replied 2 years ago.
Hi there,Thanks for your response - I had meant to describe what we've already done, but I clicked submit by accident...Here's a brief history on Pepsi - we adopted her at ~4 months old, when my smaller dog was 10, and right from the beginning, she was VERY submissive to the little dog, not trying to get up on the bed if Katie was already there, coming running every time I had to cut Katie's nails or give her a bath, apparently to make sure Katie was okay, etc. Katie was a VERY laidback dog who actually LIKED for me to carry her around/snuggle in bed, etc., and Pepsi has always been much more "spastic," flailing around when I try to cuddle with her, and she startles VERY easily and is afraid of almost EVERYTHING.She was NEVER aggressive with Katie until Katie's last few months - Katie always had bad eyes (corneal ulcers, a cherry eye with the tear duct removed), and eventually she went completely blind. Occasionally she'd wander into the area where Pepsi's food/crate were, and only at those times, Pepsi would "attack" Katie, barking like crazy and pinning Katie on the floor under her and barking in her face - I don't think she ever actually BIT Katie, but she was very intent on dominating her, which she'd NEVER tried to do before.Pepsi was always reactive/aggressive around other dogs; I haven't been ABLE to walk her in the neighborhood because every time she sees another dog (or a lizard, or a leaf), she completely loses focus on me and tries to get at whatever it is. I tried treating her if she'd calm down, blocking her view of the other dog with my body, but it seemed there was NO way for me to get her attention and out of attack mode.I started working with her again after Katie passed away (on Christmas, actually :( ); we tried were basic obedience when we first got her, one-on-one sessions with a professional trainer and another obedience class (in ~March-April this year) with the same trainer, medication (20mg of Prozac and 2 pills a day (I forget the mg count) of Trazodone), an evaluation at a dog socialization-specializing ranch here in Tucson, where she did get calm enough that she got approved for overnight stays, but I haven't been able to actually do one because of the cost, and even a pet psychic (I was DESPERATE!), who suggested that Pepsi might feel like we didn't/don't love her enough and that she'd feel competitive with another dog. I also took her to the dog park near my house almost every day for a couple of months, with varying success. I started out with her muzzled, and she did get to the point where she could be off-leash without too many issues.She continued to be really aggressive toward small dogs in particular, keying in on them/chasing them both at the ranch and the dog park when people brought small dogs into the large dog area without checking. She's also still nervy around larger dogs if they aren't "polite," i.e., if they greet her by running at her, barking/jumping around and coming face-to-face with her too quickly. I eventually stopped taking her to the park because the last time we went (a couple of months ago), a small dog came into the large dog area, and Pepsi IMMEDIATELY lunged after the poor thing so fast that she tripped me with the leash and gave me a monster road-rash on my leg and arm. She didn't get to the dog, but I feel guilty subjecting other people's dogs to one who's so skittish.From my own impressions and the trainer's, I think Pepsi's issue is with UNFAMILIAR dogs; she calmed down and did the butt-sniffing ritual with several of the dogs at both the ranch and the dog park, but it took most of an hour to get to that point, and because I'd been interested in a specific breed (a Boston terrier, as I adored my last mixed one so much), all of the breeders I've been able to find were out of town and want to meet in parking lots or other public places with a very limited amount of time/ interaction, wanting to get the dogs close together right away to see how they get along, and that scenario just doesn't work very well for Pepsi. She's also very afraid in general, so any sudden quick movements by dogs OR people makes her jump about 3 feet in the air, and if it's a dog, she reacts by barking, lunging, etc.I'd really love to give her more practice meeting new dogs, but that hasn't been possible, given how much private training and the dog ranch cost and the logistics of possibly asking a trainer to drive all over the place with me to supervise meetings. In obedience class this spring, she could eventually be almost right next to dogs of various sizes without reacting (I had her in a separate room for the first couple), and the trainer tried a leash-"snapping" technique that actually did seem to work/get her attention and put her in submissive mode, but I haven't been able to try it yet.I'm out of characters; help! :) Let me know if you'd like more info!