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I have a two and a half year old mixed breed who seems to get along with every type of dog except for small dogs who show aggression (barking or growling) either towards her or other dogs in her vicinity. This has been apparent two separate times at a dog park (no harm was caused, just some scared per parents).

She has been "attacked" by a chihuahua before who stole her toy while I was playing fetch with her and then latched onto her throat when she tried to get her toy back, and ever since then if a small dog growls at her the hair on her shoulders raises and she instantly seems very intimidated and defensive. She is 60 lbs and has nothing to worry about..

Has anyone else had any experiences like this? Can anyone give me some tips on how to break her of this fear of small dogs that leads to aggressive behavior?
 

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Where is this happening? At a dog park? If your dog is attacking small dogs then I would stop taking your dog there. I would only take her to a large dogs only dog park or just stop taking her completely.
 

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yes, it is happening at a dog park. Obviously I will not be taking her around any small dogs until this problem is solved. But I would like to fix the issue instead of just avoiding it.
 

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yes, it is happening at a dog park. Obviously I will not be taking her around any small dogs until this problem is solved. But I would like to fix the issue instead of just avoiding it.
Sometimes dogs just don't get along with other dogs, whether it be particular gender, size, etc.

If you want to work on it, you can try counter conditioning. Whenever your dog sees another small dog, reward her for looking at the dog, and then slowly introduce the smaller dog so that the dog is closer and closer, each time rewarding. Make sure to look for calming signals and signs of aggression while doing it. If your dog seems nervous/stressed then you are going too fast.

Dog aggression can appear at 2-3 years old once the dog has matured, so it might just be that your dog will not be okay with smaller dogs. If he's just associating small dogs with bad experiences, then I would go ahead with the counter conditioning until he positively associates them again... and I would stop taking him to the dog park because you can't control how well socialized/behaved other dogs are there.

You can certainly have playdates, but yeah... most people avoid dog parks for this very reason.
 
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