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Post by sunil989 on Tue Jul 31 2018, 23:24

Hi everyone,

I wanted some advice for my 13 week old staffy Leo. I had got Leo at 2 months old, upon getting him he has acted as a usual pup would, very nippy and always excited, however just a week after getting him he had started showing signs of 'aggression'. I'm not sure whether this should be labelled as aggression or something else as he is my first puppy and I haven't had the chance to speak to anyone else to see if they had experienced the same sort of thing with their pup.

The 'aggression' is more common with my sisters rather than myself, this may be because he spends the whole day with me and it comes into effect the most around 8pm. He will be playing with one of my sisters for a few minutes before he randomly starts to bark loudly and show his teeth while also trying to nip them as much as he can, his posture will also go very stiff and he will not give up biting even if they try to walk away and ignore him. He bites to the point where he rips trousers (and doesn't let go) and also leaves cuts. He does not do it as much with me unless I intervene to try and stop him. I would really like to resolve this as one of my sisters is only 12 years old and she sometimes get frightened of him and gets put off with playing with him.

We had tried to address this by picking him up and putting him in his crate for a time out for 3-4 minutes however, he will calm down for another 5 minutes then continue. Im not sure if this is just him playing rough or if it is aggression. We have also tried by putting him into a sit and rewarding him but this definitely does not work as he will continue straight after eating his treat.

Im not sure what else I can do, he is growing every week and I wouldn't like for this to be a habit in a few months when he is much bigger and harder to handle. We also take him on 2 walks during the day, one in the morning for 20 mins and another in the evening for 20-25 minutes with a 10 minute game of fetch before each walk. I also give him training daily teaching him commands such as sit, sit and stay, give paw, take it and leave it and also heel which we are still working on. He is very well behaved during the day, this just seems to occur in the evening around 8pm. I would appreciate some advice on how to deal with this as Im not sure what to try next.

Thank you

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Post by gillybrent on Wed Aug 01 2018, 08:19

Hopefully, Liz will be along in a little while - she's best for behaviour advice.

In the meantime, let me assure you that it's almost certainly NOT aggression in the way you mean it.

Rather than putting him in his crate (which makes the crate a place of punishment, rather than a place of safe retreat), take yourself away! Give a firm "enough", or something similar & turn around & ignore & if that doesn't work, walk out of the room & shut the door for a couple of minutes. But you will ALL have to do the same thing.

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Post by Guest on Wed Aug 01 2018, 08:35

I know puppy rough play can be hard to deal with but the good news is that it probably is just that, rough play. It's 99% certainly not aggression, staffies are extremely rarely aggressive towards people unless they have cause or have learned to fear people, and puppies are almost never truly aggressive.

Dogs learn from the immediate responses to their actions. If something gets them what they want, they do it again, if it gets them something they don't want they don't bother or avoid it. In the case of this sort of play, if they get what they perceive to be play in return for using teeth, then it's great! What a puppy will see as play will include things like tugging games (you trying to get your trousers back), hiding games (you hiding your hands so he can't reach them), increase in energy such as running or squealing, etc. It doesn't matter if your intent is not play, it's how Leo sees it that counts.

The best way to deal with this is to a) establish among yourself where his boundaries are a b) respond to deter immediately he hits that boundary in such a way that he can understand that his actions caused that response.

What you need to do is look at his behaviour very carefully to see when he is going from ok play to not ok play, when his attitude changes from just having fun to getting carried away. If you can hit that moment, or as close as possible, it will be clearer for him and he will hopefully be easier to work with if he's not got really stuck in! The 'no teeth' rule is also a good one, no teeth on human skin or clothing, ever.

Instead of picking him up (which can be seen as giving him more attention and a cuddle), I would advise you to stick with the walking away but go one step further, actually leave the room and close the door. Don't say a word, don't scold or 'explain', just up and leave quite briskly so that it's clear he's sent you away. Leave it just a minute, enough time for him to think, and come back in. He may start again, in which case you do the extact same thing. Each and every time he oversteps the boundary by one paw, you leave and close the door.

At the same time, when he's being a good boy, especially after one of these moments, praise quietly. He can have cuddles, he can have treats, he can have a toy, whatever he likes, when he's being calm.

You may find it easiest to set up some training sessions so that you can all work together (in pre-shredded trousers), as it can be helpful to watch each other and it's also easier if you're mentally prepared for something. You know the times he's most likely to get carried away (very common staffie excitement times!), so plan that for the next week or so you're going to have an 8pm training session with him.

In that time, I'd also think about other training, so that you can give him something he can do to get his praise, attention and rewards. He's not at all too young for some basics and I'd very much include teaching a 'leave it' command, and 'enough'. If he doesn't know them already, he can also learn sit, come and off lead heel in the house, all working with treats.

There is more puppy training advice in our info sheets, including links in the 'outside resources' on to some great puppy training videos

http://staffy-bull-terrier.niceboard.com/t66721-puppy-information-sheets

One last thing, never use the crate as a punishment or there is a risk he will start to see it negatively. Again, it's his perception rather than yours that counts. Especially if he feels you're cross or frustrated, and you lock him in there against his will, you could be creating an association that will last a lifetime.

Hopefully that will all help but please let us know how you get on and shout if you get stuck.

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Post by gillybrent on Wed Aug 01 2018, 09:45

sunil989 wrote:
We also take him on 2 walks during the day, one in the morning for 20 mins and another in the evening for 20-25 minutes with a 10 minute game of fetch before each walk. I also give him training daily teaching him commands such as sit, sit and stay, give paw, take it and leave it and also heel which we are still working on. He is very well behaved during the day, this just seems to occur in the evening around 8pm. I would appreciate some advice on how to deal with this as Im not sure what to try next.

Thank you

Can I also say that you may be exercising him too much for his age. The general rule of thumb is 5minutes 'forced' exercise per month of age (ie on lead, hard ground walking). Plus, he can have some off lead play on soft ground (grass, sand etc) as long as he's allowed to rest whenever he needs to - or whenever you feel he should. Just leave him enough energy to get home again!

Over exercising can cause him to be over tired, and therefore not in full control. As with very young children, if they get too tired they become fractious! Been there, done that!Laughing

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Post by Guest on Wed Aug 01 2018, 09:53

I missed that bit first time round... as well as maybe asking too much physically, it sounds like you might be asking too much rather than too little training wise. Incorporate short spells of training (5 minutes) into other interactions - play and cuddles. Sit-stay is too much for a very young pup, you just want him to be able to listen to you, put his bum on the floor for a few seconds, come when he's called from just a few feet away and drop something he shouldn't have, and that's the aim for the next couple of months. Short spells of fun and relaxed training are much more effective that aiming for prize winning obedience. Think of him as a just-started-primary-school aged child.

Over-training, especially at an early age, can lead to them switching off and getting frustrated. It's probably not a cause of the problem of rough play, which is a natural staffie thing, but it may just be a contributor and certainly won't help.


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Post by sunil989 on Wed Aug 01 2018, 12:46

Thank you Gilly and Liz. I feel reassured knowing I can rule out aggression and that it is just rough play. I will be sure to try these methods rather than the crate method and will update you on how it is going. He really loves being around us and having our attention so us leaving the room will hopefully be a indication for him to not play as rough.

In terms of the exercise, I will definitely be shortening the time of walks. I usually only give him 5 minutes of training everyday, he catches on to commands very quickly but I will be wary of over-training him.

Thank you again for your help, it is much appreciated.

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Post by gillybrent on Wed Aug 01 2018, 13:57

Hopefully you'll see in improvement quite quickly!

Please do let us know how it goes, and if you have any questions at all, just ask!

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Post by sunil989 on Sun Aug 26 2018, 20:49

Hi again, just a quick update on Leo. Unfortunately, his 'aggression' issues don't seem to have improved. We have tried a few methods such as leaving the room when he starts biting and entering again after a few minutes, we have to do this 2-3 times before he calms down and it seems to work well. However this won't stop him from doing it again in a few hours or the next day, we have gave him a few weeks and we have tried this method every time. Is there anything else I can try?

We have also booked him in for the vets to get their advice and we are in the process of booking a trainer. We would really like this to stop as he means so much to us and giving him away really isn't a option!!

It also seems to be getting worse, e.g. harder bites, more consistent to carry on. His bites may be getting harder because he is growing up, he is very good in every other aspect and this is the only real issue we are having with him.

He seems to do this 3-4 times a day. We are completely against using any physical means of punishment and we have stopped putting him in the crate when it occurs. I have also tried to assess what might trigger him to do this however I can't put my finger on it as he will sometimes do it when I just walk past him in the garden without acknowledging him. He can also do it when playing with him or just petting him.

Please could I get some advice and I will update you on what the vets and trainer have to say.

Thank you

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Post by gillybrent on Mon Aug 27 2018, 10:13

Does the behaviour coincide with feeding?

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Post by sunil989 on Mon Aug 27 2018, 22:16

No, he seems to be fine when being fed if this is what you mean. He is also eating and drinking fine.

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Post by gillybrent on Tue Aug 28 2018, 19:24

sunil989 wrote:No, he seems to be fine when being fed if this is what you mean. He is also eating and drinking fine.

No, I mean does it happen after feeding?

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Post by sunil989 on Wed Aug 29 2018, 00:12

No, its mostly random, it can happen before or after feeding. His energy does seem to increase after being fed however, he still does it before being fed.

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Post by Paris1990 on Wed Aug 29 2018, 12:55

From what you have listed he just sounds like a normal puppy to me, hank was the same minus the cutting the skin and he just grew out of it when he knew how hard was too hard to bite.

When he does bite too hard do you the yelping and making a noise so he knows he has hurt you? this is how they learn bite inhibition.

Once his big teeth come through you will notice a big difference as they don't hurt as much as those god damn needle baby teeth haha
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Post by gillybrent on Wed Aug 29 2018, 19:46

I honestly wonder if this is partly down to food.

Would you tell me what you feed him?

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Post by sunil989 on Wed Aug 29 2018, 23:53

Thank you for the reply Paris. We have tried the yelping noise but this doesn't seem to work. I am hoping he will just grow out of it however, he doesn't really bite much generally until he has his spontaneous 'aggression' moments otherwise his biting isn't usually a issue. The needle teeth are the worst lol!

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Post by sunil989 on Wed Aug 29 2018, 23:57

I am also starting to suspect it may be down to his food. He is constantly very hyper.

He is currently on James Wellbeloved dry puppy food. We feed him this 3 times a day. It would be unfortunate to change his food after buying a 15kg bag which is only half used lol!

However I may gradually change it to see if it helps. Do you have any recommendations for food? He also has sensitive skin on his stomach and is prone to developing rashes.

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Post by Paris1990 on Thu Aug 30 2018, 10:01

Have you considered raw feeding? I know it's not for everyone but with you saying he has a sensitive stomach too this could rule out anything that's in his food you currently have him on, and at least with raw you know exactly what his eating and if certain meats cause him to have any reaction you just stop giving him that meat, rather than with kibble you struggle to narrow it down what exactly is bothering him.

Landywoods are really good and do puppy packs.
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Post by gillybrent on Thu Aug 30 2018, 10:56

I'd also recommend a look at raw feeding. You can buy some really good pre-mixed frozen raw.....

Country Hunter
Nutriment
Benyfit

are just a few. Nutriment & Benyfit do 'protein specific' food, which basically means that every bit of it (meat, offal & bone) comes from one animal only, so if your dog is sensitive to, say, poultry or beef (the two most common), you can easily avoid them. Nutriment do Lamb, Salmon, Duck, Rabbit & a whole host of others.

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Post by Branchy on Thu May 23 2019, 09:57

We have a 8mth and he stills bites us now he is getting older his biting is hurting. We have tried doing the things you say but nothing seems to do the trick. We have put him in the hall but he seems to like going out there as he jumps on the seat and settles down. We were thinking of getting a crate to put him in when his biting. We feed him on beta dry food for puppies and we give him 80grammes of food 3 times a day. And he goes out for an hour and half at 2pm, is that too long

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Post by Nifty staffy on Thu May 23 2019, 11:58

I would not use a crate for the purpose you describe as a crate is not at all meant to be a punishment or a “prison”. I fear that it will just make things worse.
My Opium is around the same age and she’s also very “mouthy” but I distract her attention by asking her for something when she goes to bite. But she bites by excitement, not really intentionally.

At 8 months old, there’s no reason to still be feeding 3 times a day. Mine eat twice a day Smile


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Post by gillybrent on Thu May 23 2019, 13:15

Branchy wrote:We have a 8mth and he stills bites us now he is getting older his biting is hurting. We have tried doing the things you say but nothing seems to do the trick. We have put him in the hall but he seems to like going out there as he jumps on the seat and settles down. We were thinking of getting a crate to put him in when his biting. We feed him on beta dry food for puppies and we give him 80grammes of food 3 times a day. And he goes out for an hour and half at 2pm, is that too long


I would try a change of food, to be honest. Beta is known to cause hyperactivity! I would suggest you go for a food such as Wellness Core (puppy) food - about the same price as Beta, but much, much better.

Beta has approx. 48% cerials & 22% meat, whereas wellness core has approx. 44% meat, no wheat & minimal other fillers. 

If your local pet shop doesn't do it, you can get in online from Kennelgate Pet Store, free delivery (at the moment) and 10% off your first order.


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Post by Branchy on Thu May 23 2019, 17:17

We have our dog wavy at the beginning but someone told me to give him beta

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Post by gillybrent on Thu May 23 2019, 17:40

I don't know what wavy is, but Beta isn't a good food - nearly half of it is cereals!

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Post by Branchy on Thu May 23 2019, 18:32

Sorry it should say wagg

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Post by gillybrent on Fri May 24 2019, 10:48

Sorry, Wagg isn't great, either. Blushing

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Post by Branchy on Sun May 26 2019, 10:24

What about burns dry food

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Post by gillybrent on Sun May 26 2019, 19:48

Burns is approx. 60% rice - not good! 

If you're concerned about price, Autarkey Salmon is one of the better cheaper dog foods (adult). I'm pretty sure the puppy one is also reasonable. 

Why Burns, particularly?

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Post by Branchy on Mon May 27 2019, 07:01

I saw it in the shop and I looked at the ingredients and meat was first, as I was told if meat is first that's good. I was told to give your pup a toy so he doesn't want to bite you did that but he doesn't want the toy he just wants to bite us.

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Post by gillybrent on Mon May 27 2019, 08:28

Branchy, I would suggest you begin your own thread - this has somewhat highjacked this one!  Wink

All the Burns food I've seen have rice as first ingredient (60%%+),which one did you look at?

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Post by Lee1972 on Tue Jun 25 2019, 00:10

We have a 13 week old female showing the same signs of aggression biting at fingers lunging forward , when shes told no it carries on,

It used to be both of us but mostly my partner now
But spends more time with me than my partner

I have put her in other room when she does this
Did seem to help with me but not my partner

Shes on harringtons and arden grange puppy food
And around 15 toys around the room but keeps coming back to legs and fingers


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Post by MartP on Tue Jun 25 2019, 23:26

Hello mate, it's just a game of perseverance, consistency and repetition I'm afraid - the isolation system does work but also have you tried a clicker? These can be used for reinforcement along with treats when your pup breaks away from you - you have to time it right but there's plenty of online help, books and vids etc.

One thing to bear in mind, whatever you do your partner has to do exactly the same thing - you'll get through with patience I'm sure. When you do you'll have an amazing companion thumbs up

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Post by Guest on Wed Jun 26 2019, 09:27

Lee1972, please read through the advice I gave at the top of this thread, where I explain the method of the human leaving the room, rather than taking the dog to another room. It's much more effective.

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Post by Luna_blueprice on Sun Oct 20 2019, 01:24

Hi,

I was wondering if a year on things are better with Leo? He sounds a lot like my baby right now and it'd be great to know if the walking away trick ever worked, or if you found what worked for you?

Thanks, Luna's Mum x

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