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We have a 16 month old rescue dog that is a pitbull mix. He is incredibly obsessed with balls and sticks. more interested in a ball or a stick than food. up until a month or two ago it wasn't a big deal. annoying at times.... but not problematic. however a couple months ago he has started showing aggression towards other dogs when hey come near his ball or stick. it happens incredibly quickly. he'll be standing their with a stick in his mouth wagging his tail. a dog gets too near his stick at the dog park and he goes after the other dog viscously. he has never hurt another dog... and i wonder if he actually bites very hard. but either way it is very concerning and getting to the point where we are worried about letting him off leash at the dog park.

he has never shown any aggression towards people. this seems towards other dogs only.
any suggestions on how to handle?

many thanks.
tim
 

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my sister has a male pitbull and he is an angel (even with my kids pulling on his tail or sitting on him like a horse)-- but as soon as he sees my dog (he's a lab), they both go into their defensive mode and growl and bite each other and my brother have to spray them with water to make them stop.

I don't have much experience with dogs but I've noticed our dogs aggressive behavior starting before reaching their first year.

Goodluck with finding the answer to your problem!
 

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Firstly, I would STOP taking this dog to the dog park immediately- at least for now, and possibly permanantly. I would also order a copy of "MINE: A Guide to Canine Resource Guarding" - dogwise has it, and it's fairly inexpensive.

Nextly, I would see if you can track down a really good behaviorist or trainer in your area. Ask your vet, use APDT.com, but do some research. While this is not yet with people, the fact that it's escalating with dogs means it potentially COULD happen with people, and you need to treat it as if it would.
 

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I agree with Dogstar if for no other reason than a pit mix already has a bad rap and you can get yourself into a world of trouble and reiterate miss conceptions about the breed. I don't know if he is biting hard right now, but I DO KNOW that he is more than able to do so.

Read the sticky on NILIF and don't let him have toys and such just laying around to play with. He can have one at a time and should be trained to relinquish them to you on command. If there are other dogs around do not let him have his possessions at all just to avoid potential problems.

I really like the exercises in which you take one item from the dog only to give him something of higher value in its place. The dog learns that it is okay to give something up because he might just get something better instead.

I worked with a dog that had this problem but not quite as severely. I would take his ball from him and give it to my dog who was far enough away that the aggressive dog was non reactive to this. I would then give the agressive dog his squeeky that was his favorite toy. I was eventually able to have my dog laying right next to the possessive dog and take his toy and hand it to Mary and have him looking at me with tail wagging waiting for his squeeky.

I'm not sure how reactive your dog is so I would consult a professional before trying anything like this.
 

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Making a correction by spraying them with water isn't that all of a good idea. What are you going to do when it's not available ? Stop it before he gets to the next level. I agree 100% with dogstar, getting help from professionals.

Good luck.
 
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