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Dog is Aggressive Towards Other Resident Dogs

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Dogs are pack animals that would normally establish a hierarchy of dominance and define a territory as their own. When introducing a new dog(s) into your home with a resident dog, patience and proper introduction techniques can help reduce or eliminate the potential aggressive behavior. This is a guide about dog is aggressive towards other resident dogs.
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By 0 found this helpful
May 5, 2008

I have had my Jack Russell Terrier since she was a couple of months old and she's 3 now and very aggressive for no reason. If anyone goes near her bones or toys, she snaps. If anyone tries to move her off the bed, she snaps. I had another dog a few months back that I had to get rid of since my Jack Russell kept attacking my other dog and I felt it wasn't fair to my other dog. I have had to get rid of 2 dogs because of my Jack Russell so far.

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She even bit me one time and I have scars on my hand from her. I recently got a new puppy as well who is 5 months old and anytime he tries to play with toys or touch bones, she snaps on him bad. Every dog I get I seem to have to get rid of because she won't stop attacking them and I just don't know what to do anymore. People have told me maybe she needs to be euthanized now since she's so out of control anymore.

Earlier today I had both of my dogs outside and she found a stick she was chewing and my other dog went to smell it and she attacked him yet again. I just don't know what to do anymore. She is my baby but I don't want to have to keep getting rid of every pet I get because of her. What should I do?

Jessica from PA

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May 5, 20080 found this helpful
Best Answer

It sounds like she is jealous of the dogs you are bringing home. Euthanizing her would not be a very fair option in my opinion. Maybe it is her that would be happier in a new home. It seems like she would be best kept as the only dog.

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By guest (Guest Post)
May 6, 20080 found this helpful
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You have a serious problem here and it's only a matter of time before your dog bites a human and then you are ordered to euthanize her.

I am a dog trainer, and I see this problem a lot. First off, you need to educate yourself about pack order and canine body language. (Stanley Coren is a respected author on this to get you started.) You (and others in your pack) are giving her signals that she is the pack leader, and as the pack leader, she is merely correcting behaviour that she sees as being out of line. She's acting as any dominant dog will.

I'll give you some tips to get you started in communicating consistent messages to your dog.

You need to let her know that she is NOT the pack leader. You (and all other humans) are above her in the pack order. Let the dogs sort it out between them with you standing by to correct aggressive and other behaviours you will not tolerate.

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Begin by understanding this basic concept: The pack leader is in control of all of the resources. This includes food, toys, treats, the best places to sit and sleep, playtime, access to outside, the direction and pace of a walk, etc. All resources. Remember this.

Here are some helpful tips:

1) DO NOT free feed. (free feed means to leave food in dish and refill when empty.) Feed your dog at times YOU decide and leave the dish on the floor for 10 minutes. Anything not eaten by then is picked up and she'll have to wait until the next feeding time. You are not starving her. You are merely communicating to her that YOU are the leader in control of the food -- how much and when -- not the magical bowl on the floor that refills itself whenever it's empty. If you already feed her this way, good.

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2) Insist she says please before getting any resource (see above) by making her sit first. Sit before you feed her. Sit before a treat, toy, a pet, etc. Sit is the please and thank you in the dog world.

3) Do not let her sleep on the bed with humans. The pack leader gets the best place to sleep. She's already showing that she is dominant, so you need to be clear and consistent in your messages to her. Don't confuse her by letting her sleep on the bed. This may be hard if she's used to it, but be firm. If you are consistent with all the other messages you send her, then she'll resist this change less. Also, don't let her on the couch when humans are sitting on it. She'll see herself as an equal. You aren't being mean. Get her a nice blanket or a cushy dog bed. That will be her bed to sit and sleep on. Make it enticing by giving her treats and toys there.

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4) Remove any toys laying around the house and keep them in a box that humans have access to but not the dogs. Then give her a toy (after she sits). One toy. You are not taking away her toys; you are just controlling her access to them. Then, when you want to put the toy away to clean up or to exchange it, have a treat in your hand and trade her a treat for the toy. You'll be rewarding her for giving up the toy. NOTE: if she doesn't want to give up the toy, then make sure you have something awesome to trade with. It can be a walk or a favourite game instead of a treat. Just something to get her give up that toy. You don't want to lose this battle.

5) The walk is very important to establishing pack order and the exercise is good for her mind. You need to do this right, though, or you'll be sending her mixed messages. YOU are the one in control of the direction and the pace of the walk. Begin when you hook up the leash. Make sure she sits and holds it on her own. If she breaks the sit, stop attaching the leash, make sure she sits, and try again. Be patient and don't let her boss you around. She'll get what she wants when she gives you the behaviour you want. VERY IMPORTANT: when exiting the house, make sure all people exit BEFORE the dog. In the canine world, leaders and higher members exit and lead, with the lower members in the pack following. It's best to also put her in a sit/stay and then when you command her to exit let her exit. But don't let her exit before you. Again, if she breaks the stay and exits before a person and/or before you've given the command, stop, take her back in (along with anyone in the pack she exited before) and do it again and again until she gets it right. No need for treats. The reward is the walk. When walking, if she pulls, stop, call her to you, and walk backward until she comes to your side, of her own accord. You'll know this because the leash will get slack. When this happens, praise her and continue in the direction she was heading. This will result in a lot of back and forth, but she'll get it quickly if you are consistent. If you let her pull on the leash, she'll think she's walking you and that is NOT what you want.

You don't have a bad dog. You have a dominant dog and she's taken over the leadership role because the pack members have let her. She'll probably always try to move up in rank, so you have to be consistent and firm with the rules. Never break them because she'll just take it to the next level.

I hope this helps. Again, educate yourself and try to use positive-reinforcement training methods rather than punishment-based. You never want to have a physical altercation with your dog. All aggression should be forbidden, including human aggression to dogs. CAUTION: you may find some trainers recommending the alpha roll with your dog. This is where they tell you to take your dog and roll her on her back. Do not do this. This is how the alpha dog will correct another dog, and if the dog resists, there will be biting. This is how they handle it. You do not want your dog to think it's okay to have a physical altercation with a human. If your dog challenges you, you will be bitten. Maybe not the first time, but sometime.

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By 0 found this helpful
August 21, 2010

We just rescued/adopted a 10-12 week old male, Blue Pit Bull. He was abused and neglected. We are having an issue with him trying to show dominance over us and our 5 other dogs by constantly trying to hump us. Saying "no" and pushing him off is not working. How do I correct this without scaring him more or doing more damage than good? If redirection of attention is suggested, what should we use?

By Kim from Lusby, MD

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August 24, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

Neutering should be done for sure, but he is not sexually mature at this age so that is not the issue. He is insecure based on his background he does not have a lot of confidence in people. He feels the need to control the other dogs and you to be safe. He needs to learn that you are the leaders and you will keep him and the other dogs safe and provide for their well being. the larger your pack the more complicated the dynamics. There are websites and training programs on the web. Also Pitbulls are not an aggressive breed. They are loving, loyal and quite docile. It's the way they have been socialized and trained by irresponsible owners that nurture aggression. It is not an innate trait. I will try to locate some of the training sites and send them. One technique is to keep puppy on a lead in the house and not allow jumping , humping behavior, reward positive interaction, and lots of walking with the other dogs in a controlled manner, where pup is not leading the pack but you are. Good luck

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April 7, 20150 found this helpful

I have a 10 year old JRT and an 8 yr. old Cockapoo. I got a Boxer x Mastiff and since the age of 6 months she has been attacking the 2 small dogs. She will pick them up by the back of the head and shake them. This has happened roughly 7 times! She is 16 months old now and just attacked the JRT again. Another time she just bounced on them. Other times they are fine together. She has drawn blood at times. What do I do to correct this or can I?

By L.M.

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April 8, 20150 found this helpful
Best Answer

What you are describing sounds like your boxer is using the smaller dogs as toys. Large breed dogs often carry cats by their heads.
Bouncing is simply what dogs do. They jump on each other. I bet your boxer mix doesn't realize she's gotten as big as she has.

Considering she's still a puppy, you should be able to fix it. When the puppy grabs a dog, bring yourself to your full height, stretch your arm out fully from your shoulder, point and say "Drop it!" in a stern voice.
Practice doing this with various toys and other articles until your puppy obeys right away.

Practice also the command "Sit!" so you can use it when your puppy is jumping.

Large breed dogs require more training and better behavior than small breed dogs because of their size. I suggest you ask yourself a few questions. Do you have any experience with large breed dogs? Are you willing to put in the extra time and effort it will take to train your dog to keep it from becoming a menace? Do you have the time? Be honest.

If not, the puppy is still young, and you can find it a home with someone who has a lot of experience with large breeds.
If you are willing to put in the extra time for training it will need, then you should start now. A six month boxer-mastiff mix is already a big dog and people will soon start to see it as a potential danger. Your dog could be in trouble with the neighbors and their pets if it doesn't learn some manners soon.

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April 9, 20150 found this helpful
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The previous answer was excellent. As a retired AKC Boxer raiser-breeder (after 40+years) who also did many years of breed rescue, all I can add is the following:

Boxers and certain cross (like the Mastiff in your cross) breeds mature at a much later age than most dogs - a Boxer generally matures fully at around aged three years (although sexually mature at around aged 6-8 months, so spaying/neutering at that age is 99.9% of the time highly advisable). You should expect puppy behaviours like 'play fighting' for some time to come.

You don't mention her being spayed so I'm going to assume you've not had that done - do it now, as soon as you can. Sooner. That will help lessen her aggressive play with the others. It's not a cure by any means. Training is also a good step - if you haven't already, you should have her on a training course. Your local Leisure Services likely offers low-cost training courses for you and your dog.

The local library and the Internet are great sources of 'self-help' training information; your vet is always your first go-to for breed specific information and training suggestions. You must completely understand the breed specific needs of your dog - both Boxer and Mastiff breed traits and characteristics.

I can't stress how very vitally important training is - you will not be able to stop her wanting to be 'assertive' or 'aggressive' towards the other animals but you must be able to rely on her obeying your command of 'Stop!' 'Down!' and 'Come!'.

It should go without saying your cross Boxer-Mastiff must never again be left unsupervised with any other animal or vulnerable human - vulnerable is defined under US and UK (where I now live) as: child under 16 years, unwell/physically or mentally challenged of any age, and elderly.

Many locales in the US and UK have strict legislation against certain breeds and crosses. I don't think Boxer-Mastiffs have made that list yet but you should check with your local authorities to be sure. You may have to have specialised insurance, heavy fencing, etc including using leads and muzzles when in public or around the vulnerable.

If you feel all of the above is too much for your family to cope with, please find a reputable breed rescue group to rehome this dog to a home knowledgable about the cross and able to take on the tremendous responsibility.

To be completely clear - it's been my experience a Boxer-Mastiff (or Boxer-Staffie) cross should be the only companion animal in the family. Frankly, they don't usually 'play well with others'.

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By 1 found this helpful
December 21, 2010

My 8 year old Lab mix has been extra grumpy this past month or so. I understand when she growls when our 9 month old Husky starts pestering her trying to get her to play. What I don't understand is why she'll start growling if she's in the same room chewing on her toy, nowhere near her. She'll just start growling if the Husky comes into the room.

It gets annoying and is a pain, if she jumps up on the bed with her or even lays next to her! It never used to bother her this much unless the Husky was actually touching her or really trying to bother her.

Yesterday she attacked the Husky while I was at work and my husband put a bowl of water down. All he knew was that they were both drinking water and all the sudden the Lab snapped. They haven't gotten in a fight in months which is kind of why I'm confused. They were doing great and then she just snapped for a reason.

I don't know why is she being like this. I've tried almost everything I can think of to get her to stop, but nothing is working. How can I make her stop being so grouchy and stop fighting the Husky?

By Ashley from Seattle, WA

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December 21, 20100 found this helpful
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Ashley, this is a complicated situation that deserves more than a few posts, but let me give it a shot. I understand your problem as we had a similar situation with an older dog and a new puppy. At first they were great buds, then the older one started getting irritated about the younger one thinking he could do whatever he wanted to do. The older one got more territorial and chaos started to prevail. We had to learn it was a power struggle for dominance between the two dogs and (treating them like older children trying to "be the boss" of younger children) had to take steps to remind both who was in charge.. Us, adult humans!

Dogs have a instinctive, pack mentality. If you don't take on the role of the human alpha, leader of the pack, one of the dogs will! Again, it's instinct on the part of the dog to take charge if he or she doesn't perceive another to be an effective leader. The dog shouldn't be "punished" for trying to take the lead, but you, the true human alpha of the pack, must remind the more dominant dog who is actually in charge. (The humans.) Honestly, once the dogs know how much you want to be in charge, most are happy and willing to let you take the lead.

When our older dog got snarly or snarky with the younger dog, we would take him into another room and make him go through a series of "sit, down, stay" commands to remind him who was the "boss." (Us humans!) We would do the same with the younger one when he got a bit cocky. The trick was to discipline them in private. No one, skin or fur, appreciates being corrected in front of others! :-) It works almost every time. (No such thing as perfection, here, but this technique works well for us.)

We still have the occasional spat between the fur boys, but for the most part we all get along. It's important to remember that, skin or fur, all get miffed on occasion and a simple break can sooth a few rattled nerves.

I know this is not nearly detailed enough, but I hope the general idea helps you with your situation. Seriously, I think your older dog is having a few issues with sharing time with the younger one, and the younger one is just pushing the limits, as all youngsters do. I wish you the best of luck.

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November 23, 20121 found this helpful

I have 3 dogs, 2 females and a male. One of the females randomly attacked the other female and won't stop trying to do it again. We can't even keep them together any more. Both dogs are spayed and they have been together for 4 years. They have both been to the vet and are in perfect health. I don't know what to do. Any suggestions?

By Bron

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November 25, 20120 found this helpful

Is there an age difference between the two? I have an 11 year old Dobe (female) and a 5 year old male pug mix. They have been together for 4 years. About a year ago the pug started bulling the mild mannered Dobe. The Dobe is in good health but has arthritis. When she comes in from outside the pug goes on a barking rampage. My dobe will take this for so long, and will then show teeth.

They only got into a fight once and the pug got a clip in the ear (very minor). I keep an eye on them. They only argue when I am right there. I just feel that the younger dog knows that the Dobe is slowing down with age. I make sure that the older dog is fed first, treated first and that she knows she is still top dog. She is not the agressor. I really feel that in my case this is just nature.

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By 0 found this helpful
March 28, 2017

I am disabled due to several painful medical conditions and I am in bed a lot because of this. I have 4 fur babies, ages ranging from 16 years old to 1 year old. My problem is with my 3 year old, Sophi Grace. She has started to attack my 2 year old. I have been bitten and bruised up breaking these fights up. I don't really care about myself getting hurt. But I am scared sooner or later my 2 year old is going to get hurt badly. Living on disability I can't afford a trainer to come here. I go without to make sure my babies see the vet like they should and they get fed one of the top brands of food. These are my babies and the love and affection they all give me is priceless. I love these babies and getting rid of any of them is out of the question. Sophi is a very smart and loving baby. It's just seems like she just turned on Hunni the 2 year old. They use to play together all the time. Can someone please help me, I'm at my wits end. Thank you.

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March 29, 20170 found this helpful

You will have to put a muzzle on your dog. You can also go to Cesar Milan's website to see how to train your dog not to attack.

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March 29, 20170 found this helpful

I agree with Judy. The new muzzles are comfortable for a dog to wear. Training would be ideal, but if it were me I would still worry. With a muzzle you wont have to.

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March 29, 20170 found this helpful

Yes, for your situation in particular, I'd go with a muzzle. It's cost-effective. You can add the general tries with obedience along with it. Let us know how it goes! Good luck!

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March 29, 20170 found this helpful

Like all mentioned a muzzle would be best. But then hopefully after using the muzzle, you can try to train her yourself with treats.

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By 0 found this helpful
February 9, 2016

I have a 15 year old Maltese and a cross Shih Tzu Maltese which get along just fine. I have recently been given a Jack Russell by my daughter who can't look after him any more. He doesn't like my little Maltese and has attacked it twice and would have killed it if I wasn't there to save her. How can I make him not attack her and how can I ever trust him?

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February 10, 20160 found this helpful

This dog may need to be an only dog. And perhaps in a new home.

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February 10, 20160 found this helpful

You might consider a muzzle until you can find a better solution. A new home as an only dog might be what this dog needs.

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February 10, 20160 found this helpful

You can't.

Your daughter gave you a responsibility that wasn't yours. I understand she was under duress, but part of being an adult (I'm assuming she is) is not to dump your responsibilities on your mom.

Since Jack Russell terriers are small dogs, they are often spoiled, but as you can see they are not lap dogs like your Maltese or Shih Tzu. They are ratters, bred to be persistent hunters, with more muscular structure and a general strong-willed disposition. They are very smart and must be trained properly. I can tell your daughter didn't do this. Now your beloved dog is in danger.

Give this dog back to your daughter ASAP. It is her responsibility to find the dog a suitable home, not a home where a fifteen year old lap dog makes a target for the dog. If she can't she must contact a rescue shelter or no-kill shelter. In the future, let her know that you will not bail her out with animals. You can't afford to put your own precious ones' lives in danger.

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Anonymous
February 27, 20160 found this helpful

I have the same problem with our little dog he attacks our other dogs and we cant have him with our other dogs and so the only choice we have is to put him down cause my mom does not want to give him to another family but I don't want to put him down but we have no idea what to with him

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January 20, 2016

My mom's female Shih Tzu and dad's male Corgi Chihuahua have recently started snapping at our 7 month old Pug Chihuahua Dachshund mix puppy. How do my parents and I correct their behavior toward my puppy?

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September 22, 20170 found this helpful

It seems that the older dogs have been forced to accept the puppy's behavior and now they are angry.

  1. You are going to have to intervene when necessary.
  2. Each time the puppy starts to bother one of the other dog, you need to correct this problem.
  3. Puppies love to play and that means with the older dogs in your home. Therefore, when a puppy is allowed to play and treat the other dogs badly they will start to snap at the puppy.
  4. You need to teach your puppy his place in your home.
  5. If you see the puppy climbing on one of the other dog, you need to stop this.
  6. Show the older dogs that you can take care of and handle the bad behavior of the puppy.
  7. Once the older dogs see this that should stop them from snapping at the puppy so much.
  8. You puppy needs to learn their place in your home.
  9. Make sure your puppy has plenty of toys to play with and encourage him to play with these toys and not the older dogs.
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March 9, 20150 found this helpful

Approximately 1.5 years ago I adopted a male, 7 month old, distemper survivor from a rescue. The resident dog was an 8 year old male English Bulldog, who is now almost 10. Both dogs have been neutered. They got along fabulously and we were so pleased the older dog had a companion.

About 6 months ago, the younger male (Buddy) for no apparent reason would start growling, showing teeth, and raised fur at Chopper, the Bulldog. Apparently Chopper takes this as a challenge and will bull rush the younger dog and then the fight is on. Noteworthy is that the bulldog will not bite the younger dog. Both dogs are 65lbs so this is no small deal. Originally, the younger dog, Buddy, would just make noise and do more corn cobbing on the Bulldog's head, as he has the height advantage, but now he is actually biting the older dog. The younger dog has many problems due to distemper, rotten teeth, bad back legs, and a nerve problem that makes his back left leg constantly move.

The two dogs can get along great, lay in the sun together, go for walks together and then for no known reason the younger dog either feels threatened or who knows and starts showing teeth and growling and it's a fight. We have had the younger dog exhibit this behavior when the older one is sleeping and obviously not provoking. We make the dogs stay in their own beds when they are in the house. They are out of each other's site for the most part, but in the same room to keep the tension down. Any suggestions?

I do not want to have to get rid of the younger dog as he is a good dog and has already been through so much, but I cannot have this constant tension in my house. I worry that a child will spook this dog and he will hurt them. It's almost like he goes into a trance and you have to put him outside to get him to snap out of it. Help!

By Ruth S

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March 15, 20150 found this helpful

It's typical in the wild for a young but mature dog to challenge an older dog for the leadership role. That's how packs change leaders. That's in the wild, though- not your house.

The dogs would not be fighting for leadership in the household if you were the leader (or "boss" if you prefer). This tells me you aren't.

Study Cesar Millan's pack leadership techniques. He has books and DVDs. Some of his programs are available on internet tv services you may subscribe to, but I'd recommend his Dog Whisperer program. Start at the beginning if you can.

You need to be the pack leader in your dogs eyes' so they will accept you as such and stop fighting over this position.

Here's a link to get you started: http://www.cesarsway.com/

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March 12, 20140 found this helpful

We have 4 female dogs in the family. One 6 year Lab lives upstairs in my daughter's apartment and another 6 year old Lab lives with me. I also have 2, 16 month old female Boxer sisters. They all got along fine and played in the yard together, but twice now the Boxers have attacked my Lab and the vet had to give her antibiotics for puncture wounds as the Boxer held on with her teeth like a Pit Bull. We love all of them and now we have separated them putting the 2 Labs out together at one time and the Boxers out together by themselves. In the house we keep a watchful eye. Any suggestions?

By Vera

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March 12, 20140 found this helpful

The dogs are older now and sounds as if the boxers are becoming dominant over the lab. Some things you might try to help curtail the dominating trait would be to always feed the lab first, give your attention to the lab first when you come home and keep the boxers as secondary in the chain of command. The boxer should have be on a leash during the day when around the lab, so you can pull the boxer away from the lab.

Also, there are dog exercises you can do with an aggressive behavior in dogs on the 'net and never shout or holler at the dog, but speak firmly and normally, so the dog knows you do not like what it has done and then separate the aggressive pet and keep it by itself when it acts up for a few hours or in a cage.

Oftentimes, the dog as it ages will outgrow such behavior or not act out as frequently. It's sort of like a child in the terrible 2 stage, where you have to be constantly on top of their behavior in order to modify it and teach what is right and what is not acceptable. A lot of your time is involved in doing this, but if you are "Consistent", you will see results eventually.

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