I have a 1.5 year old St. Bernard.

He's amazing with people doesn't like dogs too much. He would get up to sniff them and then immediately go in for a bite.

So I have tried taking him to group training as recommended by a certified trainer in my area but that did not help at all and now he just snarls and barks before approaching in fact it feels as if it has gotten worse.

Back when he was a pup a lot of dogs that seemed to be nice had tried to/succeeded in biting him even at a dog park, for some context.

He walks nicely, he is good with commands, and as long as I have treats handy he will ignore other dogs, but he can be overly reactive and given his size it is very worrying. I'm always trying to encourage him between saying, "who's that" and giving him treats when he sits nicely and minds his manners when other dogs are around, but the moment the treats disappear he's back to regular behavior. I don't personally feel anxious when walking him as I have control and can reel him in, but I don't know what to do or where to go from here? I've talked with three different trainers that just say to encourage leash walking and have him watch other dogs play, but he will not calm down and when there are too many he seems to undergo a lot of stress, which is why I think those group training classes made it worse even though he did not growl or bark during them he was shaking.

I've come home to a few dead sparrows in my backyard that's he gotten and I don't know if that is related to temperament or just instinct.

I have tried things mentioned in (Normally very) sweet labrador becomes aggressive around other dogs

If anyone has tips or methods to calm the dog down and hopefully get him to play nicer and respect other dogs it would be appreciated.

Note 1: I've also let me see him playing or giving treats to other dogs, but that did not seem to work. Note 2: I have a female at home who is as friendly as can be but is the dominant one in their relationship being the older one

  • how large are the different dogs in question? Nov 16, 2021 at 18:50

2 Answers 2


You're going to have to think outside-of-the-box for combination of possible remedies like: try walking with a friend and their dog to get them familiar with the idea that the other dog isn't a threat and maybe try switching leashed dogs to get your dog to understand you have control over the other dog and that it's not a threat as you pet it in front of your dog. best i got for the short time i have. hope you find something as im in the same boat as u.


Firstly, how large are the other dogs that are around?

Try introducing from the bottom up: Introduce a smaller breed such as a shih tzu and gradually desensitize his fear of other dogs until he has no issues no matter which size the dog is.

If he reacts poorly to even the smallest of dogs, get him used to the idea of another dog. For example, a shirt, blanket, or sock with the scent of another dog, preferably a smaller breed. After a few nights and days of this, then try the above method again.

Might I suggest that you walk your dogs separately to better keep the unfriendly one controlled?

Tips for on a walk:

-Take some treats that are chewier and take the dog longer to eat. This can distract him.

-Keep yourself between your dog and the other dog, if at all possible. If you can't, that's fine, but sometimes a physical block can be more helpful.

-Talk to him. Having a light-hearted (albeit one-sided) conversation can calm him down, while stroking his back if he allows it.

You know your dog best. What calms him down? What riles him up? For my dog, certain words like car, truck, or goodbye rile him up, and words like calm and bath calm him. Keep in mind that tone of voice is a gamechanger.

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