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We got our dog about 6 months ago. We took him from the previous owner because he was neglected and mistreated.
We know he's at least part Shepard but what else, we're not sure. He's about 3 years old.
Since we've got him, I walk him and take him to the dog park regularly with no issues. 2 weeks ago or so we were walking and there was another dog so my dog went to go sniff him and the dog bite my dogs nose and had my dogs head pinned to the ground. I separated the dogs and saw that my dogs nose had a cut on it from the other dog. I stopped taking him to the dog park because he plays with the other dogs and I don't want him to get him nose hit and react aggressively cause it hurts him. I just figured I'll take him back to the dog park once the wound heals.
Now, when i take my dog for a walk, he barks at other dogs. I feel the barking is aggressive. I understand he's on the defense because of what happened but I'm scared to even take him back to the dog park because he just seems.... I think aggressive is a bit of a harsh word but he's not acting like his friendly self now.
I was told to take him the dog park where he's familiar with the people and the dogs (it's usually the same people there every morning) but I would hate for him to growl or snap at another dog and I especially wouldn't want to take him if he is gonna be a jerk and hurt another dog. Can someone please give me some advice on how to deal with this. Now that his nose is healed, do I just take him back to be socialized and hope nothing happens??
 

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That's an unfortunate event for your dog which probably left a scar not only on his nose but his heart too. I believe the solution is for your dog to meet new dogs and realize that not all of them are aggressive. Your dog may not be aggressive towards female dogs, at least not until he sniffs them.

My dog is aggressive towards every dog he sees for years. However, he comes near each dog after barking to sniff them and then they play together. Your dog would probably love to play with other dogs too, but he has to meet their intentions first.

I would suggest you put him on a leash, at least for some time. You said you are afraid of him hurting other dogs, but he cannot hurt anyone if it's on a leash. You may also try to calm him while he's acting aggressively towards other dogs. I always pet my dog to calm him when he's barking and he always stops.

However, both dogs may have different personalities and I may be totally wrong. But I am sure that if you let him be in an environment with dogs that have good intentions, he will have good intentions too.
 

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Hi.

I would avoid the dog park, tbh. They're a great idea in theory - a place where dogs can be off leash and run around and play with others. But reality is often very different.

It's often the case that dog owners have the best of intentions when they take their pets to the dog park, but unfortunately, many are unable to read canine body language and therefore miss the often subtle signs that intervention is needed. The dogs, unsupported by the human caregivers, are therefore left to deal with any tension themselves, leading to fights or squabbles breaking out.

Dogs don't have to be social butterflies that have to be friends with every dog they see - in fact, it's as unnatural to them as it is for us. We're not friends with, nor greet, everyone we see, and it's the same with dogs. Just because he sees the same faces every day at the park, doesn't mean he gets on with them.

As for the barking at other dogs, well, if I was bitten on the nose, I'd be pretty defensive too. There'll be a line, a threshold in which he goes from relaxed (easy, light body movements, engages with handler - you - happy to explore, ), to alert (body stiffens, ears forward, tail might wag slowly - it's not always a sign of a happy dog - eyes glued on the target, no longer engaging with you, perhaps a whine or a low growl) to reaction (this is what you describe -, the barking, probably with a lunge). You want to keep him on the "relaxed" side of the threshold. It could be that the dog is way off in the distance, a mere blip on the horizon, but there will be a threshold. Change direction, say "Let's go" in a happy, sing song voice, teach him "Watch Me" or "What's That?" (What's that is much like Watch Me, except you redirect the dog's attention to something else). When on the street, use cars, walls, bushes, etc to block off line of sight.

DO NOT pet your dog whilst he is barking or hyper vigilant, unless you want to be bitten. When he's in that state, he isn't thinking (that's why we call it "reactive"), and he won't discriminate between the dog that makes him fearful, and your hand coming towards him. A treat in your hand, waved in front of his nose, might, if the other dog is far enough away, snap him out of it by simultaneously blocking off line of sight and engaging his sense of smell, but the closer the other dog is, the less it's likely to work and the more likely your dog is to it ignore your hand and focus on the target.
 

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I believe the solution is for your dog to meet new dogs and realize that not all of them are aggressive.
I would not recommend this. You dont overcome a fear of snakes by being thrown into a snake pit.

As @LMMB says, you need to work on it from a distance

By putting on a big aggressive display, your dog is just trying to frighten off the other dog, his body language is saying 'I'm loud and big and scary, don't come close to me if you know what's good for you'. And almost always the other dog will retreat, or be taken away by his owner, so your dog's behaviour becomes reinforced. It worked, so he knows he can do it again.

This sort of behaviour often happens when your dog is on lead, which means that he has found himself closer to the other dog than he would have chosen if he had been able to.

He will have an invisible radius of space around him where he feels secure. It's called flight distance, anything within that space triggers his fight or flight stress response, which you may have heard of. Find out what that is and keep him far enough away from other dogs that he is aware of them, but relaxed. Reward him for being calm with something fabulous, like frankfurter sausage or a very special toy. The aim of this is to change your dog’s emotional response to the stressful thing (the other dog) by repeatedly pairing it with something good. In time, your dog will learn that scary dogs mean sausages appear and this creates something called a positive conditioned emotional response (+CER).

This website explains it in more detail - Care for Reactive Dogs

Gradually, over weeks and months rather than days, you can work on reducing the distance. This may mean you have to be selective where you walk - choose places with good visibility so you can give other dogs a wide berth, or where you can turn and walk away easily. But - be aware that if your dog has had a stressful episode the stress hormone cortisol can stay in the body for some time. Studies in dogs are inconclusive but it may be several days. The distance he was comfortable with on one day might be too close on another day. So the safe distance can change, watch his body language.

Alongside that you could train a 'watch me'. As your dog looks at you, mark and reward the behaviour. Ask for longer periods of watching. Then if a dog approaches, after you have worked on the distance issue, you can get your dog to focus on you and not the other dog. BUT - some dogs find this scary as they cannot see the thing they are anxious about so you need to judge your dog. And importantly, don't ask your dog to watch you if it is the other dog that is reactive. Your dog should never be in a situation where he could be at risk while he is complying with something you have asked him to do.

Trainers describe behaviour like this with reference to the three Ds. Distance, as above but also be aware of Duration - your dog might be tolerant for 10 seconds, but not 15; and Distraction - how distracting the stimulus is, a calm dog might not trigger any reaction at a given distance but a bouncy one might.

In addition, the conformation (shape) or even colour of some dogs can trigger a reaction. Very broad fronted dogs (such as mastiffs or bulldogs) create the impression of 'facing up' just because of their shape, which can be intimidating even if their temperament is perfect. And black dogs are thought to have facial body language that is harder to read. Some dogs will be more reactive to un-neutered males, or particular breeds for no apparent reason. Learn what triggers reactions in your dog so that you can give him the extra support he needs.
 
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