Lead aggression.

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Post by Jay8574 on Fri Feb 21 2020, 19:24

My staffy girl is 14 months old and we have had her since October 2019 and got her when she was 10 months old. She always walked fine on the lead and was great with other dogs up until December her behaviour suddenly changed. She now pulls on her harness and can’t seem to stop and she also goes crazy when we come across another dog even when they are really far away. She will whine, bark, growl and even jump up in the air and throw herself to the floor. I’ve tried lots of things to distract her or get her attention away from the other dogs but she becomes fixated as if nothing else matter and I am not sure what else to do. Because we haven’t had her from the start I’m not sure what level of socialisation she has had previously but as I have said for months she was never like this and I can’t think of anything that would have triggered her to behave like this.
Thanks in advance for any advice.

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Post by gillybrent on Wed Feb 26 2020, 12:28

Poor you! I honestly feel for you.

Exactly what do you do when she kicks off? What sort of distance can you get to before she misbehaves?

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Post by Jay8574 on Wed Feb 26 2020, 14:54

She can notice them from pretty far away I try not to pull the lead as I know this can make them protective if you are nervous but her reaction is not just aggressive she also gets very very over excited. I’ve tried distracting her with treats which doesn’t seem to work and also tried going in the opposite direction but this just makes her want to go back to the other dog so she will pull snd misbehave if I change direction. It’s as if she wants to reach the other dog but when she does she is only aggressive towards them which means I can’t socialise her anymore. From what I can tell before I got her she mustn’t have been socialised properly as a puppy and I’m not sure how to correct it now. Thanks for the reply.

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Post by gillybrent on Thu Feb 27 2020, 08:18

Do you use a harness or a collar?

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Post by Jay8574 on Thu Feb 27 2020, 09:12

I did use a harness but found that she was using the power in her chest to pull so I have been testing a head harness which solves the issue with pulling but doesn’t stop the aggression or excitement towards other dogs.

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Post by gillybrent on Thu Feb 27 2020, 16:09

You could try a harness with a front ring & get a double ended lead so that you can clip one end to the back & one to the front. That way, if she pulls, her own impetus will turn her towards you & you can praise/treat. ( https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ruffwear-Front-Harness-X-Large-Twilight/dp/B00LHY0116/ref=sr_1_10?keywords=front+ring+harness+roughwear&qid=1582820631&s=pet-supplies&sr=1-10)

It may well take a while, but if you persist it should start to help. A head (haltie-type) harness can help, but some dogs will fight to get control of their head back, which can make it worse.

You could also get something to slip on the harness or over the lead to warn other dog owners to keep their distance if at all possible, at least until she has calmed down. ( https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Caution-Reactive-Dog-Lead-Slip-Cover-I-deal-for-dogs-that-need-space-nervous-789/163765311804?hash=item26212c593cⓂm6OsCtdVq_Vt5TCpmrx0D9A&redirect=mobile)

And she will calm down! She's at 'that' age!

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Post by Jay8574 on Thu Feb 27 2020, 17:40

Thanks I will look into these I have both the halti harness with the front and back clips and the halti head harness which both work but obviously don’t reduce the aggression. Do you think there is any explanation as to why she might suddenly act like this? It could be possible lack of socialisation before I got her but I am unable to socialise her now because she is aggressive towards other dogs and as previously mentioned it has only just started when we had 3 months where she would happily socialise with other dogs.

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Post by gillybrent on Thu Feb 27 2020, 18:06

When you rescue a dog it can take a few months for true character to show. But that doesn't mean that she is 'aggressive'. But she's obviously reactive.

You will need to find a 'safe' distance & start from there. Try to use the "watch" command away from other dogs until she's 100%. Then as soon as YOU see another dog distract with "watch". Gradually close the gap & if she reacts, you've gone too far so take it back a step.

It will work, but it'll take time and patience. Take it at her pace & try to understand that it's almost certainly insecurity.

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Post by Jay8574 on Thu Feb 27 2020, 18:16

Okay thanks

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Post by gillybrent on Thu Feb 27 2020, 20:34

Please do keep in touch.

If you still haven't seen any improvement at all in, say, a month, you may need some one-to-one help from a behaviourist.

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Post by Jay8574 on Fri Feb 28 2020, 15:15

Will do, I’ll spend some time trying out the things you have said and see how it goes.

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Post by KITA90 Yesterday at 20:16

Hi Jay,

She's still a puppy really and needs some guidance, that's all.

I'd try a canny collar instead of the harness to give you more control. These can be purchased on Amazon. Use a high valued treat (something you don't giver her in the house, i.e. mini sausages, or a gross dog food called Frolic (its like mcdonalds for dogs that can be bought at PAH) as a distraction treat. When a dog is in sight, have her sit and stay and rewarded when the dog walks past. Using the canny collar allows you to control her head rather than hold her back from pulling from the chest. Watch a couple of youtube vids to see how they work. Worked amazing for me and its positive reinforcement Smile

Keep us posted Smile

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