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Discussion Starter #1
I am beside myself with my 4 1/2 year old male Marley. He is the sweetest most loving boy but recently on walks with a leash he has started barking and becoming vocal with certain other dogs. Today he was approached by a group of three other dogs. He sniffed at first, then growled and then bore his teeth and lunged at the two dogs.
I am concerned about this sudden aggression and have no idea why this has started or what to do about it. I am waiting for a call back from the trainer we went to as a puppy.
When Marley is off the leash or with dogs he knows he is fine. He will tolerate most all dogs even puppies with no more than a warning growl and tries to escape from them. He definitely likes people a lot more than other dogs- which is new to me. He seems to exhibit this aggressive behavior only while walking on a leash with me, not my husband.
Very worried- Any advice appreciated.
 

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I don't have any experience with this, but lots of members here do.

I would have the vet check Marley's thyroid.


I also believe that there are just certain dogs that your dog might dislike, or sense something about them, just like people do. I had Brady a couple years ago at a State Park with tons of dogs. He was happy as can be, and enjoyed meeting all the dogs. There was this one guy that came by with a pair of dogs, and Brady went bullistic. I saw other dogs do the same thing. Have no idea what was with these dogs, but we headed the other direction.

Edit: He may be sensing your fear or insecurity (I just reread the part about when he is with your husband he is fine.)
 

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I agree, I would have his thyroid checked. Also is he neutered? Hormones? Or perhaps three other strange dogs approaching one was just too much for him. Or maybe he is being protective of his mommy. But my first thought was thyroid when I read your post. I hope you can figure it out and am interested if anyone else has any other suggestions.
 

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Check your reaction when you see other dogs approaching. A lot of people become worried that their dogs will react, so they pull the leash tight, which becomes a cue to the dog to act out. That's why you see on leash aggression more often than off leash. Your own tension can carry right down the leash.
 

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My first thought was - is this is an intact male who has reached maturity?, and then thyroid. I also wonder what the response is to his behavior.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you for all of your responses. Went to the park off leash and he was totally fine. I called my Vet and she said to watch him and if it starts to happen with other dogs to bring him in for a thyroid check.
He is such a big sweetie I hate to keep him from socializing with other dogs but will until I figure out what is going on with him. Hope it was just a fluke. He is not intact and has been for quite some time but the males we encountered 2/3 were intact. Thanks again.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
My response to his behavior is to remove him two steps back and make him sit. He will listen to me but on this occasion leaned up against my thigh and buried his head like he was nervous or scared. The other dog continued to bark at Marley but Marley did not respond.
 
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