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So--some background and information. I am TERRIFIED of Sabo becoming dog aggressive! It scares me to my BONES! When I'm walking him and I see another dog I can feel myself start to shake, my heart speeds up and I start breathing very shallow and quickly...all while mentally telling myself to RELAX because Sabo can feel what I am feeling and it's SCARING him! Here is the reason WHY I am so afraid:

Metro was very dog aggressive on leash, off leash in a backyard, or in the apartment, he didn't care what animal was in there or what they were doing (the ferrets were even allowed to climb into his bowl when he was eating, he'd just tip the bowl to get them out and go back to eating). It all started when we moved here, the moron neighbor down the street would allow his husky to attack Metro and myself while we were out on walks, and 9/10 the dog attacked from around a corner or came at us from behind.

To illustrated just how bad it was, and show that I wasn't an ignorant lady without any situational awareness: One day the kids and I were stepping out of the apartment with Metro and were at the top of the steps as the husky-owner was going by (he uses a motor wheelchair and has the darn dog on a flexi leash! Never mind he's missing an arm and has the dogs leas on the handle of the wheelchair on his armless side!) and the moron STOPS THE **** WHEELCHAIR and his dog CHARGED up the steps stopping two steps short of where myself, my two kids and Metro were...mind you that landing is about 3x4...so I was fighting to hold Metro and get between him and the other dog and the dog was lunging to get us and the moron, instead of driving his chair away, STOPS and TWISTS and tries to reel in the **** flexi leash!!!! Needless to say, I was TERRIFIED of running into that guy. Metro was "ok" with other dogs, but would become very uneasy if other dogs on leashes were walking near us due to the numerous attacks (however, if I was walking friend's dogs, or walking with friends and their dogs, he was perfectly fine, it was "stranger dogs" he didn't like)

Sabo, I have noticed, is also barking at other dogs on the leash. Our neighbor has a chihuahua that Sabo is ok with. Sabo will puppy-bark at him and prance around, same with our neighbors little black dog. Yesterday I stopped to talk to a guy that lives on our block (he was asking about Metro and commenting on Sabo) and Sabo was going nuts at his dog, so I grabbed the handle on the harness and he started with this crazy "big dog" bark that freaked me out, so I walked away.

Today at the park (human park, on a leash, in an out of the way spot) a lady walked up with a giant pit bull. I could see Sabo take his stance (That stand they do with the ears up and watching intently---he does this to trees, cars and people too) so I told him to sit and told him it was ok. The lady walked up and asked if her dog could smell Sabo. I told her Sabo was still a hyper puppy and wasn't sure if her dog could handle it. She said it was ok and her dogs tail was going a million miles a minute. I started shaking, could feel the breathing start up...but took a deep breath and said ok. Sabo was pulling against the leash, but was "puppy barking" and I calmed down a bit. He seemed ok, and the other dog didn't try to kill him.

Fast foward to the next dog. Australian shepherd mix, very nice. Came up behind me (I was sitting down and so was my daughter) and Sabo jumped to get over me while I heard the lady yell "I'm so sorry! She slipped the leash!" Meanwhile Sabo is going nuts with that big dog bark again! She gets her dog and walks a bit away and I get Sabo to sit. I continued to sit and talk to Sabo, play with him with his toys and try to get his attention every time he tried to stare at that other dog! Little by little the lady was bringing the dog closer, and I was trying to stay calm...we got to the point that Sabo was interchanging puppy barking with big barking and kept jumping at the dogs face trying to grab her neck (while trying to paw her face, so I figured he was trying to play as this is what happened in puppy class)....finally I decided I was stressed, so I'm sure Sabo was stressed and it was time to leave.

Is he playing? What on EARTH is this menacing sounding bark? He's only 3mo for crying out loud! What is going on? Am I already destined to have a dog-aggressive dog? I have him wearing a harness because he's slipped collars and I dont want him running into a street. (Yes, I am well aware I am going to get the owners here who feel that dogs should never socialize and I'm already a horrible owner because my 3mo puppy wont just focus on me like I was a T-bone steak...I get that view of ownership...dont berate me.)
 

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First off. Good for you for recognizing that you are scared. Second. I am sorry that your other dog has had plenty if unsettling experiences and they caused some increase in aggression.

Now for Sabo. He is a baby. As you know. So it's important for you to get him out and about and expose him to lots if new things. So, owning your fear, make sure each experience us positive and safe, for you and pup. Set him up on play dates with dogs you know. Friends dogs, family dogs. Dogs you are comfortable around. I would not let him meet dogs you don't know.

Second. You HAVE to find a way to calm down. Your nerves are causing him to be aware and scared. You are creating a self fulfilling prophesy. You MUST find a way to calm down.

Find a trainer that you trust and work with them. Puppy classes are a great way to meet other people with puppies. Set up play dates with appropriate age and size puppies. Let him learn, don't coddle. But be safe.

Puppies are puppies. My current pup is 5 mo old. He is not perfect, barely has obedience, is rude and wild. So no judgement here on the puppy aspect. But like you, it is important to me for my pup to be neutral with other dogs. So we did a lot of controlled play. So far so good. But he has his moments.

Good luck.


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Thank you. I did talk to my husband about it (Metro was always better behaved when he held the leash, why? Because he wasn't afraid!) and have talked about having him go to the park WITH me and the dog so that he can hold the leash and I can be calm and work with Sabo focusing on me and not the other dogs. I have a co-worker who has a Golden Retriever who is the same age as Sabo and we are planning a get together.

Even "talking" about it here makes me anxious. Ugh. Who has Valium? LOL
 

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I agree, you need to find your way into a peaceful state with your pup.

Now, dogs vibe each other. You know that. Your baby is a baby, going through a normal fear stage (see Monks of New Skete book). Other dogs see pups and the like to go pick on them. They just do. Learn to spot the situations early and don't be afraid to tell other dog owners to keep their dog away. Do this for the time being so you can practice assertion, situation recognition and keeping calm.

Then, as the other poster said, socialize with pup-friendly dogs (and good owners) and teach your pup how wonderful it is to encounter friends.

Then work up to peaceful "sits" or "down" in the presence of new stimuli (loud machines, barking dogs, etc).

Most importantly: Be alpha and stand between any charging dog and your pup. Pup needs to learn YOU are alpha, and YOU take care of things like this. Pup is to learn to trust you to protect him/her.

Later on, when pup is mature, you can teach when to be reactive. But for the first 18mo (in my own opinion, and dogs differ), pups job is to chill out in new situations and focus on you in a calm way.

Best wishes. You can do this!
 
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