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Agressive behavior toward other dogs


KateBC
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Our 5 1/2 year old border collie has recently (last week) started to display intense growling, snarling, snapping behavior towards other dogs when walking on leash at the park. We normally walk 3 miles every day and many of the dogs we meet and greet are regulars and they normally greet each other like old friends. Occasionally we go into the dog park after our walk, but Kate has very little interest in interacting with the other dogs (except for the 2 border collies that sometimes come to the park)- she is mostly interested in finding someone to throw the ball for her till she drops (another issue - people don't seem to understand there is a limit) so we don't stay long. Our routine was interrupted in July when I fell at the park and shattered my ankle. After 3 months of Kate not walking (except in the neighborhood with my husband) and interacting with other dogs, we are now back to the park to our routine (we have been back for 3 weeks), slowly building distance. Kate is an intense, people friendly, happy, somewhat goofy dog (blond jokes frequently come to mind), and we are bewildered and baffled by this new behavior and are not sure how to handle it or even why it started in the first place. Any thoughts or ideas as to how to handle this would be greatly appreciated.

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Hmm... interesting!

 

I am wondering if Katie is completely blaming the other dogs at the park for the obvious trauma and pain (and disruption in her life) of your ankle-break!

 

Years ago, Buddy got "into it" with another dog, and I ended up getting 3 stitches. (Not sure if a tooth got me, or if I caught my hand on the collar, which pulled off in the altercation.) Buddy was clearly aware of the blood and my shakiness after the incident. And the dog involved is one of the very few dogs that Buddy hates with a burning passion: if he smells him coming from up the street, he'll get all tense and reactive.

 

I would search for "desensitization" in the forum. A lot of us have worked on desensitizing our dogs to triggers. For my boy, it essentially meant only exposing him to the triggers from a safe distance, and gradually shortening the distance until he could be calm up close. But it also means not letting him out in a gang of unleashed playing dogs, which he hates. (I don't see the point of training him to stand stoically in a situation that he's not interested in.)

 

Good luck!

 

Mary

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Thank you Mary, I appreciate your response. I couldn't remember the topic (desensitization) in the forum that addressed this issue until you replied. Still haven't figured out why this behavior has just come out of the blue, but hopefully we can get it nipped in the bud. Thanks again.

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you could try a training class, even if he is already trained. i used the begining classes more for social skills than anything else. my bc suddenly got aggressive to dogs with a black mask across their faces (ie: german shepards) and he even tried to go after a huge great dane. we were able to fix his problem with some time with the trainer, and it did involve bringing in the dogs he was scared of and/or reacting to.

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