Pinning down smaller/weaker dogs

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Pinning down smaller/weaker dogs

Post by Roobydoos on Tue Mar 06 2018, 13:25

Hi everyone
8 weeks ago we adopted Ruby, who is now 8 months old and a SBT/EBT X (we think). We are not sure of her background other than she was previously in a home and then left in a field before being taken in by the rescue centre (she was there for a week). She is a lovely girl, very friendly, no aggression, cuddly, coming along well with training including house training (she wasn't trained at all when we got her but she now rings a bell to go out) and a couple of tricks - so she is very bright.

The main concern we have is her dominance over smaller or 'weaker' dogs. We have been going to training since we got her and the dogs have 20 minutes off the lead at the end of each training session. They run around like crazy and she joins in, even with the big dogs. We first noticed a couple of weeks ago that she had targeted a smaller dog and was totally fixated on chasing it and pinning it down. Luckily the dog was not backward in coming forward and grumbled at her so Ruby let go.

Yesterday, I took her to a field with a friend who has a 6 month old labrador puppy and we let them off the lead (they go to training together so had met before) - straight away Ruby was jumping at the scruff of his neck and trying to pin him down, which she quickly did. She had him pinned to the ground by the front of his neck and he was crying out. It took three of us to pull her off him, she wasn't listening to anything I was asking (shouting!) and fixated on keeping hold. We then separated the dogs and Ruby had some time with a fully grown Leonberger - she was just as 'playful' but he put her in her place.

My worry now is that we have the beginnings of a dominant dog who is going to pick on smaller/weaker dogs. We walk her off the lead and her recall is excellent but this has made me quite nervous as I don't think I would be able to recall her in a similar situation.

Any advice would be welcome.

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Re: Pinning down smaller/weaker dogs

Post by Nifty staffy on Tue Mar 06 2018, 18:45

Hi & welcome to the forum  wave

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Re: Pinning down smaller/weaker dogs

Post by Nifty staffy on Tue Mar 06 2018, 18:49

Hello and welcome from us.
Good on you for offering a home to a rescue.
I’m not experienced to deal with your problem but hang around, others will be online shortly to help you Smile


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Re: Pinning down smaller/weaker dogs

Post by -Ian- on Tue Mar 06 2018, 20:42

Hi & Welcome to the Forum from Flo and me Big Grin

You are not the first and won't be the last to be owned by a Staffy that has done this. With older dogs this can be seen by some as teaching a puppy, possibly to teach boundaries to an over excited pup. I had an experience of just this sort of pinning with my Flo and an unknown Staffy pup, no injuries but not a nice thing to witness.

One of the things you can try is to watch for when Ruby starts the fixation and redirect her attention onto something she enjoys, food or toy, until the pup has passed by and then loads of praise. The thought behind this is Ohhhh puppy time or treat time and hopefully choosing the treat and praise will be more appealing than pinning a pup.

Has the trainer at the session suggested anything?


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Re: Pinning down smaller/weaker dogs

Post by stella on Tue Mar 06 2018, 21:39

hia from me and Sasha,if you are feeling nervous about it why not try using a long lead on Ruby that way you can get her back to you if you meet another dog until you can see what her reaction to it is will be


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Re: Pinning down smaller/weaker dogs

Post by Roobydoos on Wed Mar 07 2018, 09:09

I am not seeing the trainer until the weekend so I will speak to her about it then. Long lead could be worth a try.

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Re: Pinning down smaller/weaker dogs

Post by Happyone on Fri Mar 16 2018, 06:24

Hi Roobydoos, we have a 3 1/2 amstaff/Spaniel and she always goes for smaller dogs pinning them down just like Ruby. Although she is not aggressive and doesn’t draw blood the sound she makes is horrible and it looks bad. I can understand that the other owner gets scared for their dog and agitated. We have tried everything including zig zag walking and getting her to sit and settle, as told by a dog trainer. Problem is we can’t test her on any other dogs. We now have a muzzle and as soon as we see another dog the muzzle goes on. She is otherwise well behaved and obedient. Any further help would also be appreciated as staffys always have a bad reputation.

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Re: Pinning down smaller/weaker dogs

Post by gillybrent on Fri Mar 16 2018, 08:52

Hi & welcome.

Please forget the idea of 'dominance'. If you fix on that, you won't find a solution.

If your dog hasn't learned their manners yet, then use a long line to make sure you have control. As soon as she starts to look as though she's trying to pin (it's very common, by the way!) then turn it into a recall with the help of the long line and some tasty treats or a favourite toy.

Loads of praise when she's back with you.

As you've probably already noticed, Staffords are NOT dim! They are very bright (although they're also stubborn) and will soon learn that they shouldn't pin.

Unfortunately,she's probably learned this behaviour at puppy training. I don't actually approve of 'free for all' playing. It gets out of hand & doesn't socialise so much as teaches bad habits as the atmosphere becomes highly charged with energy! Socialisation should be carried out calmly and carefully, and only when the pups are reasonably calm should they be allowed free play - strictly supervised so that bad behaviour can be stopped immediately.

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Re: Pinning down smaller/weaker dogs

Post by Roobydoos on Fri Mar 16 2018, 11:27

Thank you all for your suggestions. We have had some success this week on walks as she has ignored other dogs and focussed on her tennis ball instead! I also agree with gillybrent - the 'free for all' playing does become highly charged.

We are seeing (good) changes in her behaviour every day so hopefully we are on the up!

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Re: Pinning down smaller/weaker dogs

Post by percy on Fri Mar 16 2018, 11:48

All of my staffs have done this when introducing a new pup to the group and I simply reward my dogs if they are gentle and tell them naughty when play gets to rough,I’ve always found that sometimes it’s just there turn once they have grown to hand out the bossy behaviour that they endured from their older fur family when they come to live with the other dogs

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Re: Pinning down smaller/weaker dogs

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