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tl;dr at the bottom.
My 11 ish year old Pomeranian-Maltese cross has been extremely mild in personality her whole life (if a little barky). We have always had more than one dog in the house (usually two, including her) and she has always been well socialised with them. We got her at 8 weeks old so we know she hasn't been abused or mistreated in any way. She now lives with a terrier cross rescue, same size as her, who was heavily abused and doesn't mimick her behaviour in any way. He's completely fine with other dogs, but afraid of humans and quite a nervous animal. He does no lunging, responded to loose leash training well, and we have had him for 5 years (much longer than this issue has been going on).
She was loose leash trained before she was 6 months old, and has been perfect on the leash up until she turned about 10, maybe 10 1/2. She began lunging, barking, curling her lip, barking, growling, sometimes trying to bite other dogs if they were BOTH on the leash. If neither dog is on the leash she usually ignores them or sometimes jumps up on her hinds to be picked up (she broke her spine at 10 months and had to learn to walk again). Rarely is there one dog on a leash and one not where I tend to walk, people tend to respect the "on leash or off leash" body language. BUT if one is on the leash she is usually fine unless a dog tries to interact with her too closely.
She has never landed a bite, which I'm thankful for BUT no one takes the threat seriously. They say, "Oh what a cute little vicious thing. What are you gonna do?" (Shes like 5kg, or 10lbs), which doesn't make it easier.
Yes, she wears a harness now. No, I havent tried a face bridle/face harness thing.
Yes, we have another dog at home. Both are allowed on the couch but NOT the beds. She's well house trained, pretty obedient and gets walked every day for between 15-40 minutes.
I don't believe that it's fear, because when the other dog (the one for whom she is lunging) is moved away, she doesn't back up or try to turn away. But I'm not sure. She is well socialised at home so I don't know why she would be afraid. NOTE: if I sit down with some other people who also have their dogs, (off leash) she is fine but largely ignores the other dogs.
NOTE: she is extremely healthy for her age, as in she is still extremely active and most people think she's about 5 or 6. She has not been attacked by another dog to cause this.
P.S. she also hates running shoes (sneakers) and we don't know why? Still working on that one.
WHAT I'VE TRIED ALREADY: – not being nervous about her lunging, I ALWAYS give her a nice relaxed chance to not do this behaviour, and once she starts doing it, I remove her – removing her from the situation when she is emotional (usually until she is calm and then I bring her back, or removing her entirely). – praise for not doing it, including reward – walking her when there are fewer dogs around – walking when there are more dogs around – purposefully sitting down more often with other people who have dogs (IMPORTANT: she doesn't get upset when I pat or interact with other dogs)
THINGS I HAVEN'T TRIED YET – walking her alone (without our other dog) – working on specific training with a dog who is a stranger (we dont have friends nearby who own a dog) – clicker training (she's kind of losing her hearing anyway)
TL;DR 11 y o Pomeranian suddenly started having leash aggression at 10 ys o and I have no idea where it came from.
EDIT: she has been to the vet about possible pain, she has some tenderness in her back but it is managed with anti-inflammatories and regular controlled exercise.
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