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Got a dog training question? Ask the dog trainer !

Our feature dog trainer is John Bayreuther form Montreal, in Canada. He has extensive experience in solving training issues with pet dogs such as: toilet training, separation anxiety, biting, excessive barking, dominant or submissive dogs and different behavior problems.

John is the owner of Canada Dog Training, established in 2000. Dog training has been his passion since childhood and his many years of dedication to that activity have earned him a vast amount of knowledge.

John trains his two Belgian Shepherds, Capo and Rio for one of the most demanding of dog sports, French Ring. He competes on a World level and is the Canadian French Ring Level 2 Champion in 2007.
John Bayreuther and his Belgian Malinois dog Capo

Question: "We have Golden/Pit bull mix that we adopted from a shelter. He just turned a year old and was found on the streets where he seems to have been roaming for some time before he was picked up. We had him neutered in August and I have been training him to come, stay, sit, heel. He learns fast and is very eager to please. But there is one major issue we cant seem to control. When I take him to the park, he plays with and gets along with most dogs. But, when a non neutered male comes into the picture, he gets aggressive. He has never bitten but he growls and goes after them. I would like to know if there is anything I can do to cure him of this? I am afraid of what will happen if he gets in a fight with another dog. Can you help?

Answer: Most of the time dogs are talking loud while saying nothing. All the growling and  barking and showing of teeth is posturing or in other words the way dogs establish rank. I am not saying that your dog isn't aggressive I am stating that most of his behaviors are probably very normal. The fact that he reacts differently with intact dogs is also a very regular occurrence. This happens because an intact dog first of all has a different odor than a neutered dog and also because an intact dog will show some attitudes and behaviors a bit more prominently than a fixed dog. It is important to realize that there are many things going on at the park....dogs playing and establishing pecking orders, humans interacting and many different types of distractions. It is normal for a dog to be more alert or concerned about it's place in the world in a place where he/she is not "at home" or comfortable. It is also very important to realize that dogs often react to our human reactions and that stress on our part or tension on the leash or even our body posture can hint to our dog the way we feel. All this to say that dogs also rely on us to "protect" them to a certain extent. If a dog has it's "pack" close by to help the chances of him testing other dogs or imposing himself on
other dogs is higher.

There are many things that come into play in a situation like this. To start, try to always put YOURSELF in a position where you are comfortable. If you are calm-your dog will be calm. There are exercises that can be done to calm your dog in certain situations as well which most dog trainers can help you with. Educate yourself and your dog it will only make your relationship with your dog stronger while at the same time making sticky situations easier to deal with.



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About Your Dog, is your online ressource of articles on puppy and dog health, dog training and information about your pet dog