Aggression is never easy to deal with. From the start it’s important to state that punishing a gun dog for being aggressive towards other dogs will only make the situation worse.

If you know your dog’s parents had temperament problems your task may be more difficult to deal with; otherwise you should be able to overcome it, to some degree at least.

It may be your dog is simply trying to protect you, in which case I would advise letting another capable person take him out and put him in the presence of other dogs, although you will need to be on hand just in case you are needed.

Don’t put him into direct conflict with other dogs to start with – keep some distance away so you can exert some control over the situation. If he shows aggression, just keep walking and speak to him harshly to make him realise you will not tolerate his outburst; by all means give him a short, sharp jerk to make him know you are in control but don’t send a panic message down the lead by tightening your grip.

For this exercise try swapping your traditional gundog lead for a choke chain and leather lead; this will enable you to deliver the sharp, corrective jerk.

You could try making him focus all his attention on you by undertaking a ‘sit and stay’ when he sees another dog. In that way you are asserting your control over him, although I admit these theoretical suggestions can be difficult to achieve when your dog is getting agitated.

Your aim should be to get him to concentrate on you and what you want him to do and not what he wants to do. Try and get some friends with their dogs to help you – at least you will then have some control over what happens.

If you feel you need professional help you could consider sending your dog to a trainer or animal behaviourist.

Be careful if you do send him away and make sure he goes to a reputable trainer and not someone who will simply turn his bolshiness into total submissiveness – that can be even more difficult to deal with.

  • sally blackburn

    hi i have a YORSHIRE TERRIER she is 3 year old and she is so vishous! people think she is just a little dog but when they meet her they are scared of her! she wont let anyone touch her food she hates other dogs her nails are really long but she will byte someone do death if we took her to get them cut also her hair is raggy and long she wont let me cut her and she knows when its bath time coz she hides and we have to use pillows to pick her up! she has bit my mums face before! she is really vichous does anyone no how to get this under control? also do the vets put them to sleep to cut there hair and nails becoz she needs them doing ???

  • emma ward

    I have a year old black lab, from a gun dog breeder. He has been showing aggressive behaviour towards other dogs for sometime now, it all steemed from my other dog being attacked. I have tried classes, training with a ball, whistles etc but nothing is helping! Any assistance would be great

  • jamie

    hi; my german shepherd is 10 months old and great
    temprement around other people , she is great indoors BUT as soon as she goes outside and see another dog she goes crazy and stands on two legs pulling forward , growling , barking and being very very agressive , i shout and tug and give her commands but i may aswell not be there at all
    what can i do to teach her that this is unacceptable behaviour ?