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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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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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.
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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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
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 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?
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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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?
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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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.
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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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.
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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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.
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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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?
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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