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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I've had dogs all my life and currently have a male golden retriever and a female staffy. Our staffy I got off death row at our local pound in January this year, and had her desexed straight away. She is currently almost 18mths and while at the pound her temperment was perfect. We introduced our goldy to her there and they got on perfectly so we were rather shocked by an aggressive fight within the first week of having her between the dogs. Over the next 3 weeks they had 3 fights with our goldy being dominant over Storm. They now are beautiful together, they spend all day sleeping, playing and eating together. They even share toys ( something our staffy didn't even know what they were when she arrived home), take turns in recieving pats and belly rubs etc.

The only problem I have now is when walking the dogs, as soon as Storm sees another dog she goes wild. Her tail goes straight into the air her head up, ears forward and she starts lunging forward, throwing herself around wanting to attack the other dog. There is no noise made just straight in for the attack. It is not fear driven she just wants to fight. She will snap and try to bite the other dog through fences even. When visiting my mothers house she heard my mums pitty in the backyard and broke the lead I had her on to charge the fence and try to take on the pitbull through the front wooden fence.

Has anyone else encountered problems like this? I don't know where to start for help. I've had german shepards and a rotti before and never have seen such aggression. Apart from encountering dogs when walking Storm has settled down perfectly with Sam and she's the biggest sook with the kids.

Any ideas or advice would be greatly welcomed. Thanks.
 

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You own a Staffy, this is not uncommon behaviour. Do you realize what the APBT (basically the same dog as an AmStaff) were bred for?

I think you are taking a risk by allowing your 2 dogs out together, especially amongst toys and especially knowing what your Staffy is capable of and knowing the history between your 2 dogs! Food and toys amongst multiple dogs is always a NO NO, especially with dog(s) with dog aggressive tendencies! Your dogs have fought before and I guarantee they will fight again. It's just a matter of time. You are taking a huge risk.

Do you have crates or kennels for your dogs? Do you ever leave them out together while not attended? Crating and rotating is probably your best bet.

I suggest you enrol in an obediece class. Make sure you find a trainer who has experience with aggressive dogs and not some new fangled, huggy/kissy trainer who refuses to use any form of negative reinforcement. A good trainer will use a combination of postive and negative and a good trainer isn't afraid of getting bit by a dog either. Ask lots of questions before you settle on one. There are alot of "Wannabes" out there.

Your dog needs to understand that this behaviour is not acceptable and this will start through obedience training. Your dog needs to learn that it must focus on you and not other dogs.

In the mean time you need to make sure you have more secure leashes and collars. Us bully lovers can not afford to have any more of our kind making the headlines of the newspapers. Maybe get a prong collar and while you are out walking the dog attach the lead to the live ring of the prong and also the dead ring of maybe a choke collar or other sturdy collar. That way if the prong comes apart(which they will do on occassion) it will still be secured to the other collar and the dog will not be able to get away from you.

I also suggest (if you aren't already doing this) walking your dogs SEPARATELY. If you have a dog aggressive dog and you are trying to walk 2 dogs there is no way you could properly control it if you have the leash of another dog in your hand at the same time.

Keep us posted on your progress.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Lisa. It's like Storm is 2 different dogs. Don't worry I always keep her secure and if people have their dogs out off leash I warn them she's aggressive.

I know many people who have pittys or staffys with other dogs without any problems .I was going to take her to obedience classes but I don't think she'd learn anything there with the other dogs around. We've taught her to sit and she does a sort of heel by herself. I've been told a behavouralist could treat her but wondered if a one on one trainer would be better? And most definitely NOT a wishy washy one. :lol:
 

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I was going to take her to obedience classes but I don't think she'd learn anything there with the other dogs around.
I think with this train of thought you are avoiding the real problem. You need to tackle this situation HEAD ON, not avoid it. How are going to fix the problem if you don't want to face it? The dog needs to be set up and that means having other dogs around. You could try working without distractions first, until you get the dog better under control and foucssed on you but eventually you need to deal with the probem at hand. You can't avoid it!

As far as the "Behaviourists" go , I don't buy it. Like I said, find a good trainer with experience dealing with bullies and other dog agressive dogs.
 

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I just wanted to throw my two cents in but I have Buster set for basic obedience the end of April.I found a trainer that has and will deal with the bully breed.She has small classes so that you basically get one on one training and there isn't total chaos going on as most classes have 10-12 dogs per class she only has four per class.You may want to find one that limits how many dogs are in the class.That may help your situation.Listion to Lisa's advice.She knows her sh*t !!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks guys.

Lisa I'm not avoiding the situation. What I meant was with the way Storm is now obedience classes would be a waste of time. One on one would be better to start with.
I'd love to get Storm to a level where having her around unknown dogs is acceptable, I think she'd actually love agility work but that's a long, long way off.

I'm going to ring around a few trainers today and I'll let you know how I get on. :)
 

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I think you should put a prong collar on your dog, hook up with a Good trainer and go to a public place where they will encounter other dogs, and teach her what not to do. Dog agression isnt fun BELIEVE me.You better get this under control now , before it gets any worse. I wouldnt allow your dogs tgoether anymore especially about what has happened in the past, its not fun for them,you or your kids safety. Once they fight once, IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN. As long as dogs have your love and bond with the family, they dont need love from other animals especially if they are showing you they dont want it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The fighting between my 2 happened in the first weeks we got Storm. She was on heat in the pound so I had her desexed straight away.
The combination of hormones, a new home and finding her place brought about these fights. The last one lasted less then 30seconds. These dogs do want each other, they're best mates they spend most the day playing together and curl up to sleep on the same bed (they decided the 2nd bed wasn't being used and had fun destroying it when I was out) . If I was concerned between my pair don't worry they'd be fully seperated. Storms just had a lot of learning to do. The poor thing had know idea what a toy was when we brought her home, I'd hate to think just what her last owners did with her.

I've got to look into prong collars as they're not legal in some parts of Australia.
 

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Yeah make sure you do positive training (bonding and because its fair) and once she knows the bahvoir then introduce Corections (prong collar ) once she knows better and doesnt want to do it for some reason. Because she hasent been taught too much id start out positive first for training. But dog aggression shouldnt be taken lightly and i dont use any positive for those situations.
I know and understand what u are saying but... I had a rescue Ab (Mylah) and a Rottweiler (jersey).Got Mylah 8 weeks and Jersey was 2 then. They were best freinds for 2 years. And i mean BEST. Slept together,walked together, cleaned eachother, when i would board them when they went away for dog shows, the boarding kennel laughed telling me Mylah wouldnt go unless jersey went to. Then one day out of the blue they got in a fight in their run. Mylajh barked and jersey ddint like it. This only lastest a minute and no damage was done, but i NEVER leave them alone anymore and they are seperated. I can tell you it will happen out of the blue even for dogs who seem "best Freinds"
I wish you the best of luck. There are people who own mulitple dogs and can control these situations but it takjes alot of training and knowledge.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks Tia.

I rang a few trainers today and only one got back to me. I think they're more the sort to do with day to day training so it's not really what I'm after. I'm going to have to ask around to see who is recommended.
 

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Contact a Vet school

For a behaviorist/trainer who has experience with dog aggression. You don't want a generalist, but someone who, as Lisa said earlier, has worked extensively with aggressive dogs before and is going to be right there WITH you on the training.

My experience has been that prong collars, if improperly used, can actually elevate a dog's aggression if introduced without good, solid obedience training going before it. So don't start by getting a prong, start by finding a good trainer/behaviorist to work with. I think your idea of solo lessons to start with is a good idea - you have to teach Storm the obedience FIRST where she's not distracted, THEN in areas of low distraction (other dogs are a goodly distance away), then work your way up to higher and higher distractions.

I'm probably going to get flamed for this, but if, after serious training efforts for several months, you are unable to reduce Storm's reactivity to a workable level for YOUR household, you may have to consider whether this is a situation you can continue for the next 10 or so years. As heartbreaking as it is to consider, if Storm stays unreliable with your other dog AND hyper-reactive to every other dog she meets (or randomly hyper-reactive), it may be a better situation to humanely euthanize her. AGAIN - this is entirely dependent on your situation. If you have a room/lifestyle in which she could have plenty of time to interact with you WITHOUT interacting with other dogs, then it may be plenty workable. But if (like me) you have a smallish house/yard with TONS of neighboring dogs (basically, if we're outside, we're gonna see other dogs), is may not be. Had we not been able to reduce Chyna's reactivity through solid training, OR if she had ever shown aggression toward a human, I would have driven her to the vet's myself. It would have killed me to do it, but I would have done it.

(FWIW, although I'm not a trainer myself, I have worked with Chyna's trainer on a bunch of other dog-aggressive dogs over the past several years - a couple bullies, a couple mutts, a lab, a golden, and one really NASTY shih-tzu. Just in case you wanted my "creds", such as they are.)
 

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Good advice Chynasmom.

The reason why I mentioned the prong is because of the safety of other peoples dogs. I do agree that it starts with good ob but I figured with a prong it would at least better able the dogs owner to hold back the dog if it was trying to go after another. That would be my biggest concern since alot of times people are unable to hold back their dogs on a flat or choke type collar.

I do agree it starts with obedience. I just mentioned it as a "in the meantime" thing for safety reasons when she was out walking her dog. Does that make sense?

Great post!!!!!
 

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A lot of sense!

If there's no way to restrict interactions with other dogs, I would get either a prong or a GOOD no-pull harness - even if the obedience training hasn't started yet.

My FIRST choice would be to restrict interactions as much as possible for right now, but that will depend on yard space & neighborhood conditions and such. When we first got Chyna and she was so over-reactive, I got up at 5:30 for her morning walk so we'd be unlikely to run into anyone.

Depending on how heavy Storm is, a chest harness may be worth trying. It works on the same principal as the Gentle Leaders/Haltis, but without the risk to their necks. Basically, they don't get leverage for serious pulling - it spins them around on their front end.

http://www.puplife.com/dogsupplies/sense.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for the info everyone.

I know what you mean Chynasmom. If Storm or Sam were to show human aggression they'd be out of here straight away. With children there's no way I'd have a human aggressive dog in our yard. I'm really not concerned about Storm and Sam the improvement since she's had time to settle in here has been amazing. Even though they had a few fights to begin with, blood was never drawn. Storm really is part of our family and it is only when encountering other dogs on walks that she goes nuts.

I had "fun" (being sarcastic here) with her yesterday , I took the water bottle with me and had her sit when I could see she was going to start and kept patting her to calm her down and show her it was ok, if that didn't work a few quick sprays helped break the moment.
We went straight past a yard she normally gets stirred at, the dog was there but asleep so she didn't care. We encountered some horses and while I was talking to their owner I had Storm in a sit position. She was fine but once the horses moved on she wanted to go them :shock:. I'm beginning to wonder if there's some prey aggression thrown in there as well. Still animals she's interested but once they move she's stirred.

We also encountered some small dogs with their gate opened wide who ran onto the road to try and attack Storm (barking and nipping a metre away). I got her past there with a few squirts of water and she calmed down quickly once we passed their yard.
 

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Stormy said:
Even though they had a few fights to begin with, blood was never drawn. Storm really is part of our family and it is only when encountering other dogs on walks that she goes nuts.
HAHA Since we've had Chyna, my definition of "fight" has changed dramatically! No Blood - No Fight! :lol: :lol: In all seriousness, though, it must have been pretty scary at the time - glad to hear Storm has settled down around Sam.

Stormy said:
We encountered some horses and while I was talking to their owner I had Storm in a sit position. She was fine but once the horses moved on she wanted to go them :shock:. I'm beginning to wonder if there's some prey aggression thrown in there as well. Still animals she's interested but once they move she's stirred.

We also encountered some small dogs with their gate opened wide who ran onto the road to try and attack Storm (barking and nipping a metre away). I got her past there with a few squirts of water and she calmed down quickly once we passed their yard.
I don't know what it is about horses - Chyna finds them very interesting, too, but I don't know if they're interesting as in "let's go play with that" or "look! - a really big bunny - let's chase it"!!

I hope you also squirted the little dogs that came up to you and Storm, and not just her! One thing that (I think) helped Chyna is, once she understood "sit" and "stay" pretty well, I would then put myself between her and an oncoming dog and try to send it away (holler at it, stamp my feet, squirt them, I even lobbed a handfull of pebbles at one). I may be putting too much analysis into her little blocky head, but what I was trying to show her was "Mom has control of the situation, so I don't need to overreact."
 

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I would most definately say obedience as well. If you are worried about how she will react, you could do a set (4-6) of private classes to get a good foundation, and then the trainer could start to introduce dogs gradually, with gradual increase in stimulation. thats what we always did at the dog school anyway. you can't fix the problem unless you deal with it, but at the same time, you need to learn how to properly deal with the situation as well. good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks guys, I've had a trainer recommended by a lot of people and am in the process of organising a time.

Once we get together I'll post and let you know how it went.

Chynasmoms, I tried squirting the little horrors as well but they were darting in and out of reach so quickly I kept missing them. :? It's not the first time with them either, they're quiet often left out to roam. :x
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Ok, I've got a one on one appointment for the end of the month with the recommended trainer. He's booked up till then.
This trainer also uses prong collars etc so if need be he'll be able to fit one to Storm and show me the correct way to use it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
UPDATE..... Well we had our visit with the trainer last week and Storm was fitted with a prong collar. He went through the NILIF program and also TOT program.

Our main aim at the moment is getting Storm to walk correctly on the lead and obeying my commands. If there's no dogs around she's 98% perfect I can hold her lead on my pinky. Add a house with barking dogs and depending on which dog is barking I can distract her through it easily to semi hard.

The follow up visit will introduce other dogs, atm I'm not suppose to let Storm see and preferably not hear the other dogs when walking her. It's a hard call where I live as just about every yard with a dog has a very vocal dog. There's also some people who let their dogs live permanently wandering around. When we encounter one of these dogs or one being walked on the lead all our training goes out the window. :x If only I could walk her without any distractions she'd be perfect. :lol:

Today was awful as a dog came running out of it's driveway and straight into Storm. As I didn't have a halti on her she snapped shut on this poor dogs face. ( I know he shouldn't be out but he's only young, twice the size as Storm but just dopey and wanting to play) It was awful he was squealing, Storm was wheezing ( from the prong collar pinching her) and the other owner just stood watching. I finally got Storm to release him and she spat out a mouthful of his fur, I moved Storm off and swapped dogs with my daughter so she could run Storm up the hill out of eye sight. My goldy was all worked up and had starting growling at both the dogs ( I think he felt threatened by what was happening, I hope he isn't starting to pick up Storms aggression).

I stayed and caught the other dog while holding my goldy he was quite happy to say hello until the young one got too bouncy then I placed him in a tight sit. The owner just stood there the whole time while I checked his dog who was fine (luckily he had a thick curly coat that copped the bite) and said well that'll teach my dog. :shock: His poor dog is lovely just needs some training and an owner that doesn't let him wander around as it could be a car he runs up to next.

I'm wracking my brains on how I'm meant to walk these dogs without encountering any others. Anyway we go for a follow up in about 6 weeks time to start work on seeing other dogs.
 

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Staffies can have friends, too

I also own 2 dogs. Our Staffie, Miranda, is 13. Our American Bulldog, MAxine is a little past 2.
Staffies can & usually are dog aggressive, but this does not mean that their can not be peace in your house.
First, thank you for rescuing your Staffie!
Miranda was a perfect dog until she hit 2yrs. Then there was a huge change in her attitude with other dogs. At that point I knew I had to get her under control ASAP. So we went through some serious training. I didn't want to be some girl with a tough dog that she couldn't control. I found a trainer that specialized in dominant dogs. Getting Miranda obidient was the key with her. She listens to me over anything else going on. She has even had several good friends, dogs & cats, but it took time to build up to that.
These dogs are so high strung, in the best way of course. They have so much energy and it's hard to harness it. With Miranda I used a pinch collar. It worked great with her. My American Bulldog I trained with a "halti" and that was GREAT with her. I also take treats with me on walks to get them to focus on me. Bribery :)
Most likely Storm will really bond with your Goldy. But they should be separated when you're not around to supervise. I know this can be tough, but it's not fair to the dogs to leave them together. My girls get along beautifully, but they also don't have the opportunity to misbehave.
Give Storm a little time to get rid of that insane intense puppy pit energy. Kepp her under control. It really sucks when someone else isn't being respoonsible for their dogs and it leads to a bad encounter for you.
I'll stop here. I just know what you're going through. I've been there. There is light at the end of the tunnel. I've had my Staffie for 13 yrs and I couldn't ask for more from a dog. Hope this helps????
Wendy
 
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