My fiancÃ© and I are looking for advice on how to correct the behavior of our Alaskan Klee Kai, Kokoro. We got Kokoro when he was about 6 months old. When we first got him, he was scared of other dogs and didn't know how to react to them. Gradually, over about a month, he got comfortable around dogs at the dog park and learned how to play. He's now 15 months and LOVES dog parks. He was neutered when he was around 9-10 months old.
I believe the behavior I'm going to describe started happening when he was around 10 months. I probably should have asked for advice sooner, but I've been hesitant because I didn't want him to seem like a "bad dog" because he really isn't.
I'd say Kokoro is great with about 90% of the dogs he meets at dog parks. He seems to have issues with two types:
1) Any "bully breeds" or breeds that hold themselves strongly. This includes large/medium-sized dogs such as Boxers and Pit Bulls, but also small breeds such as French Bulldogs. At first we thought it was all large dogs, but when we take him to an all dog park (which is rare, we usually go to ones that have split sides), he'll sometimes run with a pack of large dogs and have no trouble at all. His two best friends are large dogs (one is the biggest dog he's ever seen). With the dogs he does take offense to, he'll (apparently randomly) start growling and then lunge at the dogs face. With the bigger dogs, they'll usually ignore him or the dog will attack back. He once got pinned by a pit bull mix which was terrifying. He now avoids that dog if we see him. With the small breed, such as French Bulldogs, he acts similar to the next group:
2) Large breed puppies. Kokoro is about 15 inches tall and weighs around 14 lbs. Any puppies around this size or bigger, he has issues with. At first, he might greet the puppy normally but pretty soon after he'll start to nip at the puppy (usually the face) and keep bullying it until the puppy is afraid to move. We don't usually let it get this far, but when he first started doing this I was hoping he'd stop once the puppy submitted to him being the more dominant dog or owners would say that it was fine and their puppy needed to learn how to behave with other dogs. Now we pretty much leave as soon as his first nip.
He's never hurt another dog (though we never let it get that far), but I'm afraid he will or that another dog will hurt him.
The behavior is so odd because he's fantastic with most dogs. He loves to run and chase. He's dominant but if another dominant dog is there, they'll do the posturing and might circle and pounce forever without coming to growls and snapping. He has been around some outright aggressive dogs. One chihuahua at the park attacks dogs randomly. After getting snapped at, Kokoro will avoid this dog instead of attacking back and provoking trouble. He's also been around overly submissive dogs. My aunt's dog was terrified of him when they first met because she has never really been introduced to strange dogs. Kokoro was calm and waited for her to get used to him. He didn't try to dominate her or force her into playing.
Soâ€¦we're at a loss. We don't know how to correct the behavior and are considering hiring a private trainer to work with him. Before we do this, I was wondering, has anyone had any advice or has gone through something similar with their dog?