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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19678
Experience:  Behaviorist /Trainer and Dog breeder 18+ years
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Rescued a dog (5-10 yrs old). Has attacked three dogs, and

Customer Question

Rescued a dog (5-10 yrs old). Has attacked three dogs, and killed one; passed aggression test by rescue group. We do not want dog put down; one trainer and two vets made same suggestion. He is good with people, cats, and our other dog. What to do??? We are desperate!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.

Hi jacustomer,

My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

In order to supply you with an informed answer, it is necessary for me to collect some additional information from you. When I receive your response or reply, it will likely take me between 30-45 minutes to type up my reply if I am still online when I receive notice that you replied. I hope you can be patient.

What breed is your dog?

Is he fixed?

It is male, right?

How long have you had him?

What obedience training has he had?

Can you describe the instances of aggression such as what was going on, who was the aggressor, etc.

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.

I was hoping to get some responses back before giving you advice, but it really sounds like you need help now.

If he isn't fixed, have that done immediately. Have your vet check for a thyroid condition with a thyroid panel. Often an issue with the thyroid will lead to sudden aggression.

If it is not related to a medical issue, then he is going to need a lot of obedience training. The following site is helpful in helping owners train their dog. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.

Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below.

You need to work with him until he is listening to your commands consistently before taking him to a group class to finish training. Buy a basket style muzzle. They are open and do not constrict the muzzle and thus allow a dog to breath normally and eat and drink pretty normally but he won't be able to bite other dogs.

Often an owner will make the situation worse by worrying about what the dog is going to do. The worry transmits down the leash to the dog and they pick up on that feeling you have and they think it is the other dog you are worried about so they can become aggressive to protect you. So the muzzle will help you feel less anxious and that may help the situation as well.

Another method used is the BAT method. You can read about that here:


Of course, I would not have the dog off leash if he is not in an enclosed area of your own yard and I'd keep a basket muzzle on him if he is around other animals or even strange people to be on the safe side.

If it is a thyroid condition, medication may correct the situation pretty quickly.

I hope this information is helpful to you. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have . If you do find this helpful, please take this opportunity to rate my answer positively so I am compensated for my time.

If you have questions in the future that you wish me to answer, you may click here and bookmark the page or make it a favorite. It is best to put my name "JANE" in the question as well.

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Jane Lefler
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.

A quick followup to see how things are going and if you found my suggestions helpful.

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