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I've accidentally turned Jax into a barking machine. When he was a little puppy he would bark at his dog friends as we were entering the park and that's when I unclipped his leash. He has associated barking at where he wants to go with me letting him off the leash. He now barks at everyone he wants to meet (which is everyone). I don't mind since it scares the crap out of strangers and people that know us are ok. He'd never bite because it's his "friendly bark" but I don't mind that strangers stay away from him :)
As everyone was saying, if in danger, your dog will surprise you. My boxer never had a mean bone in her body and one night I took her out after coming home at around 3am and some guy was following us into the park. I noticed he was coming closer and was looking for a place to get away when the boxer turned around and barked and growled like I didn't even know she could do! (she was 4 at the time). The next morning we heard a girl in the same park was pulled into the bushes.
 
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