Urgent advice needed please

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Urgent advice needed please

Post by b_phippsy on Wed Sep 20 2017, 10:50

Hello everyone, I've not been on for a while so its nice to come back and get up to date with everything. I've hit a problem with Harley and other dogs, I've tried to sort it myself but recently its got worse.
To cut a long story short and for those that do not know my boy, Harley has just turned three, he is fully intact and attended training/ socializing classes up until 1 years old.
He initially started to dislike dogs running up to him on lead about 18 months old. We generally now do not let him interact with dogs when he is on lead as he reacts 80% the problem we have is a lot of owners here let there dogs run free and this makes me very nervous. for a year or so we have been using his ball to distract him while walking past other dogs and this seemed to work for a while, it got to the point where he would see another dog and look up at us for his ball automatically. He now is spotting dogs in the distance and staring and wont budge its as if he is nervous.
The second issue that has arisen over the last 6 months or so is Harley's trustworthiness around other dogs off lead. generally he is good off lead mixing with other dogs if his ball is in play but recently hes started being picky. Me an my partner are really worried by his behavior as he attends the park every other day for a run with his ball and needs the exercise as he is very active. His behavior is unpredictable and seems more reactive to bigger males. Bitches seem less of an issue. I have him on a long line when in the park now as if a fight breaks out I have control of him but unfortunately other owners make the problem worse and let there dogs do what they want!

The first off lead incident happened the other day, there is a small children's park that we take him to that is fenced around and has grass where he can run freely. I feel less nervous that he is safe but there must of been a gap in the fence as a bull dog came in. I shouted to my partner what should I do and before I knew it a fight had started. It was awful. Thankfully both dogs were OK as my partner separated them quickly but If it had escalated the bull dog would have come off worse. the owner of the bull dog was very apologetic towards us, which makes me think she knows he isn't the most social of dogs in the first place. And to make matters worse yesterday I was walking Harley around the street and there was a large dog in the drive Harley stopped and wouldn't budge, the dog then jumped over the metal gates and got into his face. He was just about to react and I managed to pick him up, we were then going around in circles with Harley growling.

Sorry for the long post put I feel so gutted that his behavior has changed to this point, we made sure he was well socialized a pup and regularly had him off lead. I do not know what do to now other than getting a professional in. what do you guys think I should do.

Thanks in advance
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Re: Urgent advice needed please

Post by LizP on Wed Sep 20 2017, 17:10

I'm sorry to hear you're having problems. To be honest, it does sound like you need some help, not just in what Harley is doing but how you are responding as that might be a large chunk of the problem. To be honest, I think getting professional help is a fantastic idea and if that's possible I would go down that route.

It may also help to have him neutered but if your nerves are part of the problem then neutering isn't going to be the full solution.



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Re: Urgent advice needed please

Post by gillybrent on Wed Sep 20 2017, 17:39

totally agree with Liz.

if you go for professional help, make sure that the trainer/behaviourist uses non aversive methods.

also, remember that staffords are (or have been) bred for dog aggressiveness, and so may be more difficult to deal with. That doesn't mean it's impossible, just that it may take more effort!

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Re: Urgent advice needed please

Post by LizP on Wed Sep 20 2017, 18:17

Sorry but I disagree so strongly about this. I see heaps and heaps of staffies in rescue, quite a few of which are reactive to other dogs but, aside their size and strength, they are no different to other breeds we get in that have not been bred for fighting. I would even say that their reactivity is less than a lot of the little dogs, not bred for fighting. We work to socialise our dogs while they are in rescue and, even in that stressful environment, they can make amazing progress. If they were genetically aggressive, we would find them harder to socialise than others, for example lurchers, and we don't.

People may have tried to breed aggressive dogs to fight but given how many of those have been killed because they refuse to fight, it doesn't look that they succeeded as well as myth would have it. It's a myth that's not helpful to the breed.

Beth, please don't have it in your mind that you have a naturally aggressive dog. If you did, you would have had an aggressive dog from the start. Genetics don't develop, they are there or not. It is much more likely that he's reacting because of worry, caused possibly at least in part because you are nervous.



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Re: Urgent advice needed please

Post by gillybrent on Wed Sep 20 2017, 18:20

we must agree to disagree, but basically it's the same - professional help.

i do think, though, that it's not good to ignore a breed's heritage.

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Re: Urgent advice needed please

Post by b_phippsy on Sat Sep 23 2017, 22:19

Thank you all for the replies, am pleased to say I've found a behaviorist that uses positive training to help us. Smile I had a chat with the trainer on the phone and he thinks it may help to neuter Harley as his aggression is more towards bigger male dogs. Bitches hes fine with. He did however say it might not help but we were going to do it now anyway as he has stopped growing. The trainer is going to join us on some walks and design us a training plan from what he observes.Thanks again all I will keep progress updated
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Re: Urgent advice needed please

Post by LizP on Sun Sep 24 2017, 07:59

Excellent!!! Let us know how it goes?


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Re: Urgent advice needed please

Post by Mia05 on Sat Sep 30 2017, 01:10

I think maybe harley bless him is protecting you through no fault of his own i reckon a behaviourist is the way forward. When i came i to certain situations when i seen a large dog across the road id panic without realising she would sense it. Im glad you are getting someone to help.xxxxxx such a beautiful dog.
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Re: Urgent advice needed please

Post by b_phippsy on Fri Oct 13 2017, 16:14

Hello Everyone just a little update, I have found a behaviourist and he seems to be doing the trick with Harley. So far we have been focusing on jumping up inside when people come over and I am pleased to say that I was able to have a friend over the other night with Harley remaining in his bed and only getting a fuss when called Smile the trainer has helped us put some boundaries in the house so Harley knows he must get permission to jump up on the settee/ bed. I just need to keep up the training. next week we are having a look at his behaviour outside, in particular his lead nervousness around other dogs. will keep you posted but so far so good!
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Re: Urgent advice needed please

Post by -Ian- on Fri Oct 13 2017, 16:35

Great news Beth, sounds like you got just the right help Smile


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Re: Urgent advice needed please

Post by Nifty staffy on Fri Oct 13 2017, 18:38

Glad to hear it’s going well for you.
Asking permission to climb into sofa sounds like a very good idea


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Re: Urgent advice needed please

Post by gillybrent on Sat Oct 14 2017, 09:47

sounds good!

did you get him neutered?

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Re: Urgent advice needed please

Post by b_phippsy on Sat Oct 14 2017, 14:20

Hey Gillybrent we are going to wait for his vet check in a few weeks and book him in for neutering then. We have seen the trainer today and I've seen a massive difference in his behavior on lead with other dogs. It wasn't that we were doing the wrong thing just using the wrong tools. The trainer gave us his halti harness to use and it is so much easier to gain his focus as the attachment is at the front. Instead of pulling him away resulting in a very sore arm this method used body weight. Can't wait for the next session when we use a friends dog to help him further. Also proud of Harley as the trainer wanted a photo with him to put on his facebook page. Harley adores him and happy jumped in his car and licked his ears off!
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Re: Urgent advice needed please

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