Dog to Dog Aggression

Posted by tmauer1005
Oct 30, 2009
I adopted a 4-yr old black lab from the local humane society in mid-July. I spayed her shortly after adopting her. The humane society indicated their testing showed that she would be fine with small pets but that she could be aggressive with larger dogs.

After getting her home, I found out that she was aggressive with the cats (lunging, etc.) At one point after she chased the cats, the cats returned and attacked the dog. She responded and one of the cats was hurt quite badly. Since then, I have worked with her (and the cats!) to teach them to co-exist (water bottle worked wonders). They are actually doing very well and while I still take general precautions - she has stopped lunging at the cats and I can have them all milling around without issues. I'll continue reinforcing her good behavior here.

THE MAIN QUESTION/PROBLEM NOW - Now I need to move on to training her to be around other dogs. My mother has a papillon/poodle mix and we would very much like to be able to get them used to one another. She shows similar traits around dogs that she showed around the cats - growling, lunging, aggressive stance. What steps can I take to safely begin training her around other animals? I'm considering taking her to a professional trainer - mostly because I don't want my inexperience to make matters worse!

(PS this is the sweetest dog otherwise. no food aggression. I can take toys/food away from her and she doesn't growl or otherwise indicate that she is upset with that. She is a great walker and generally has a very sweet nature. She does love to CHEW but for the most part sticks with the toys and bones I provide for her.)
Posted by LetsPlay
Nov 4, 2009
Hi there,

thanks for taking in this lovely sounding lab. I'm sure you will be able to get her used to other dogs as well.
Do you know much about her history? Perhaps she wasn't socialized when she was little or she had some bad experiences. She might also be insecure or feel like she is the pack leader and therefore needs to protect you.

Could you please clarify what exactly happens when she meets other dogs? Is that usually on or off leash? Are the other dogs just random dogs you meet on the street or at the dog park? How do you react when she lunges?

Do you get nervous when you see other dogs or do you see it as a good chance to practice?

Do you work with her every day? Do you follow the Alpha Dog rules?

If you could answer these questions for me that would be great.