After Gizmo was attacked by that German Shepard a while back, his behavior has changed dramatically when in the dog-park.
90% of the time things are fine. He plays, runs and has a great time. But whenever a dark dog that is similar to the size of a German Shepard shows up, he will growl and stand his ground, very dominantly.
Now I did some searching, and found out that after such an incident he has experienced, this growling is due to extreme fear. Apparently showing weakness is "death", so he has to show that he is not to be messed with. Sometimes when he is REALLY scarred foam will start around his mouth.
Sadly the articles I have read had little to no methods as to how to deal with it, except when on walks with a leash (in a nutshell they just said avoid other dogs).
So I have been using the "distraction technique", calling him away from the situation and trying to sooth him by rubbing his chest and talking calmly to him once I have him next to me. He will still growl, and lick his lips (nervous). And if it's very bad I will leave the park.
Gizmo being attacked is very well known incident in the park, and all the other owners have sympathy for Gizmo and understand his fear and reaction. And in most cases he will eventually calm down and accept the other dog. This pattern has been going on for several months, and I was hoping he would eventually get over it and realize there is nothing to fear.
At least that's what I thought, and that's what many other owners also said.
But the last 3 times Gizmo has become more brave, and has started to full out snap at them, and then attack the dogs instead of just standing his ground growling.
Yesterday a dog did not put up with his behavior, and fought back. A bit of blood was shed, nothing serious just a little scratch.
My distraction technique is no longer working, he will ignore me and focus 100% on the other dog. He will now deliberately follow after the dog, walk up close to him and growl. Eventually snapping at them, which will lead to a fight.
This is getting very annoying, embarrassing, and worrisome. My sweet Gizmo is becoming a problem dog. It's as if his fear is escalating into some serious domination and aggression.
Does anyone have any ideas?