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  1. We adopted Bear when he was about 9 weeks old. He is a BC/Lab mix. We've never owned either of the breeds before. We have a beagle who is a few years older than Bear who we also raised and trained from puppy hood. Both are hobby agility dogs (meaning we show fewer than 6 times per year and train with a club weekly for fun's sake). Bear was not very good with new situations when he was a puppy, probably due to being taken to the vet so much due to an eye issue. He would throw up in the car due to anxiety every time we went anywhere. We still made him go places though, poor guy, and gave him a lot of positive reinforcement. He loves the car now as he knows it means we are going somewhere fun! When we first started going to the dog park, we took him to the small dog park and he seemed to have a great time romping around. We went 5 or 6 times and he was always relaxed. So we took him to the big dog park which is connected to the small dog park and completely in view. He ran screaming when the dogs came up to him. We didn't think much about it as the same thing happened to our beagle but she quickly got over it. Long story short, Bear was always uptight when we would go to the park. I thought he was just excited. He was submissive to dogs who paid attention to him but he never played. Eventually, however, he would start lick-attacking dogs that came too close to me. We worked on this by me holding on to his collar and saying ah-ah if he lunged and then saying yes (mark word) when he sat down and looked calmer. Eventually he ignored dogs that came near me and we were good...or so I thought. We rescued a 6-month old Great Dane/hound/lab pup, Happy, from the road in July. Bear let him know that Bear was allowed access to the porch when Happy became possessive the second day. They have been great friends since, constantly wrestling and tugging. Bear frequently flops on his back in front of the pup when they are playing. The pup was attacked by a dog a few weeks after we got him. We were desperate and let Bear and the beagle play distraction as the dog, who had slipped out of her collar, refused to get off the pup. Bear has again begun to lunge and snap at dogs who get too close to me when he is in his crazy state which is caused either by agility happening nearby or water being nearby or balls being thrown nearby. This almost always happens when he is on his leash. However, we went to one of our fairly regular dog parks recently. Bear and Happy had a stand off with two other dogs just a few moments after entering the park. I attempted to diffuse this by running off and singsoning, "Let's go, puppies!" Both followed me as well as one of the stand off dogs, whom my dogs promptly ignored. About half an hour later, a small dog decided to get snippy with my pup who responded by barking loudly at it, which set Bear off. He came zooming in from behind and growled and snapped at the little dog. the little dog drakes out and ran back to the bench its master was sitting on. My dogs followed the little dog and I immediately walked in the opposite direction and called them. They came to me and we put some distance between us. They calmed down and when the pup walked near the little dog later, he seemed calm but wary. Bear ignored the dog in favor of playing fetch with a little boy. Yesterday, I purchased new dog food. Bear joined his beagle sister in raw feeding a week ago. He growled at the pup for being near the food bin and then attacked him when he got too close to me on my chair. I grabbed him, gave him a firm no, and then rolled him on his back. Positive reinforcement when he calmed down. I have no idea if this was right but it was all instinct. I have little experience with aggressive dogs. He didn't break skin on the pup, but the rest of the day was pretty miserable with the pup being submissive and Bear doing a lot of posturing. Bear gets a lot of exercise as we have a fenced in back yard and 10 acres behind that. Also, he and the pup wrestle for hours. We do some sort of training about 15 minutes a day with each dog. Lastly, I have been doing some research and noticed there are stages of aggression, the first being growling. Bear has never growled before lunging. What am I doing wrong and how can I fix it? Did I break Bear when he was puppy? Is that why he plays like a maniac at home but won't play at the dog park? I know he has gone through a lot of changes recently, but I want to make sure he is successful, even if this is just a phase. Also, I have been researching calming methods, but wanted to get some direct recommendations from experienced BC handlers, particularly those who do agility or dock jumping or have ball obsessed dogs. I apologize for the long post, but I wanted to be as detailed as possible. Thank you, Julie
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