Aggresion towards other dogs

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Digger&Daisy
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Joined: Tue Nov 10, 2009 11:11 pm

Aggresion towards other dogs

Post by Digger&Daisy » Tue Nov 10, 2009 11:19 pm

I have two staffies, Digger 2 and Daisy 10 months. Digger is a friendly and playful dog so is Daisy, at home! When we take Daisy out and she sees other dogs she cries and carries on to get to the other dogs :evil: . We thought it was because she wanted to play with them. We took our dogs to the park with my brothers staffies and let them off. Daisy went straight for the biggest dog and was very aggressive so I put her on the lead and my husband walked her away. After a while he kept walking back towards the other dogs. If she was aggressive he would walk her off but if she was good and calm we praised her. When the female staffy came too close Daisy attacked her and grabbed hold of the inside of her cheek. My husband had to pull her off. So... after a long story we would love some suggestions at how to make Daisy a calm and friendly dog

emmabeth
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Post by emmabeth » Wed Nov 11, 2009 12:23 am

What is the history behind Daisy? How long have you had her and when she was younger did you socialise her with other adult dogs?

It sounds as if she does want to play but when she gets in close she doesnt know how and so she reacts badly through fear.

This is not at all uncommon, especially in terriers and especially in dogs who have not met a variety of adult dogs as pups, and learned how to meet and greet them.

It is also worth bearing in mind that puppies play HARD and terrier pups play harder - so if she learned as a puppy to play hard and that this was really enjoyable, she may THINK this is what she can do now .. so it could have nothing to do with fear and be inappropriate play that shes never learned not to do.

First of all, I dont recommend you allow her to greet any unknown dogs for now. The risk is very high, regardless of the cause of her behaviour, that either she will injure another dog which could cost you a lot in vets bills, or the other dog will retaliate and injure her and if shes not frightened now... she may well be then. On 'planet terrier' (and for many none terriers)... attack IS the best form of defence and it doesnt take very many bad experiences for them to learn to get in there first and 'get him, before he gets me'.

I do know... I live with one!

To sort this behaviour out, there are no quick fixes at all. It is going to take you months, possibly more, of dedicated work.

First of all you need to stop her getting so close to other dogs that she gets into the stressy/frustrated/silly state she currently gets into. Thats going to mean readjusting your routine and daily life really.. so that you can give her the exercise and training she needs without her constantly getting stressed.

YOu may find that walking earlier, or later, avoiding busy places etc, means she doesnt get as much exercise as she previously did.

To replace that missing activity and mental stimulation, try clicker training. I find staffies are BRILLIANT at this, they have got GREAT brains! There is a sticky thread at the top of this part of the forum, so take a read and if theres any questions, just ask back here.

Also, if she doesnt walk nicely on the lead already, read the loose lead walking thread. That will give you something to work on whilst you are avoiding other dogs.

Both these things may not appear to be specifically about her dog aggression issue, but they will both readjust the balance between you, so that she is listening to YOU more, and shes getting a lot of fun and work, out of life.

You really need to be working on this before you attempt to start getting her used to other dogs being around.

When you have made some progress there and shes really tuned in to working for you, and trying to figure out ways to make you click and give her a treat or a toy (clicker REALLY switches dogs on to seeking out ways to earn a reward!)... the next stage is to have her listening to you when she can see another dog.

Right now, when you get so close that she reacts (staring, tensing up, making noise, lunging/pulling etc), this means shes TOO stressed to listen to you. A good rule of thumb to figure out if your dog is too stressed to work with is this. Offer her a nice, but not awesome treat. If she takes it, eats it ... you could probably work with her this close to 'whatever'. But it would be easier further away.

If she takes it and drops it.. its too close.

If she doesnt even take it.. its too close.

If its the BEST treat in the world (say... a cheeseburger, that level of amazing!) and she isnt interested.... its WAY too close.

Once you have found the distance you can comfortably be from other dogs, where she sees.... but shes more interested in what you have. That is the distance you start working at.

ALL you do at this stage, is go and stand or sit somewhere, where you can be sure the dogs wont get any closer (or you can get out of there quick if they do)... and feed her treats and tell her shes a good girl. Thats all.

You want to do this until she starts looking at YOU and going 'heyyyy... i see a dog wheres my treat!'

The next stage is where you need to figure out, is she going to be happier with 'watch me' where shes got to ignore the other dog and focus on you.. or would she be happier with 'whats that' where she acknowledges the other dogs presence and will switch her attention back and forth as you request.

Some dogs like one more than the other, some dogs will find it EXTREMELY difficult to 'watch me' if theres something they are scared of or extremely excited by, so pick the one she will find the easiest to do.

For now this is enough to be going on with, i find if i type out the whole process its VERY tempting to jump forwards a few stages and that invariably ends in disaster.

Work on this (And any more information about her background and behaviour would be great) and let us know how you are doing/any questions etc.

Just remember to take small steps - work at HER pace, not yours - set her up to succeed, make it EASY for her to do the right thing, and make it realy really hard for her to do the wrong thing.

It is hard work, and the regular posters here know this - if you make a mistake thats ok, we all do - if you find it hard and you thnk you'll never get there, thats ok, we've all been there as well! Keep coming on here and reading, and asking!

Digger&Daisy
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Nov 10, 2009 11:11 pm

Post by Digger&Daisy » Thu Nov 12, 2009 10:08 pm

Thank you so much for the advice. I will tell you a bit about both of my dogs. We got Digger when he was 9 months old, his previous owners loved the puppy but not the strong dog :cry: When he was 12 months we took him to dog obediencce but he was still very lonley so we bought Daisy from a breeder when she was 8 weeks old. We bought an American Staffy because we wanted a dog that would be bigger than Digger so they would both enjoy playing together. Sadly, we didn't even think about socialization because we had Digger and he didn't go to training until he was 12 months. Daisy now dominates Digger and is possessive of the toys and her bed inside (even though they are the same beds).

Digger&Daisy
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Nov 10, 2009 11:11 pm

Post by Digger&Daisy » Thu Nov 12, 2009 10:10 pm

By the way I read up on the lose lead walking and am begining to put it into action. We will still put the muzzle on her when we take her out. We have also booked a trainer to come to our house for some one on one training.

emmabeth
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Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2006 9:24 pm
Location: West Midlands
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Post by emmabeth » Thu Nov 12, 2009 10:33 pm

Ahhhhh... I think I see whats going on!

So, Poor ole Digger who for several reasons hasnt had much socalizing, because of his life before you so hasnt learned so much about the ways of the world (even if hes a friendly guy with other dogs... theres more than just learning that)..

Gets a buddy... who turns out to be a bully!

Its not at ALL unusual, male dogs ... like a lot of male humans, are not great at communicating clearly with youngsters, especially babys. Some are great at playing with them, some are terrified and want to be nowhere near them... or are horribly concerned that they will break them! But very very rarely are they confident enough with them to tell them off when necessary.. and thats dogs who have been socialised from day 1 with all manner of adult and younger dogs and have experienced all manner of behaviour and different types of interactions.

And then along comes Daisy.. who, being a girl and obviously of superior intelligence :lol: (99 times out of 100, male dogs defer to the female! even if they are a lot younger!), outwits him and pushes him about... he hasnt the skills to say 'hey you, get knotted'..

And thats all she does up until recently. So shes had 8 months of practice at pushing Digger around?.. 8 months of playing as hard as she likes with him..

So when shes faced with another dog she thinks, wahey.. lets go, and her FUN games... is 'lets see if i can push you around to' because she doesnt know any other way!

Big oops... but its fixable! So dont panic!

Do the loose lead walking, walk them seperately if you arent already doing this. She needs to learn theres more to do in the world than rule over Digger with an iron paw. Using the muzzle is a good safety precaution, make sure its one you can fit treats through or fit the nozzle of a tube of squeezy cheese spread through... you still need to be able to reward her.

Walk him seperately - hes gotta have some fun too and fun that doesnt involve Daisy might be nice!

Definately let a trainer see them together as whilst I can have an educated guess at whats going on, its rarely just ONE thing, never as clear cut as that. Do make sure its not a trainer who is going to go down the old fashioned 'dominance' or 'pack leader' lines though, as that would do far more harm than good.

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