Ronnie had a fight :(

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Ronnie had a fight :(

Post by charlottieg on Fri Sep 09 2016, 08:00

Hi All,

Just got back from our usual morning walk, always at the same place. About 8 months ago we made friends with a guy with 3 greyhounds and a spaniel named Paddy. All get on fine, we don't see them every morning but id say at least 6 times a month we bump into them and all the dogs chase each other/have a play then we move on (all off lead).

About a month ago one of the greyhounds had a litter so Paddy the spaniel got a little protective over her and gave a few growls to Pixie and Ronnie but nothing ever came of it.

This morning however (on my own too as the OH is away!) we met them, all playing nice then all of a sudden Ronnie and Paddy started growling/snarling/snapping at each other. I can't be sure who started it as it happened so fast. They had a roll about biting each other then it ended with Ronnie latching onto Paddy's neck and he wouldn't let go for what felt like a lifetime!! (probably 30 seconds max?). The guy got a bit panicked and so did I, poor paddy was squealing. We tried to choke Ronnie with his collar (a tip I read on here thanks) and eventually he let go. I had hold of him while the guy helped me put his lead back on, he was sat growling/looking scared at this point.
We checked Paddy over and thankfully he was fine, no blood and he was running around like his usual spaniel self.
The guy is lovely and we left each other on good terms, no hard feelings. (Just a very embarrassed/shook up me!)

Any ideas on what could have caused this? I thought maybe Ronnie is being protective over Pixie from when she got spayed 3 weeks ago? or could it be a build up of testosterone between them both thats just exploded!
I think maybe Pixie could have made matters worse too as when they first started growling etc she ran up yapping too, she did back off though.

How should I deal with him going forward? I really don't want him to turn into an aggressive dog.

We don't get to meet too many other dogs on our walks so can't really comment on what he's usually like. We've been to lots of puppy, obedience and activity classes too so I don't think socialisation is the main issue.

Thank you
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Re: Ronnie had a fight :(

Post by LizP on Fri Sep 09 2016, 08:20

To be honest, it sounds like a case of over-excitement with a dollop of testosterone thrown in, making it boil over. When two dogs get to the 'over the top' point and neither will give in mentally, it's always going to be the stronger one that comes out on top.

I'm glad the collar twist did work - although I prefer harnesses for walking, collars do have their uses! And very good news that there is no damage done. Just about the saving grace of the staffie instinct to not let go is that they don't tend to shake or anything.

I'd suggest you keep a long line with you so that you can pop him on if needs be, and until you're sure he and Paddy are ok with eachother, maybe have them on lines so that you can keep their activity moderated. It's always odd how dogs can have a blazing fight one minute and go back to being besties the next - I would expect them to meet again as though nothing has happened.

I would also say the key to safety is to avoid these highly charged situations with any dogs you might meet if Ronnie's not good at knowing when to stop. Make sure you keep practising 'enough' to call time on any play and bring things to a quiet close before they go too far.



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Re: Ronnie had a fight :(

Post by gillybrent on Fri Sep 09 2016, 08:26

what a rotten experience for you.

firstly, don't worry too much! easier said than done, i know. Just like people, dogs sometimes have 'arguments' - mostly it's a little scrap with lots of noise & not much harm done. however, staffords are not dogs to back away and will grab & hold, as you've no doubt realised now!

You'll probably never know exactly what started it, and it may never happen again. what you must remember now is to stay calm. If you are nervous your boy will pick up on it.

for a little while, i would keep him on lead around other dogs (especially Paddy!) as despite the old myth, dogs DO have memories! Maybe take some treats with you & distract him if you see other dogs. Hopefully after a while he'll settle down again.

do be aware, though, that SOME staffords are dog-aggressive (it's been bred into them, after all!) and that aggression often starts at around 12-18 months, although it's only towards dogs, not people! I'm certainly not saying that's the case here, but it's worth being aware of.

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Re: Ronnie had a fight :(

Post by LizP on Fri Sep 09 2016, 08:31

gillybrent wrote:
do be aware,  though,  that SOME staffords are dog-aggressive (it's been bred into them,  after all!) and that aggression often starts at around 12-18 months, although it's only towards dogs,  not people!  I'm certainly not saying that's the case here,  but it's worth being aware of.

Clarification - this is one personal opinion, others disagree with this.


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Re: Ronnie had a fight :(

Post by Mistys Mum on Fri Sep 09 2016, 08:37

It's horrible when these things happen however I agree with the above. It sounds like it was all just noise. If it was a serious fight then there would have been wounds. 

I must say what a good owner Paddy has. Some people who don't understand dogs overreact massively when anything like this happens.  There was no harm done so I wouldn't worry too much and just keep him on a lead or long line like the others have said.

Misty meet a Jack Russell in the forest the other day, they had a paddle together and a chase. I was cleaning up her poo so my back was turned and suddenly I hear a load of commotion. Luckily hubby had her long line and she came away. It sounded terrible but both dogs were fine and the jacks owner said his dog is always getting into fights and he just lets the dogs sort it out. He wasn't concerned in the slightest. It was just noise probably due to them getting over excited.

Try not to worry.


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Re: Ronnie had a fight :(

Post by -Ian- on Fri Sep 09 2016, 09:49

Fully understand why this has shaken you up, seeing them act out of character like that is always going to make you nervy. As to why it happened, who knows but I would think that Liz has it nailed best.

Moving forward, with these particular dogs I would pop Ronnie on the lead for a controlled meet and see what happens. I always watch body language along with listening. As Liz suggests, a strong leave command is well worth practising. I have a variation on that as we only have to produce Flo's Stix and she immediately changes her focus on to that and nothing else.

Now for a little reassurance... I was walking Flo over her big park last night and we happened across a family walking what I can only describe as the biggest, hairiest Alsatian that I've ever seen. Flo was off lead and stood there staring at this dog. Usually I would use the Stix trick but she already had it in her mouth. As they got closer Flo's hackles went up, tail went up and then there it was a full on bark growl and (half) lunge.

What on earth she was thinking is beyond me, this other dog dwarfed her !! Anyway, the other owners weren't in the slightest concerned and laughed whilst I grabbed her and refocused her on her Stix. So whilst it is a scary situation you are certainly not alone in being shocked by a sudden change in character whilst walking.

As I said earlier, I always watch for the signs but this happened too quickly for me to get to her so sometimes we all get caught out.

The good news in your case is that no harm was done to either dog, which makes me think it wasn't a full on fight and perhaps just a back off rumble.


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Re: Ronnie had a fight :(

Post by charlottieg on Fri Sep 09 2016, 10:41

Thank you all for taking the time to reply, its nice to be able to come on and chat/get reassurance from other people that understand our crazy staffs!!

I will try the long line next time and hopefully they will be best pals again before we know it.

Ill also keep practicing the 'enough' command....plenty of opportunities to do so when Pixie and Ronnie are having a mad 1/2hr! Laughing

I did think to myself, surly if Ronnie really wanted to hurt him he would have.

Thanks again
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Re: Ronnie had a fight :(

Post by gillybrent on Fri Sep 09 2016, 11:46

charlottieg wrote:
I did think to myself, surly if Ronnie really wanted to hurt him he would have.

Thanks again

Absolutely! Sometimes it's just a 'telling off' and a lot of noise! You'll probably find that everything is back to normal when you see them next, but if it isn't, you'll know just to keep an eye on him. Try to be confident & cheerful, though, or Ronnie'll pick up on your nervousness.

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