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Hi I joined this site to try to get some help for myself and my dog. Sierra is a 1 and 1/2 year old lab/border collie mix. I didn't socialize her much when i first got her (just around dogs i knew had their shots). I got her at about 4-5 months and her history is she had bitten a toddler and that's how she ended up at the humane society. I tried taking her to the dog park once all shots were done but soon learned that she doesn't handle being around most dogs well. For a while i tried to keep going and giving her more exposure but one day she bite a dog and pierced it's skin and that was the last straw. She seems pretty reactive on a lease, with or with out a toy. She even reacts to dogs that in the past she's played with well on other occasions...

At this point we avoid most dogs b/c she has issues w/aggression no matter the dog. Her shackles go up and it's all over. It doesn't seem to matter if a toy is out or not, or how close she is to me (Although me petting another dog with her is out of the question). Some days are better than others. She seems to do better off lease(on hiking trails) but after her biting another dog i don't trust her with most dogs so I put her on when ones around.

I did go to what i thought was a seminar on aggressive dogs and learned that she has dog on dog aggression. All in all I didn't learn anything of value to try with her though- other than taking her to an expensive behaviorist. She loves and greets all people with a friendly tail way but gets low, ears down, tail down when approaching other dogs and then her shackles go up. She'll sometimes do a sniff and move on but when another dog tries to sniff her she'll usually growl and try to bite.

Any advice for me of things to try with her or books i can perhaps read up on? Sometimes i think it's a lack of confidence she has or that she's scared and overcompensates by being aggressive. I'm not sure how to make her have more confidence around other dogs though... I read up on NILIF and feel like we have a pretty good relationship and I'm the alpha pack leader.. but perhaps not if these aggression issues are happening. Any and all advice would be much appreciated. I'm a social person and love the social aspect of having a dog but it's pretty disappointing to go to a park and have to isolate myself and dog b/c she's aggressive. Thanks!
 

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Treating aggression is not an easy undertaking. It can be dangerous, and it is too easy to misstep and make the situation worse. Dogs who are undersocialized can sometimes be gradually improved with a combination of remedial socialization and classical conditioning. However, this is not a job for the novice trainer, and expensive or not I do recommend a certified behaviorist. Dogs who are undersocialized may have never developed proper bite inhibition – which makes these dogs all the more dangerous.
 

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I agree with CP as it is difficult to give armchair advice on how to diffuse a Psychological bomb per say. Something best left to a behaviorist who can and will take a look at your situation up close. Experimenting with the wrong approach could blow up on you and someone could get injured.:) There are many places that offer and specialize in rehabilitation for these types of issues and maybe you could call and talk to one of them and get some advice. I just put down a DOG FANCY and DOG WORLD magazine that had advertisements for places that rehabilitate aggresive dogs maybe this would be a start in a contact.

good luck!
 

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Thank you both for your advice. Any idea on what to look for in a good trainer? I'm looking up in my local area and not finding much under "dog behaviorist". I guess I'll just call some dog training places and see if they have any good referrals. I'm starting to think if she and I tackle this now.. she'll have many happy years hopefully to come in the future with out all the fear and aggression she carries around other dogs now.
 

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To find a good trainer, you might try calling your vet's office and/or the local humane society. (The humane society often use trainers to work with dogs to make them more adoptable.)
 
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