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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Beau behaved in what I would call an aggressive way toward our neighbors (sweet friendly) dog this afternoon. I am so upset. Beau played with Sam when Beau was younger, and have since had nose sniffies through the metal gate. Beau will often bark at him and pounce toward him but then he typically will whine because he wants to play. The neighbor doesn't usually let Sam play anymore because she doesn't really trust him (he's never been off of their property or around other dogs). Today, we bared teeth and growled and snarled at Sam through the gate. I was in shock, and picked up Beau and took him away.

Beau will be 2 in Oct, Sam is an English sheepdog, about 9. I've never seen Sam be aggressive, he's much friendlier with people than Beau is. Beau was the initiator today and Sam responded with equal snarls. I wish I would have had Beau on a leash, he doesn't pay much attention to other dogs on our walks, and I've never seen him snarl like that. He also hasn't had many doggie friends over the last 5 months, just haven't had any opportunities. Beau can be "reactive", when I read PtP's posts sometimes I think of Beau, he can be very worried about noises or people outside, or when he is startled, and he will let out a bark or a few. I've been working on some of that, but it never seemed too bad.

I'm sending a note to my trainer right after this, we see her tomorrow morning so I'll see what she says. I really hope this is a 'one off' thing. :cautious::cry:
 

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This might be helpful.


My impression is not "aggression". Beau is still reacting to something that you may not have been able to pick up on. Their communications are so very quick, and we so often don't see them, or know how to interpret them, and come to conclusions based on human behavior rather than canine.

Try to avoid attaching labels. Once you think it, it's hard to shake, even in undeserved.
 

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So weird, what is in the water? I was just reading the post from SusanG (I think?) about her dogs getting into fights and then the other day Frosty went after Maizie for the first time ever! For him, I think it was because he was in pain (he got an owie on his foot). Frosty is also aggressive to certain other dogs for whatever reason (they stare rudely, male dominance - Frosty is a very alpha male, sorry to those who don't believe in alpha, but he's like the hotshot football player in high school who gets all the girls LOL - etc.). Anyhow, it is confusing when such a sweet dog can act aggressive, but they are animals and sometimes they act aggressive. I just thought of when Maizie growled at me for trying to take her bully stick for the first time, when she was 5 or 6! They're all still wonderful dogs. They just have to be understood and managed when they act aggressively.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yes! What’s in the water! 😮

The Trainer, who knows Beau well, was not at all worried about aggression so I’ll stop saying that. She gave me things to practice, like having him sit at a distance and always having him on leash( could be dragged) while he’s out so that I can call him back. She also thought the gate mighthave added to the problem, because they couldn’t get to each other.
I feel better! He keeps me on my toes!
 

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Some thoughts:

1. Don’t assume Beau was the “initiator.” Dogs can have entire conversations in a few seconds, and those conversations can be largely invisible to us. I’m sure if you were to watch the interaction back in slow motion there would be some clues there.

2. It sounds like there is a lot of frustration in their interactions. They used to be allowed to interact naturally, without a barrier. Now they cannot.

Reactivity is often fuelled by frustration. Barrier aggression is also a very real thing. I would be jollying Beau past from now on, getting him focused on something fun or yummy. No lingering = no time for frustration to build, for him or for Sam.

3. Two is the age when a switch flipped in Peggy. She had been attacked by dogs on three separate occasions at that point, with the most recent attack being the worst. So that was certainly a catalyst. But two also seems to be an age when dogs become much more particular about who they interact with and much less tolerant of social slights.

Although this was not the case for Peggy, letting socialization lapse during adolescence can be another factor: https://www.dogstardaily.com/files/FightingWithDogs_2.pdf

4. Read that ^^^^^ a couple of times. Really let it sink in. Dogs snark sometimes. They don’t always get along. It’s normal. I speak from experience when I say that we humans can make these situations waaay worse with our own assumptions and anxieties. Suddenly the leash starts getting tighter around other dogs... We broadcast our worries... We tell our dogs there is something to be afraid of. And the whole thing snowballs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So weird, what is in the water? I was just reading the post from SusanG (I think?) about her dogs getting into fights and then the other day Frosty went after Maizie for the first time ever! For him, I think it was because he was in pain (he got an owie on his foot). Frosty is also aggressive to certain other dogs for whatever reason (they stare rudely, male dominance - Frosty is a very alpha male, sorry to those who don't believe in alpha, but he's like the hotshot football player in high school who gets all the girls LOL - etc.). Anyhow, it is confusing when such a sweet dog can act aggressive, but they are animals and sometimes they act aggressive. I just thought of when Maizie growled at me for trying to take her bully stick for the first time, when she was 5 or 6! They're all still wonderful dogs. They just have to be understood and managed when they act aggressively.
Sorry to hear Frosty got bratty 😣. Beau is a little bully and pushy sometimes too 😆.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Some thoughts:

1. Don’t assume Beau was the “initiator.” Dogs can have entire conversations in a few seconds, and those conversations can be largely invisible to us. I’m sure if you were to watch the interaction back in slow motion there would be some clues there.

2. It sounds like there is a lot of frustration in their interactions. They used to be allowed to interact naturally, without a barrier. Now they cannot.

Reactivity is often fuelled by frustration. Barrier aggression is also a very real thing. I would be jollying Beau past from now on, getting him focused on something fun or yummy. No lingering = no time for frustration to build, for him or for Sam.

3. Two is the age when a switch flipped in Peggy. She had been attacked by dogs on three separate occasions at that point, with the most recent attack being the worst. So that was certainly a catalyst. But two also seems to be an age when dogs become much more particular about who they interact with and much less tolerant of social slights.

Although this was not the case for Peggy, letting socialization lapse during adolescence can be another factor: https://www.dogstardaily.com/files/FightingWithDogs_2.pdf

4. Read that ^^^^^ a couple of times. Really let it sink in. Dogs snark sometimes. They don’t always get along. It’s normal. I speak from experience when I say that we humans can make these situations waaay worse with our own assumptions and anxieties. Suddenly the leash starts getting tighter around other dogs... We broadcast our worries... We tell our dogs there is something to be afraid of. And the whole thing snowballs.
PeggyTheParti - You express these things so incredibly well, what a gift you have for putting together the important points. I shared this with my neighbor, she wasn't as concerned as I was, and really just saw "dogs being dogs". Maybe because I watch Beau's progress toward adulthood with such a critical eye, I want him to be the well mannered and comfortable little dude, knowing that Covid affected his early socialization.

My neighbor also thought it was unclear that Beau was the initiator. Things happen so fast! The trainer also talked about the gate/barrier being an issue, if they wanted to play, having the barrier caused frustration.

Interesting time for a doggies life at 2'ish. Beau had a quite a bit of doggie social interaction up to about 14 months. We never had any real issues, he had a dozen (carefully monitored) trips to the dog park, he played well with dogs at the beach, friends dogs, etc. He was neutered at 15 mo's and after that we just didn't do too much. He certainly see dogs on our daily walks and still at the beach/friends, but they are not planned doggie play time. Good article on dog fighting. I definitely think when Beau meets different dogs, he is happy to greet certain ones, and others he could either care less, or I can tell that he doesn't like.
 
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