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Canine Behavior/aggression towards other dogs


believe that we are worsening his aggression by tightening the leash and getting anxious when we see another dog. We took him to the dog park, but kept him on a leash. He acted the same way. I would like to take him back to the park with a muzzle to see how he acts, but without the fear that he'll bight someone's dog. Will this do more harm, or will it help to get rid of our fear when we see another dog? I dont want our nervousness to worsen his behavor

NO DOG PARK for this dog.  Now, and most likely never.

Not every dog is a candidate for the dog park, as much as dog owners seem to think the dogs benefit from same.  I've seen far too many "good" dogs develop awful behavior because of dog parks.  Not everyone's dog is trained, not all the dogs present are fit for this off leash interaction, etc.  Keeping your dog on restraint when other dogs are free to approach at will aggravates anxiety - in the dog, and then in you!  And your fear goes right down the leash.

"Getting anxious" can be an interpretation and it can be a wrong interpretation, but this is quite common so don't blame yourself.  I'd have to see it for myself, actually, to pass a really sound opinion regarding what the dog is "feeling" or "thinking".  But, a tight leash is a no-no (especially if the dog is wearing a painful collar, throw them out!)

What you want to do is attempt some counter conditioning.  But first, please describe what you mean by "getting anxious", how soon it begins, how it first demonstrated and for how long, and what you have done and are doing to address it.  Please use followup feature.  Thank you

Canine Behavior

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Jill Connor, Ph.D.


I have spent my entire professional life rehabilitating the behavior of the domestic dog and I can answer any question regarding any behavior problem in any breed dog. I have answered more than 5,000 QUESTIONS on this site in the past (almost) eight years. If you are a caring, committed owner and need advice, I'm here for you. I am personally acquainted with my colleagues (Turid Rugaas, Ian Dunbar, etc.) who were members of an elite group in EGroups that I founded: K9Shrinks. THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES for serious behavioral issues; not only is it unprofessional to offer same, it is also unethical. IF I ASK YOU SUBSEQUENT QUESTIONS, I NEED YOU TO INTERACT WITH ME. More information equals more credible answers and a more successful outcome. If you want ANSWERS THAT WORK, participate in any way I request. I'm quite committed to working on this site for YOUR benefit and the benefit of YOUR DOG. Help me in any way you can.


30 years of solving serious behavior problems in domestic dogs; expert in dog to human aggression; Internet columnist for for 5 years; former radio talk show host, WHPC.FM, Garden City, NY "Bite Back" (1995 through 2000). List owner, international animal behavior experts, Seminar leader: "Operant Conditioning and Learning"; "Aggression in The Domestic Dog"; "Solving Problem Behaviors" -- conducted for various training facilities on Long Island from 1993 through 2000. Former clinical director of "Behavioral Abnormalities" in conjunction with Mark Beckerman, DVM, Hempstead, New York.

Member, APDT (UK); Psychologists in Ethical Treatment with Animals

Harcourt Brace Learning Direct: "The Business of Dog Training" "The Fail Safe Dog: Brain Training, not Pain Training"

Ph.D., UC Berkeley

Past/Present Clients
Board of Directors: Northeast Dog Rescue Connection; The Dog Project; Sav-A-Dog Foundation; etc. Pro Bono counselor: Little Shelter Humane Society My practice is presently limited to forensics. I diagnose cause of dog bite, based upon testimony before the Court, for attorneys and insurance companies litigating dog bites, including fatal injuries. I also do pro bono work for bona fide rescue organizations, humane societies, et al, regarding such analysis in an effort to obtain release for dogs being held for death in municipal shelters in the US.

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