Pitbull showing signs of aggression

by Robert
(Farmington Hills, MI)

My name is Robert, the owner of a 1 year old male APBT. My brother and I posted a comment concerning our 2 year old German Shepherd. Steele is a wonderful well rounded dog and has a wonderful temperament. He is very well socialized with people and dogs. He has never had any issues with other dogs in his adolescence.. in fact when dogs at the dog park would act aggressive with him he would be quite passive and simply avoid the confrontation. About 5 months ago I moved back in with my parents, and our Shepherd Cody lives here as well. They had met and played with each other on numerous occasions and got along fine... over the last few weeks, Cody(GSD) has definitely established himself as the dominant dog, but he seems to be overdoing it and reiterating his dominance very frequently. Steele lowers his head and stays still when Cody approaches him. They had gotten into a fight on 2 or 3 occasions over a high value toy, but other than that they coexist fine. About 2 or 3 months ago, I got Steele fixed. The last three interactions he's had with new dogs, he started to show signs of what I perceive to be defensive aggression. He met a new male dog at a pet store and did fine for a moment, but as he was sniffing Steele's rear, Steele barked, and attempted to fight him. A few days later, Steele met with one of his male littermates who he had met on multiple occasions with no problem.. Again he did fine for a moment until he reacted aggressively to his rear end being sniffed.. and at the pet store, a male husky and a male Doberman came in together. He is pretty reactive to potential playmates so Ive been using the prong collar as well as adding more distance when he barks and whines/getting closer when he displays calmness.. I gave him the opportunity to be calm approaching the new dogs, he failed. So we went back to the front of the store. When the two dogs and their owners came to check-out, Steele started barking and lunging. It was hard to tell if it was aggressive or over-excitedness. I feel like this new behavior could be the result of A)His reaching physical maturity which is the time where a lot of dogs develop aggression.. B)He feels threatened by other males because he recently was fixed... C)He may be insecure/fearful due to Codys excessive displays of dominance in recent weeks... D) he gets frustrated because I no longer allow him access to other dogs while he is too excited, and his energy manifests into aggression... perhaps a combination of any of these are what causes this... I am aware of how to use the prong collar and leash to correct, and intend to use this technique whenever possible.. any ideas as to why this may be happening and how to stop it from escalating?
PS Steele is not aggressive from a distance.. just excitable. When we go for walks, he can hear or see a dog from long or close range and not react.. But in other settings like the pet store it becomes more difficult to keep his attention away.

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Mar 28, 2015
Nothing In Life Is Free
by: Adam G. Katz

Employ the "Nothing In Life Is Free" approach, so that your dogs start to view you as the "pack leader." If your dogs don't see you as the leader, then your corrections will be meaningless. So, if you're doing subtle things (inadvertently) to undermine your leadership role around the house-- it will be counter-productive.

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