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Question: I can't trust my dogs with other dogs. The problem stemmed from her being attacked by 2 Jack Russels who went for her face. Until this time she had been sociable with other dogs. I would appreciate your thoughts.

Hi, I have an apricot coloured GSD, she will soon be 7 years old. She is adorable with people, in fact so much so that I have to pen her when we have visitors after a while, as she wants a fuss all the time. 

My problem is I can't trust her with other dogs when we go out to the local woods for a walk. She lives with a greyhound, and I lost my male GSD a year ago. She is wonderful with them, and is very good with a stray cat that has adopted us, although I keep an eye on her with the cat, as she can get a bit hyped up when he rushes around playing. 

The problem stemmed from her being attacked by 2 Jack Russels who went for her face. Up until that point she was very sociable with other dogs. 

Now if she is approached by another dog, it starts off ok, but if the other dog barks at her she just makes a lunge at it. So far thankfully no damage has been done, but I do worry that it may one day.
 
I have reluctantly decided now to muzzle her when out. I would appreciate you thoughts on this. 
Thank you

Cindy's Response:

This is a very common issue after a dog has been attacked by other dogs. A muzzle will prevent her from actually biting another dog, but it won’t change the feelings she’s having about them. She’s afraid, which is why she’s behaving this way. She needs to know you will keep other dogs away from her, so she can relax.  A muzzle is fine to prevent an accidental bite, but it’s only part of the solution.

I would give her very predictable leadership and stand between her and other dogs.  You can read the material we have on the website about dog parks, to get the general idea. We are not fans of dog parks or letting strange dogs interact.

I’d also recommend the video Pack Structure for the Family Pet.

I hope this helps.
Cindy Rhodes

Thanks:

Thank you for taking the trouble to answer my email.
 
She's such a big strapping dog that it never entered my head she might be afraid.

For more questions on this topic, see our Q&A on Dog Aggression.

We get a number of Q&As every week, if you would like to read this week's Q&As, click here and check out the 'Recent Questions' section!

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I wanted to tell you that I enjoy your insight into dog training. I also find some amusement in your responses to some questions in your "dumb and dumber" section. 

I wanted to share a quick thing that just happened with us using marker training. I decided to use a sharp "yup" as the marker for our dog. My four yr old son wanted to have a part in training so I showed him what to do...tell him to sit, say yup, the give him his treat. I found it funny that, on his own, my son decided to change the marker to "yes"! I guess I should have listened to Ellis in the first place!

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