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Hello, Apollo is two years and four months old and is an almost perfect dog. He almost always does well at the dog park, even when faced with an agressive dog he does not react and just avoids. Recently during walks on leash, when a dog acts aggressively towards apollo he reacts with barking and growling. It has only happened twice but his behaviour is quite scary. I believe that it has something to do with the fact that both dogs are on leashes because he does not respond the same way off leash. He is also not neutered so he is used to dogs getting aggressive after first sniff. But he has never reacted till now. Should we have him neutered? We have thought about it but have not decided. Any advice as to training or books. I would appreciate any knowledge or insight

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First stay out of the dog park. For many dogs this is a place where they are allowed to run berzerkers and it is easy for a well trained dog to pick up all sorts of back habits. I am actually rather surprised that your dog park allows intact male dogs to enter. I don't particularly think there is much reason to think that neutering Apollo will change this behavior and I don't think there are clear medical benefits to neutering males. Our male dogs are intact.


The behavior on leash is most likely fear aggression. You can train on this behavior issue using counter conditioning and Look at That training.
 

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To follow up what Catherine said, when your dog shows aggression, who starts it? Is your dog OK with neutral dogs? If your dog is ok with most dogs, and this only happens when another dog gets too riled up, that's a completely different situation.

It's an old article, but worth reading and re-reading. https://suzanneclothier.com/article/just-wants-say-hi/

Just something to consider.
 

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I don't let my dogs interact with other dogs when they're on leash. We pass with plenty of distance or cross the street.

As for the neutering issue, I can only say with my experience neutering made Frosty a less aggressive dog toward other males. He still gets pissy with certain male dogs since he was neutered at over a year old when the hormones had already kicked in, but to a much lesser degree than when he was intact.
 

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To follow up what Catherine said, when your dog shows aggression, who starts it? Is your dog OK with neutral dogs? If your dog is ok with most dogs, and this only happens when another dog gets too riled up, that's a completely different situation.

It's an old article, but worth reading and re-reading. https://suzanneclothier.com/article/just-wants-say-hi/

Just something to consider.
Thank you the article did help.

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Sometimes we blame our dogs for being "reactive" or "aggressive" when they are actually just saying, "Quit being a jerk!"

I'm also with MazieFrosty. Noelle never says hi to other dogs on leash. We just keep on moving.
 

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First stay out of the dog park. For many dogs this is a place where they are allowed to run berzerkers and it is easy for a well trained dog to pick up all sorts of back habits. I am actually rather surprised that your dog park allows intact male dogs to enter. I don't particularly think there is much reason to think that neutering Apollo will change this behavior and I don't think there are clear medical benefits to neutering males. Our male dogs are intact.


The behavior on leash is most likely fear aggression. You can train on this behavior issue using counter conditioning and Look at That training.
It's true that dogs pick up on other dogs behaviour but since I only have one dog I feel bad only allowing him interactions with some of the neighbourhood dogs. And all the dog parks I have been to in Toronto allow dogs who are not neutered. Thanks for your response I am going to try avoiding unfamiliar dog in the neighbourhood.

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Your dog's behavior was completely normal imo and called for. Your dog was being intimidated by rude dogs and reacted defensively. Who wouldn't? Neutering has nothing to do with this particular scenario's behavior. I would expect any dog to react similarly under the circumstances.

I do let my dogs interact with other dogs when on a leash but ONLY when I can see that they are displaying calm and happy behavior. I watch their body language and facial expressions very carefully and keep the leash loose. I like my dogs to practice greeting other dogs in many different scenarios, learn how to give proper signals and to interpret them from other dogs whether on a leash, off a leash, on a walk etc. They can also learn that they don't get to meet and greet any or every time they choose but when I choose. And I'm not a fan of dog parks generally...don't like a whole bunch of random dogs all at once. I think it's safest to have arranged gatherings. But if you're uncomfortable letting your dog meet up with another on a leash, then avoid that by all means.

This video shows an example where the other dog is not acting aggressive persay, but his overly exuberant behavior and his disregard for the other's signals is being interpreted as very intimidating, intrusively aggressive. (unsurprisingly, a Golden r.) lol.

Please see this video.
 

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That is a great little video talk on how to train on these issues. I hope she has tons of views. Thanks for posting that link PBG.



Also really as an aside I don't like the title of this thread (no insult intended OP), but none of this is really about Apollo fighting. It is about him getting mixed signals in some situations and not having the tools to cope effectively.
 

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Click, that’s a really good article, so is poodlebeguiled’s kikopups video.
 
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Oh, I hadn't seen that video before. I love Kikopup. Same concept as the article I posted. It's not always your dog causing the problem. I have a neighbor across the street who has a dog that frequently charges other dogs in the same way the golden did in the video. He runs right up to other dogs and then just gets hyper and bouncy. His owners have no idea that their dog is being rude. They think their dog is super friendly. He's friendly like groping on the subway is friendly! But, they don't see it. What they see is their lovable goofball running up to dogs who freak out for no reason. The dogs who freak out have the problem. Their dog is fine.

Drives me crazy. It's why I don't walk Noelle in my neighborhood.
 

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This video shows an example where the other dog is not acting aggressive persay, but his overly exuberant behavior and his disregard for the other's signals is being interpreted as very intimidating, intrusively aggressive. (unsurprisingly, a Golden r.) lol.

Please see this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PoWE-xl0rnY&feature=em-uploademail
Thanks! My intact male reacts to some dogs, but not all. One of the GRs (neutered male) at Tuesday night agility always sets him off. Yet the rambunctious female GR is just fine. I wish that I were better at recognizing the unwelcome behavior in other dogs.
 

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My Doberman despised golden retrievers. He reacted to a lot of larger dogs but there was a clear recognition of goldens and a distinction between his reaction to them and other dogs. I never noticed such a recognition in any previous dogs I had. Little toy breed dogs he adored and knew how to be careful and gentle when he'd play with them, never stepping on them or bumping into them...maybe from growing up with Chihuahuas. He had a few best friends. Dachshunds (3 of them from one family) and 2 that he met where I use to live. And a poodle/bichon mix...his girl friend. haha. It was so cute to watch them play on the beach where the girl lived.

It's interesting how often we can observe our own dogs and their opinions of other dogs. My poodles, for instance don't mind the terribly friendly golden retriever who lives across the street. They think he's just awesome even though he's a little scary and not careful enough, though he's a little careful and learning. I have to really watch out for them and actually pick up Maurice at times. Matisse can run circles around him though. (literally) That fella is still young at 2 yrs old. But my poodles aren't put off by him at all.
 

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Thank you, the video was great. I never would have assumed that those types of dogs could be a problem. Apollo does not mind dogs who run at him or approach first though. Though it is something I will look out for. I believe the reason I was confused about his recent interactions was because normally he is very submissive to dominant and aggressive dogs. But I have come to realize that maybe I have confused his submissive behaviour for good behaviour and he was probably just scared. I believe it is because he is growing up, that now he Has more confidence to react. And from now on I will be weary of this types of dogs. Thank you for your insight.

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