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  March 28, 2013
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Leerburg Q&A
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Question: Our previously social 7 year old dog was attacked by 2 Jack Russells and now she's lunging at other dogs. Would putting a muzzle on her help?


I have an apricot colored 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 Russells 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. We have directions on how to measure your dog for a muzzle at this link.

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

For more questions on this topic, see our Q&A on Dog Parks and out Q&A on Pack Structure.

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!

Have a question for Ed & Cindy? Try the Leerburg Q&A Search. If you can't find the answer to your question by using our search engine, you can email Cindy here at Leerburg at If you have your spam filter on, make sure you set it to receive our replies!!!

Customer Comments

On Leerburg's Website


Last night I came across your website because my 7-year old black lab has been having increasing aggression towards other dogs. Jett, my lab, has always been a gentle soul until he was attacked by another dog at a dog park. Desperate to get control back and no longer fear time at the park or walks, I found your site.

The knowledge I gained last night probably saved my dog's life today. We were going for a walk - Jett, my other lab Rubi and me - when a stray dog came from nowhere and started attacking my 2-year old lab Rubi. She went into flight mode and the leash was ripped from my wrist. Jett went into fight mode. Learning the skills from your site I immediately established that I was the pack leader and I would make the situation right. Jett stopped attacking and went to find my scared Rubi and the stray ran, scared and intimidated of me by the yelling and loud noises.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.


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