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Hi there,
I have a giant breed dog (2.5 yrs) and a large breed (1.5). They are obsessed with one another. We are working at establishing self-confidence in my younger one as she is not confident in social situations without her big brother (they are not litter-mates).

My problem is that we live in a smaller town that only has one park. My big guy was socialized very well as a puppy and we never had problems with him being aggressive, even when other dogs would hump him etc because he was always the biggest. Once we got our second dog he became very protective of her and thats when the a**hole attitude started around when he turned 1.

They now go on separate play dates because they are too big to control together as they feed off of one another. However, my issue is that he is now being a bully at the park, even when he is on his own. The types of behaviours he is exhibiting:
-biting at other dogs legs while they run
-bowling them over (I think sometimes it is an accident as he is so big, he doesn't watch where he is going)
-when they are scared of him, he chases them
-if they growl at him, he fights rather than listens.
-playing roughly
-biting on necks

My problem is that he is big, about 150lbs so no dog ever fights him back. I give him a time out, but he once settled, he does the exact same thing. Everything I read says that another dog will tell him no, but if they tell him no and they fight him (so to speak) and he wins, how do I teach him? He is always the biggest by far. How do I teach him to understand that when a dog growls, it means no, rather than see it as a challenge? I've worked with trainers and they say he is just playing but it really really bothers me. By avoiding the park, he is just not socializing.
 

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I taught my dog to stop his bully and fighting phase with a combination of corrections and timeouts and treats and praise. He used to jump into other scuffles, defend his buddies and protect them if they were playing with other dogs by going after the other dogs and not back down if another dog started a fight. Never to the point of injuries but it didn't look or sound good.
I'd call him to me and make a huge deal if praising him with his favorite bacon treats and lots of praise and rubs when he came over. I'd stand very close to his play wrestling sessions and remind him "gentle" and stop him with a break the second he got too rough. So he learned to listen to the word gentle or play would stop temporarily. If he did jump into a fight and ignore me I'd get him physically away and put him on the leash and we'd go sit in a corner of the park. No treats or praise just quiet. He'd have to stay in a down stay until he was calm and listening and no more adrenaline. When he was relaxed and calm enough to do a few commands he'd get more praise and he'd get to try being loose again. Every time he was a bully or started to scuffle I'd repeat.
He never does more than verbally bark or growl now.
Today there was a dog there that kept getting into fights with every dog there. He started to play with her a few times but she then went after him biting and snarling and snapping. He retreated but she pursued so he barked and growled but then immediately ran right to me for his treats.
There were a bunch of scuffles there today and each time he either immediately ran right to me without me even calling or when he did look interested he ran right over when I called him.
Improving recall in all situations is key and he has to associate fighting with loosing his freedom. Like nothing in life is free. He has to earn the privilege of being loose in the park with other dogs and he has to be polite.
Ironically enough, the one type of dog my dog really hates and will go after is the large shaggy 150+ pound dog's. An unsocialized bully at one stable used to just follow him everywhere and jump on him and torture him while he was leashed last summer. He would snap, bite, growl and even attack that dog, but didn't even faze the other dog. So now he goes after a young leonberger that goes to the park if the dog even goes near him to try to play. That dog doesn't respect no either. They coexist fine avoiding each other but if the leonberger tried to play with him or gets pushy I have to put him on a leash.

Dogs do bite necks and faces when playing, if they're not leaving marks and it's mutual it's not terrible. If one dog is upset by it, that's a different story.
 

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What exactly have these trainers that you're worked with recommended you do? Did they provide you with clear plans of action in these situations? What was their evaluation of the behavior, if they saw it happening? Did they explain why that was their evaluation of the behavior?

Honestly, I would consider this a dog that does not need to be socializing with unknown dogs. It's not the end of the world if a dog isn't hanging out with unknown dogs all the time, and a dog park is not the best way to let a dog get their energy out anyways.

I'm not saying that my actual assessment of the behavior is "don't socialize him with unknown dogs"- I haven't seen the behavior in question, I haven't evaluated the dog in person at all, it's unrealistic to give actual assessments over the internet. It might be do-able to teach him to socialize with unknown dogs but it's going to require increased obedience and a strong understanding of dog body language that would best be done with the help of an in person professional.
 
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