Some of you may remember my desperate cries for help back in November, when our new Aussie puppy Riley was having some very discouraging behavior problems (this thread if you're interested). I figure it's time to give an update, now that he's 11 months old. We tried many, many different approaches to his problems. Cesar Milan was highly recommended so we gave it a try, but it doesn't work for all dogs. It made Riley worse. We borrowed a million dog books from the library, spent hours and hours researching on the internet, socialized as much as possible, etc. Things improved slowly. But he just does not like other dogs or people. He would bark his head off like crazy, he would lunge on leash, he would growl, etc. Kids running around and playing drove him bonkers. We got him a muzzle to boost our confidence and be sure he's safe. Sometimes though, people are illogical. A dog wearing a muzzle is the safest dog in the park, but people would avoid us at all costs and give us really nasty, dirty looks. It was degrading, not to mention miserably embarrassing. All that in contrast to the wonderful, loyal, loving dog he is at home with us, his family. In April we enrolled him in a basic obedience class, with a well known local trainer. The first day was very nerve racking, and we all were dreading that he might get expelled for aggression. But it was for nothing, because the people there were dog people and their dogs were there for the same reason Riley was. He would go in barking and lunging and when they had off leash time he'd spend his 15 free minutes chasing the other dogs around, trying to herd them and make them stop playing. But he was not expelled. Today was the last class, and he came home with his diploma. And he is not an aggressive dog. The trainer said so. And the other people said so too. Riley is just fearful and insecure and we have been told to continue exposing him to different situations, different people, different dogs. Ignore the dirty looks. Those people don't follow logic. Riley, with his muzzle, is the safest dog around. If Riley was a truly aggressive dog, he would be aggressive all the time to other dogs and people, not just some of the time. And even then he's not exactly "aggressive." He's more trying to control them like he would control sheep/cattle/goats. Some of them also recommended finding a place where he can herd sheep. He's from working lines so the herding instinct is really strong and he has loads of energy (hockey, ball, frisbee, and walks don't seem to cut it). Hopefully there are some places local that let dogs do that. He still growls, barks and lunges, he still wears his muzzle. But the huge relief of knowing he is NOT an aggressive dog is incredible.