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Ball aggression in public

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I adopted Orbit at 3 months from a shelter and have socialized him extensively from the get go. Initially i was concerned that he was a little too aggressive because he played so rough (even at three months with much bigger dogs). But now, i do not think that he is aggressive or dominant in general, he is simply not gentle. With training, he now calls off when playing too rough with a dog that can't take it or doesn't want to play that way. All in all, i can take him pretty much anywhere (and i live in the city so there are dogs everywhere at those few places where they are allowed) and there are no problems.


Except sometimes when we are playing with a ball. The scene plays out like this. I chuck the ball, Orbit runs and gets it, brings it back and lies down with the ball in between his legs. All is good and we do it again, unless another dog happens to want to check out his ball, or him or sometimes just happens to be walking/running by too closely. Orbit lunges and growls so quickly and without warning that the other dog nearly drops dead from a heart attack. It all ends in about a second, unless the other dog takes offence and then there is a snarling, growling mess. No one has ever been hurt and many people have told me that he is simply a young male dog (14 months old) flexing his muscles. I am not very keen on this behaviour but have no idea what to do.


Any suggestions?

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You've described almost exactly the type of behavior I see with my 2 1/2 year old bc. I actually came to the forums to find answers/opinions as well so I'll be following to see what kind you get.


I've been told by people not in the forums the following:


A) Take the ball away (doesn't work, he'll attack any dog that comes near me since I have the ball)


B ) Watch for signs and stop him before he escalates. Like you mentioned, the change is immediate - and at times he appears to 'tempt' other dogs in play and then turns on them when they come for the ball.


My solution has been to avoid bringing toys or throwing sticks when others are around and telling him to 'leave it' when others are playing. I'd love to know if there is a way for him to play and be nice too.

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