How to acclimate a dog-aggressive foster dog to other dogs?

I am going to be fostering a dog for a local rescue group in a few weeks- he is a great dog however he is dog-aggressive. The problem is that in my apartment complex, the whole building is fenced-in, and there are at least 5-6 other dogs in the building. When people let their dogs out to go potty, they just open their front doors and the dogs go out on their own.

How can I acclimate my new foster dog to these other dogs that are off-leash? Obviously I will keep my foster dog on a leash every time I take him out, but I can't control what other people do with their dogs, since the property is fenced-in.

I have let the rescue group know this, and they said to just try it out for a while, and if it doesn't work with my foster dog, they can find a new foster home for him. I would really like to make it work, because he could get adopted faster if he weren't dog-aggressive. In the kennels, there are a few dogs he likes, so I think he has potential to overcome this.

Asked by Member 723437 on Mar 20th 2012 in Aggression
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Dog aggression can be very difficult & dangerous to work with. Obviously there is a potential for vet bills, law suits, & death if not handled properly.
Frankly if you do not have experience with fearful or aggressive dogs you need to hire a behaviourist..not a trainer...who can help you with this.
You might get advice on click/treating to *cure this. Or "look at that" "look at me" "BAT" "CAT" but I urge you STRONGLY to get professional help. Without seeing the dog in action it is IMPOSSIBLE to give you any advice here.
As someone with an aggressive dog...who is NOT acting out of fear...I can not stress enough how this needs personal help..not internet advice. Best of luck to you.

Member 904338 answered on 3/20/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


I agree with everything Wiley said, and, also as a professional dog person and an owner of several DA dogs over the last 35 - 40 years I can tell you that in most cases, especially with same sex aggression, you cannot "fix" it, it is part of what makes that dog's temperament and personality.
I would consider the risk of potential injury or death to other dogs in the complex great enough that under no circumstances would I put him out into a community pen, leash or no leash. I would make it a point to walk him elsewhere.
Most DA dogs will react WORSE if they are on a leash, and if another dog ran up to him in that community fenced area, not only is there risk to both dogs but also to you if you get in the middle of a fight. Dog fights ARE serious and can easily result in the death of a dog OR serious, permanent injury to a person trying to break up the resulting fight.

Member 641257 answered on 3/20/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer

Bruno CGC

It's really, really, stressful for a dog-reactive dog to be around off-leash dogs while he's on-leash. I would know, this happens with Bruno all the time. If he's leashed and the other dog is leashed, no problem unless the other dog's owner is dumb enough to think they should come over and say hello. But when they're off-leash, and he's on-leash, he often gets very worked up.

If you're going to do this, I would avoid interactions between your foster and other dogs at all. Go out only when you see there are no other dogs around.

If the rescue group thinks they (or you) can "cure" this dog of aggression in only a few weeks, they are in cloud-cuckoo land. It's not a realistic expectation. Many dogs that are aggressive with strange dogs have dog friends they know well, but getting them to accept unfamiliar ones is extremely difficult.

Bruno CGC answered on 3/20/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer