then correct him and leave. The goal should be to prevent him from attacking the other dogs in the first place. He shouldn't have to put up with being harassed over and over. There are many young dogs in a dog park who simply haven't learned how to be respectful of another dog's space yet. There are also many insecure dogs that are constantly trying to dominate other dogs. Truly dominant dogs have nothing to prove. If he is constantly feeling the need to defend himself, then his unpleasant view of other dogs and his aggressive tendencies are likely to get worse. The best course of action is for you to take charge, or to remove him from the situation entirely if that does not work in a particular case. When you herd the other dogs away by walking toward them, only do that if you feel like you can do it safely with a particular dog. Also, it does not have to be harsh or offensive looking to the other owners. You can simply tell the other dogs "Ah-Ah. Out" and point away from your dog, and then calmly get between the other dog and your dog and walk toward the dog so that you are blocking him from getting to your dog and making your dog more boring. Imagine that you are a firm brick wall when you do this. Your body language when you do this is telling the other dog that Sami belongs to you and this is your space. You are demanding that the other dog respect your dog by respecting you. Dogs understand body language very well when it is done correctly. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Bonita
Labrador
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
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Bonita
Labrador
1 Year

Bonita got into a dog fight with a dog at home now all she does is growl and lunges on the leash when she sees other dogs at home and xuring walks. How do we stop this behavior?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
308 Dog owners recommended

Hello Denise, You need to find a training facility that does Board and Train, and is setup to do aggression management and rehabilitation training. Look into doing Private sessions with trainers at that facility then at your home. The reason you want somewhere that does Board and Train is so that there are plenty of other dogs on that property for you and the trainer to work with her around. Bonita needs an experienced trainer to work with her and you. She needs someone to correct her aggressive behavior while she is wearing a muzzle and to reward her calming signals and her tolerance of other dogs in the area, to help her re-associate dogs with pleasant experiences. If there was no blood drawn during the fight, then you might be able to find a G.R.O.W.L. class in your area to attend with her to reintroduce her to dogs in a positive way again, and to deal with her reactions in a safe environment under the instruction of a trainer. If Bonita drew blood during the fight, then I would look into Private Training right away and not try to handle the situation on your own. While you are looking into training options, start by purchasing a soft silicone basket muzzle for her. Get her used to wearing that by giving her treats whenever you show it to her, touch it to her, and eventually, put it on her. Do this gradually over the next few weeks. If introduced properly, wearing a muzzle should not be a negative experience for her. Having her wear a muzzle will allow you to get her close enough to other dogs during training exercises to deal with her behavior. This will need to be done prior to many other training exercises. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Jazz
Miniature Schnauzer
3 Years
0 found helpful
Question
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Jazz
Miniature Schnauzer
3 Years

Hi, our dog Jazz is becoming increasingly agressive to dogs we meet out walking. She crouches, stalks and then lunges at them growling - and then casually carries on as though nothing has happened. Some dogs cope but some don't (and neither do their owners!) It's becoming a real problem and we have reached the point where we have to do something about it because it's taking the fun out of our walks. We wondered whether we should simply walk her on a lead for a while and then praise and reward her when she calmly walks past another dog? Any thoughts? We do appreciate this chance to ask an expert.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
308 Dog owners recommended

Hello Claire, If she will calmly walk past some dogs, then praising her and rewarding her for paying attention to you and ignoring the other dogs is a good start. It will likely not solve the underlying aggression issue, but it should help to manage it. I suggest hiring a professional trainer in your area who has a large enough facility with dogs at their disposal, and a safe environment for introductions to work on conditioning her response to other dogs. She needs to be taught respect, dependence, focus, and trust for you and whoever else is walking her. She needs to be taught what to do around other dogs and be rewarded for the appropriate response to other dogs, and for calm body language and calm energy levels. She needs to be appropriately and clearly corrected when she starts to get into an aggressive mindset, to interrupt her behavior to create an opportunity to reward a correct response and emotions towards other dogs. All of this can be hard to do on your own with aggression. Aggression is an issue that I almost always recommend working with a trainer on. The sooner you start to deal with aggression before habits are formed and fights happen, the better results are likely to be. Look for a place where the trainer has access to lots of other friendly dogs that she can expose your dog to and get your dog close to while your dog is wearing a soft silicon basket muzzle when she is ready to meet dogs. These up-close interactions will ultimately be needed to deal with the real problem. You can teach your dog to focus on your during walks, which is a great place to start, but that alone will not solve the underlying aggression. The crouching and stalking behavior should be taken seriously if your dog is not giving a play bow when she does it. That sounds like aggression and not just leash reactivity. To learn more about dog to dog aggression check out Jeff Gelhman from SolidK9Training's YouTube channel. He is an trainer who specializes in managing and rehabilitating aggressive dogs. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Marley
Mastiff
3 Years
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Marley
Mastiff
3 Years

When Marley got to 1.5years she started growling at the dog park and on walks towards new dogs. Basically it was just let her sniff. She will growl and then she’s all happy and you could keep going or let them play. The last few months it’s gotten worse. Started snapping more at dogs. She also tries to hump new dogs which I correct straight away but a new dog turned around and attacked her for it. And she fought back (she is always muzzled). Then the next day she fought the dog again. And the other day a greyhound grabbed my younger pup and Marley went ballistic, lunging and snapping at any dog. And also snapped at me. She was socialised extremely well as a pup. She’s quiet and calm and will only play with dogs if she starts it. She would rather hang around the people. Everyone at the dog park is fine with her and are fine with me using their dogs as ‘practise’. But I don’t know where to start or what to even research.

She’s always on a lead unless she’s being good.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
308 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jordy, First of all Marley needs to stop going to the dog park immediately. It is likely making your problem worse every time that you go. Look online to see if there is a G.R.O.W.L. class in your area, which is a class for dog reactive dogs who are muzzled, together, and intensively socialized and their behavior and view towards other dogs dealt with in real time. She would also benefit from working with a trainer who is very experienced with aggression and powerful breeds, especially if there is not a G.R.O.W.L. class in your area. Her behavior is possibly partially due to reaching mental maturity, where her desire to dominate has increased, her protective instinct has increased, and her tolerance for rude or energetic dogs has decreased. Put simply she no longer views herself as the bottom dog and no longer wants to put up with other dogs messing with her. She may have learned that she can control situations through aggression and that belief is simply continuing. She needs someone who can teach you how to gain her respect and trust so that she will let you handle situations more. Her interactions with other dogs need to change. She needs to practice safe, boring, brief interactions, or very structured, purposeful interactions, like walks while focused on you and heeling. The dog park is not a good place to do that right now with her particular issue. Look for groups you can practice walks with and have a trainer teach you how to handle her during the walk and make the walk very structured and focused on you, so that she is following you. Check out Jeff Gellman from SolidK9Training on YouTube for examples of the type of walk and interactions I want you to practice around other dogs, but get a trainer who will use both positive reinforcement and fair punishment with an emphasis on learning to help you. Ask for references from other clients. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Mimi
Husky
5 Months
0 found helpful
Question
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Mimi
Husky
5 Months

I took my puppy from a dog foster home about a year ago. I love him to bits; he has a great personality, and I feel that he loves our family so much. BUT, whenever I take him for a walks, we have problems. My husband and I were thinking about taking him to 'doggy school', but then again, it’s extremely expensive, and the nearest 'doggy school' is far away from us. Maybe you have some advice? THANK YOU!!!!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
308 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jennie, What types of problems is he having on walks? Are you referring to pulling on the leash, barking or growling at people or dogs, putting on the breaks out of fear, or something else? If the issue is normal pulling due to excitement, then check out this article that I have linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel If the issue is reactivity or aggression toward other dogs or people, then I would recommend getting professional training help and not waiting because the issue will be a lot easier to address while he is still a puppy. It will get more complex and expensive if you wait a few months before addressing it. If the issue is stopping or trying to run from things due to fear, then spend a lot of time taking walks with. Whenever he encounters something scary, act happy, silly, and confident yourself. Sprinkle treats around the scary thing if it's safe to do so, or simply feed the treats directly to him if you cannot sprinkle them. Praise him in a confident tone of voice for being brave and exploring the new thing, then when he is ready, continue your walk and repeat it again the next time he spots something scary. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Fifi
Corgi mix
2 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Fifi
Corgi mix
2 Years

Fifi has been very defensive of us ever since she came home from the adoption center. We have gotten her comfortable with new people coming into the house, but she still has major problems with new dogs. Fifi will growl at any dog she sees. If they get close, she growls and barks and snaps at them. She hasn't bit any but she gets very close. I think she is just being defensive but it seems impossible to distract her from being aggressive to other dogs. She is still working on listening and following commands and when we are outside she will not focus on me at all. I don't know what to do. This is the first time I've ever had a dog. She won't really even listen at all unless I have a treat.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
308 Dog owners recommended

Hello Whitney, Look online to see if there is a G.R.O.W.L. class anywhere in your city or surrounding areas. If there is, then I highly suggest attending one with her. Her aggression likely stems from a lack of socialization and possibly negative experiences with other dogs. Those experiences may have involved being attacked or they could have been circumstances that taught her to be the bully. A G.R.O.W.L. class will work on socialization and her reactions towards other dogs in a class filled with other reactive dogs that are all muzzled and being trained quickly around each other in a safe environment. If you cannot find such a class in your area, then look for a training group that has access to a lot of different dogs, including friendly-calm dogs, like the trainer's dogs. With the help of a trainer Fifi can be desensitized around a lot of different dogs while you are present, and the trainer can teach you how to respond to her when she is reactive, and how to work on her listening skills. For the listening, check out the article that I have linked below. Since she is new focus especially on the "Obedience" method. Dogs need to learn what commands mean first, then those commands need to be practiced around gradually harder and harder distractions for a dog to be able to listen. The dog also needs to learn to respect you through your own consistency, enforcing of rules fairly, and teaching. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Ting, Tong, Solo & Blacky
German Shepherd
5 Years
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Ting, Tong, Solo & Blacky
German Shepherd
5 Years

We all live together on land in Cambodia. Most dogs in province do not have vaccinations so I try not to introduce mine to others.
Blacky the baby of Ting & Tong is almost 2 yrs and he continually growls at Solo (3yrs) his older brother. Most is jealousy of me I think. They are all with me 24/7. Ting is the boss so they dont growl at her, but the other 3 boys all growl at each other a bit.
They all get lots of love but had little training & only on a lead when going to the vet. As this is a in house family issue I dont think you previous answers are relevant to this situation. I would love some advise please.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
308 Dog owners recommended

Hello Trevor, You need to add more structure and work on the dogs' respect for you so that they look to you to make and enforce the rules and are not allowed to compete with one another. Check out the article that I have linked below and follow one or more of the methods from that to teach them to respect you better. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you You also need to decide on some house rules for all of the dogs to follow and be the one to enforce those rules rather than letting the dogs enforce them for one another. For example, such rules might include: "no dog is allowed to take something that another dog has", "no dog is allowed to act aggressively toward another dog", "no dog is allowed to push another dog out of the way to get someone's attention", "no dog is allowed to act pushy to get your attention", "all dogs have to wait until they are given permission before they can eat", "all dogs must leave other dogs' food bowls alone", ect... Work on teaching all of the dogs the "Out" command, which means leave the area. Anytime one dog is pestering another dog tell that dog out and make him leave the area, rather than the dog he is pestering having to do it. If you see a dog attempting to break a rule you be the one to correct that dog rather than another dog doing it. Teach each dog at least three commands in addition to "Out" and whenever one dog is acting disrespectful attach him to a leash and have him quickly run through those commands for you over and over again without treats. You can praise him at the end or very calmly during but the goal is to work him mentally and physically without being too confrontational to adjust his attitude. Think of it like doggie pushups like a drill sergeant would have his caddets do. To teach out, work with one dog at a time. Call him over to yourself and toss a large treat at least five feet away while you also point that hand's index finger where you toss it. While you do this say "Out". If your dog does not go to the treat then walk him over to it or toss another treat near it while he is watching you. After he gets the treat, tell him "Okay" and encourage him to come back over to you. Practice tossing the treat while pointing and saying "Out" and then telling him "Okay", and repeating the whole thing again when he comes back over. Do this until you can point and say "Out" and he will go where you point BEFORE you toss the treat. When he does that, then quickly Todd the treat to him for following your instruction, but now it will be a reward for obedience. Practice that until he can consistently go where you point when you say "Out". Once he has learned the meaning of the word at this point, when you use it in real life, if he disobeys your command, then walk toward him to make him back out of an area, until he is where you originally told him to go. When you walk away from him if he follows you back into the area, then repeat walking toward him. Do this until he will stay out of the area until you tell him "Okay" to invite him back. While he is still getting good at this command if he obeys you willingly through first time you tell him "Out" then toss him a small treat like a piece of dog food. Next, work on teaching the next dog the "Out" command, and then use the command whenever one dog needs to give another one space, is being pushy or disrespectful with you, and is about to get himself into trouble by getting too close to another dog's food or something. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Ivy
Mini Goldendoodle
20 Months
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Ivy
Mini Goldendoodle
20 Months

Hello, Thank you helping. We got Ivy when she was 8 weeks old. My wife and I did two years of research on breed and breeder. We read many training books. We started trained Ivy as soon as we got her. She is very smart. By year one Ivy knew sit, stay, down, down stay, heel, fetch, and much more. Hours of training lesson in basement. Ivy was also enrolled in a Six week canine class with other dog and a 3 week socialization class. OK...So here is our situation. Two things; See is very shy with people. She backs up when people come at her.She does not spook, just backs away. Once I give her a command she is fine. Is that normal? I see other dog just roll over for people. Second, she does not give other dog the time of day. She will smell them and then back away. If the other dog continues to engage Ivy will do a quite growl. Ivy will do that even when the other dog is just trying to play with her. However, Our neighbor's dog who is about the same size as Ivy play like they are best friends. Ivy will see the red truck in the driveway and know the dog is out and will wine to go out and play. Why is she Okay with some dogs and not others. Ivy has never shown aggression. What do you think. I feel like she does not play with other dogs like a puppy. One last thought, I remember Ivy sitting right next to me in the socialization class when all the other dogs were off leash playing. Many Thanks.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
308 Dog owners recommended

Hello Tom, Assuming that Ivy has not had a fearful experience with other dogs and people, and especially since it sounds like her behavior toward other dogs was similar to how it is now even as a small puppy, her aloofness towards others is probably an inherited personality/temperament trait. As long as she is in no way aggressive toward other dogs, but simply communicates when she wants to be left alone and leaves the area herself to avoid confrontation if the dog does not listen, her behavior is fine. Some dogs have more shy and serious personalities. Dogs can also pick and choose who they like. It sounds like she may not like rude, overexcited, or dominant dogs, but enjoys the company of more polite, submissive dogs. That's probably a preference based on her personality. Even though she is only around two years of age she may already have a more serious personality. Although that is less common for her breed, many other breeds are naturally that way even when younger, and even within a certain breed you will have things that fall outside of what's common for that breed personality/temperament wise. I would highly suggest pairing the presence of other dogs with praise and rewards. When she sees or finishes interacting with another dog and is calm give her a treat, and praise her right when she notices the other dog and is being tolerant. She does not have to go play with all other dogs, but just make sure you prevent any true aggression from beginning by continuing to make other dogs being in the area a fun and relaxing thing for her. Do the same thing for her with people. Try to recruit calm people to greet her. Have them approach her and stand about five feet away from her and tossing her treats until she chooses to come over to that person to say hi. The fact that she will relax when you give her a command to greet is wonderful. Continue giving her that command when she is uncertain. That means that she may be naturally shy on her own but she is trusting you to tell her who is safe and that is a good way to manage that shyness. Continue to do that and have people she thinks are strangers calmly toss her treats at your home and when you go places with her. Also, advocate for her with other dogs. A dog can be rude toward another dog even if that dog is simply excited. If a dog does not leave another dog alone when that dog indicates that it's finished interacting, if the other dog is right in your dog's face without backing off, is following your dog around constantly, jumping on your dog, not letting your dog sniff it's bottom back, or approaching your dog with lots of jumping, energy and being in your dog's face, then that dog is being rude toward your dog. Many playful, more submissive dogs will tolerate it, but it sounds like your dog does not appreciate another dog being rude and is trying to correct that dog. She has a lower tolerance for certain types of behavior than some dogs. When you spot those behaviors gently but firmly advocate for your dog by herding the other dog away from your dog with your body until he decides to leave. This will help your dog to relax more and look to you to handle confrontation rather than having to resort to aggression herself when the other dog won't listen. Do that but also work on rewarding your dog for simply being around other dogs when you are on a walk or in public locations with her. You want the presence of other dog's to be nice so she will also relax more. If she gets too snippy with the other dog you can correct her but only while also making the other dog leave her alone. Additionally, continue to let your dog meet other dogs who you feel are safe, but you can minimize her snippy behavior by keeping the interactions to three seconds while on a leash. This gives the dogs a chance to say hi without letting them get competitive and become more likely to fight. You want to keep her socialization up around other dogs, so don't stop taking her around dogs, but it is okay to keep things short to keep interactions positive for her and the other dog. With dogs that she likes continue to let her play. Reward her for her tolerance of other dogs also. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Waffles
Pit bull
9 Months
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Waffles
Pit bull
9 Months

Hello! I rescued my tripod Waffles from the shelter in May when he was about 5 months old. This was right after one of his legs was amputated due to extreme neglect from his previous owners, however he had not shown any signs of trauma or fear from his past during the first few months I had him. Within the past few weeks though, he has become increasingly more aggressive towards other dogs at the dog park and now even on walks. He seems to either get in fights with alpha dogs that "egg him on" or with a dog he is playing with and it just seems to escalade to fighting. On walks once he sees a dog he stops, bows and pounces once the dog gets close and has begun growling and lunging at the dog on a walk. I'm so confused because he has always been so submissive and I don't know what would bring on this behavior or how to correct it. I feel terrible thinking that people could be scared of my sweet boy! Do you have any training tips for this?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
308 Dog owners recommended

Hello Alyssa, There are possibly two things going on here. The first is that he has reached an age where he is transitioning out of puppyhood and into adulthood and instincts like being the alpha dog, fighting for resources, and generally competing are increasing with mental maturity and hormones. The second thing that has likely happened is that he has learned poor social behavior form the other dogs at the dog park. Either he has gotten away with being a bully himself, has been on the receiving end of bullying in some form, or is generally picking up on the unstructured, competitive experience of the dog park. I would highly suggest that you stop taking him there for his own sake and the sake of the other dogs. Dog parks are very unstructured and many of the dogs there are not properly socialized and respectful, which can lead to issues when your dog is learning from those dogs. Some dogs are able to learn to avoid confrontation and have enough of a foundation of socialization themselves from other experiences to cope with the negatives, but many others are effected in a negative way. Instead of going to the dog park anymore look for a G.R.O.W.L. class in your area. A G.R.O.W.L. class is a class for aggressive but non-dangerous dogs who all wear muzzles and are intensively socialized together so that you can deal with the aggression and underlying causes in real time in the presence of other dogs safely, with other owners who are understanding because they have their own dogs with similar issues. If there is not a G.R.O.W.L. class in your area, then you will need to find a private trainer to help you. Look for someone who is a part of a group that has a facility where other dogs are on property so that your dog can train on that property with you and the trainer and be exposed to a large number of dogs under the safe guidance of a trainer. Waffles would also benefit from learning to wear a soft-silicone-basket-muzzle so that he can safely get close to other dogs during training under the trainer's guidance and control. When introduced right, a muzzle should not be a negative experience for your dog. A basket one will allow your dog to open his mouth while wearing it still, and you can even give him treats through the holes. A silicone one will be more comfortable also. Choose a trainer or training group that has a good reputation in your community for dealing with aggression. Not all trainers are knowledgeable about aggression. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Rio
Chihuahua
5 Years
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Rio
Chihuahua
5 Years

I have 3 dogs. The one above (small 8 lb chi/terrier mix), another chihuahua (5 lbs) and a 110 pound german shepard. The norwich terrier likes to start barking and growling at the GSD when he gets up and moves. She snipped at his ankle and I thought the GSD was going to bite her. How do I get her to stop chasing and biting at him

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
308 Dog owners recommended

Hello Janean, Teach Rio an "Out" command, which means get out of the area, and a "Leave It" command. When Rio goes to both your GSD, get in front of her, blocking your GSD, and tell Rio "Out" and point to where you want her to go, then firmly walk toward her, making her back up, until she leaves the area. Defend your GSD and show Rio that you are in charge and not her, so that your GSD does not have to enforce the rules. Once she knows the "Out" command, if she is still persistent about bothering your GSD when you walk toward her whenever she bothers him, then you can get her used to wearing a high quality remote training collar, tell her "Out" when you spot her going over to bother your GSD, and if she disobeys that command that she now knows, then you can correct her remotely with the collar remote. You want the correction to simply be enough to deter her, not a high level correction. I suggest purchasing a high quality collar with at least forty stimulation levels and vibration option. That way you can use the lowest stimulation or vibration that she will respond to. E-collar technologies, Garmin, Dogtra, and SportDog make nice collars. Do not use a cheap, less well known brand, because cheap collars can be dangerous and abusive because of faultiness. Start by simply using the vibration as a correction because that's all that you may need most of the time if she is sensitive. Tell her "Out", vibrate the collar, and then get between her and your GSD and walk toward her until she leaves the area. As soon as she walks away stop vibrating the collar. Do this to show her that the vibration is happening because of her disobedience, and the way for her to get it to stop is to leave the area and obey. If she will not respond to the vibration, then use the stimulation, but use the lowest level that she will respond to and also teach her what it means like I mentioned doing above with the vibration. This level that she will respond to is called her "Working Level". Use the collar on that level or only one level higher than that when needed. Check out the video below to learn how to found her "Working Level". Also, once you have spent the time teaching her what the stimulation or vibration means, then you can simply tell her "Out" from across the room when you see her trying to bother your other dog, and then correct her with the remote if she disobeys your command. If you are consistent, then she should eventually learn to bother your GSD less and less. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cl3V8vYobM Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Frank
Shar Pei
9 Years
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Frank
Shar Pei
9 Years

Hi there, I want to thank you in advance for this forum. I've read through all of the questions and responses, and not only are the responses helpful, but it is helpful to know others are having similar issues.

We recently began fostering-to-adopt a 9 year old Shar Pei, who is a huge sucker for lounging around the house and cuddling with people. However, when he's on a leash, he may as well be a 2 year old with all the energy and strength he exhibits. The first issue is pulling. We have only had him a week (which my husband would tell me is too soon to be on a forum), and he has shown improvements, but there is hardly ever slack in the leash. He is very keen on getting to the next smell, or person, or dog...or critter (the most exciting). We've been trying positive reinforcement, stopping when he pulls, walking backwards to have him follow, doing 180 degrees, etc., then rewarding with a treat. It has helped, but 5 seconds later, he still pulls with all his might. So I feel that we are being duped and he knows he will get what he wants if he behaves for 5 seconds :)

Leash pulling is not too terrible to handle, except for when we come across another dog(s) or a squirrel/rabbit/bird/anything small and fast. With dogs, he is very excited to meet them and cannot be distracted from them once they are in his sight. He pulls, barks, howls, whines, drools, etc. Even if I try and stand between them or try and walk away. If he does get to meet them, he usually sniffs for about 5-7 seconds and then is done and moves on. But rarely are owners comfortable with him approaching, for obvious reasons. However, if they are able to meet and the dog pursues after the sniffs are done, he growls. From what I've read above, this is normal behavior and should not be "punished". Does simply removing him from the situation help with this? Or is there more we can do? We also live in an apartment building on the 35th floor and I have so far successfully avoided being in the elevator with another dog, but I worry such tight quarters would be too stressful for him, or cause aggression more serious than growling. If I see another dog on the elevator, I wait. If one gets on, I leave. But I would love it if we didn't have to do this. And I don't want him to not be comfortable around other dogs, or plant the seed that we shouldn't be around dogs (making meetings more stressful).

Lastly, but most importantly/impactful is his prey drive. He whines and barks/howls if I do not let him move toward any small animal. If people are near, they are very frightened, as his bark and slobber can be perceived as scary. Nothing will get him distracted. We've tried treats, having one of us stand between, and also removing him from the situation. It's almost as if he has the strength of 10 dogs with how strongly he pulls.

I feel really guilty because he is such a sweet boy and shows no aggression aside from occasional (1 in 10 dogs) growling. But I am worried with the new close quarters of an apartment building full of dogs, it has the potential to become more serious. I also would like to go for a walk without the mental and physical exhaustion of pulling and being worried about what animal will next throw him into a tizzy.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
308 Dog owners recommended

Hello Marisa, I am so glad you have found the forum helpful! Congratulations on getting a new dog. For the pulling, check out the article that I have linked below. You can continue with the treats, but also work on teaching respect through following. Focus the most on cutting in front of him at a ninety degree angle as soon as his nose starts to move past your knee. He will need to be a bit behind you for this, but walking with that type of structure will also lay a good foundation for reactions around other dogs. There are other turns and stop and changes of speeds you can use and it sounds like have tried, but cutting in front of him is communicating that that's your space and that he should be paying attention so focus on that the most. Follow the "Turns" method from the article below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel For the dogs, work on structured heeling during walks. Also, take him to places with a lot of open space, like a park, and work on drilling his obedience, like Sit, Down, Heel, and attention in quick succession. Stay far enough away from the other dogs that he can still focus on you if you keep him busy with commands. You want him to notice the dogs but for them to become boring background noise after a while. As he improves, gradually decrease the distance between him and other dogs while you work on training with him. The training is to build his focus on you and respect for you, but it is also to give him something other than the dogs to focus on. After puppihood, service dogs are taught to simply coexist with other dogs nearby, not to expect interactions unless given permission. They play a lot during puppihood to learn important things, but calmness is emphasized later on. I want that to be the goal for Frank. Also, see if you can recruit any friends with calm dogs to help you work on his introductions. Check out the article that I have linked below and follow the "Passing Approach" method or the "Walk Together" method. Expect it to take several sessions before he is calm enough to meet the dog up close. That is alright. He only gets to meet when he is not pulling. Also, keep greetings to three seconds unless they are walking together. This is a good rule for him with all dogs. To deal with anything past those types of reactions, I recommend finding a training facility that has access to lots of dogs, especially calm dogs, like trainer's dogs, where they can practice up close extended muzzled greetings. This needs to be done in a very specific way though, where both dogs have to stay calm and your dog is corrected in real time as needed and rewarded for his calm behavior too. This is taught by being able to read a dog's body language and facilitate live interactions in a controlled environment. Unfortunately, it is not something I can teach here, since it will depend on your dog's real time reactions. Another, equally as good option is to attend a G.R.O.W.L. class in your area if you can find one. These classes are for reactive and aggressive dogs who have never seriously hurt another dog. The class is an intensive socialization time, where the reactions are dealt with in real time around a bunch of dogs. Things like heeling around the dogs are also typically incorporated. If you can find one of those classes, that will be cheaper than private training. Sirius Dog Training offers these classes if there is a location near you. Start with those things, if you the pulling does not start to improve some within a month or two, then check out the video below. You may want to try this collar but use it in combination with the above training. It will simply give you more control and help with respect. The producer of that video also has several other videos on proper fit and use, watch some of those also because fit is extremely important in order to use it effectively and safely. Training: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzfzVl2dwWA Fit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23zEy-e6Khg&t=663s Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Kamikaze
German Shepherd
7 Months
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Question
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Kamikaze
German Shepherd
7 Months

Hello,

My wife is a vet and together we help rehabilitate/train/foster animals. We brought KaZ home about 3 months ago and because we were out of town we did a board and train program. I felt it did more harm than good because KaZ came back a timid of other dogs. She tends to grumble at our chow mix and she's jealous when he receives attention. We have used techniques in this article and are doing an obedience class to continue to work on her socialization (her first 4 months of life were not very good and she was slated for euthanasia because of parvo, and unfortunately had some complications from it as well). My question for you is what can we do at home to help eliminate the jealous/protective grumbling in the household. She's the most submissive dog we have in the house right now and even when she does run to our chow-mix she just licks him non-stop. She's an incredible, energetic pup (200-300 active minutes a day)... we just haven't had anything that's really worked and i wanted to try consulting outside. Thank you very much in advance.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
308 Dog owners recommended

Hello Daniel, It sounds like KaZ is very insecure. Boundaries, consistency, and confidence building through respect and trust for you are important for him. Try to have short obedience training sessions with KaZ every day whenever you can. Practice teaching him new things, things that are a bit challenging, and things that require self-control, like "Leave It", "Place", "Stay", "Out", and "Watch Me". After you get through obedience commands, you can always teach tricks too, especially useful tasks. At home, decide what your household rules for both dogs are and enforce the rules with everyone, so that there will be less vying for who is in charge or receiving resources like attention and food. For example, "No dogs are allowed to bother another dog when he wants to be left alone", "No dog is allowed to be pushy for your attention", "No dog is allowed to nudge another dog out of the way or block an entrance or hallway", "No dog is allowed to take another dog's toy", "No dog is allowed to hover nearby while he eats or try to steal his food or treats", and "No dog is allowed for bark for attention". When one of the dogs tries to break one of your rules, then have fair disciplines and be the one to enforce the rules yourself, rather than one of the dogs trying to enforce it for the other dog. For example, if KaZ comes over to you while you are petting your other dog and tries to nudge him away or growl at him, then tell KaZ "Out" firmly but calmly, while you point to where you want him to go and walk toward him until he backs out of the area. Having to leave the area completely is KaZ's discipline. When one dog tries to steal another dog's bone, command the thief to "Leave It", then take the bone back, give it to the dog who originally had it, and make the thief leave the room. When you hear complaints or issues starting, act early with a firm but calm "Ah Ah!", and make the offender comply by leaving the area or doing something else that fits the situation, like going to "Place". When KaZ is being tolerant and calm, then you can reward him by going over to where he is and placing a treat on the floor in front of him while you very calmly tell him "Good Boy". Placing it on the floor will encourage him to stay where he is, especially if he is laying down. You can also put KaZ on the "No Free Lunch" program for a bit if he needs extra help. For this, he simply has to work for everything that he gets. Have him Sit before you let him outside. Have him Come before you pet him. Have him "Watch Me" before you throw a ball. Have him "Wait" before you put his food down. Obedience is a great, non-confrontational way to build trust and respect, especially for new or insecure dogs. German Shepherd also need a job to do, so this helps KaZ have a sense of purpose. Continue your socialization while you work on the home manners also. A foundation of trust and respect for you will help him adapt better when you take him places, but lots of exposure to new things in positive ways with treats and praise is very important since he was so sheltered the first half of his life. It sounds like you are doing great and he is lucky to have you. Keep working at it. You can do this. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Obsidian
Labradinger
3 Years
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Obsidian
Labradinger
3 Years

So my labrador mixed boy is my service dog and I thought we were done with his training until recently. He has always kind of had an issue with loosing focus while around other dogs but I quickly correct him and it hasn't ever been that big of a deal. But a week or so ago we saw a hyperactive tiny fake service dog inside of a public place and my dog started to growl at him. It startled me because we have seen other dogs in public before and he does lose his focus a bit but he has never growled. My thought is that since the dog was behaving poorly it may have startle my dog? Is that a possibility?
My dog was attacked and hurt by a dog his same size and for a little bit we had to work on how he was around other dogs because that stressful encounter really messed him up for a bit but I thought we were past it, I guess not... I really need some advice on this... I really don't want to have to wash him out from his service work. He truly helps me and I know he loves to help me. I just need some help on how to fix his reactiveness towards other dogs so I don't have to worry about bringing him places <3 Thank You <3

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
308 Dog owners recommended

Hello Carolina, I suggest joining a class, such as a CGC class to practice his focus and positive associations around other dogs. A CGC class should work on teaching a dog to be close to other dogs and ignore them. Even though Osdinian probably already knows all of the commands, he needs to be somewhere with dogs under control, where he can practice being close to other dogs and focusing on you, with lots of positive reinforcement around the other dogs for correct behavior, to help him relax around them too. A high quality advanced or intermediate obedience with the right trainer is another option. Find a trainer you trust who does high level obedience, offers classes, and also is familiar with behavior issues like aggression and fear, and ask for a class recommendation or training option that will practice him focusing on you and being rewarding for calmness around other dogs in a close up environment. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Milo
Eurasier
2 Years
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Milo
Eurasier
2 Years

My dog has started growling,but only at unresponsive dogs who aren't interested in coming to sniff or see him. He is usually very friendly, but I don't know if it's just his age or the fact he's still intact that he's started growling when they don't want to come over to see him and instead just seem disinterested.

Any help would be great!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
308 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ann, I suggest correcting the growling. Giving him a command or series of commands one after another quickly and enforcing that commands, like "Heel", "Sit", "Down", "Sit", "Heel". The commands are to get his focus back on you, increase his respect for you with less confrontation, and help him get back into a submissive position following you again. Also, work on rewarding his focus on you and calmness around other dogs. Work on his obedience with dogs in the background and work on him focusing on you while around dogs using rewards for obedience. You want to work him by practicing obedience, reward correct behavior, and interrupt and unwanted behavior and refocus him on you. When you do the obedience exercises after he reacts badly, do them quickly without treats. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Olly
Golden Retriever
12 Months
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Olly
Golden Retriever
12 Months

Our Olly has been well socialised as a puppy and was always happy to play and walk past all dogs without any problems.

At about 9-10 months old, he suddenly started to growl at another male dog who he had previously played quite happily with. I thought it was just one dog, however over time we’ve found him to growl at more and more male dogs while on the lead walking.

Is this ‘normal’ behaviour for a in tact male dog of this age and how do I diffuse the situation, so it doesn’t become a common reaction into adulthood.

We’re looking to get him neutered and have heard that this potentially may also reduce this kind of behaviour. However, would also like to know what training we can do to stop his growling.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
308 Dog owners recommended

Hello Emma, If his response is only toward other males, then neutering him might help, but as you touched on it's also a behavior issue and may continue even with neutering if not addressed behaviorally. Since the behavior does not sound fear-related from what you have told me (I don't know all the details so I could be wrong), and is only toward males, it sounds like the response toward other males needs to be corrected by giving him more work to do on walks -- focusing on you and walking right at your side with a lot of structure, by showing him that you are taking care of situations and leading the group, and that his attitude toward other dogs is unacceptable, and rewarding him for paying attention to you, relaxing around other males, and not posturing toward males (something with body language that dogs do to compete with another dog they see). He needs his mindset, stares at other dogs, and posturing corrected before he gets into the growling behavior. This can be hard to do without a trainer who knows what to look for present. A trainer should also be able to see when other dogs are challenging him with stares and posturing from further away and work on teaching Olly to focus on you and respond the way you want him to when that happens, instead of engaging with the other dog through aggression. The corrections should also not be done alone or that can just cause frustration. Corrections need to be clearly communicated - so that he understands what he is being corrected for, and paired with positive reinforcement for doing the correct behavior - which can be as simple as staying relaxed around a dog. He also needs his obedience addressed and to work on his trust and respect toward you in general so that he will look to you to handle the walks and dog encounters. Look for a trainer who has experience with aggression, who uses fair corrections, lots of positive reinforcement, and can implement structure and more boundaries for Olly to generally adjust his attitude and help him trust and depend on you more. You want a trainer who also understands aggression that is NOT fear-based. Many trainers understand how to treat fear-based aggression, but this is likely aggression related to hormones and personality - not just fear, so it needs to be treated a bit differently than fear-based aggression. Ask the trainer lots of questions to get a feel for whether they can help you and are experienced in this area. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Sonny
English Staffordshire Bull Terrier
2 Years
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Sonny
English Staffordshire Bull Terrier
2 Years

Sonny has recently become snappy at other dogs when on the lead. When we go for a walk and encountered by a dog they will sniff each other and he will snap at there face if they come too close to his.
He is not an aggressive dog in any sense and he is more than happy walking beside other dogs it is just when their faces meet. What can I do to stop this snapping? He loves it when we get in his face for cuddles, it is just other dogs! I look forward to hearing from you.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
308 Dog owners recommended

Hello Teisha, First of all keep all greetings to three seconds or less. Anything longer gives dogs a chance to start competing and makes it more likely they will get into a fight. When he greets other dogs keep your own body language relaxed and confident and make sure the leash is slack. Tell him to "Say Hi", let him briefly greet, then quickly tell him "Let's Go!" In a cheerful - confident tone of voice and start walking away. As soon as he turns toward you to follow, praise him and give him a treat. The snappiness might be due to age. Issues like aggression, dominance, fear, and other behavior issues often become most obvious when a dog reaches maturity around two years of age. Now that he is older, the way he interacts and plays with other dogs is also changes from a puppy to an adult. He is likely less tolerant of other dogs pushiness and is also asserting his own dominance. Reward tolerance, be the one to protect him from dogs being too pushy so that he doesn't feel the need to deal with it himself, and generally work on his respect and following of you so that he is more willing to let you handle situations with other dogs and looking to your leadership on walks. When he is behaving calmly around other dogs in general, be sure to reward him for it calmly to help him relax around other dogs even before he meets them. His walks should be very structured, heeling beside you and focused on you and not other things. This will help him defer to your leadership and stay more relaxed leading up to greetings. Be aware that he is also likely less tolerant off leash too right now, so take that into consideration during any other types of interactions. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Ambet
Shar Pei
8 Years
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Ambet
Shar Pei
8 Years

My dog was attacked 2yrs ago.She growls,snaps and pulls when a dog is a few feet away.I've tryed to walk the other way but she pulls me.She some time growls at people of they go to clap her on her head.cOm at my wits end what to do.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
308 Dog owners recommended

Hello Fiona, Check out the video that I have linked below for leash walking: https://youtu.be/BGofhEc1YPg See if there is a G.R.O.W.L. class in your area. It's sounds like fear-aggression from being attacked and never learning to re-trust. A G.R.O.W.L. class would be a wonderful, structured environment for her to learn how to be calm around other dogs who also struggle with other dogs - so you wouldn't be interrupting a typical obedience class or putting others in danger, you would have dog-to-dog specific training and socialization, with all of the dogs wearing basket muzzles to keep everyone safe (which are more comfortable muzzles and let the dogs still open their mouths). She needs to learn how to relax around other dogs and look to you for direction. If you cannot find a G.R.O.W.L. class, look for a training facility where there are other dogs present that a trainer could work with you and her around, exposing her to them while helping to change her response toward them and how she feels about them. You want somewhere that you can practice training in a controlled setting, so that you can control how far she is from dogs, safety aspects, and encounters with other dogs. I also suggest working on her respect for you. Check out the article that I have linked below and work on adding more structure to her life while at home too. You want to build her respect and trust for you and set the tone as calm in general so that when she is in more tense situations it is easier for her to follow your direction instead of simply acting on her emotions. Be careful anytime you work with her around other dogs. Some dogs when aroused are less aware of who are touching them or near them and more likely to accidentally bite the wrong person. Pay attention to the obedience method specifically. Although there are great things to learn from all of the methods: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Olive
Boxer
8 Weeks
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Olive
Boxer
8 Weeks

We’ve had olive for about 2 weeks now, and I’ve noticed she barks and growls at smaller dog breeds. SHe can meet and get along fine with bigger dogs, but on walks she growls at small dogs who try to meet her. She’s fine if I tell her to sit and let them pass but I’m trying to get her to be social and anytime she “meets” a smaller dog, she barks and growls and the other dog owners see her as “mean and aggressive” the smaller dogs always have a more excited energy, but I’m wondering if there’s a better way to indrosuce her to small dogs? I want her to Be a social dog and accept all types of dogs since she will be a bigger breed and aggression to smaller dogs is not a good mix. Any advice?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
308 Dog owners recommended

Hello Lizz, I highly suggest joining a puppy class that has a variety of dog breeds (including small dogs) and has time for off-leash play during the class. The off-leash play should be moderated by the owners and trainer to keep puppies from being bullied and encourage confidence. Having the opportunity to play and socialize with a variety of dogs and learn to adjust her play style to accommodate small dogs should really benefit her...Also, the growling might be due to nervousness around small dogs, so socializing around other puppies and small breed puppies can help build her confidence and deal with any fearfulness now while she is young. Puppies interact with one another differently than adult dogs and puppies do. Puppies can learn a lot of things by playing with one another that they will not learn from adults, and those things that they learn often transfer to adult dogs later in life and the dogs grow together. Many puppies are shy and hide during the first couple of play dates together. That is fairly common and continued exposure should help to build her confidence when she watches the other puppies play and starts to feel left out and want to be included enough to try playing also. She might surprise you and feel confident right away too, but don't be discouraged if she takes a couple of weeks to warm up - that is a sign that she needs the class exposure even more and continuing is important. For safety, look for a puppy class that is held indoors and the floor cleaned with a cleaner that kills Parvo and Distemper right before each class. If the area is gated off where older/potentially un-vaccinated dogs cannot enter, the floor cleaned right before class, and each puppy is required to be up-to-date on shots you can more safely attend at a much younger age. Carry your puppy from the car until you are on the cleaned floor where you know it is safe to put her down - since Parvo and Distemper can be transmitted through feces tracked around or through direct contact with other infected dogs. Here are the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior's recommendation on puppy classes and attendance age: https://avsab.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Puppy_Socialization_Position_Statement_Download_-_10-3-14.pdf Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Annie
Lab mix
7 Months
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Annie
Lab mix
7 Months

We adopted Annie when she was about 4 months old. She is very sweet with people. However, when other dogs sniff her face she starts to growl and has even tried to lunge a couple of times. We have another dog at home that she growled at when they first met, but they get along great now. When they are at the dog park together she is fine and keeps away from the other dogs, but when it's just Annie at the dog park she will growl at other dogs and try to lunge sometimes. How can I stop this behavior?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
308 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jennifer, First of all, stop taking her to the dog park. Because dog parks are so unstructured, not all the dogs there are well socialized, and there are so many - which creates packs, dog parks can actually make aggression a lot worse for certain dogs. It can increase fear - it sounds like she is very insecure around other dogs and fear-aggressive possibly. The parks can encourage bullying, rude behavior, and dominance issues in other dogs (which she might have or she might experience from other dogs - which increases fear and bad associations with other dogs. If she aggresses toward another dog she can also create fear-aggression in someone else's dog who used to be social. - Dog parks aren't for dogs with dog issues. You other dog might be totally fine to go but they are not for every dog. She does need to be around other dogs though. Look online to see if you can find a G.R.O.W.L. class in your area. A G.R.O.W.L class is a wonderful class for dogs who have varying degrees of aggression or reactivity toward dogs. All of the dogs wear a muzzle - I suggest a soft silicone basket muzzle because they are more comfortable. The dogs are then socialized together intensively with the help of the owners and trainer. Going on group walks with other dogs can also help change her perception of dogs. The walks remove the direct confrontation of a loose dog running up to her and instead give all of the dogs something else to focus on while together. They promote calmness if you require your dog to heel and focus on you during the walk, so that it is structured and calm mentally, and when the dogs are in a following mode, there is less competing between them. Having these types of experiences with other dogs can help her learn to relax around other dogs, socialize with less stress, and make other dogs a more positive experience. You can gradually introduce a muzzle for the class with food to make the muzzle pleasant and not a big deal for her to wear. Use her meal kibble at least once per day to get her used to wearing it. First, show her the muzzle and sprinkle food on it so that she will touch it. Next, give her a treat whenever she willingly touches it with you holding it. Work up to her putting her face into it by holding treats inside the muzzle through the holes and feeding her through the muzzle's holes. When she is comfortable holding her face inside the muzzle, buckle it and feed her treats through the holes while she wears it, then take it off again. Gradually work up to her wearing it for longer and longer and space your treats out further apart. Practice having her wear the muzzle around the house casually so that she doesn't associate wearing it with just the class. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Cooper
Dalmatian
10 Months
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Cooper
Dalmatian
10 Months

My 10 month old dal has just recently started to be a little funny with other dogs (mainly when on a lead) he is still entire and goes to doggy day care regularly and has done since a few months old so pretty well socialised. There are a couple of his doggy friends who he has always played with there, but recently when he sees them, his hackles go up and starts to growl! Not sure if he's overwhelmed by all the dogs at once so just wants his own space until he's had a look around and got his bearings! he is also quite bad a scent marking when there and has started to chew some of the doggy beds too! When out on walks I am back to basics as his recall has gotten sloppy and is selective when he wants to come back, which I put down to his age! But when he's on a lead and sees another dog he tries to lunge and bark, which i thought was him wanting to play as really is a clown, but again his hackles go up and can sometimes growl at them, so just make him walk on and focus on me whilst treating him for doing so. I believe dogs do go through a second fear phase and wondered if these behaviours could be down to that and if so will this pass or could it be something more? many thanks x

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
308 Dog owners recommended

Hello Helen, There is a late fear period. He might also be having bad experienced at the daycare with other dogs. Unstructured play can lead to bullying, aggression issues, and fear. Some daycare workers are well trained and manage play sessions well, others are not as careful and the dogs essentially do whatever they want during play - which can lead to issues. It could also be related to dominance. He is reaching sexual and mental maturity and that can cause competing and tension, especially between males. I would look into the daycare and ask questions. The issue might not be out right fights but could be constant intimidation from another dog or him being a bully there and getting away with it - which reinforces and rewards him acting like that more. If the daycare situation is fine, then age or fear could be to blame or multiple things. I suggest enrolling in a G.R.O.W.L. class with him, which is a class for reactive (his issue) and aggressive dogs that works on socializion and being around other dogs. Instead of free play with others right now, going on structured heel walks with others would be better. He should be following you during these walks with his head behind your leg - the following position can help him relax and be more submissive around others and depend on you for his confidence instead of trying to control. Some cities' dog clubs, training groups, or meetup groups have regular pack walks - where several pet parents get together to walk or hike with their dogs. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

I have spoken with daycare and thinking he can be a little bit of a bully as he is now the biggest dog there and don't think the play is structured as you say, but able to do more or less whatever they want! There was recently a retriever there who was aggressive when she had a ball so not sure if he's picked that up from her! He hasn't been to that daycare for a couple of weeks now and getting better!

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Olive
“Morkie”
11 Months
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Olive
“Morkie”
11 Months

Hi there! Thank you for posting! I really needed to know this stuff.

So, Olive is the only dog I have and I got her when she was 8 weeks. She stayed away from dogs until she had all her shots and everything. So, after her shots I wanted to get her socialized. At first, and even now, she would let them sniff her, and she’s sniff them. But, after that she’d start growling and barking at them! It’s even worse when I go down to pet the other dog. She is so protective... She’s never tried to bite them (I don’t let it even get that far). But it’s embarrassing! Especially when my friends have dogs that they want to bring over. The only dog she doesn’t have a problem with is my grandmother’s dog, which is her actual sister (same litter)...

Thank you so so much!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
308 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kylie, Look online and see if there is a G.R.O.W.L. class somewhere within driving distance to you. I highly suggest attending one with her. A G.R.O.W.L. class is a class for aggressive or reactive dogs. All of the dogs in the class wear muzzles for every ones safety and then they are intensively socialized together with the help of a trainer and their owners. These classes help the re-socialization process go faster and the other owners are also very understanding since they too are there to learn with their dog. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Henry
Labradoodle
8 Years
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Henry
Labradoodle
8 Years

My dog has always been a really friendly, happy and playful dog. As he has gotten older he has calmed down a lot but still (even at the age of 8) he was usually very much willing to play with any other dog. However recently within the past couple of months or so, he has begun barking and growling at other dogs. And the main problem with this is that he is very large - about table height so fellow dog walkers get very distressed by his behaviour, understandably. Please help Henry and I, it feels odd now walking him because it does not feel like him!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
308 Dog owners recommended

Hello Fleur, Was he attacked by another dog or had a traumatic of scary experience involving another dog? When he barks does he seem frustrated that the other dogs won't come over to say hi, or like he would attack them if off leash? If he seems truly aggressive toward the other dogs, this is completely recent behavior for him, and he did not have any new or scary experiences with other dogs that could have triggered this, I suggest speaking with your vet to make sure there is not a cognitive, hormone, vision, hearing, or pain issue going on, making him feel more anxious or aggressive toward other dogs. If he was attacked then he needs his confidence around other dogs built up again by practicing obedience with other dogs in the background at a distance he can handle and rewarding him for ignoring the other dogs, being calm around them, and focusing on you, then gradually decreasing the distance between him and other dogs that you practice at as he improves, until he can handle being close to other dogs again. If his issue is more severe, then you will need the help of a professional trainer who is experienced with aggression and trauma to help you counter condition him to other dogs, probably with the help of a training facility where you can take him for sessions around lots of other dogs there and control the distance of the other dogs better. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Trooper
Heinz 57
4 Years
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Trooper
Heinz 57
4 Years

I adopted my dog through a rescue group and he had been living with a foster for about 3 months prior to me adopting him. His foster had dogs of her own, and assured me that he got along great with the other dogs in the home, and never had any behavioral issues. I've now had him for about a month, and he had been relatively shy with both humans and dogs, and gradually started coming out of his shell. He never had any behavioral issues inside the apartment, so I didn't do very much training in the first few weeks (in hindsight I realize I should have done more). He's always friendly towards humans, but has recently started growling while passing other dogs that try to say hello on walks. I've scheduled an appointment with a trainer in a few weeks, but do you have any tips for what to do in the meantime?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
308 Dog owners recommended

Hello Amy, It is possible that the other dogs are actually the issue if all he does is growl and not attack. If the other dogs are dogs who are pulling their owners over to him, trying to jump on him or get in his face and sizing him up - they are actually not obeying doggie etiquette and in the world of dogs are being very rude. He might simply be telling them to give him space. If that is the case, I suggest learning about doggie body language so that you can recognize such dogs and telling those owners that your dog is "in training" or something similar, and cannot meet. Advocate for your dog so that they do not feel like they have to defend themselves against pushy dogs, and work on rewarding him for tolerance around dogs you know where you can control the situation. If the other dogs are being polite, he is reacting to dogs that he passes that are not paying attention to him, or he tries to lunge toward or act aggressively toward other dogs in other ways, then that is different and a bigger issue. For the rude/pushy dogs situation, reward him for tolerance, teach him to "Say Hi" and reward him after saying hi when he needs to meet another dog. Keep interactions with other dogs no longer than three seconds to decrease fights having a chance to start. You will need a friend's dog to practice tolerance with. Simply start by rewarding him for being near your friend's leashed dog, then reward him for briefly saying hi to the other dog when he is completely alright being near the dog. While practicing have him initiate the say hi and not he other dog rush him. Do not do this without safety measures like a measure if you do have reason to believe he is aggressive and not simply growling to avoid being rushed by a pushy dog - but has never shown any other form of aggression or followed through. If he is aggressive and has issues with other dogs when they are not being rude or reacts to dogs strongly if they do get close, then I suggest a respect protocol for leash reactivity. Check out the video linked below on leash reactivity. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXLPwyKEjHI Hiring a trainer who is very experienced with aggression and leash reactivity is a great idea, because in this case it is hard to say exactly what is going on without being there to see how he reacts and what is going on. Without knowing what is going on I cannot recommend either training protocol confidently. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Juno
Chihuahua
2 Years
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Juno
Chihuahua
2 Years

My dog Juno is fairly new in the house, only been here for about 3 or 4 weeks. He has adjusted very well - eating, going outside, knows general rules. The only issue is that whenever my other dog Nick gets too close or comes into my room where Juno 'lives' (we keep him in my room because he barks at any and all outside noise, as well as this issue) Juno barks and snaps seemingly aggressively at Nick. He doesn't seem to actually bite him, and Nick doesn't growl or snap back. Nick is a bigger dog, a border-collie/blue heeler mix that is very friendly and has been with us for many years. They are fine when they go into the backyard together, no growling or bad behavior. I assume this is a territorial thing, and i've tried disciplining Juno, but it doesn't seem to be working. Please let me know what I can do.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
308 Dog owners recommended

Hello Rubi, It does sound like Juno might be possessive of you and the area. If so, he needs to work on his respect for you so that nothing is his to claim and you are making and enforcing rules for dogs, and not him. Check out the article linked below. You can incorporate all of the methods if you want, but at least forcus on the "Working" method with him. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Also, I suggest teaching him the following commands and incorporating those into the day with him, especially when your other dog is around. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Teach "Leave It" from the Leave It method from this article: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite When Juno starts acting aggressively toward Nick, make Juno leave the area. Tell him "Ah Ah", "Out", and then walk toward him until he backs out of the area he is guarding. If he is being possessive of you, walk toward him and walk him out of the area you are spending time in. Once he is out of the area, stand firm to block him from coming back, then go back to where you were before. If he comes back without being invited, quickly walk him back out of the area again. Repeat this until he will stay several feet away - out of the area you told him to leave. When you are ready for him to come back, tell him "Okay!", encourage him back over if he wants to come, then have him do a command like sit before petting or paying attention to him again - Only practice the walking toward him if he hasn't shown any aggression toward you. If he does show aggression toward you, hire a trainer to help you with this part to avoid being bitten. If he guards the furniture, work on teaching him the Off command and do not allow him on the furniture right now. I also suggest feeding him in a crate with the door closed when the dogs are together to avoid food guarding and fights too. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Honeydew
Chihuahua/Terrier
1 Year
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Honeydew
Chihuahua/Terrier
1 Year

Hi there!

I've been fostering Honeydew for about a month and this week I will be taking her to meet a potential adopter. She is a sweetheart with every person she meets, very curious and trusting. Around other dogs, however, the same cannot be said. The potential adopter has another dog, and I'm extremely nervous about how that meeting is going to go. When Honeydew first came home, she was extremely timid and had a couple of mild interactions with other dogs during walks, but often would let out a little growl, at which point I would just scoop her up (she weighs 10lbs) and walk away. As she became more comfortable with me, she became more reactive towards other dogs, growling and even barking at everyone. When I got her, she was in heat, which I think contributed to the dramatic shift towards reactivity/aggression. Two weeks ago she was spayed and while things have calmed down a bit, the growling and some barking still happens. Over the weeks, she's gotten much better at walking on the leash it's become easier to avoid other dogs. When we do cross paths, I would say about a third of the time I can get her to walk past another dog without making a sound, or I can distract her with a sit command and some cuddles. When she does growl I pretty much always just pick her up to cut it short.
What can I do to help the meeting with the potential adopter go as smoothly as possible?

Thank you so much for your help!
-First Time Foster

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
308 Dog owners recommended

Hello Rachel, If she is leash reactive then the aggression might be related to her being on leash near you. If she is aggressive even when not on leash that is something more serious that is more likely to effect her living with another dog. I suggest introducing the dogs by walking them together across the street in the same direction, then gradually decreasing the distance between them as they relax around one another. This walk should be structured with the dogs heeling and being calmly rewarded for focusing on you instead of each other. Once the dogs are walking on the same sidewalk together and relaxed, you can let them sniff noses briefly while their leashes are slack, then give them something else to focus on, like moving again. The goal here should be for the dogs to be calm around each other and not to be best friends that play. The later is something that might happen eventually but do not expect or push that now. Check out the "Walk Together" method from the article linked below for more details on how to do a parallel walk with the dogs. https://wagwalking.com/training/greet-other-dogs Be honest with the potential adopters. Even if things look good during the introduction, the dogs will require work together and a lot of separation and supervision until both dogs are completely at ease with each other. Without that, a fight may occur which will only make things worse. Do not pick her up when she growls around other dogs between now and then also. She should be gently corrected in that instant, rewarded when she is calm around other dogs (especially before she has had the chance to act aggressive and still looks relaxed while the dog is far away), and given something else to focus on around other dogs, like working on obedience like heel with lots of turns and stops and treats, to get her attention back on you. Working on her obedience during walks like you have been doing is great. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Nickel
Aussie Heeler Mix
1 Year
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Nickel
Aussie Heeler Mix
1 Year

I have two dogs, both aussie/ heeler mixes. One, I have had since she was 4 months old. I took her to the dog park often as a puppy and it really helped her to this day. I walk my two dogs in the forest often and off leash. My female either will kindly approach another dog and sniff and wag or completely avoid a dog she has no interest in. My male on the other hand, lunges and barks at other dogs in the forest. I adopted him when he was almost a year old in October. I have taken him to the dog park twice and he seems to do well there and not bark/ lunge. He is a little invasive when playing but he does very well otherwise. I am not sure why, though, in the forest, he insists on lunging at other dogs. I have tried to get him to sit off trail with me and my female dog when a stranger and their dog passes and distract him with a treat. This works well, but when I do not have a treat he will resort to his usual behavior. I would like to be able to have him address dogs like my female dog and not carry treats on our runs, but he does not seem to take after her actions. I was thinking of taking him and just him on a walk past the local dog park to practice walking past dogs. Do you think this is a good plan?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
308 Dog owners recommended

Hello Laney, Done correctly practicing heel and obedience past other dogs can be great, but only if the other dogs are contained with a fence or leash so that you will not risk having strange dogs approach your reactive dog all the way. If the dog park dogs are inside of a fence, then practicing structured obedience outside of the fence with the other dogs in the background can be good. Avoid going inside the fence to play with the other dogs at this point though. The unstructured, unpredictability of dog parks can make reactive dogs worse. Work on heel especially while around other dogs. You want to incorporate a lot of turns, ensure that he is following right next to you or behind, and not in front - him being behind you puts him in a different mental posture than him being in the front so this can be important for aggression. Check out the turns method from the article linked below. You want to work him hard enough with pace and direction changes that he has to stay focused on you to keep up. When he starts to pull ahead, as soon as his face begins to move past your leg, turn 90 degrees in front of him - if you wait too long you will not be able to turn in front of him. If you are worried about being bitten when he sees other dogs, do not do this - consult a professional trainer to help you and look for a G.R.O.W.L. class to attend. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel When he can ignore the dogs while heeling and practicing commands like sit, down, watch me, and stay, then use a long leash to work on his heel, come, distance stay, and other commands where you are not as close to him but he still has to listen to you. Do this in a spot where other dogs will not be likely to walk by. Also, look online and see if your city has a G.R.O.W.L. class anywhere nearby. In these types of classes a bunch of reactive or aggressive dogs are all socialized together and practice obedience while they wear basket muzzles for every ones safety. These classes can be a quicker way to work through reactivity (which is more what it sounds like he has) an aggression. He also needs to practice obedience on a long leash with other dogs in the distance to increase your level of off leash control around other dogs though. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Charlie
Labrador Retriever
3 Years
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Charlie
Labrador Retriever
3 Years

Hello, my husband and I recently adopted a 3 year old chocolate lab a little over a month ago. She was very anxious at her new home for the first few days. We have 2 small dogs inside & when we initially tried to introduce them Charlie was growling at our smallest dog as she likes to sniff dogs faces. She snarled & showed her teeth. We have had her in our garage & recently got her spayed. We tried to introduce them again on a walk and for the most part they were all wagging their tails, once again Charlie did a small growl at our smallest dog (Molly) as Molly was sniffing her face. Is this something to be concerned about? I am concerned for her safety and would hate for Charlie to bite her. How can we train her to not growl at our small dogs or potentially become aggressive towards them? Other than this situation she has been a great dog, very mellow & sweet, always wanting to please.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
308 Dog owners recommended

Hello Alicia, Whether you should be concerns partially depends on what her body language was like while growling. Many puppies growl during times of excitement and arousal. It is very possible that the growl was her way of expressing pent up excitement and a desire to play, but that she hasn't learned the correct canine social manners to initiate a play with a play bow instead. This is similar to a dog barking in another dog's face or humping them to try to get the other dog to chase them and play. It's a sort of nervous and excited behavior. That's not to say your other dog appreciated it though. If it was a harmless growl your other dog might have interpreted it as threatening. You would have to watch your other dog's body language to see if they stayed relaxed, acted more submissive, or acted more aggressive in response to the growl. If they stayed relaxed or got playful, they probably understood that the puppy wanted to play. IF the growl was not playful, this is something that needs to be addressed. It either means she needs a lot of socialization around other dogs and there is a degree of fearfulness, or she is a pushy and dominant pup potentially. If pushy, I suggest working with a trainer now to establish structure and rules to prevent future issues from ever cropping up. Ideally, you would have a very experienced trainer evaluate the two dogs together in a similar situation again, and if the trainer is in agreement, also enroll her in a puppy class that has time for off leash puppy play each week. This play time should be a time where the trainer and owners moderate the puppies to keep them from getting too rough or frightened. The exposure when done right can help puppies who bully learn to be gentler and frightened puppies gain confidence. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Gus
Yorkipoo
2 Years
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Gus
Yorkipoo
2 Years

Hi there! Ok so Gus used to do so well with other dogs, as we started him in training as a puppy. Then one day we were outside in our front yard and our across the street neighbors who have 2 German shepherds opened their front door and even though they claim to be dog trainers the German shepherds ignored commands and ran across the street surrounding my yorkipoo Gus. I probably didn’t help the situation by semi panicking and picking Gus up but I was afraid even though they weren’t showing aggression he might get stepped on or hurt. So of course now he reacts whenever he sees another dog, growling excessively. We recently moved and there are multiple dogs in the neighborhood, one being right next door. We have been trying to help him, getting him back into training. Of course he does ok in class. But as soon as we get home and see a dog it’s back to square one. I’m not sure what to do I feel so bad for him because it makes him seem “bad” and “aggressive” and he’s such a good and sweet pup. Help would be appreciated!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
308 Dog owners recommended

Hello Courtney, I suggest finding a trainer who has access to a number of well trained, calm dogs of various sizes and breeds, who can come to your neighborhood and pretend to be a stranger walking there dog. Read references and reviews and make sure the person is experienced with fear, aggression, and reactivity. Check out the article linked below. I suggest practicing the "Passing Approach" method first, then as he improves, use the "Walking Together" method. If you are worried about safety, then have him and the other dog wear basket muzzles at first until you feel confident he will do well. Practice with the same dog until he is comfortable with her, then have the trainer bring a new dog, or even have a different trainer from the same training facility bring a different dog so that the walker couple is completely new. You want to convince him that other dogs are normally fine by providing enough calm, positive, structured encounters with other dogs that they become boring again. Interrupt him with a correction as soon as he starts to react poorly toward the other dog, and reward calmly when he is tolerant of the other dog passing or walking parallel nearby. Only decrease the distance between the dogs when he is acting calm at the current distance (this often takes a lot of passes and walking parallel before the other dog gets boring enough for them to calm down completely). Expect it to take several sessions for him to be relaxed enough around one dog to be able to move onto the next dog. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Meeme
French Bulldog
6 Months
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Meeme
French Bulldog
6 Months

Cries and then barks at other dogs on a walk

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
308 Dog owners recommended

Hello Lottie, I suggest joining an obedience or puppy class with her and working on focus on you, heel around distractions, and socialization around other dogs in a calm way in and out of class. The whining and barking sounds like a lack of socialization and also just a need to practice focus on you around others. Reward her when she looks at another dog and stays quiet or looks back at you instead of focusing on them. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Laika
Lab x Kelpie
15 Months
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Laika
Lab x Kelpie
15 Months

My 15 months old Lab x kelpie growls at smaller dogs on walks and at bigger dogs on a walk and dogs she knows. Also, she has started to growl at my 11 years old dog who she attacked last week. My 11 years old dog will sniff her bum or stomach and she will growl.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
308 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ella, I suggest working on respect and calmness to begin with.. Check out Jeff Gellman from SolidK9Training. Have Laika work for everything in life right now - food, walks, toys, ect...Command her to do a command that she knows, like Down, before you give her anything she wants. Follow the Working method from the article linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Teach an Out command which means leave the area and attach a chew proof drag leash to her while you are home so that you can enforce your command, or use a basket muzzle. When you tell her Out whenever she is being pushy or aggressive you need to be able to enforce it without being bitten. Take precautions to avoid being bitten, not only for your safety (which is reason enough!) but because every time she uses aggression then gets what she wants she is essentially rewarded and the bad behavior continues. Out command how to: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Chew proof leash option: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004HIM4RI/ref=twister_B0058G36O8?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1 Also, work on commands that build respect and improve self-control. When you walk her she absolutely should be right beside your leg or a little behind and not in front AT ALL, even if that means walking her in a cul-de-sac or your yard using the "Turns" method from the article linked below for a while. A walk has a big impact on how a dog views themselves and others and she needs to be following you and not in front looking for dogs to react towards. Whenever she tries to move in front of you, turn directly in front of her at a ninety degree angle. You will need to do this as soon as her head starts to move past your leg - if you wait until she is too far out it will be hard to do. When she is walking she should be a bit behind you so that she is looking at you and not scanning the horizon for dogs. Also, work on the following commands to improve her impulse control, calmness, respect and trust for you - so that she will take directions from you on a walk and let you handle encounters with other dogs more. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Finally, I suggest looking for a trainer in your area who is experienced with aggression. Read reviews and ask questions because many trainers are not experienced with aggression or are only experienced with fear-aggression, which is probably not the only thing happening here. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Coco
Kelpie X
1 Year
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Coco
Kelpie X
1 Year

Hello my dog coco was well socialised and very playful with other dogs as a puppy. At about 6 months of age she discovered ball retrieving and is obsessed with it. She’s now 1 years old and has began to snap at other dogs who come up to her in the park while she’s playing ball. Both when she’s running for the ball or has it in
her mouth.
When the ball throwing stops she’s ok socialising again.
Any tips for this behaviour problem?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
308 Dog owners recommended

Hello Serena, If you are playing ball in a dog park, stop. Most dog parks have rules against bringing outside food or toys in because it is known to cause fights and lead to resource guarding. At a normal park, if other dogs are simply off leash and running up to her while you are there, then teach her a stop command that means the game is paused, and stop the game whenever another dog approaches. Put the ball away during this time until the other dog is gone. Practice this with friends and their dogs and pair the presence of other dogs with something else that she loves - like certain types of food, and have her only get that wonderful thing when she is told to "Stop" or "Pause" or "Say Hi" and the other dog appears. You want her stop command to prepare her to shift to doing something else and to make that something else something that she expects to be pleasant and not stressful - which is why you want to pair the change with something rewarding. She will need to practice being able to shift from a high intensity ball mode to a lower key play mode though - this can be hard for driven dogs and needs to be practiced over and over on a long leash with friend's before doing it around unknown dogs. You want to decrease the stress of other dogs appearing and help her learn to make the shift from high intensity to lower intensity quicker. It's important to have a calmer reward for this, so that she enjoys the "red light, green light" type training and doesn't simply feel like you are taking the ball away for no good reason. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Hemingway
labrador chow
2 Years
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Hemingway
labrador chow
2 Years

My dog is a young rescue. He loves to play with other dogs so much that one of the foster's condition for me adopting him was that he have a space to play with other dogs. However, whenever I bring him to the dog-run, he gets super excited but then starts growling menacingly at the other dogs that come to greet him. Sometimes I can get him to stop and then enter the park and he plays for hours and is fine. Sometimes, we have to just leave.

Additionally, while my dog is playing with other dogs, if the playing gets too rough, he starts growling again and becomes aggressive. At that point, I completely lose control of him and have to drag him away in a frantic way.

I just adopted him a week ago and he was neutered about 6 weeks ago. I am thinking these two things definitely play a part, but I just have no idea what to do. The absolute last thing I want to do is keep him from the dog park, as it is clear once he calms down that it is his favorite place to be.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
308 Dog owners recommended

Hello Meghan, It sounds like he is getting too aroused. Honestly, what he needs is to be a part of something more structured with other dogs for a while until he gets used to being calmer around other dogs so that the park is less stimulating for him. I suggest checking to see if meetup.com or a local dog club or training group hosts any dog walking groups or dog hiking groups. Practicing a structured heel where he walks slightly behind you and focuses on you while in a group of other dogs can satisfy social needs but do it in a calm way that is challenging him mentally too by requiring him to stay focused on you and calm. It can also giving him a sense of purpose traveling with the other dogs. A calm and purposeful activity with other dogs instead of an unstructured, highly arousing activity can create a calmer mindset in him when he is around other dogs in general after a while. If you cannot find a walking group or create one with neighbors or friends, then doing a group obedience class with lots of other dogs is the next best thing. The issue is him becoming internally over-arousal, so excited play will only make that worse. What he needs is calm activities for a while and a break from the dog park while he practices those calm things, then he may be able to go back to the dog park once he has learned to enjoy interacting with other dogs more calmly. Although over arousal can start as fun, once it gets too heightened it leads to fights, which then creates fear-aggression which means no more playing period. Simply keeping him away from the dog park without doing something else that is calmer and structured with other dogs will likely not help on its own though - he specifically needs to practice being around other dogs in a calmer way while taking a break from the highly arousing things. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Bella
German Shorthaired Pointer
2 Years
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Bella
German Shorthaired Pointer
2 Years

My dog Bella is friendly to other dogs at the dog park but when we are on a walk and meats a new dog then she growls and snarls when we go up to meat then am and her hackles come up how do I stop this behavior and have her meat dog and be friendly

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
308 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ashley, When she meets other dogs on leash she is in a vulnerable position. Many dogs are reactive on leash even though they are fine off leash. The leash keeps the dog from being able to move around freely, it prohibits some normal canine interaction - like sniffing bottoms instead of just heads, and it's very direct-face-to-face interaction opposed to a more relaxed introduction. Greeting other dogs on leash too often actually can make leash reactivity worse for some dogs when no done right. Dogs do not all need to meet each other. It can cause issues for some. Instead, focus on going on heeling walks with other dogs, introducing them using the passing approach and walking together methods from the articles linked below: https://wagwalking.com/training/greet-other-dogs Also work on generally teaching calmness around other dogs while in the same area like a class or park, and when introductions do need to happen teach a "Say Hi" command, reward your dog dog when they obey the Say Hi command, keep the greeting to only three seconds, then give another command such as "Let's Go" and move on, giving a treat when your dog does well and follows you away. The longer you stay, the more time dogs have to get past the initial meeting and move onto being competitive and defensive. You want to keep introductions short and pleasant and avoid dogs that are rude toward your dog and rush them. The goal is to create a calm/relaxed/focused on you state of mind around other dogs while on leash. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Bella
German Shorthaired Pointer
2 Years
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Bella
German Shorthaired Pointer
2 Years

Hi my name is Ashley my dog has been growling at some dogs on walks when we go up to meat dog her hackles come up and she snarled and growls. But at the dog parks she is fine and nice. How can I fix this?

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Training Success Stories

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Brody
Labrador Retriever
2 Years

I feel for you...we had problems with our dog also. He used to hate other dogs. Both my husband and I work a lot and had no time to take our Bud to dog training classes. We asked one friend who works in foster care (he is always surrounded by dogs) what we should do. He recommended one online dog behavior trainer. I love this trainer https://bit.ly/2NW0msw It helped us a lot, and I strongly recommend it for you.

9 months ago
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