Cin Go of Massapequa, N.Y., asks about her adult Beagle:
When I go outside to walk my dogs in front of my house, if another dog has just been there, my Beagle starts barking and howling excessively and gets aggressive with my other dog that I am walking. Can you please assist!?
It sounds like this dog is being a Beagle! Beagles love to use their noses and voices, and he may be letting you know that he’s hot on a trail. It’s what they were bred to do. They are single-minded when doing their job, and he may be showing frustration about not being able to follow his nose. If you know that another dog has just been outside your house, wait a few minutes before taking yours out. Even though the other dog is gone, your dog can certainly smell that one was there, and he might be so excited that he’s taking it out on his buddy without even thinking about it.
To start, it would be best to walk the dogs separately until he learns some control. You need to put all your attention on the Beagle’s issues, and the other dog deserves a nicer outing. While working with the Beagle, give the other dog a nice treat for waiting in a crate until it’s her turn.
Have high value treats in your pocket, and use them to get your dog’s attention before you even step outside. When you get out the door, ask him for a sit or down, and reward lavishly when he pays attention to you. This will help him to build a positive association with smelling that another dog was recently nearby.
Because this dog is so excited, you will need very special treats. They should be very small, but very good — real chicken, cheese, or liver work well. “Jackpot” him — give several tiny pieces of the treat in a row — when he does what you ask of him.
It may take a few weeks for your dog to understand what’s expected of him. When his behavior improves, you can try bringing the other dog along. Continue to bring treats, so that you can intermittently reward both for good behavior.