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Hi everyone,

I have a 2 1/2 year old JRT mix who I got at 4 weeks old (mother dog got sick and couldn't nurse so the owner was giving them away). For the last year or so, when I take her out for a walk, she's got pretty bad leash aggression. It is mostly towards other dogs, but she has growled and barked at several children and even tried to bite one when he got too close. She's fine with people in our home, and she seems to be fine off leash, although I haven't tested this in public because I'm worried of what might happen. She gets very nervous when I take her to unfamiliar places. I talked to a PetSmart trainer yesterday who suggested that I start bringing her into the store a few times a week until she becomes more comfortable there, and then sign her up for training. The trainer took her into the enclosure and I took the leash off, and she began shaking and wouldn't let the trainer pet her; wouldn't even take a treat from her. She didn't show aggression, she just backed off and hid on the other side of me. The trainer said it's going to be tough to get her socialized now, at her age. The thing is, I took her out quite a bit as a puppy; met lots of people and other dogs and let them pet her, and she seemed to enjoy it. I thought things were going well. Even when on a leash, she'd pull a little when other dogs or people came by, but she didn't lunge or growl--but it seems like in the last year she's developed a serious problem, and I'm at a loss as to what to do. Even the trainer won't train her the way she is now!

Any suggestions? We have a baby coming this fall, and I really want to get this taken care of before then...
 

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Socialization is all about teaching confidence with new places, strange sights and sounds.......kids, bikes, umbrellas, cats, vet offices, etc. That confidence training is far more important than dog to dog manners.
You'll have to start building that foundation one fear at a time. Pick one sight that scares her. Work on it from a distance and teach her calmness and confidence. Then pick other sights before moving onto sounds. Don't mix the two of these (sight plus sound) yet....get her comfortable with each of them separately.
This will not be easy and you may never get her to completely overcome her fears but, you should be able to help her to at least cope with them.
 

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You should go and see a behaviourist. They will help you to understand you dogs behvaiour as well as teach you how to change it. It sounds as though your dog as leadership issues as well. Talk to a behaviourist about that as well they will tell you how to establish leadership over your dog and through that leadership you can show him that there is nothing to fear from common situations such as other dogs, children and trainers.

I hope this has helped, I could go into further detail but it would be a huge post, if you do want more information just drop me a line and I will answer any questions that you may have.
 
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