Help needed with aggression

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Help needed with aggression

Post by Rubio on Tue Nov 08 2016, 22:21

Hi all, this is my first post in a long time and I really hope someone here can help! My dog was pretty much perfect for the first two years of his life and I was one of those naive people who went round spouting to anyone who'd listen that "staffies were the most misunderstood breed in the world" and showing off how good my dog, Rubio, was with all people and other dogs. Then all of a sudden (pretty much after he was neutered) he started showing signs of aggression towards some other dogs. Now he is completely unpredictable and frankly untrustworthy when it comes to other dogs. Sometimes he's fine, but there is often no way of telling how he might react to any given dog. He does seems to take particular issue with most collies. The other night he even went for a spaniel puppy that a friend brought round to our house. Not only was this incredibly embarrassing but if you had told me 2 years ago that my dog would react like this to a puppy I'd have said you were mad!

We really don't know what to do about it. Walking him just isn't the same as it used to be, and it's particularly difficult now as my fiancé had a baby 3 weeks ago and so has to walk with a buggy. Pretty impossible when she doesn't know if he might lunge at a dog unprovoked and pull her over or make her lose control of him. (The aggression started before the baby arrived).

I really hope someone can help. He's still the same dog he always was with us and has never shown the slightest sign of aggression towards people. Though I think it's fair to say that my fiancé isn't quite as secure as she maybe would have been with him around the baby since his behaviour towards other dogs seemed to take a u-turn overnight.
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Re: Help needed with aggression

Post by -Ian- on Wed Nov 09 2016, 00:42

I totally understand what you've experienced. I too have had similar experiences with my Flo, albeit rare. The first thing to recognise is that you both now feel apprehension when walking Rubio, totally understandable but, you need to show trust and relaxation around him which isn't easy given what's happened.

On walks does Rubio have a favourite toy, be it a stick or ball? The reason I ask is that with my Flo we use her favourite toy (a safe Stix) as a distraction which works 99% of the time, the other 1% we use advoidance. We have realised that she isn't aggressive, she's unsure or even scared of other dogs & like Rubio, collies in particular, to the point that she will make a really wide arc around them when off lead.

What you need to try to do is look at the world from his point of view, he isn't nasty or wanting a fight for the sake of it, he simply perceives things in a different way and may find some dogs threatening where you don't see that.

Try looking at things his way and, if you can, relax a little. The distraction method works great for us and could be a way forward for you if used as the best thing since sliced bread by Rubio.


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Re: Help needed with aggression

Post by -Ian- on Wed Nov 09 2016, 00:45

I should add that if my Flo is walked on lead aside other dogs she is totally accepting and after a few more mins will happily walk off lead with the other dog. Once again when looking at it from her point of view she's just unsure


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Re: Help needed with aggression

Post by Rubio on Wed Nov 09 2016, 05:37

Thanks for the reply. A couple of weeks ago I might have said that you were spot on and it was anxiety/nervousness on his part, but a couple of things have made me change my mind and view it as unprovoked aggression. The first was the incident with the puppy I mentioned in my first post. I can't see how he would have felt threatened by a ten week old puppy. The second was with the neighbours collie, which he utterly despises. He will go crazy even if he is inside the house and it walks past. The other night he was off the lead near the house and from some distance away he spotted this collie being walked on the lead. He made a beeline for it, snarling his face off, and luckily I managed to get between them and grab him (at the expense of the top of my finger which was badly cut!)

We try the distraction thing with treats when we're out. I make him sit and look at me while dogs pass. This works sometimes but often he couldn't care about a treat or a toy or anything else, he's only interested in snarling at the other dog. I've also seen him bristle and snarl at dogs on the other side of the canal, so I'm not sure how he could see them as a threat!
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Re: Help needed with aggression

Post by gillybrent on Wed Nov 09 2016, 11:11

others will disagree with me, but i would link the aggression with the neutering - it does sometimes happen. that's not to say that it will continue forever, but in the meantime you need to find the right way of dealing with it. anaesthetic & stays in a vet hospital does funny things to a dog, and can leave them with uncertainty and a view of "get your retaliation in first"!

have you thought about a muzzle in the short term? a basket-type muzzle would give both you and your fiancee a bit a peace of mind, knowing that he can't cause damage. as long as you introduce the muzzle in the right way (there's a post on here somewhere that tells you how to do it), it will help.

if toys or treats don't distract him, try doing some obedience work with him as soon as you see another dog, and reward him with praise & treats as you go. personally, i'd keep him on a lead for a while, at least until you can work through it and hopefully get him okay with other dogs again.

i know that none of this is of much use to your fiancee, as it'll be pretty much impossible to carry out with a buggy. but maybe she could stop, put the buggy's brake on, and try to get his focus on her when she sees another dog.

it might take a couple of weeks, it might take a couple of months, but it should, eventually, work! good luck & let us know how you get on!

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