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Yesterday, my dog snapped at a dog who was in our house as our roommate was dog-sitting. Arnie (my dog) is likely familiar with this dog (Coco) as Coco's owner dog-sat Arnie about 6months ago (at Coco's house) and reported that Arnie behaved fine and the two of them played.

My wife and I were at her parents house all week the week prior, with 2 pugs (that Arnie knows and loves), and a cat that Arnie also knows and loves. When we came into the house last night, Coco was in the living room and Arnie really went after her. Then, after they were separated, Coco was coming through the kitchen to leave (her owner arrived), and walked past Arnie's food, and he went after her again. I made the mistake of grabbing him by the haunches, and put him on his back and scolded him strongly with a finger in his face for about 2 minutes. After about 5 minutes, I had him do a few tricks, and praised him and gave him treats. I've heard that throwing water on them is the best thing to do when dogs get into a fight.

We take Arnie to a dog park, and to another park in our neighborhood where dogs are off leash. He loves to run with other dogs (usually chase and be chased), but can sometimes bare his teeth. Also, he's really begun to enjoy fetch, and I've noticed that if I have a ball, he will excitedly ready himself. If a dog comes up to him when he is playing fetch with me, he will often give a 'get away from me' yip/bark and SOMEWHAT gentle teeth bare/lunge. He is off-leash at this park when this happens.

My plan now is to start small. Keep him on leash at the dog park and introduce his toys from home to him with other dogs around. If he displays any signs of aggressive behavior, I plan to discipline him by making him submissive (as I did yesterday). Then introduce dogs coming into our house (with him on leash in the house). Then maybe feed dogs from his food bowl/area, at all times keeping him on leash and a water supply nearby (this will definitely get his attention if I need to use it).

Arnie is typically a very obedient, very mild-mannered dog, even for his puppy-ish age. The only big 'owner mistake' we made with him is, after he was trained to sleep in his crate at night, we begun letting him sleep in our bed after we had a break in. He doesn't sleep in the bed much anymore, but will sleep in his bed which is in our bedroom. Last night we kept him in the crate.

We are planning on having kids in the next few years, and needless to say, I want to curb ANY aggressive behavior asap. Is it too late?
 

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He is reaching an age where he may just be becoming less tolerant of other dogs. Not all dogs are super dog friendly theor whole lives, even if they are as puppies. It has nothing to do with dominance/submission. Do NOT take him to dog parks if he has shown aggressive behaviors. And REALLY DO NOT take him there on leash! Being on leash in a pack of loose dogs will only male him more uneasy about dogs aroumd and will almost certainly trigger a fight. Also, do NOT pin him down. This is called an alpha roll and is not a scientifically acceptable form of behavior modification for dogs. No dog will ever force another onto its back, except to kill... So imagine how your dog feels about you if you keep doing it? Plus, dominance theory approaches are very likely to worsen aggression and may lead your dog to bite you.

To help manage the behavior, you need your dog to feel better about dogs. Give him praise and treats when he is near other dogs without a negative reaction, and keep him under threshold so he can have many opportunities for positive experiences. This means he must not be too close to other dogs (or loose in the house with them) until he is more comfortable. Having said all that, it is still possible he is a dog who just doesn't want to be around other dogs. In this case, you will jist have to manage his aggresssion by keeping him controlled around other dogs (never just running free with them). Hard to say what is going on for sure; you might seek out a positive trainer or behaviorist. Avoid anyone who talks about alpha/dominance/punishment, or who wants to use aversives like e-collars. Aggression of any kind requires patience, and will not be helpedby a rough hand.

Also, human aggression and dog aggression are totally different things. Right now, you have what you believe is dog aggression (but could really be reactivity or fear). It could escalate to biting people if he continues to learn that humans are not quite trustworthy (they roll me over, yell, and are rough with me...), but these two behaviors are still two different things.
 

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He is reaching an age where he may just be becoming less tolerant of other dogs. Not all dogs are super dog friendly theor whole lives, even if they are as puppies. It has nothing to do with dominance/submission. Do NOT take him to dog parks if he has shown aggressive behaviors. And REALLY DO NOT take him there on leash! Being on leash in a pack of loose dogs will only male him more uneasy about dogs aroumd and will almost certainly trigger a fight. Also, do NOT pin him down. This is called an alpha roll and is not a scientifically acceptable form of behavior modification for dogs. No dog will ever force another onto its back, except to kill... So imagine how your dog feels about you if you keep doing it? Plus, dominance theory approaches are very likely to worsen aggression and may lead your dog to bite you.

To help manage the behavior, you need your dog to feel better about dogs. Give him praise and treats when he is near other dogs without a negative reaction, and keep him under threshold so he can have many opportunities for positive experiences. This means he must not be too close to other dogs (or loose in the house with them) until he is more comfortable. Having said all that, it is still possible he is a dog who just doesn't want to be around other dogs. In this case, you will jist have to manage his aggresssion by keeping him controlled around other dogs (never just running free with them). Hard to say what is going on for sure; you might seek out a positive trainer or behaviorist. Avoid anyone who talks about alpha/dominance/punishment, or who wants to use aversives like e-collars. Aggression of any kind requires patience, and will not be helpedby a rough hand.

Also, human aggression and dog aggression are totally different things. Right now, you have what you believe is dog aggression (but could really be reactivity or fear). It could escalate to biting people if he continues to learn that humans are not quite trustworthy (they roll me over, yell, and are rough with me...), but these two behaviors are still two different things.
terrific advice.

again, never bring a dog on leash into an off leash dog park. they feel confined and threatened due to being on leash while other dogs are free to move as they please and it can make their behavior WORSE.
 

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When we came into the house last night, Coco was in the living room and Arnie really went after her. Then, after they were separated,
What was the damage? How did you separate them? Was there blood? Stitches needed? Were there any toys or treats in the area at the time?

could be dog aggression, sometimes that comes to light around maturity. Could be resource guarding. Or something of a mix of the two.

If a dog comes up to him when he is playing fetch with me, he will often give a 'get away from me' yip/bark and SOMEWHAT gentle teeth bare/lunge. He is off-leash at this park when this happens.
Does he play nicely if there are no toys involved? If yes, then again, it sounds more like resource guarding than out and out aggression. Some dogs are just more vocal than others though and barking and such can also mean play. It sounds like he's guarding the fetch toy from this short description, but without seeing it, maybe not.

. Keep him on leash at the dog park and introduce his toys from home to him with other dogs around. If he displays any signs of aggressive behavior, I plan to discipline him by making him submissive (as I did yesterday).
Noooooo!!!! Please do not do this. First, having a leashed dog around off-leash dogs can make him both a target (for them) and very defensive. It is dangerous to have even a wonderfully dog-friendly dog on-leash in an off-leash park.
Second, you want to work hard on resource guarding well before introducing other dogs into the mix and especially strange dogs. You have no idea how those other dogs at the park might react.
Last, forget the "making him submit" crap. All you're asking for by doing that is creating a reactive or fear aggressive dog and getting bit in the process. The whole point is to make him feel confident that you will protect him and protect "his" toys (personally, I hate toys and treats in a dog park... recipe for disaster). He wants to feel like if another dog takes the fetch toy, it doesn't mean the fun is over. Or if another dog comes near his food, it doesn't mean that he doesn't get any.

The only big 'owner mistake' we made with him is, after he was trained to sleep in his crate at night, we begun letting him sleep in our bed after we had a break in.
Bah. Unless the dog annoys you while sleeping in the bed, then that is not a "mistake." As long as the dog doesn't have any separation anxiety issues when he needs to sleep away from you, than sleeping in the bed is just a comfortable place near his person. He can feel like a part of the family. It doesn't mean he feels like he's in charge or something silly like that. Train "Off" to get off the bed, "Out" to leave the room and do whatever works for you.
 

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My wife and I were at her parents house all week the week prior, with 2 pugs (that Arnie knows and loves), and a cat that Arnie also knows and loves. When we came into the house last night, Coco was in the living room and Arnie really went after her. Then, after they were separated, Coco was coming through the kitchen to leave (her owner arrived), and walked past Arnie's food, and he went after her again. I made the mistake of grabbing him by the haunches, and put him on his back and scolded him strongly with a finger in his face for about 2 minutes. After about 5 minutes, I had him do a few tricks, and praised him and gave him treats. I've heard that throwing water on them is the best thing to do when dogs get into a fight.
This seems a lot like resource guarding, which is very normal when dogs approach another dog's food. It was essentially him claiming his food. Rolling him on his side doesn't teach him anything. What would teach him to get over it, would be to let Coco hang around his food, on leash, and you praise your dog for not reacting to him being by the food.

We take Arnie to a dog park, and to another park in our neighborhood where dogs are off leash. He loves to run with other dogs (usually chase and be chased), but can sometimes bare his teeth. Also, he's really begun to enjoy fetch, and I've noticed that if I have a ball, he will excitedly ready himself. If a dog comes up to him when he is playing fetch with me, he will often give a 'get away from me' yip/bark and SOMEWHAT gentle teeth bare/lunge. He is off-leash at this park when this happens.
He's telling other dogs that THIS IS MY BALL ITS MINE GET AWAY. Which is normal behavior, not every dog wants to share his toys with other dogs. Snapping and growling at another dog to back off is normal. You want to monitor this and be ready because not every dog will back off when growled and snapped at.


My plan now is to start small. Keep him on leash at the dog park and introduce his toys from home to him with other dogs around. If he displays any signs of aggressive behavior, I plan to discipline him by making him submissive (as I did yesterday). Then introduce dogs coming into our house (with him on leash in the house). Then maybe feed dogs from his food bowl/area, at all times keeping him on leash and a water supply nearby (this will definitely get his attention if I need to use it).
You don't want to have your dog on-leash in an off-leash dog park. You're going to get your dog attacked. Rolling your dog on its side does not teach it anything. It does not "relax" your dog or make it "submissive", it makes your dog even more aggressive if anything. You are not the Dog Whisperer, when he does it, it works for him because he's been doing it for years and has a method of when/how to do it, and he definitely doesn't yell in a dogs face when he's rolling them on their side.

Arnie is typically a very obedient, very mild-mannered dog, even for his puppy-ish age. The only big 'owner mistake' we made with him is, after he was trained to sleep in his crate at night, we begun letting him sleep in our bed after we had a break in. He doesn't sleep in the bed much anymore, but will sleep in his bed which is in our bedroom. Last night we kept him in the crate.

We are planning on having kids in the next few years, and needless to say, I want to curb ANY aggressive behavior asap. Is it too late?
I honestly don't believe your dog is aggressive at all. It's doing normal dog behavior.
There's a video on this page
http://leerburg.com/308.htm
Around the 2:20 mark he does a every interesting experiment, that's going to show you that you have normal dog behavior. Dogs guard their stuff from other dogs, even as puppies, they may not guard for humans but a lot of the time they will guard from dogs, because not every dog is part of their "family"
 
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