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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
i have a 15 month old boston terrier who is super sweet with people but can get aggressive with some dogs when playing. He doesn't bark or show aggression when we walk by another dog, he only shows it when he starts playing at the park--especially when there are 2 other dogs in the mix. He's generally always been a pretty spunky guy, not letting the size of the dog deter him from rough play, but he's showing more and more dominance ( and more growling) since he got neutered (at about 10 months). He sometimes gets like this with other bostons and other dogs his size or when a 3rd dog tries to insert himself into his dominance over another dog. He doesn't chase them down, but will fight if the 3rd dog insists. Recently, weve noticed this aggression transfering over to the dog he has dominance over and were getting more than a bit worried. We always drag him away and command him to lay down for a while to get him to cool down, but recently he gets back into it within 5 minutes. Can this be trained out of him or is this a personality trait were going to have to live with?

just want to add that he displays ZERO dominance or aggressive behaviour at home or with other people.
 

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Where are these experiences happening? A dog park? Your back yard? Do you know the dogs involved?

IME, 3 dogs don't mix. Something about having 3 together just never works!

I would distract him and redirect when he starts getting more aggressive. I am assuming you are able to tell when a fight is about to happen or when your pup is getting more tenacious. Distract him however you can and redirect him to another area. If he is going to continue to fight and bully, you remove him. No second warnings or anything; its fight = end of play.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
off leash dog park. we'll try removing him if he starts to bully. So this is typical of maturing dogs then? is there something else we can do to stop him from being so dominant with other dogs? I sometimes look longingly at the big gentle mastiffs at the park who have no qualms over letting wilbur climb all over them. sigh.
 

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Like +two said, three's a crowd. In a dog park you have no control over the other dogs. Many of the dogs owners have no control over their own dog. Which is to say, a dog park is not a good setting for your dog. It's too hard to prevent other dogs from joining in.

You'd be better off having one-on-one "play dates" with dogs that he does well with. It sounds ridiculous, but you'd be surprised how many dog owners will jump at the opportunity.

Daycare is also an option. The staff will be prepared to handle this kind of behavior.

Yes, adolescence is marked by change(just ask my parents...) but this is not a behavior that will take care of itself.
If you feel you must continue going to the dog park, start a two strikes you're out rule. First time he does it, remove him and practice obedience exercises. Second time, leash him and leave.

Bostons tend to be a lot of dog in a little package(this is a broad generalization). You need to realize that he could hurt another dog and the vet bills would be on you. OR he might bite off more than he can chew and get his a$$ handed to him. More vet bills.

When I have dogs doing this at work, two things are usually at the root of the problem.
1. Resource guarding. "Bart is MY friend! You can't have him!"
2. Over arousal. Dogs can get way too revved up during play. Try this: If you say his name and he doesn't at least look in your direction, he's too excited.
If it happens to be the latter, I practice interrupting dogs during play. I might clap my hands an walk between them. Or I could say 'let's go' and play follow the leader off into some random direction.

Again, I advise against the dog park.

This has nothing to do with dominance. You have a young terrier.
 

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My dog played beautifully in the dog park until he hit the 18 mo - 2 year mark. Like your dog, mine is spunky and likes to play rough. Then he got very selective about which dogs he wanted to interact with, and would tell off other dogs. He was never the type to run in and start a fight, but he's quick to react and that coupled with what I mentioned earlier = ticking time bomb at dog parks. In fact, what you described fits Soro pretty well:

"super sweet with people but can get aggressive with some dogs when playing."
"when a 3rd dog tries to insert himself into his dominance over another dog. He doesn't chase them down, but will fight if the 3rd dog insists"

I'm not saying you shouldn't go to dog parks anymore, but you might want to be more selective about when you go. If it looks crowded or you see certain dogs that you think might cause yours to react, you shouldn't go in. For my case, when I found that 9 out of 10 times Soro would get snarly when we went to the dog park, I decided it was time to find other outlets for him. Otherwise the purpose of going to the dog park would fulfill MY need to 'see my dog play and be happy with other dogs,' whereas Soro clearly preferred to wander around, greet people, and not mind the other dogs at all.
Tofu's suggestion of setting up play dates is a good one. Then you can 'match' your dog to one that can put up with his energy, you don't have to worry about a third dog coming in and throwing the group dynamics off, and you'll be much less likely to run into a situation you have to remove him from.

EDIT: I'd just like to add that for a long time I've also been trying to get my dog to be "more social, less dominant," and only now am I reaching the conclusion that it's just a matter of finding the right dog for him to interact with.
 

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off leash dog park. we'll try removing him if he starts to bully. So this is typical of maturing dogs then? is there something else we can do to stop him from being so dominant with other dogs? I sometimes look longingly at the big gentle mastiffs at the park who have no qualms over letting wilbur climb all over them. sigh.
I don't know if there is anything you can do to stop him from being 'dominant'. It is more a description of his personality than a character flaw. I like Tofu's suggestion of play dates; I know it sounds silly but this is what I do too. Both my dogs were awesome at dog parks up until around 3 years old. We don't go anymore because they started becoming picky about who they were going to play with. Not all dogs are cut out for a dog park... I would venture to say that most dogs aren't cut out for a dog park. Doesn't make your dog or you bad; it is what it is.

My Boys best friend is a Boston Terrier X. He is tiny compared to them but there is nothing he loves more than playing rough. He gets on great with my Pit bull; they will wrestle for hours and hours and hours. Boston's are definitely feisty and that doesn't normally suit itself to dog parks. If you decide to continue to go to dog parks, pick the day and time carefully. Weekdays after 5pm seem to be the busiest around here. If you meet a few people at the park that your dog plays well with, find out if they'd be interested in doing play dates or find out what time they usually are at the park and arrange to be there at the same time.
 
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