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Hello, all!

I have a 6 month old lab/pit mix, adopted when she was 4 months, and am having some major issues with her agression toward other dogs (GREAT with people, though). I got her from the shelter, and so don't know any background on her. When I got her home, and attempted to introduce her to my two other dogs, both older, it didn't go very well. One dog, a 9 year old shepherd male, is what people have recently described as 'fence aggressive' (I just thought he was guarding his property, but I suppose this makes sense), and made a racket at the fence when I pulled up. This riled Rosie, my puppy, up, and before I could introduce them properly, rosie attacked. I got them apart, and after a few scuffles, these two settled down into very much a good friendship. A little later, when I introduced Rosie to Moxie, my 13 year old border collie mix, who approached Rosie extremely sedately, Rosie again attacked. Now, Rosie tries to play with Moxie, and Moxie will have nothing to do with her. This is not my concern, however, as they both are learning to get along, however much more slowly then Rosie and my shepherd mix.

My concern is Rosie's obvious agression to all other dogs. A walk on the neighborhood leaves Rosie in a state like I've never had to deal with before. I watch television, and a dog barks on whatever show I'm watching, and Rosie nearly attacks the tv. I took her on an errand with my mother and me the other day, and when my mom was in the store and Rosie and I were walking around the parking lot, another lady go out of her car with a dog who did not bark nor make any other sound, agression or otherwise, clear across a great big parkinglot, and Rosie lunged.

I don't know how to socialize her safely, and I'm not in the position to afford classes. I have many friends/family that stay for a few days, and all of them have dogs, yet I don't want to muzzle her, as I'm afraid the introduction of this might be a stressor for her, and I don't believe this is fair anyway.

However, I know how proper socialization is very important, and I really want to get to a point with Rosie where I feel it's safe for both her and the dogs of others. There is one family member who has allowed me to socialize Rosie with her dogs, and this has gone somewhat well, however she lives 2 hours away. There aren't really pepole who would let me 'experiment' with the dogs, as they put it, and I don't think just throwing her into a dog park scenario would worj either, lol.

So, anyway, I would love some ideas. Is there something before walks, or exposing her to other animals I can try? Heck, or even a calming essential oil? Please please help, and thank you all!
 

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Frist off, I don't have experience with dog aggressive dogs, but maybe I can give some tips anyways:
I'd think (even though you mentioned the financial problem) you'd need a trainer or better yet a behaviorist to look at her behavior and help you. If she would be your only dog this would not be ideal either, but you have two other senior dogs to whom it's not fair to have an aggressor like that in the house (and even if they're not fighting momentarily, it doesn't mean they won't again in the near future). Separate your dogs to make fighting not even a possibility.
Dog park?! Hell no, not only for her safety, but also the safety for everyone around.

The problem is, you don't know the reason for her being aggressive. Was she in a fight when she was younger? Then it would be counter conditioning, which can help, but you will never be able to "feel safe for both her and the dogs of others", never, because you don't know what triggers her and even if and it got better through counter conditioning, you still never have a 100% guarantee that she's safe around other dogs.
Maybe it is genetics. Especially with bully breeds (mind you, I have an AmStaff mix myself), Rosie could be one of the unlucky ones where the dog aggression is highly prominent in behavior, who knows who bred her and for what purpose and with which parents. Even though you can train and counter condition a lot, you will never beat genetics. That is the sad part about the bullys, even if you do everything right as the owner, it was once the reason they got bred, to fight, so they're more likely to have dog aggression, no matter what you do.

I'm not sure about the muzzle, let others comment on that. It can make her defensive, which wouldn't be good at all, but it at least hinders her to bite.
 
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