Fear Aggression or Other Problem?
by Shiloh H.
(San Antonio, TX)
Hello! I have a 9 month old Aussie/Blue Heeler mix (not yet fixed) named Mowgli. He's incredibly active (though loves his naps) and always excited when a new person enters the house. We're working on jumping, though I think it will always be a struggle as he just loves it. There is also a small dog in the house, whom he's very gentle and loving with--no food, or toy aggression. In fact, more often than not he willingly gives his food to the little dog to avoid him bothering him.
I got him at 8 weeks, and brought him home with 2 litter mates. He was separated from the litter mates at 6 months old; though they do still see each other. He was first socialized with other dogs around 4 months, at a on-leash hiking park and then a few trips to the dog park.
Around 3 months ago, I took him to the dog park and he got very aggressive/protective over me when a Husky approached. I probably did not react appropriately, as I was worried he would get hurt so I quickly took him out of the situation. It then happened again, also with a husky, another time, as I believe he was trying to protect the small dog he lives with.
More recently, he shows severe aggression just when SEEING another dog on a leash. He barks high-pitched and aggressively. I'm unsure if he's wanting to attack, or go play. I try to defer his attention but it's often very hard--even after the dog is out of his sight; he's almost fixated on where it went. On the other hand, if he sees a dog behind a fence or hears one barking--he's able to completely ignore them.
I had a loving 8 month old Lab come over one day, and Mowgli was aggressive at first (starting to nip) but after a proper introduction in the back yard with firm correction, they ended up being best friends.
I'm unsure what to do in the leash situation. He becomes frantic and loud while jumping and barking upon site of another dog and hard to control. I've thoroughly read about using a shock collar, potentially a muzzle and other corrective/distractive maneuvers and am just looking for any advice I can get.