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Hey! This is my first time posting, I hope this is the right place to ask for help for this. TL;DR- my dog recently became aggressive towards dogs he previously got along with (but isn't aggressive towards people or many other dogs)- what do I do??
I adopted my dog, Waffles (a chihuahua, rat terrior [i think] mix) in February. He's around 1 and a half yrs old. I live in an apartment with its own dog park, and Waffles used to be nicknamed the mayor of the park because he was so friendly with every single dog, no matter size or age. He had a few very rare issues where he'd snarl and snap at other dogs, usually only when treats were involved.
Lately, in the past 2 or 3 weeks, he's been snapping at more and more dogs for seemingly no reason, almost all of them are dogs that he has previously gotten along great with. Most of these dogs are puppies- male and female (so I'm thinking that it's not completely because they haven't been neutered yet). The snarling and lunging will happen even without the puppy making contact. There are one or two fixed adult dogs he snarls at now too. The majority of dogs he is still great with, but his sh*tlist seems to be growing.
I thought maybe he was in some kind of pain, but his aggression is targeted only towards very specific dogs, and not at all towards any humans. If it was pain, I'd think his aggression would be across the board, right?
I tried giving him treats when his "enemies" were out and he wasn't acting up, but it backfired, because the other dogs began running up for treats, which made Waffles possessive and made him freak out more.
Lately I've tried making him lay down while keeping him on leash, talking to him calmly, and give him lots of gentle pets when he stops growling, but it doesn't seem to be helping.
Does anybody have any experience with this?? Overall Waffles is a good boy and this behavior is very new. I'd love to know what I can do long term to make him know this behavior isn't OK, and also what to do while in the moment to get him to calm down. Any help would be much appreciated!! I want my mayor of the dog park back!
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