Dog becoming defensive

Juliear00

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#1
I rescued my pup a year and a half ago at 6 months. She's a 18lb Jack Russell rat terrier mix (possible other breeds) with tons of energy. We've been going to the dog park multiple times a week since I've had her. She had always been very submissive, always going belly up! Never got aggressive unit recently she has started to get more defensive. She's never hurt another dog, but shows all her teeth and lunges at them. She is clearly not happy and I lead her out of the situation asap. It tends to happen when she feels ganged up on and is surrounded by multiple large dogs, which I understand. It can also happen 1 on 1 depending on how the dog approaches her, or if they are playing aggressively. Most of the time the other dogs don't mean any harm. I don't want to scold her because I know she's trying to defend herself, but she looks so nasty and I want it to stop! She was actually bit today at the dog park and was scared of every dog there after. I want to help her, and have all positive reactions!
 
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Feb 15, 2018
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#2
You will have to stop taking your dog to the dog park. I'm afraid the dog park is not right for every dog and I learned this the hard way. I used to go to the dog park every day with our athletic border collie cross. I went all the time for 15 years. Sadly, Oreo passed away. We adopted a rescue dog. A nervous mini Australian shepherd and off we went to the dog park. My dog sounds similar in disposition to yours. Energetic, nervous and submissive. This is a trigger for other more dominant dogs. My dog was attacked by a larger dog.. I continued to take him as I used to take my other dog all of the time and I though that we could work this out. My dog became nervous and would bite the other dogs before they would bite him and chaos would ensue. My dog actually became reactive to all dogs. I had to spend a whole year learning about leash reactivity and how to correct the behaviour using positive reinforcement and counter conditioning.

If you want your dog to socialize find a good dog daycare. My dog daycare separates dogs by size and disposition. He enjoys going there. You can also look for a 'small dog' dog park. My city has one.
 
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