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Overly friendly--wrong signal

2233 Views 9 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Toby'smom
Our 2-year-old labradoodle has developed some fear-based aggression with other dogs. The thing is he is extremely well socialized and loves dogs he knows. The behaviorist says that he has a good set of dog calming signals but is afraid of unknown dogs and so acts tough if they get into his comfort zone. I wonder if this is a result of his puppy-too friendly personality. He used to charge up to every person and every dog he met (if off leash) He would jump or mouth the people. Thankfully he is over that now. He also used to charge up joyfully to every new dog he met. a younger labradoodle we know (1-year-old) does the same charging in your face thing. I think the charging at other dogs can put them off and scare them. The result is that more than once, another dog has tried to put him in his place. Now he has decided that unknown dogs are bad news if they come to close to him and need to be scared off or worse. Needless to say, we have had to give up our off-leash walks and keep him away from unknown dogs. Does anyone have any experience with this problem? It is so sad to have our dog who used to love everyone now have this problem with dogs he doesn't know.
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Toby's Mom,

Have you resolved this issue and how did you do it? Our puppy has shown fear based agression (only towards dogs - never humans). We have had him in puppy socialization class and as long as he is off leash with other dogs it goes really well. On leash is a different issue. With dogs he knows he is fine. However if we are walking or at soccer and someone approaches with another dog it results in a lot of snarling. He also wants to bark and lunge at dogs behind fences that are barking at him - even if they are clear across the street. He also will start barking at another dog on leash who is within 20 yards of him even if that dog is not paying any attention to him.

So far on walks when he starts this I pause and get his attention with a treat and send him through a series of commands - sit, down ...

He 4 1/2 months old and I'ld like to get this problem under control now.

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Thanks for the reply. I have been using the gentle leader harness and Dante is actually really good with it. Since he is not a large doodle control hasn't been an issue.

I do think the more we socialize him the better it will get and I will take it slow like you suggest. I saw a lot of improvement at the soccer games today from last weekend. But I did notice that he has a comfort zone as far as at what distance he ignores dogs and when he starts to get wound up.

Now that he is too old to go to the socialization classes I need to get him enrolled in an obedience class. Just looking for the right one!

Thanks so much for your advice!!

Heather and Dante
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