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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Toby has developed over the past year an agression towards golden retrievers. He was this way with labs also until one turned and bit him and he never went near them again.

He has never biten another dog but when he sees a retriever he approaches it slowly with eyes fixed firmly on it you can see the other dog is worried. He then starts sniffing with the dog in a circle and when it seems as if the other dog is trusting him and letting it's guard down he growls, tries to jump from the side on to the dog's back near the neck area.

However if two retrievers from the same owner approach, he leaves well alone.

He is fine with small dogs and even at times appears wary of them. Bigger dogs than him he tends to leave well alone. It is only retrievers. Just want to add, he only does this if my other dog and myself are with or behind him. If we are ahead of him he leaves the dog alone.



I feel he bullies them because in general they are such non-agressive dogs and he knows this. However if one growls, he backs right off.

Would really appreciate help with this as the only answer that I can come up with is to keep him leashed whilst out walking.
 

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If you cannot control him enough to keep him from harassing other dogs, then yes, keep him leashed.
 

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I highly recommend the following referrence it is not very expensive aand I do believe it will be very helpfull for you but inorder to be successful you will need the cooperation of lab and golden owners . The leash is always an appropriate management tool but you can also work on the dogs recall so it is effective in highly distracted situations like that when a golden is present. If the dog will return to you be fore an incident then you can call the dog to you and leash the dog until you pass the dog.

FIGHT! - A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO THE TREATMENT OF DOG-DOG AGGRESSION

for a fair review of the book CLICK HERE
Donaldson functionally classifies interdog aggression into six categories based on the treatment approach best suited to correcting each.
Tarzans, as the name implies, are starved for interspecies social contact and have the kind of boorish social skills that lead them to hurl themselves at other dogs and start fighting at initial contact. Dogs with play skills deficits, by contrast, are able to greet and play but tend to get carried away and begin fighting as things overheat. Bullies are similar, except that they tend to single out specific dogs to torment, while playing appropriately with others. On the other hand, proximity sensitive dogs would prefer to avoid social contact altogether and may reactively or proactively aggress to maintain social distance. Resource guarders aggressively defend food, toys, locations, or people from other dogs. Lastly, compulsive fighters don't appear to engage in normal social behavior and have a genetic predisposition to fight. Not surprisingly, dogs may present with multiple types of interdog aggression, and classification may be confirmed or disproven as one observes the dog's response to treatment.

...
Donaldson outlines strategies for reforming dog-aggressive dogs, with an emphasis on teaching appropriate social skills through actual social encounters. Her exceptions are compulsive fighters and dogs with poor bite inhibition. She sensibly asserts that these animals should be managed on-leash or always muzzled around other dogs for safety, as "the risk of a bite both during and post rehabilitation is huge." However, for many dogs, she doesn't focus on merely training them to ignore other dogs on leash, but to tolerate or enjoy play groups and dog parks. This can be the quality that makes the book most useful, or most irrelevant, depending on the reader's values and goals.

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Donaldson's approach does have its limitations, among them that it often requires the cooperation of several other, well-socialized dogs and their owners. It may not be the answer to all readers' concerns. The relatively common scenario where a dog explodes into redirected fighting during high arousal situations is not specifically addressed, for example.


He then starts sniffing with the dog in a circle and when it seems as if the other dog is trusting him and letting it's guard down he growls, tries to jump from the side on to the dog's back near the neck area. ...
I feel he bullies them because in general they are such non-agressive dogs and he knows this. However if one growls, he backs right off.

I want you to consider this, What makes this aggressive act and not appropriate play? growling jumping up etc are all part of normal play If the other participating dog does not have a problem with Toby's action is it a problem. Those that do let him know and he backs off. Again not seeing an interaction it is impossible for any one else to know whether it is appropriate play or not but what you discribe a dog that appear to rough house and back of when the other dog does not could be a dog engaged in appropriate behavior that you are misinterpreting.

Dogs Use Non-Aggressive Fighting to Resolve Conflicts

Ask the AKC Animal Behaviorist - When Dogs Play, How Rough is Too Rough?
When healthy, active dogs play, it can sometimes seem very alarming. The noise and the intensity of the interaction can make you feel as if you should either run for cover or drag the two dogs apart. Here are a few questions to ask to help you evaluate the situation.

Are both dogs happy or is one or both being hostile?
To help figure out if the dogs are having fun or actually fighting, first look at each individual dog's body language and behavior. Signs of playing include:

-- A lowering of the front of the body with the rear end up. This "play bow" is an invitation to play.
-- A relaxed mouth
-- A desire to continue interacting with the other dog
-- No show of teeth or actual biting (though controlled mouthing is fine)
-- A relaxed posture with the hackles (hair on the back of the neck and shoulders) down

Signs that things are not going so well are when one dog tries to dominate the other by jumping on it, pinning it down so it can't move for an extended period of time, or biting the other dog and causing pain. You should definitely interrupt the game if you see these signs that indicate one dog might not be playing. You may also want to get a book on dog body language so you can better understand what your dogs are communicating.][/quote]

Interrupting Rough Dog-to-Dog Play

Is Your Dog’s Rough Play Appropriate?
Our research shows that for many dogs, play fighting is the primary method used to negotiate new relationships and develop lasting friendships. Although play is fun, it also offers serious opportunities to communicate with another dog. In this sense, play is a kind of language. Thus, when we regularly break up what we consider “inappropriate” play, are we doing our dogs a service, or confusing them by constantly butting into their private conversations? Most importantly, how can we tell the difference?
 

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Personally,a leashed dog is a safe dog ,for the most part.
My thoughts too... and especially if it's just a certain dog or breed your dog isn't happy with, just put the lead on when you see a Retriever coming along and keep your dog at a safe distance from the other dog and perhaps the feeling of aggression will diminish or disappear given more time!!
 

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Personally,a leashed dog is a safe dog ,for the most part.
the incidents of barrier fustration leading to leash aggression are far to common for me to agree often time a leash is a particpator cause of aggressive behavior that would not occur if the dog were not on lead.


That is not the case here so using the leash is not a bad option but it only manages the problem it does not solve it. but often the effort to mange a situation vs the effort need to solve it makes management a much more viable solution
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks so much Mikey for your help. I am now in a quandry as to whether it is play or aggression. One thing is for sure, I need it sorted out! I have an appointment with a behaviourist this afternoon. She has seen both dogs before. She was originally a vet who now lectures in animal behaviour so I trust her opinion.

Keeping him leashed seems to exacberate the problem. Yesterday a golden whom he originally tried to 'attack' came running up to him Between the owner shouting for her dog to get back and trying to grab the collar, and me trying to conrol Toby who was desperately trying to get to the dog, it was a nightmare.

Will post tonight on the outcome. Thanks everone for your comments.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Keep loosing posts on here if I make them too long and have to re-fresh page. This is my third attempt. Long story cut short......She does not consider Toby to be displaying aggressive behaviour. Going by the info I gave she thinks that he is asking the dog if he wants to play and only jumps barks growls etc when he has received a positive response. Thanks Mikey for suggesting this
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Any one got any idea why I can't write long posts without it saying I do not have authority to perform this please refresh page?
 

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I can't write long posts without it saying I do not have authority to perform this please refresh page?
Try Posting you problem on the tech and troubleshooting forum also a Private mesage to the "admin" might help resolve the issue.

Yesterday a golden whom he originally tried to 'attack' came running up to him Between the owner shouting for her dog to get back and trying to grab the collar, and me trying to conrol Toby who was desperately trying to get to the dog, it was a nightmare.
Barrier fustration can lead to a dog that wants to meet and greet another dog and is orevented fro doings so to desplace that agression/fustration it is the basis or start of most leash aggression. The solution is teaching the dog self control so it caln walk up to and great other dogs in a calm manner. The fact the other dog was seeking out Toby in a non agressive manor tend to support the premise of rough play. People tend to forget while short basset are large dogs and play like large dogs. Ort that dog play is often a sort of a rehersal for fighting and hunting skills and that to judge it approiately we can just look at one dog but also how the other dog responds.
 
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