Dog Aggression / Neuter

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Dog Aggression / Neuter

Post by rkyo on Sat Jan 13 2018, 00:04

Hey guys,

I've been reading certain topics about staffies in this forum but i only just registered. The issue that let me to publish a topic is mainly the fact that my british staffy Vince sometimes tends to be aggressive. I know many staffy owners don't want to hear about this but as a breed, staffies are one of the more prone breeds to being aggressive towards other dogs. Also Vince being intact/unneutered certainly adds to this. Now with that said, Vince as most other staffies are, is very friendly, loving, cuddly and tolerant when it comes to humans. He has not shown a single aggressive behaviour towards any human. He is now 13 months old. I had started taking him to the dog park as soon as his vaccines were done around three months of age. From the beginning he has been well around other dogs although he mostly played roughly with them, sometimes even with the need of my intervention. My girlfriend has a pomeranian around the same age as Vince and they get along pretty well to this day. The pomeranian though is female. So overall he's pretty well socialized.

Vince started showing aggressive behaviour when he was around 8 months old. At least that was around when i knew for sure that he had to be leashed most of the time. He isn't aggressive at all and he's pretty easy-going towards smaller breeds. It may be due to him spending lots of time with the pom or the fact that he doesn't see smaller breeds as a threat. Although once, he pinned down a frenchie barking and lunging towards Lily, my girlfriend and him. Nowadays, he goes around minding his own business and most of the time he'll meet a new dog, sniff and get along and keep walking. Sometimes though, when he confronts another dog thats similar to him in size or bigger he lunges toward them and if the other one isn't submissive he gets aggressive, if the other one responds they get into a fight. He has gotten into fights with male dogs of bigger size. This usually occurs when other dogs are growling or play fighting with each other. He immediately goes and picks a fight with one of them. Sometimes it starts off as playing but things get heated pretty quickly. Next thing i know there is a full blown dog fight or thankfully mostly i intervene in time. Btw, when the pom and him are together off leash, if another dog comes near the pom and she barks at the stranger dog, Vince immediately goes for the other dog. The last time he got into a fight was when a bull-mastiff with whom he was playing peacefully moments ago, jumped on me lovingly trying to lick me or something. The moment Vince saw the other dogs paws on me he went for it and I'll admit it was a pretty tough fight to break. For the record I don't think he was trying to protect me, as he's seen me break dog fights and overall not shy off of things. I'm 1.97m (6'5ft or something) so I don't think he sees me as the victim.

I also want to remind you that other than these sudden reactions, he's a loving, affectionate dog. I was thinking of getting him neutered but I wish I didn't have to, so that his head and bones and muscles can grow the way nature intended. I wanted to ask you guys if anyone has had similar issues, your ideas about whether this is dominance based, ergo, testosterone driven. Can this be solved by getting him neutered.

Thanks in advance guys.

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Re: Dog Aggression / Neuter

Post by Nifty staffy on Sat Jan 13 2018, 07:34

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Re: Dog Aggression / Neuter

Post by Nifty staffy on Sat Jan 13 2018, 07:52

Hello and welcome to the forum from us.

Sorry to hear that you’re having trouble with your young staffy. I’m sure there will be much more experienced people online to give you sound advice

There are a few questions I have after reading your post.
Your staffy is always loose when he picks a fight ?
Are you able to distract him when you see the situation starting to turn or do you have to get physical to stop the fight every time ?
Has the pomeranian been spayed ?
Is she always around when the aggression starts and where is she during the fight ?
I’m presuming that these are fights and not rought staffy play so the dogs are getting hurt.

As an immediate measure I would definitely keep him on a lead, be it a long line to give a bit more freedom if necessary.
I would work on prevention, reading the signs when he’s no longer being nice and taking him away from it.
Have you been doing any particular obedience training with him ?
LizP has described, in other posts, the “watch me” command which could help you to leave a nasty situation brewing.
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Re: Dog Aggression / Neuter

Post by LizP on Sat Jan 13 2018, 08:08

I think many of us here will accept that staffies can be reactive towards other dogs. For me, the debate is to whether this is true aggression (so unprovoked and with no other cause) or whether it is something else. My lad, Chaos, doesn't like other dogs coming into his space. He generally won't react unless they are too close (i.e. pretty close) or coming head on looking at him. He's a worrier about lots of things and too close dogs bother him.

Each individual dog of course needs assessing individually. It is probably a combination of factors - his breed that leads him to react quickly, the fact that he's still entire, it may be a lack of confidence towards bigger dogs. I wouldn't, though, label it straight 'dog aggression' as he's only doing it with certain dogs. That would lead me to think there's something in that type of dog he feels unsure of, for some reason.

I would discount things like dominance and ego. Ego implies a sense of self and most experts will agree that very few animals other than primates have any sense of self. I don't believe in dominance in the way the term is conventionally used, with every dog focussed on being boss over every other and every human being. Clearly, dogs can be territorial and possessive, and without seeing you as a victim it is possible that Vince sees you as 'his'. My experience of staffies (loads in rescue) is that they are very sensitive, don't have as much confidence as we think, and are quick to react due to not feeling they have another option. If you train them to stand quietly for treats, many can learn calm quite quickly.

I personally would consider neutering him, it may help, but to be honest the answer probably lies in situation management and training. I know you're already keeping him on the lead round other dogs, which is good. I would consider swapping this for a long line (5m or so) to give him a bit more freedom to move. I'd then work more towards not allowing close interaction with dogs where you feel that Vince might react. When you come across others, if you feel him tense in any way, call him away and keep his focus on you using 'watch me'. If you do get close to another dog in the 'higher risk' category, allow him to stand near, allow him to sniff briefly (side on if possible) but then call him away with a treat or toy. Don't pull, that'll make him want to pull in the opposite direction, which would be towards the dog.

Above all, keep relaxed and keep the lead/line without tension whenever possible.

If you are fortunate enough to know dog owners who will let Vince interact happily, then do keep that up (supervised). The main reason we've not made more progress is that there aren't many people we can walk with and those we can Chaos knows and doesn't have a problem with. I would also keep an eye on play and call it to a halt before it gets too full on.


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Re: Dog Aggression / Neuter

Post by rkyo on Sat Jan 13 2018, 08:13

Thanks glad to be here Smile
1- No, he isn't always off lead when he picks a fight but when he is on a lead i notice the signs of a possible problem and distract him right away so it doesn't escalate.

2- If he is not off leash i distract him much more easily. If he is off leash and he sets his mind to it i have to get physical.

3- No the pom (Lily) isn't spayed.

4- No, not always. But it's much more likely to happen if she gets intimidated by another dog and barks/growls at the stranger one.

5- It was mostly rough play when he was younger but as he grew older it became much more serious where they started getting small wounds.

6- He has his basic obedience training. He knows all the commands such as sit, down, up, go, wait, paw, heel, etc. I've read what you mentioned but it would only work when he's on a lead otherwise he wouldn't even look at the treat.




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Re: Dog Aggression / Neuter

Post by rkyo on Sat Jan 13 2018, 08:21

Thank you so much for the response Liz. I agree that he is possessive of humans, but not territory. He doesn't mind another dog being near him, but if the other one lunges or runs toward him that's when you know for sure somethings going to happen. I'm going to use treats to get him away at the end of the sniffing with a stranger dog.

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Re: Dog Aggression / Neuter

Post by LizP on Sat Jan 13 2018, 09:14

This short but a good, concise guide:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Feisty-Fido-Help-Leash-Reactive-Dog/dp/1891767070/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1515834519&sr=8-1&keywords=feisty+fido

There are 2nd hand copies on there for just a few £

And this is the line I use (I like 5m and the 20mm width)

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/K9-CUSHION-WEBBING-TRAINING-TRACKING-LUNGE-LONG-LINE-13-COLOURS-2-WIDTHS-/262225706542



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Re: Dog Aggression / Neuter

Post by rkyo on Sat Jan 13 2018, 09:50

I'll be sure to take a look. I appreciate it. Smile

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Dog Aggression / Neuter

Post by rkyo on Sat Jan 13 2018, 19:37

How about neutering do you guys think that he should be neutered at this time, as he can't mate i feel as though i am making him feel frustrated just because i feel like it shouldn't be this way. Everyone has different opinions but i'm looking for a synthesis of all ideas to make up my mind. He becomes hyper when he's out and as i can't let him off lead he looks frustrated. Making him focus on me however disables his ability to walk freely. I want him to be able to socialize and be a little calmer all around, so that i can take him to places where he'll enjoy his time. Will neutering help this I started to seriously consider getting him neutered. Will it stop or hinder his head/muscle growth or effect his bones?

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Re: Dog Aggression / Neuter

Post by gillybrent on Sat Jan 13 2018, 20:39

At his age it shouldn't affect his physical growth, but I'd personally be concerned about mental maturity. I'm not saying don't neuter, just wait another 5 or 6 months.

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Re: Dog Aggression / Neuter

Post by rkyo on Sat Jan 13 2018, 23:53

yeah well i'm not even sure if that would be okay because he is still a bit leggy he hasn't got that stocky build to him with a big seperated head (i know it's the muscles not the skull). So i'm trying to wait as much as can. But it won't affect the further growth of his muscles then it's much more considerable. I want him to reach the muscular and mental development as nature intended. I would love to hear you guys' views on this.

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Re: Dog Aggression / Neuter

Post by LizP on Sun Jan 14 2018, 08:31

I'd probably wait a few months as well. You've got other things to be working on and if, in a couple of months, you decide that in fact hormones are playing a part, you can always neuter then.


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Re: Dog Aggression / Neuter

Post by rkyo on Sun Jan 14 2018, 10:46

what about his physical development though? Would this cause him to be underdeveloped?

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Re: Dog Aggression / Neuter

Post by gillybrent on Sun Jan 14 2018, 12:07

At his age the hormones have done most of their job re: physical development, although another few months wouldn't hurt. But they are still working on the mental side.

The muscle and 'bulk' will come with age & exercise,whereas the mental maturity can only happen with the hormones. That's not to say that a dog neutered early definitely will be puppy-ish or nervous for the rest of its life, but there is that chance.


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Re: Dog Aggression / Neuter

Post by rkyo on Sun Jan 14 2018, 12:39

okay thanks so much for the info

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Re: Dog Aggression / Neuter

Post by b_phippsy on Thu Feb 22 2018, 10:23

My dog harley sounds very similar to how you described your boy. He too started showing agressive signs at a similar age. We decided not to neuter as a trainer advised it may not make any difference to behaviour and we wanted him to fill out properly. I personally belive they do grow better being fully intact my boy was quite small but now has typical staffy stature
With a wide head. What we do with ours is have him on a long line when in the field so he can still socialise but if things get heated we can step in easier! I too would love mine to be social with all dogs but I've realised that this is not going to happen so I just concentrate on distraction with dogs so I have his focus. I also juge the situation if it's a small dog I generally let him say hello but a bigger breed that is male I tend to keep him away as I feel there's no point putting him through that as I know he will react.
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Re: Dog Aggression / Neuter

Post by gillybrent on Thu Feb 22 2018, 19:39

Good way of dealing with it, Beth.

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Re: Dog Aggression / Neuter

Post by Mia05 on Sat Mar 03 2018, 03:04

Tried all these tactics with mia yer doing great with harley hen
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Re: Dog Aggression / Neuter

Post by b_phippsy on Tue Mar 06 2018, 10:28

Thank you crystal and Gillybent :-) x
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Re: Dog Aggression / Neuter

Post by lexii on Tue Mar 06 2018, 22:42

I agree with basically all Liz said.

I know its probably a silly point to make, but please please make sure the pom is not allowed to be anywhere near him even supervised when she may be in heat....The result would very likely be death to the pom through birth.
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Re: Dog Aggression / Neuter

Post by lexii on Tue Mar 06 2018, 22:45

also to add, i dont agree with neutering a dog at 6 months old, but 13 months is nearly full grown. if he is showing tendencies at this age, whack em off. His growth is not likely to be effected.
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Re: Dog Aggression / Neuter

Post by gillybrent on Wed Mar 07 2018, 10:20

lexii wrote:also to add, i dont agree with neutering a dog at 6 months old, but 13 months is nearly full grown. if he is showing tendencies at this age, whack em off. His growth is not likely to be effected.

no, his growth won't be affected, but if he's reacting through fear/apprehension, then getting neutered may keep him that way. Hormones don't just make a dog a dog & a bitch a bitch, they have a hand in mental maturity & adult self confidence.

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Re: Dog Aggression / Neuter

Post by ROCCO L on Sat Mar 10 2018, 21:36

Hi there. I do not really have a solution for you. But I am glad I read your post, since we have a simular situation going on with our 8 month old Staffy Rocco. So neither of us has to feel bad for asking how to deal with this Smile I put my post in the welcome section of the forum. It's the most recent part of the 'BOO!' post.

Rocco is also not neutered, so the thought of getting him neutered also crossed our minds. But like Gillybrent said, getting him neutered might not help. And in some cases it might even get worse if it's a matter of fear/apprehension. And neutering also doesn't change the 'dominant character trait' of a dog. So neutering might not solve the problem.
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Re: Dog Aggression / Neuter

Post by lexii on Sun Mar 11 2018, 22:15

gillybrent wrote:
lexii wrote:also to add, i dont agree with neutering a dog at 6 months old, but 13 months is nearly full grown. if he is showing tendencies at this age, whack em off. His growth is not likely to be effected.

no, his growth won't be affected, but if he's reacting through fear/apprehension, then getting neutered may keep him that way. Hormones don't just make a dog a dog & a bitch a bitch, they have a hand in mental maturity & adult self confidence.
Sometimes yes sometimes no. When lexi was stolen at about 2.5yo when i got her back she was spayed immediately (i was not going to risk her being taken again and used in a puppy farm) and her behaviour was the exact same and it was until the day she died. OP wont know until they try...and if they dont plan to breed there is no need for em.
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Re: Dog Aggression / Neuter

Post by gillybrent on Wed Mar 14 2018, 11:33

Well of course, spaying at 2 & a half years old will make no difference to temperament or physique.

It's neutering at a young age (before 2 years old) that can be a problem.

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Re: Dog Aggression / Neuter

Post by lexii on Thu Mar 15 2018, 01:02

Potentially. You dont actually know,.
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Re: Dog Aggression / Neuter

Post by gillybrent on Thu Mar 15 2018, 09:32

lexii wrote:Potentially. You dont actually know,.

I haven't said definitely. Just that studies have shown a correlation between early neutering and 'fixed' nervousness/timidity. It is a fact, however, that hormones govern the mental maturity of all mammals - humans, dogs, horses etc. So if you neuter early, you potentially risk 'fixing' any immature aspects such as nervousness & nervous aggression. That IS known.

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