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Ok, my little man, Bear isn't a GSD but I'm hoping someone can give me some tips/ advice?

Bear is a 5yo desexed male Shih-Tzu x. He is a beautiful boy, so well behaved. However, he does have 1 issue. He has a really bad habit of starting fights with some dogs. Usually Staffy's, Pit Bulls, Mastiffs, BullDogs etc, you know the ones that could swallow him whole :eek:
I socialised him from 12 weeks old, he used to be fantastic. I used to take him to the dog beach all the time & there was no issues. I know that my reactions when he did start doing this have made it worse. And I know that I get tense around other dogs with him & that makes it worse.

He has never drawn blood. He attacks the other dogs when they are sniffing him, or very close to him & he decides he doesn't want them to be. After he 'attacks' them, he gets over it & generall won't do it again & has been known to then play with these dogs. He also won't actively seek fights or go after dogs, so I don't think it's full on dog aggression but maybe more him learning how to behave appropriately.

I have started taking him & Roman to 'Doggy Day Care' and he interacts with a large group of dogs all day & the staff are brilliant in handling the situations. I'm hoping this will help him.

I am just so scared that he will pick on the wrong dog one day & get seriously hurt.

I have been told by a 'behavioural specialist' to do tha alpha roll when he shows aggression towards other dogs to get him to submit, but I don't think it works & it doesn't sit right with me. I have read all the conflicting infomation regarding this move.

So, I am open to any suggestions! I want to get him back to the point where we can all socialise with no dramas and he can get enjoyment out of it.

TIA & apologies for the epic post!
 

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Time for a new "behavioral specialist"! You are quite right in expressing reluctance to do an "alpha roll" when he exhibits aggressive behavior towards other dogs. An "alpha roll" will not help him feel more comfortable with other dogs, at all. Not good advice. :(

I'll let other, more experienced folks chime in on your dog's fear aggression.
 

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That's what I thought! I figured there has to be a better do it then that. So happy I spent money for this guy to give me bogus advice :mad:

Thanks for your reply
 

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Why are you letting him get close enough to other dogs for him to react that way?
I agree, no to the rolling or pinning. Practice NILIF and treat him the same you would any other dog.
He is probably reacting out of fear, and if on leash he cannot flee so will choose to fight to get the threat away from him. Does it happen mostly when he is leashed? At daycare, he isn't leashed so the fight/flight option is not an issue?
If they are helping him at daycare, ask them what methods they are using to keep him even keeled and ask if you can observe(so he doesn't know you are there) for a bit during the playtime.
 

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Sometimes, you just have to accept that not every dog is social dog, or a dog-park dog. My rescue does not get along with other dogs, so she is not allowed to meet and greet other dogs, not even any nose sniffing. If we are out in public, or at the river park, and other dogs approach us, we start formal obedience eye-contact heeling or she goes in a down and stays there until the other dog(s) have walked by. Usually when other owners see how I get her attention away from the other dogs and on me, the owners get the hint and keep going. But that's okay, we can still have a lot of fun and a great time with her focused on me, under control, and only allowed to interact with dogs that I know she gets along well.

If your dog feels threatened by other dogs, up to you to not set him up for a fight. Keep him safe, don't put him in a situation where he feels his only defense is a strong offense.

We can't make our dogs like other dogs - we can manage their environment and control their social encounters though to not put them in situations that might turn bad.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Why are you letting him get close enough to other dogs for him to react that way?
I'm not letting him get close enough to other dogs anymore, so he doesn't get a chance to react that way. But I don't want it to be that way. Since getting Roman I take him everywhere & he is a little social butterfly & I hate leaving Bear out.
The fight or flight thing does sound like a viable reason. He does do it alot more when on lead.
I was actually thinking about gong to observe at daycare without him seeing me.

Castlemaid, the thing is, once he gets over the initial introduction he loves playing with other dogs. It's like he puts 'barriers' up when he first meets some other dogs & then once the ice melts he has the time of his life & there is no other incidents.
Your dog sounds incredible btw!
 

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It sounds as though he is afraid. Once the other dog demonstrates that it is friendly, his fear is relieved and he is able to interact with them. His aggressive behavior could stimulate a similar reaction though, in another dog so inclined.
 

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He has a really bad habit of starting fights with some dogs. Usually Staffy's, Pit Bulls, Mastiffs, BullDogs etc, you know the ones that could swallow him whole :eek:
It's notable that he reacts to bully breeds. Bully breeds as a group tend to be 'in your face' dogs that get too close too fast for many other kinds of dogs (and for many people), especially for many small dogs. They also tend to take offense more quickly than other breeds. That is why a good daycare center sorts dogs according to play style, and why it's not a good idea to take bully breeds to dog parks. But since many bully breed owners are not aware of this, other dogs get stressed by the bully breeds' "rude" approaches. It sounds like your small dog is objecting to this kind of approach, and he has a right to say so. I agree with Castlemaid, taking your little man to a dog park may not be a good idea.
I am also not fond of people who get too fast too close, even if they mean no harm. Dogs have their preferences and vary in social skills, too.
I body block space crashing dogs and ask the owner to call off and control their dog, to keep him away from mine.
I socialised him from 12 weeks old, he used to be fantastic. I used to take him to the dog beach all the time & there was no issues.
It is not surprising that your shitzu's reaction to bully breed dogs developed as he matured: Puppies have little sense of personal space bubbles. In that sense, bully breeds remain puppyish as they retain this through adulthood. In addition to bully breeds, many labs have no dog manners to speak of but they tend to be more forgiving of another dog's correction than bully breeds.
 

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Samba, you could be right. In some situations anyway. But he doesn't get scared of much. He's a tough little man!

RunShepherdRun, your post makes so much sense. I had never thought about the fact they are 'bully breeds'. I had never heard this term, but it totally makes sense. And I am the same with people who come at me too much too quickly, so I dont blame him for being the same. I'm all for him requesting his own space, but like you said as these bully breeds have less tolerance and take offence easier which is what causes the issue I guess.
And you're so right, so many owners aren't aware and don't do a **** thing to stop any of it. The same thing happened yesterday with Roman. An extremely high enrgy Staff rolled him aggressively & was having a go at him I was the one who had to step in to stop it. So frustrating. But anyway, off topic! Thank you for your response.
I want him to be able to socialis an enjoy the company of other dogs, I will just have to monitor with who and when. And I think I will ake on your body block approach to I think. Thanks!
 
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