One type of aggression in dogs that is often misunderstood and puzzling is redirected aggression. This occurs when a dog redirects his aggression from one source to another. We see this during our leashed walks when Loki barks and lunges at certain neighboring dogs. Because he is unable to reach that dog, he redirects his aggression to Jujube. Fortunately, he doesn’t bite her, but he does lunge and bark in her face. She puts up with it and doesn’t react.
I can’t say that I know much about how to deal with it other than managing each occurrence individually. Since the two of them are both on leash, it’s not terribly difficult to hold them back. Then, I just keep moving forward to try to get his attention on something else. I don’t linger around the source of his aggression. I hope this approach is good enough, because I’m not quite sure what to do if his behavior became more severe.
Although it seems like an odd sort of behavior, I can’t help but to relate it to humans. Humans display redirected aggression all the time. This is what happens when one person “takes it out” on another. After suffering from a bad day at work, some adults come home and take it out on their family members. It can range from just being snappier to being abusive. Interesting parallel, isn’t it?