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Hi folks,

I have a 1.5 year old Rott/Husky/GSD mix, Loki, who is sweet as can be but for some odd reason, he's decided he really does not like Huskies or dogs that look like them (German Shepherds seem to be included). At his daycare, he plays with them just fine, but when we're at home and he sees one walk by or he's on a leash, his hair stands up and he growls and barks. Redirecting him is next to impossible.

Quick background on him - he was picked up off the streets of San Antonio when he was 4mo, then adopted at 6mo to a family who didn't treat him all that well and he ended up with me at 10mo.

For awhile, we struggled with leash reactivity, but that seems to have mostly subsided now that we've done the work to fix it, it's really just the husky and related thing.

Has anyone seen something like this before? What have you done to fix it?

Best,
Leigh
 

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I had a GSD that did not like Cattle Dogs... one chased her when she was around a year old and took a small plug out of the back of her leg - she held it against the breed for another 12 yrs and in a park/beach full of 50+ dogs, she’d spot the only cattle dog at the far end of the park.

I say that to say, yes, breed specific triggers are possible.... however, that doesn’t change how you work on it one bit. Pull out the old tools that you used to address his leash reactivity before.... the advantage you have now is being able to anticipate that he’s going to react, giving you the opportunity to educate rather than evaluate.
 

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Golden retrievers for Tessa, no idea of why. I can't think of one that she's ever met. We would work on paying attention to me, sitting until the "distraction" passed. Once the owner stopped to chat so they could meet. :( I think a reasonable person seeing you off the trail and interacting with your dog would not stop.
 

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My dog looks like a Husky and there is indeed something about their size, tail carriage (up) and pricked ears that many other dogs dislike on sight. Other husky owners actually talk/wonder about this! The "up" tail and pricked ears, in canine language, can signal aggression/dominance.

Or Loki maybe had a bad experience in the past? My dog was attacked by a friend's Golden Retriever ( grabbed him by the throat). For weeks afterwards, he would growl and stiffen up when a Golden went by. Now however, he's fine again (had enough neutral experiences with Goldens that he forgot the one bad experience, maybe?)

Fixing: Maybe give a treat or two when you see a Husky-type dog in the distance, speak in happy positive voice while passing, keep your mood/manner relaxed (in a way you have to brainwash yourself: "Huskies are great!" and then somehow dogs seem to pick that up from their owners.) If you start walking more slowly, tightening the leash and thinking, "Oh no! A Husky!" then Loki may pick up on your tension and start reacting. We pass a lot of reactive dogs and before the dog even reacts, I know he will...because the owner has begun saying, "Be Good, Be Good" and has shortened the leash to less than a foot long, dragged their dog to the other side of the street, and I can hear the tension/nervousness in their voice...then sure enough, as they get closer, their dog erupts. It's understandable, because the dog had this huge "buildup" to the Pass and they felt like their owner was nervous about something! It's a weird self-reinforcing cycle...
 

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A decent percentage of dogs don't like Jupiter and were aggressive/afraid of him in training classes or just dig in and bark at him from a safe distance across the street. My trainer said he has a certain confident "energy" and also that many dogs don't like black dogs!
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