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Hi everyone, I hope someone has some advice for this situation. My family owns a 13 year old Border Terrier named Remy. Remy has never really gotten along with other dogs despite our efforts to socialize him and as the years went by I think we just got complacent.
In the beginning it was always defensive; he would never provoke another dog but would growl or snap at them if they bothered him while at the dog park or on a walk. Then he started barking at other dogs while on walks, but would greet them politely if we stopped and allowed them to sniff each other. Then he started aggressively barking and lunging at bigger dogs while on walks. His behavior has gotten worse with age; he has developed cataracts and the behavior seems worse when we are closer to our house, so I sometimes feel like he is trying to defend his "territory" and feels intimidated by larger dogs.
We took him on a walk today and the leash accidentally slipped out of our hands. He immediately ran across the street and began attacking another dog. I pulled them apart pretty quickly but I don't know if the other dog was injured (the owner pulled him away without saying anything to us). I'm completely horrified because I never imagined he would attack another dog like this without being provoked (the dog had been following us for a few minutes before and he had not given any indication that he was uncomfortable with the other dog's presence, at least no signs that I had noticed).
I have no idea how to fix this. I had always thought his aggressive behavior was purely defensive and that if we kept our distance from other dogs it wouldn't be a problem but clearly he still has some issue or fear of them that I don't understand. Can someone please help me understand what is going on here, and how to fix it?
A typical walk usually goes like this:
We are walking Remy; he usually walks next to, or slightly behind, us We see another dog in the distance; Remy has a range of responses from either not responding to the dog at all (he seems to show less interest in the other dog if they go berserk first, for some reason), to barking & pulling lightly on the leash, to barking furiously and choking himself on the leash trying to get to the other dog If it's the latter, we usually tighten our grip on the leash and shorten it, and walk off of the path and do our best to make him sit down while the other dog passes us. We usually try to stand in front of Remy to block his view of the other dog. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't. We continue on the walk once the other dog has passed out of sight, and Remy calms down and becomes friendly again submitted by /u/not_homestuck
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