My rescued Staffy cross bit another dog :(

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My rescued Staffy cross bit another dog :(

Post by Thyco on Thu Jun 14 2018, 10:22

Hi all,

We adopted a 3 years old male Staffy cross a month ago, the rescue center told us he was good with people and dogs but we have noticed aggression and nervousness when he is around other dogs, he grawls, pulls and sadly yesterday he bit a small dog.

We walk him 3 times a day, he is nice with us, he is friendly with humans and likes to please us, we have been very consistent with his trainning, keep him on the lead all the time when he is outside.  He is been ok with a few dogs and when he growls we took him away from the dog and try to keep him calm, follows commands and give him treats when he is not overexcited.

Yesterday, I made the mistake of lett him approach a dog we have seen before, he didn't grawl and just suddenly and quickly bit the other poor dog on the nose and didn't let him go for a good few seconds, until the other dog's owner kicked my dog and my dog released it. It happen in 2 seconds, I didn't  see it comming, he was pulling hard and I should have take him away ...my mistake I guess. The other dog was pulling too and had barked at my dog before (different day)

I could not inspect the others dog's wound I just managed to say 'sorry' and took my dog away as quick as possible. A woman in a car stopped and shouted at me 'keep your dog under control' Sad I replied back 'he is on a leash', the woman was sympathetic with the other dog and I have the feeling she advised the man to raise a complaint to the police or something. I just went away because obviously, the 2 dogs could not be close to each other at that point. My dog immediately knew he was done something wrong, I could see it on his face and walk very close to me on our way back.

I don't know what to do when I see the other dog's owner next time, I guess he might ask to pay for the vet fees maybe? I'm so sad, the last thing I want to do is to use a muzzle, it is awful. Also, I'm afraid of this going to the court or something more serious, if my dog is shown to be a dangerous breed he can be destroyed, I'm so so sad and worried.

I live in the UK
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Re: My rescued Staffy cross bit another dog :(

Post by Mistys Mum on Thu Jun 14 2018, 10:50

Oh what an awful situation for you both to be going through. Was the other dog on a lead? If not then I would try not to worry to much about police involvement as your dog was on lead.

I think if it were me I'd try to find the owner without taking my dog and have a clam conversation and maybe offer to pay for the vet bill just to try to placate the situation but then again I wouldn't be happy he kicked my dog but I can see things from his side too.

I'd also recommend training classes as this will help confidence for you both. Also I'd go for very quiet walks for a few days, nothing too​ simulating.

How is Thyco now?


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Re: My rescued Staffy cross bit another dog :(

Post by Thyco on Thu Jun 14 2018, 10:59

Hi Mistys
Thanks for your reply. The other dog was on the lead too.
I walked him this morning and I avoided the route yesterday, just in case we encountrer the other dog again.
Tycho was well behaved today, maybe he remembers what happened yesterday? I don't know.

This Saturday there is a 'trainning' event on the rescue place and we are eager to take him to seek advice, I suspect Tycho was not socialised when he was a puppy and was keept on a backyard most of the time.
So, it loos like he needs one-to-on classes that comes up at £100 per 1hr lesson. I know, very expensive.


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Re: My rescued Staffy cross bit another dog :(

Post by LizP on Thu Jun 14 2018, 11:07

First of all, don't worry about Thyco falling under the Dangerous Dogs Act. It does not cover dog on dog issues and even if anyone did report you to the police for this incident I'd be gobsmacked if they were at all interested. Try to ignore people like the woman in the car. They have no idea what they are talking about. Sadly, it's all too common that people have a bias against our lovely staffies and crosses Sad.

Yes, you maybe be asked to contribute towards any vet bills. Depending on how you feel about it at the time and how the other owner feels, and of course the amounts involved, you may offer to pay part of the whole. It can be easier to settle to maintain goodwill, if that's possible.

As for the behaviour, it sounds very much like the insecurities you mentioned before. Growling, barking, lunging at other dogs are ways of trying to keep them away. It's very common and doesn't mean you have an aggressive dog, just one who's not great with others and needs a little more careful handling. Training sessions are a good idea but there are also things you can do yourself first to see if you actually need them.

Keep him on the lead, as you do, maybe swapping to a long one so he can have some more freedom to move when there's no other dog around but having it there as a safety net. If it's possible to find footpaths where there is no one around and you can see far enough ahead to be sure, the let him off for a run but I'd only do that if you're confident he's got good recall. If he hasn't that's something to work on.

When you do meet other dogs, I'd suggest you keep a good distance and work on keep him with you mentally as well as physically. 'Watch me' is a brilliant command - as it says on the tin you ask the dog to look at you, eye contact, for a reward. You teach it by holding a treat to your face while giving the command and rewarding when he gives you eye contact - just a quick glance in your direction isn't enough, it has to be full on focus. I'd also suggest working on changing direction and drawing him to you, so you can happily move away from another dog at any time. I use 'this way!!!', a really happy, fun call but you can use any words you like. Teach it away from any distractions, using a toy or a treat. I find a tuggy toy works really well for this, and you can work on a 'leave it' command at the same time. Change direction very briefly while showing him his toy and then let him play with it for a bit. When he knows the command, always followed by play.

When that works, take the toy with you on walks. You can then call him to you for something fun at any point, calling as soon as you see something he might react to rather than waiting till he's actually worried by it if you can.

The main thing to avoid is face to face meetings, they're very confrontational for many dogs. Again, this is when I'd draw the dog to you for play or treats, whichever is appropriate, and keep working to keep him moving quietly in different directions, always focussing on you.

See how all that goes. Hopefully, having a plan should help settle your nerves (which is important, our stresses make our dogs more worried) and should also help others see that he is in control and that you are working with him.

Re socialisation classes, I'd approach with caution. I did take one of mine (Chaos) and it made him worse, he couldn't cope with all those dogs around him. I really regret it now. We just went a couple of times but I could see how hard it was for him so we actually left mid session. If you can find a really good class that is outside, so with plenty of space so you can keep to a distance he can cope with, and with a trainer who understands and can cater for his needs, then fine. Otherwise I fear you might struggle.



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Re: My rescued Staffy cross bit another dog :(

Post by Mistys Mum on Thu Jun 14 2018, 11:10

That definitely sounds like a good idea going to the event at the center. They should be able to offer you good advice.

Misty wasnt socialised either as a puppy so I know what you are going through. I believe you will get there!

That sounds so expensive for training though, is that £100 for training from the rescue or a completely separate dog trainer?

If that's separate training then please let us know whereabouts you are based and the forum may have recommendations of trainers in your area.

I must say I do love the fact you haven't don't what some people may do in your situation and taken Thyco back to the rescue. Its so lovely to read of people persevering and working with their dog. We are always here to help and to listen for any help and advice we can give.


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Re: My rescued Staffy cross bit another dog :(

Post by -Ian- on Thu Jun 14 2018, 18:43

Hi Lili, any dog fight is upsetting for all concerned so your feelings are completely understandable. The advice given by Liz is spot on and from experience using a favourite toy as a distraction has worked well for us.

I suspect that your little fur friend is nervous of other dogs and this is his reaction so maybe socialisation is the way forward but not in a big noisy group, could you find people to go on one to one walks so that he builds up trust slowly and doesn't see all dogs as a threat by getting to know lots of dogs but only seeing them one to one.

Do let us know how you both get on


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My rescued Staffy cross bit another dog - same here!

Post by jjmmil on Sat Jun 16 2018, 10:50

Hi all,
I adopted Ellie 2.5 years ago when she was 2.5 yrs old so now she has just turned 5 years old now.

I shall try to keep this brief.  My philosophy has always been that all dogs CAN be sociable and get along with the majority of dogs, whatever their energy.  Some dogs take longer than others.
Ellie was found wandering the streets of Cambridge with a prong collar embedded in her infected neck.  She was in a lot of pain.  Wood Green Animal rescue got her from the local dog warden and they treated her wounds which amounted to an £800 vet bill.  I adopted her on 8 Jan 2016.

My first thought was I had to get her in with my dog walking friends and all their dogs (sometimes 5 to 12 dogs at a time). I was advised to keep her on a lead for 11 weeks!!!  What? No, I let her off on the first day I got her.  If she ran off I would need tactics to get her back. No treats, no anger, just simple "Come on baby, come here sweetie".  yes worked first time.  Staffies want to please their humans and I wanted to build trust and confidence without biscuits.
If Ellie gets aggressive, I would turn her upside down, laying her on her back and tell her "No, bad dog".  It has worked so well that now she is just another dog in the pack of my dog walking friends. In fact everyone says how well she has fitted in.  You have to be consistent and firm especially the first time any aggression is seen, that means any body language of hackles up and tail high in the air, all pre-signs of aggression. Nipping it in the bud is key with Staffies.

Now to Thyco, I wish I lived nearer to you, I'm in Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk and I'd train your dog for free.  Believe me, it can be done but you always need to be two steps ahead as far as body language and reacting to it before it starts.

Yes I believe my Ellie was aggressive when she was with her previous owner and I have now reversed that and we meet up with up to 15 dogs on a daily basis with no aggression issues at all.

Thyco, please contact me through this forum if I can advise you on becoming a dog savvy reading dog language, like me.  It is an on-going process but you will relax and enjoy your daily walks.  I promise.
Best wishes Thyco
Jenny x
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Re: My rescued Staffy cross bit another dog :(

Post by gillybrent on Sat Jun 16 2018, 15:36

Thanks for your input Jenny, but I don't think this forum supports dominance based training, ie turning your dog onto its back.

I feel Liz's suggestions will work far better in the long run.

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Re: My rescued Staffy cross bit another dog :(

Post by LizP on Sat Jun 16 2018, 17:29

On a personal level and also on behalf of this forum, I agree with Gilly that we in no way agree with or support dominance based training. It is a method that is unfair on the dog (would you like to be pinned to the ground and told you are bad for doing what you think is the right thing at the right time?), it can even make matters worse as the dog reacts against the pinning. It may work in some cases but that doesn't make it right.





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Dominance Training

Post by jjmmil on Sat Jun 16 2018, 20:04

Hi Ladies

Well I never knew that it was called Dominance training and I will never use it again.  But in my defence Ellie did learn from it and I never hurt her or hit her in any way.  She is my little girl and I'll do anything for her and if Dominance training is wrong, I'm done with it.

Thank you ladies for being so nice with your feedback, I shall look at other methods of training that is kinder and more dog friendly.  I actually only used that method twice on Ellie and now she is actually friendly with other dogs but she needs introducing to first.  So I have learnt also.

I am going to find this board very interesting and educational.
Thank you
Jenny   doh
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Re: My rescued Staffy cross bit another dog :(

Post by gillybrent on Sat Jun 16 2018, 23:13

No problem Jenny - there are all sorts of training, and different people see them in different ways. But if you can train positively and without force then the results in the long term are much better.

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Re: My rescued Staffy cross bit another dog :(

Post by LizP on Sun Jun 17 2018, 07:21

Oh bless you, Jenny. I'll confess I wasn't expecting a reponse like that, many people who use the older methods can be quite prickly, so it's refreshing that you're so open minded.

Have a look through some of our info sheets, there's one on the dominance theory in there too.

http://staffy-bull-terrier.niceboard.com/t66619-training-and-behaviour-information-sheets

Positive reinforcement training is wonderful, it's fun and challenging for both dog and owner. I have a sneaky feeling you could quite get into it!



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Re: My rescued Staffy cross bit another dog :(

Post by jjmmil on Sun Jun 17 2018, 10:32

Hi again

Yes that sounds so much better.  I believe other people's knowledge can be beneficial to other dog owners (ie ME!) making life better when living with beautiful dogs.  I'll certainly have a really good read of the attachment and make it my bible for future dogs and it can help me when Ellie gets a bit nasty. It's a learning process for both of us.

She doesn't want to kill the other dog, she just wants to say calm down and behave.  But some people I meet swear and say "get a muzzle on your F-ing dog".  I just say "Happy Christmas!", and walk away.  I think that aggression should be addressed especially in front of the other dog's owner but it's knowing that balance.  And it's sometimes difficult to just say "good girl, let's go".  
I'm off to do some reading now.

Thanks ladies you're good to know here.
Jenny x
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Re: My rescued Staffy cross bit another dog :(

Post by gillybrent on Sun Jun 17 2018, 14:12

I think we've all known those ignorant ranters! You already do all you can - walking away makes you better than them! Wink

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Re: My rescued Staffy cross bit another dog :(

Post by Dogface on Sun Jun 17 2018, 15:05

At the end of the day dogs are dogs. Do your best and if there's a bit of a dog fracas at any time, c'est la vie, no point going round fretting every time you see those hackles go up. My boy is a bit reactive (rabidly so when it comes to shar peis and mastiffs) but it's all noise and I'm always on hand to control him. The other week he was walking on his lead, carrying his ball, and suddenly another Staffy (a Staffy cross) leaped out of a car boot and grabbed his head in its jaws. Luckily it let go but he had teeth marks down the side of his head for three weeks, plus a bitten tongue and cut chin. All he was interested in was rescuing his ball, he literally didn't seem to notice.
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Re: My rescued Staffy cross bit another dog :(

Post by Thyco on Mon Jun 18 2018, 16:47

Hi Mistys Mum, LizP, Ian, JJmmil, GillyBrent.

Thanks SO MUCH for all your comments and advice. All very valuable.

I want to give you an update:
I have not seen the other dog's owner, I read that it is better to avoid the area for a few days, of course, if I see him again I hope to al least to give him my mobile and ask for his dog and vet expenses.

I've notice Tycho is more agressive towards dogs when I walk with him that when he is with my partner. Is he trying to protect me against 'evilness'? Of course, as soon as I see a dog, I change direction and make him sit, and give him a treat, he still gets super anxious and pulls, I think a safe distance is at least 30mt, closer than that and he becomes rigid, ears and tail up.
The charity told us that he was fine among dogs and didn't show aggression, and just right now my partner texted me: "Tycho just spent half an hour with Hugo (a french bulldog) and almost managed to stay calm when two other dogs turned up".
I'm thinking is something wrong with me Sad He is a different dog when he is outside and get excited when anything moves (rabbits, dogs, falling leaves, papers...), like he has never been outside, we think he was kept as a backyard dog all his life Sad . Inside our home, he is an angel (almost).
I've taken an insurance that covers 3rd party liability just in case.

We are still looking for a behaviourist that can help us, I'm taking into consideration your experience Liz, I don't want to make him worse.
I live in Liverpool, I drive, so if any of you could recommend me someone in the Merseyside area that would be great.

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts and experiences, you are amazing people.
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Re: My rescued Staffy cross bit another dog :(

Post by jjmmil on Mon Jun 18 2018, 18:05

Hi everyone
Do you know this site is great to share ideas and swap experiences.  I know dogs are dogs but I think narrowing it down to breed helps us understand the breed so much more.
Thanks guys and gals, you're all brilliant.
I think I'm going to like it here.
Jenny x
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Re: My rescued Staffy cross bit another dog :(

Post by Nifty staffy on Mon Jun 18 2018, 20:35

Thyco wrote:
I've notice Tycho is more agressive towards dogs when I walk with him that when he is with my partner.

I'm thinking is something wrong with me Sad   He is a different dog when he is outside

From what I’ve read, you clearly have the right reflexes to get informed and work on getting Thyco’s attention when out and about. However, you might indeed be part of the reason why Thyco reacts the way he does.
Staffies are very sensitive and I’d be guessing that unlike your partner, you are always thinking ahead in order to avoid potential trouble (prevention easier than cure). Problem is that staffies, as well as being sensitive, are very intelligent too so he’s picking up your cautious vibes and acting on them.

Before you hit panic attack, know that it will be relatively easy to work on you. Maybe you need to relax a little more when out and about. Take your OH with you and see how things go when he holds Thyco, when you have Thyco. And how different are you when your OH is with you compared to when you’re alone ?
You might have to learn to trust Thyco a bit more and work on reading his body language rather than seeing the potential monsters in every situation. Don’t forget that going for that walk together is supposed to be a nice experience for all, including you.

I do believe Liz’s advice will take you far but you also need to build up your own confidence in you Smile
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Re: My rescued Staffy cross bit another dog :(

Post by Thyco on Tue Jun 19 2018, 15:24

Hi all,
We took him to the groomers today, we realised he does not like water and decided to have an expert to give him a shower.
There were other dogs behind the counter, small ones in crates and a big one on a table, Tycho entered and was not bother at all about ANY dog, not even looked or sniffed at them.
Luckily the groomers managed to wash him without trouble and he was 90% well behaved, didn't want his paws to get wet at the very beginning but that was it. He came back to us all excited and even happy, again, on his way out (without a leash) he was not bothered about the dogs there waiting to be collected. Not even looked at them. Total indifference
So, it looks like he is protecting me during the walks worried
Now what? Sad
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Re: My rescued Staffy cross bit another dog :(

Post by LizP on Tue Jun 19 2018, 18:29

I personally don't think he's protecting you, but it might be he's looking for the other way round. Generally speaking, dogs are pack animals who look to one another for support. Without that support, they are on their own making all the decisions which doesn't sit that well with some. A human who they feel is there to support them will make them more relaxed, whereas one that is unsure or worried isn't.

My personal experience with dogs and horses (ex-professional horse trainer) is that you get the best results by ensuring no tension, either actual or just within your body, while at the same time being aware and responsive to situations as they arise.

As an example, you are walking along a not terribly wide track and see another dog. We agree that turning back might be the best option, but how you do it can also make all the difference. You can worry and tense, hesitate, turn back and pull on the lead while 'running away'. Or, you can say make a split decision and say 'hey, buddy, let's not bother about that dog, come with me and have fun!, while calling in a happy voice and starting to play.

My guess is that you're the former, your partner the latter.

I'd walk with him and watch, in really close detail, how he holds the lead/line, how he responds to what he sees around him and how in turn Thyco responds to him. As Thyco is clearly comfortable with that, try and make it your model. I would still also work on 'watch me' and a happy 'this way', to get him looking at you for something positive to do. If (very outside chance) he is protecting you, then you taking control of the situation would also take care of that too.


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Re: My rescued Staffy cross bit another dog :(

Post by 1sttimepupmom on Tue Jun 19 2018, 21:33

Hi Thyco! Your English is perfect! I am also an ESL speaker. Liz p gave you amazing advise and I just wanted to tell you what helped me as a first time pup mom of a staffy mix. First, finding this forum was Godsent, so you are already doing great. Second, I stopped generalizing and focused on what my puppy feels comfortable with. This sounds like common sense but I read so much about what I ‘should’ be doing that if my dog didn’t react the way I thought she needed to, I got very anxious and worried. So, what I am trying to say is to read your dog’s behavior. Some dogs have leash ‘agression’, some dogs have fear ‘agression’, some dogs have food ‘agression’ etc. I put agression in quotes because I don’t really believe it’s an agressive dog, it’s just certain situations where the dog thinks he has to protect him/herself etc. I’m no expert and ladies please feel free to correct me but for example puppy classes did not work for my puppy. She got nervous and was reactive in the class and got agressive. She actually got better when I took her out of that situation. She also feel better walking and being on lead, she has the opposite of lead agression. She starts feeling fearful when I just let her go with other dogs, tail gets between the tail and mowhalk/heckles come up. But it can get better! You just have to figure out what works for your dog usually by trial and error like with the ideas that Lizp is offering. My puppy is now able to play with 4 dogs at the same time without incidents and without a lead. I let her sniff them outside he bark park through the gates for her to feel more comfortable. Once the fear goes away and only if she really want to I will let her in the bark park to play. If she starts getting a little too rough with the other dogs that are smaller or more submissive than her I will stop play so she knows that’s not tolerated. If the dog is big enough, I will let the other dog correct her - they are not agressive just let her know to stop. It took me months to get to this point - around 4. I also was very nervous in the beginning and felt maybe I was passing it to her, but it was also me putting her in situations she didn’t know how to handle. She got into a fight as well a couple of months ago where the other dog growled at her so she defended herself and bit back on the nose and would not let go. It seemed pretty bad but the other dog was fine thankfully, no blood. She has come across the other dog and has wanted to play but the other dog is not ready, I think he remembers the incident. I just wanted to tell you it CAN get better, that it’s not your fault, it just takes time to get to know your pup and what works for both of you. And shame on that lady that yelled at you!!! Instead of offering helpful advise. You will get there, just be patient. I also hired behaviorists, went to 2 different puppy classes and what has worked best is getting to know my pup and seeing what she feels comfortable with. Also, don’t get overwhelmed! Best advise I got was focus on one thing at a time. For example, getting your dog to listen to you when there are other dogs around. Just focus on that first and then maybe you can focus on socializing. One thing at a time. I still haven’t gotten my 7 months pup to listen so I keep the lead on when she plays so I can step on it. Only if she is not getting tangled with another dog and I’m always close. They also say it’s bad to keep a dog on lead inside a dog park but I do that when I go to the public dog park with a bunch of other dogs and she gains confidence little by little. Hopefully I can let her go the next time I go but it all depends on her and her body language. You will get creative I promise! Your
Pup is very lucky to have you!!!

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Re: My rescued Staffy cross bit another dog :(

Post by gillybrent on Tue Jun 19 2018, 23:29

What a lovely post!

It's so good to hear from someone who has 'been there, done that' and got some improvement!

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Re: My rescued Staffy cross bit another dog :(

Post by LizP on Wed Jun 20 2018, 07:59

What a great post, 1sttimepupmom, thank you for taking the time. You are so right, each dog is an individual and it is by listening carefully to what they are telling us that we can help them best.



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Re: My rescued Staffy cross bit another dog :(

Post by Thyco on Wed Jun 20 2018, 17:18

Hi 1sttimepupmom gracias! It is a nice post.
I'm glad to read you had a biting experience too and now your dog is able to play with other dogs around.

I agree that each dog is unique. I believe Tycho is doing his best to please us, he learns fast but also we have noticed that he has fears, I guess as the majority of abandoned/strayed/mistreated dogs. We have been together for 5 weeks only and still knowing each other.

I probabily need to be more relaxed and assertive while walking with him, one baby step at a time.
Thanks ladies, I've noticed the majority of people commented in this thread are women, amazing! Not sure where you all live but some people think that the Staffies are not a ladies dog. Silly stereotypes.

1sttimepupmom Gracias por el cumplido acerca de mi Ingles Wink
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Re: My rescued Staffy cross bit another dog :(

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