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We've noticed that our dog doesn't react well when large dogs bark at him. He hardly ever barks himself, usually only when someone knocks on the door. The only times he has gotten slightly aggressive when playing with other dogs, is if the other dog is right up in his space, barking at him. Has anyone else experienced this before? He does fine if we are out on a walk and a dog in a yard or house sees him and barks… he could care less. It is just during play that it freaks him out and he will start to growl or appear aggressive. (so far we have just been gently removing him from the situation at that point, as we don't want it to get more aggressive).

Also, we have also noticed he is instantly friendly and playful with female dogs, but takes some time to warm up and be playful with male dogs (both neutered and not). Is this common?
 

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First off, male dogs almost always adore females but are iffy with the dudes. I work at a shelter and half the "dog aggressive" dogs are males that do great with females but are bossy with males, neutered or not. It's part of their nature. However, they can get over it with proper training and introductions.

Many dogs have issues having their personal space invaded. If another dog gets in their face and barks, they may react with growling, barking, snapping or lunging. You can help them avoid this situation by slowly introducing the dogs, keeping things calm at first, and distraction during this time (removing the dog can work, but tapping on or both dogs on the legs to get them to look at you and then offering a toy can also snap them out of it without having to break-up the play-date).

I hope this helps some. Best of luck!
 
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