Dog on dog aggression is only a small part of the inner aggression your dog feels. Any dog who displays aggression toward another dog has more underlying problems than the owner is usually aware of. Almost always this same dog will be aggressive in other ways as well whether the owner admits it or not.
As an example of this principle, think of this. You’re following a car down a busy city street but it’s emitting so much smoke you find it hard to see. It’s quite obvious to everyone else that the car is clearly burning oil, yet the driver continues on oblivious to any problem at all. Cars are honking and other drivers are desperately trying to get the driver of the smoking car’s attention, but he tootles along totally unaware. Finally, after much ado, he sees the smoke in his rearview mirror and pulls over.
Does he call a wrecker? Nope! He opens the hood and adds oil to his vehicle believing that will solve the problem. In actuality, everyone else knows there is a serious underlying problem that needs to be addressed, and if the source of the burning oil isn’t dealt with, the car will soon self-destruct and become inoperable.
This may seem like a ridiculous illustration but it does make the point. When a dog is aggressive, there is an underlying problem that needs to be addressed. If the source is not dealt with soon, there could be a lawsuit in the making. He will bite and injure another animal soon, which could mean his destruction according to many state laws.
When your dog’s back fur bristles at the sight of another dog, when he pulls on the leash, when his ears begin lowering on his head, or growls with teeth showing, you can be assured he WILL attack when given the opportunity. If you as his owner aren’t willing to train him yourself, or are unable to do so, you need to hire a professional trainer to get to the bottom of that aggression. Then explicitly follow the rules that trainer sets down for you.
If you are stubborn and dismiss your dog’s behavior not wanting to admit the serious truth, you are adding fuel to the situation. It’s only a matter of time before he’ll prove you wrong. By then, it will be too late to remedy the situation. If charges are filed because he’s injured another dog, the law may require him to be taken from you, or possibly even destroyed.
If you truly love your dog, you’ll do what’s best for him, for you, and for anyone you encounter. You’ll realize the potential to others and seek advice from a reputable dog trainer, someone who has documented success in dealing with dogs with aggression problems. Notice I said a “reputable” dog trainer. Unless your neighbor is a career dog trainer who has credentials as such, I suggest you look elsewhere.
Friends, neighbors, and relatives often mean well in giving their advice, but it will be conflicting and confusing. Call your local kennel or veterinarian and have them recommend a proper dog trainer to you. Then, before visiting the trainer with your dog, phone him or her to discuss the aggression problems. Ask what you can be doing while waiting to bring your dog.
Pride goes before the fall, so humble yourself and learn all you can. Trust the dog trainer’s advice and follow the instructions without wavering. Ask questions so there are no misunderstandings. Your trainer will have a purpose to everything that’s done so don’t skip anything. It may take a little time but it’s always worth the effort you put into it; both for you and for your dog.