Staff brothers fighting...please help

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Staff brothers fighting...please help

Post by danny74 on Tue Jun 14 2016, 21:56

Dear all,

Almost 12 months ago today I bought two Staffy brothers, Silva and Rocky. The timing felt perfect, we had just purchased a property that had a huge garden for them to explore, we were going to have more time on our hands to devote to them, and our sons who are 7 and 9 years old were absolutely desperate to have dogs. My wife has had Staffy's in her family for years and they have always been our favourite dogs. At this point it is only fair to say that we were warned by several people that buying 2 brothers could possibly backfire and there was a chance that they would fight. Because of this I immersed myself in extensive research on the matter in order to be able to make an informed decision on whether to proceed. I spoke to several owners and vets, wrote to other owners online and then eventually decided that with the right attitude and plenty of patience we would be ok and I proceeded with the purchase.

Well, I now find myself in a very difficult position.

Up until a month ago all was great, the dogs were happy, they got on great with each other and us and we had no problems whatsoever, then something changed. Rocky, who was by now 3 or 4 kilos heavier than Silva began to get very jealous if any of us showed any affection whatsoever towards Silva, he would not display any aggression towards us, but towards Silva he would get very dominant. Silva by nature is very laid back, more playful and seemed unconcerned by this behaviour and would simply walk away and find something else to do. But then about 3 weeks ago he decided he had had enough, and turned the aggression back onto Rocky. I'm sure any of you that has seen a Staffy fight can imagine what happened next, it was awful and very distressing. Luckily the kids were not around and I somehow managed to split them up in a matter of seconds but this left us very shaken. We hoped that this was possibly an isolated incident but it happened twice more in the following weeks, again luckily I was close by and split them up immediately. The strange thing was that they returned to being best of friends each time and to them it was as if nothing had ever happened, they can be extremely affectionate towards one another and are never more than a foot apart so I was still hoping that we could overcome this. Then last night that changed. It happened again but this time I wasn't there, my 7 year old son was. There was no trigger, no argument over food, they were sat nicely together when Rocky just growled at Silva and that was that. My poor son caught what I think must have been a claw to the face before my wife managed to get them apart and into separate rooms. The doctors have said that he shouldnt need stitches, and that it should heal on its own but his face is a mess. I'm almost certain Rocky didn't intend this to happen to his face, as Ive said he has never shown any aggression towards us, but I feel now that a line has been crossed and we don't know which way to turn. I really don't want to just give up on this dog but have got to put my kids safety before everything. I'm convinced that neither is a naturally aggressive dog and that either of them alone would be fine, but it appears that they now cannot stand to be in the same room together. We have discussed muzzles and both of them having 'the op' but I'm really not sure what to do. They are both well fed and well exercised and otherwise happy dogs. I apologise for the long post but I thought it would be best to try and paint the whole picture in order for anyone to offer any advice. Is there any chance of us saving this situation?
Any advice from you guys would be much appreciated.
thanks
Danny

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Re: Staff brothers fighting...please help

Post by -Ian- on Tue Jun 14 2016, 22:38

Hi Danny, welcome to the forum from Flo and me Smile

Wow, what a horrible situation to deal with. I think I would have done as you have and not rushed to conclusions and give them every chance to get along.

What's strange is that there doesn't seem to be a trigger and that they are completely fine with each other afterwards. It certainly sounds like your lad was really unfortunate to be caught by a claw and that in itself must be upsetting for him and you but I would give the benefit of the doubt at this stage and call it an accident unless you're really concerned about a change in behaviour, in which case your kids safety must come first.

I think I would be inclined to have Rocky checked by a vet in case there is something causing pain which could lead him to a sudden out burst. In the mean time a muzzle could be a solution but only on a temporary basis until this can be sorted.

Hopefully one of our moderators that has more experience in this area will be along to offer better advice


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Re: Staff brothers fighting...please help

Post by VikkiGT4 on Wed Jun 15 2016, 10:58

Hi and welcome to the forum from me and the zoo Smile xx

What a stressful time you are having. It must be really worrying for you. Fortunately I've not had this situation myself but have heard that sibling staffs, especially dogs, can become aggressive towards one another.

My Mum's next door neighbour had two staffs Mum and pup. All was fine for years and year but Taz was always the dominant one. The owner came home one day to find Taz attacking his Mum and he killed her. They'd been living together for years without any issues whatsoever - they can be very unpredictable.

That being said, this isn't necessarily what is going to happen with your boys, it's just an example of what can happen, even after a good 7 or 8 years together.

I think you're doing all the right things at the moment and that it was an unfortunate accident that your son got a claw to the face. I would agree with Ian on an interim solution of muzzling and I would definitely get Rocky checked by a vet as it's not usual for an attack to happen without provocation.

I'm sure that there will be someone along soon who has more experience in this area Smile xx
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Re: Staff brothers fighting...please help

Post by Mia05 on Wed Jun 15 2016, 11:20

think for the safety of the kids id be inclined to seperate the dogs on a temporary basis rocky sounds like hes either approaching the teenage phase or he needs checked by a vet , id consult a behaviourist too siblings as a rule generslly.dnt.get along but isnt the same for every dog good luck
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Re: Staff brothers fighting...please help

Post by LizP on Wed Jun 15 2016, 13:03

Hi from me and mine Smile

I don't have experience of siblings fighting but do have experience of two staffy crosses fighting. Like yours, all was fine and then it went pear shaped, and between fights they went back to best of buddies.

I'm going to tell you a little of what happened to me because I think this is a hard reality situation (you know that) and the 'worst case' is something you need to bear in mind.

Chaos (the white and brindle one in my avatar) and Daisy were incredible friends for a few brief months. One day, Daisy attacked Chaos, we separated them quickly. It happened again and this time they locked. We managed to get them apart. With a behaviourist booked for the Tuesday, we had another fight on the Sunday evening even though I'd started putting all sorts of safeguards into place. We could not separate them but while trying I got badly bitten, not intentionally but because I was there. I was in hospital for 4 days, and counted my blessings it wasn't worse.

One of the reasons it wasn't worse is that I was an animal trainer and my instinct for keeping calm and thinking logically kicked in. A lady on the same ward as me, admitted the following day, had worse injuries because she had pulled to try and free herself. Dogs will get more excited and do more damage if the humans panic, shout, pull, etc. It's not easy to keep calm in these situations, unless it's second nature as it is with me.

In neither case did the dogs intend to bite their owners, they did what's called 'redirecting', which is basically 'I can't bite what I want to so I'll bite this instead'. That's one of the dangers in your situation. The dog's not thinking straight and doesn't really look what it is, it just bites.

It is possible there is a medical reason behind Rocky's behaviour but it is equally possible (or more so) that you have 2 adolescent male siblings who are sorting themselves out in an inappropriate way. One of the problems with siblings is that they don't have the same arm's length respect for each other and they then overstep boundaries that might be in place between two unrelated dogs.

For me, your first priority has to be your kids as you said, your second any vistors to your house, then yourselves. This may sound wrong on a staffy lovers' forum, but the dogs come after you all do. That's not because I love people more than dogs (quite the reverse!) but because they can only be safe if you are safe. At the moment, if something were to happen you would be judged as having dangerous dogs that would undoubtedly both be destroyed, and as being responsible/negligent and so potentially face prosecution. Blunt but there it is.

I think you need a) to keep your boys apart while you b) seek a professional assessment. I wouldn't rely on a muzzle and it's also not really safe or feasible to keep a dog muzzled all the time. The only way to make sure nothing happens while you are working out what to do is to keep them apart. If they are together, make sure they both are wearing collars. If a fight breaks out, grab hold of the collar of the aggressor dog from behind (or both if there are two of you) and twist. That should keep your arm out of teeth's way and cutting off the air supply should force them to let go. But your best option is to not let that happen in the first place.

I would then call a professional, well reputed behaviourist. There may well be something going on that we can't see here that they could help with. Even if their assessment is that your dogs can't live together, at least you will have the reassurance of making your subsequent decisions well informed.

If the decision is that they can't live together, you then need to decide what to do. Let me be absolutely clear, if you decide to rehome one of them, you would not be giving up on him. You would be taking a sensible decision in the best interests of all concerned. The mistake has already been made (taking siblings), rehoming one of the dogs would not be wrong, it would be correcting that mistake.

Given your situation, you may well find a rescue centre that would help you. I volunteer for one that will take dogs from private homes in special situations and I'm sure others do. Putting a dog in rescue is not ideal but it's not the end of the world, so do consider it. In this case, especially if with Rocky, as you have dogs that have been exposed to aggression in the home, it is important to be sure that the home is right and that's something a rescue centre should do. Good ones also offer back-up for life.

I know I've focussed on the worst case scenario but I think this is a situation where safety has to be paramount. I genuinely hope you can find a behaviourist who can help you resolve this otherwise. This is a good place to look:

http://www.apbc.org.uk/


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thanks for all the advice

Post by danny74 on Wed Jun 15 2016, 13:45

Well thank you all so much for the advice so far. It has given me much food for thought. At the minute i have them segregated and luckily this has been quite easy. I built an area for them at the bottom of the garden several weeks ago where they could be secure whilst the gardeners etc were around. It is around 12m2 and has a nice kennel and lots of toys so Rocky has moved into this full time whilst we look at our options. I have purchased two muzzles but as has been suggested in the comments, I really don't see these as a long term solution. I intend to take Rocky to the vet this week and just have him looked at to make sure there is nothing bothering him that we haven't noticed, I have also found a dog training/behavioural school nearby that I will be making an appointment with.
Ive also started researching local adoption centres just so basically we can look at all the options and have a clear picture before making a decision.
Ironically the dogs are suicidal and have spent the last two days pining for one another! but for now they are best kept apart.
thanks again for all the help and advice so far, I will keep you all posted on developments.

Danny

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Re: Staff brothers fighting...please help

Post by Inez Maria on Wed Jun 15 2016, 14:31

Hiya from me and Vinnie, so sorry you are with this dilemma and I cant add anything more to what has already been said,,,,,you sound like you really are exploring all avenues and I wish you good luck and hope all works out for the best,,,, yes do keep us informed xx


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Re: Staff brothers fighting...please help

Post by Mistys Mum on Wed Jun 15 2016, 14:39

Welcome from Misty and I. So sorry to hear what you are all going through. I can't add anything but I think all the advice given has been excellent.

Hopefully the behaviourist can help. 
Please do let us know how you get on x


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Re: Staff brothers fighting...please help

Post by TwoSocks on Sat Jun 18 2016, 21:06

Hi from Una and me, I'm sorry you're in this situation but it sounds like you're doing the very best you possibly can. Good luck x
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Re: Staff brothers fighting...please help

Post by Sara n Ozzy on Tue Jun 28 2016, 21:43

I'm really sorry about your predicament I'm sorry I can't help but just wanted to know my thoughts are with you


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Re: Staff brothers fighting...please help

Post by Whackercatcher on Wed Aug 24 2016, 11:13

Very sorry to hear of your problem, hope I am not high jacking your topic, I have just posted elsewhere, I am in a dillema had a mum and son staffy for 14 years never had a problem they were the best, sadly both passed away now, was thinking of getting a sister and brother from my mates litter not sure now if this is a good idea now , any thoughts?
Apologies for posting same topic twice, but need to make my mind up

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