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I have a 2 year old neutered male Visla who has been experiencing some anxiety for most of his life and is now exhibiting aggressive behavior. I'm starting to get very discouraged and don't know what else I should be doing.

A little back story:
I got our visla at when he was 10 weeks old from a very reputable breeder. He went to a one on one training classes with a trainer as soon as he had all of his shots, where they focused on basic commands, walking, and learning appropriate behavior. This was an all day mon-fri 2 week course. Following that training we completed 2 separate group training classes. He also went to the dog park about 5 times a week and never was involved any any sort of aggressive behavior, he has always been extremely submissive. He had always been spoked by loud noises but nothing extreme. As time went on he seemed to be getting more anxious and his vet eventually put him on anxiety medication, which helped a little.
When he was about a year and a half old he started becoming reactive on a leash. We visited a trainer who told us since he is so used to playing with dogs off the leash it was probably just out of frustration. He gave us a few tips told us it didn't seem like anything major. We worker with him evey time we took him on on a walk, but eventually stopped walking him much, because his reaction was getting hard to manage. We took him to another dog trainer who worked one on one for multiple lessons and then did a class for reactive dogs. While we still have a ton of work to do, he seemed to be getting a little more confident.
My dog has never once had any sort of aggression off a leash. He also goes to doggie daycare 3 times a week and has never had an issue.
Today my friend and I both brought our dogs to a mutual friends house. Her dog is very old and mellow. My dog has meet him a couple of times and never had an issue, but today my dog was laying on the couch when my friends dog got up on the other side. My dog started barking, but then stopped. He went to over to sniff the other dog and then growled, showed his teeth, and snapped at him. Thankfully the other dog did not respond and I was able to swoop in within second and separate him. I have never once seen him snap or go after another dog out of nowhere like that.
I really don't know what to do at this point. I'm frustrated that my sweet boy is acting this way. I feel like I've done everything I can and don't know where else to turn. I would do absolutely anything for my dog but between all the training lessons, vet bills, medication, and every other calming device, I'm running low on money to put towards fixing this issue.
Sorry for the long post, any helpful tips would be appreciated.
 

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He's a two year old dog, so this sometimes means that they are coming into their own personality. They also tend to test boundaries, both with their people and with other dogs. Think of it as a teenage human trying to figure out their place in the world. They can be obnoxious and like to see what they can get away with.

To me, the incident on the couch sounds a bit like resource guarding. The other dog just didn't care about the young whippersnapper's actions. It may have been a one-time thing...it may be more. Just keep an eye on it. You did the right thing in immediately separating them.

Honestly....I would cut back on all the activity! Dog park 5 times a week and doggy daycare 3 times?!?! Holy cow! That's a lot of unstructured play in a barely controlled environment. I would cut back on that play time and do things that require some thought. I know Vizslas are a very high energy breed, but you can do a better job channeling that energy and drive. The constant socialization and activity may also be amping up his anxiety, too.

I have a high energy Aussie/Collie mix who has struggled with reactivity, and some things we did were go on walks in secluded, "natural" type areas. I put my dog on a long line and harness (like, seriously, a hundred foot long line) and we walked through parks and places where there were very few people. We worked on some obedience, like recall, and random little obedience things. In combination with the relative freedom, getting to "just be a dog", and a little bit of training. The small amount of exposure to his reactivity triggers kept him from getting overly amped up, but it still allowed us time to train with really special treats. And really, 2 years old was probably the worst for us in regards to reactivity. It's just rough. But, at age 4 he rarely had a reaction. Dogs are still tough sometimes, especially if they want to play, but it's much better.

We recently moved to a farmstead, so now my high energy dog gets to play off leash every day, but when we lived in town he got his walk every day, a bit of training, perhaps some play time with tug toys in the yard, and then he was expected to chill. He also had an agility class once a week, and on weekends we would sometimes drive out to a nearby park and go on really, really long hikes. And it was fine. He has a good off switch in the house. He still has his walk (it's just more exercise for him because he's off leash), his play time, his training, and then he's expected to chill. You don't need to exhaust the dog or entertain him all day! The down time helps them clear stress hormones. The structure and routine not only forms a bond with you, it helps the dog understand what is next and make the day less stressful in general!

So, just try backing off a bit and see what happens. Switch out unstructured play for structured play/training time with you. It doesn't mean you have to cut out play time with dogs completely (dogs do not need to play with other dogs...they are supposed to be more attached to their humans), just reduce. Cutting out daycare might save you some money, too!
 

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Stop with all the dog social stuff. No one has your dog's back in those situations. Done. No more. YOU exercise and work with your dog.

Contrary to all the stuff out there dogs do not need dog friends. Your dog is telling you he is tired of the play ground. Stop taking him there. You do the work instead.

As to on leash reactivity my question is do you walk your dog and let him just hang out there at the end of the leash while you ignore him? Do you take him away when other dogs approach or just let them greet? If someone comes up to you and wants to pet your dog do you just let them? If you do, stop. No more leash greetings. No more every Tom, Dick and Harry petting your dog. Both situations let your dog be out there at the end of the leash and trying to figure out how to deal with the situation. YOU deal with the situation and don't allow it. Let you dog know you have his back and he does not need to "deal with" strange dogs or people.

And stop the day care and dog park crap.. he has tried to tell you he does not want it. Don't do it. Time for you to work with your dog and make that bond the strongest one he has.
 

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I agree with the age timing coming into maturity, and with the couch being a resource guarding situation that all dogs can respond in the same way and just being normal dogs. Our dogs need us, they don't (need) other dogs. If a dogs only experience is when seeing another dog that they are going to be lead to meet the other dog I can see the learned anticipated reaction to avoid the situation from going further. Maturity is just another phase of learning and adjusting. It's a time to fall back on all that you have learned getting to this age. Walking is staying in heel to get through uncomfortable situations... Go back and strengthen you foundation OB skills so you can use them to avoid, go around or if you have to pass through and out of situations that are causing problems. If you dog doesn't want interaction with other dogs then don't do it right now. Reaching a young adult maturity stage is only learning how to handle themselves going into full adult hood... They no longer have the universal protection of being a puppy to other dogs.. am sure they sense it in themselves and how other dogs sense them too. Build confidence in his new skin, phases don't last for ever so spend time building confidence that he doesn't have to deal with situations he doesn't want to right now that he is safe with you. And do get a full (full) Thyroid panel done there is a sticky post above about Thyroid and behavior..
 
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