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 potential dog aggression?

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PeppersMummy
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PostSubject: potential dog aggression?   Tue 14 Apr 2015, 7:47 pm

So we picked peppa up today, she's settling in with us beautifully, she's currently snuggled up next to me, shes approached everybody that's come into the house with affection and cuddles and licks, she's bonded with my little girl, follows her everywhere. All is going well.

Except she HATES Harley, and I'm not talking a little growl in his presence I'm talking full blown teeth bared, growling frothing at the mouth kind of hate. At first I thought ok maybe dog aggression, but, she's been with 2 other dogs (mum and dad) since she was born. She's the last in the litter to be sold and of course Harley is her brother. I've been reassured by the breeder that if she doesn't settle with him I can take her back, but it's not something I want to do, my biggest worry is that I don't know how concerned I should be. Will it pass? Is it a case of the more she sees him the more she'll get used to him? I really don't know.

I've got a dog trainers number from the vet which I'm going to give a call tomorrow, but at the moment I'm at a bit of a loss as to what to think/do.

Any advice??
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PostSubject: Re: potential dog aggression?   Tue 14 Apr 2015, 7:57 pm

We have Adam on the forum called K999 who will be able to give you some good advice. He is really good and has helped a few of us on here. If you can explain what happened and what the situation was when this happened in a bit more detail he can help you, I.e was it in the home this happened or outside?

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PeppersMummy
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PostSubject: Re: potential dog aggression?   Tue 14 Apr 2015, 8:08 pm

It first happened at the home we collected pepper from. We went in (with Harley) and initialliy the 2 were playing, then pepper started barking and growling, pinned Harley down and wouldn't let up. Harley at this point was head down paws either side of his face, we spent an hour or so with the breeder trying to asses if it would be right to take pepper, she did calm down and allowed Harley to sniff around her but the problem seemed to be when he looked directly at her.

I took pepper straight down to the vets with Harley and explained the situation whereby she put them both down to let them play and the same thing happened again, the vet said that Harley was initiating play, pepper was saying no, and where Harley was over it and moving on to the next thing pepper was still basically saying "back off" even though Harley already had.
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PostSubject: Re: potential dog aggression?   Tue 14 Apr 2015, 8:17 pm

What about walking them together so that they can be in each other's company whilst being distracted, this might help them learn to be in each other's company
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PostSubject: Re: potential dog aggression?   Tue 14 Apr 2015, 8:29 pm

Did the breeder mention if there's were any issues before Harley was sold to your Dad?

How long has she been on her own with mum and dad?

Good idea from Lou about walking them together and building up a bond

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Last edited by Staffylover on Tue 14 Apr 2015, 8:42 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: potential dog aggression?   Tue 14 Apr 2015, 8:33 pm

Can't help, sorry but I hope you solve it soon.
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PeppersMummy
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PostSubject: Re: potential dog aggression?   Tue 14 Apr 2015, 8:41 pm

No no issues whatsoever, they were fine together when we went to see Harley
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PostSubject: Re: potential dog aggression?   Tue 14 Apr 2015, 8:43 pm

Just edited my post as you replied.

I've also asked Adam to have a look at the post when he gets a mo

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PeppersMummy
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PostSubject: Re: potential dog aggression?   Tue 14 Apr 2015, 8:50 pm

She's been on her own for 4 weeks as the rest were sold at 8 and they'd originally planned to keep her before deciding 3 dogs would be too much for them.
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PostSubject: Re: potential dog aggression?   Tue 14 Apr 2015, 8:50 pm

Just a thought, I know you have never owned staffies before but when they play they can be very full on. When playing as adults they can make a lot of noise and look very aggressive but it is only play, some of the pics I have posted in the past of my,boy playing with my last bitch could have been used by the newspapers when they are slating our breed.

Is it possible it could be rough play?

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PeppersMummy
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PostSubject: Re: potential dog aggression?   Tue 14 Apr 2015, 8:59 pm

I've got family members that have Staffies and that's what I thought, that's why I took them down to vet to have the "play" assessd but the vet said that it's beyond play and that when pepper responds to Harley she really means it but then in return Harley is winding her up. It's baffling me and I think I'm overthinking it because the vet said, and I quote "some Staffies are just not wired right"

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PostSubject: Re: potential dog aggression?   Tue 14 Apr 2015, 9:17 pm

That's very helpful of her, bit of a sweeping statement but it is true some dogs may not be wired right and that's all breeds not just staffies.

Are there any puppy socialisation classes locally? May help to see how she is with other puppies, they may do them at your local vets x

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Last edited by Staffylover on Tue 14 Apr 2015, 10:03 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PeppersMummy
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PostSubject: Re: potential dog aggression?   Tue 14 Apr 2015, 9:38 pm

I'm really hoping it's something she'll grow out, that statement wasn't at all helpful particularly to a first time Staffie/Dog owner.

She's got her first set of vaccinations tomorrow and the vet has recommended that she has her 2nd one in 2 parts so she can get out a bit sooner because she wants her mixing with other dogs ASAP so as soon as the first part of her 2nd one is done I'll be taking her (apprehensively) to puppy parties which our vets surgery do hold. There's also the trainer I was given the details for that holds them.
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PostSubject: Re: potential dog aggression?   Tue 14 Apr 2015, 10:06 pm

Go with the puppy classes initially before speaking to the trainer. Hopefully Adam will see your post in the next couple of days and can offer some advice, he is very good.

In the meantime i would take Peppa out and about so she can experience life and gain confidence in new situations. You can carry her until she has had her second jab

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PostSubject: Re: potential dog aggression?   Wed 15 Apr 2015, 6:05 am

I had an overly forcefull rottie pup, 20 yrs ago.That bared his teeth at me at 10wks of age. You could not pat his father. He was really aggressive & didn't like strangers! Not a pup I would have chosen personally but, he was a gift. His mother was just lovely but dad.....not so much. Anyway, I was not having that in a pup that could fester & grow. Cute & funny at 10 wks & 4kg, not so funny at 3yrs & 50kg. I stopped it the day he challanged/bit me at 12wks! I'm the boss of this house... not you! You will do as I ask. He grew into a loving, kind, respectful, well trained dog I could take anywhere or to play with pups, cats, birds, rabbits..... he knew the rules. Everyone always commented on what a gentle rottie Boris was. He trully was a joy to own.

Tyson, my staffy was also an in your face pup at 12 wks. He thought he could snarl & snap at my 6yr (at that time) dobe x staff. Jess. I stopped his attitude by making him dog #2. Nothing did or does he to this day get before my older dog. I do not pat him 1st when I get home, I put his collar on 2nd for walkies, I put my elder dogs dinner bowl down 1st, they both must sit & wait to be told to eat, Jess is always given permission 1st. Then Tyson can eat his 5 secs later, he must wait for her to enter or exit a door 1st. Treats are always given to her first then him & as a pup I used to either spray him when naughty with a water spray bottle , ignore him, actually growl at him or expell him from the family (outside on his own) if he barred his teeth to jess or i. Being expelled from the group is probably the worst punishment for a pup/dog. At puppy wks, 3mins is long enough. Bring them back in with NO excitement,  praise or aknowlegement. 2 mins later... just a loving pat without eye contact or excitement. Another few mins, if shes being good... a gentle calm pat with a "good girl". If shes naughty again... back out for 3 mins.

She will get it! Good = pats, fun, play... Bad = out on my own.

It may seem harsh but all my dogs have learnt their place in the family. Once they do, I firmly believe they are actually very secure within themselves. Dogs do like to know the rules & limitations.  Speaking for myself... my two are comfortable knowing their place, who's rank is higher, what the rules are, whats expected of them.

I'm not saying don't fuss, play crazy, kiss, or dote on her etc. Mine & i play like ferral idiots! Just that they all need to know what is.... & is not acceptable. Firm but fair is the way to go.

& puppy class is a brilliant start. Chuck her in with older dogs too. They will put a naughty pup in its place very quickly. She will learn to behave from her elders.

Sorry that was so long, but I understand what you are saying all too well. I have taken my rotties anywhere knowing they know my rules & can now take my dobe & staff where ever I choose knowing they will behave & everyone else can enjoy them, be you human, hound, fowl, or ...bunny.

My dearly departed dad always said... (& I am proud to boast he was a brilliant dog trainer. His dobe even took your car keys out of the ignition if you didn't put your belt on. Suzie was her name.)

Start as you mean to continue,  2nd best is ok on the 2nd house on the left down the road & there are never enough hugs, kisses & plays for  puppies.
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PostSubject: Re: potential dog aggression?   Wed 15 Apr 2015, 9:11 am

Thank you Tracey I appreciate the response. She's brilliant with people! Absolutely can't fault her with humans she's fantastic it just dogs.

This morning she was in my room in front of a mirror and she behaved the same way she did with Harley so I'm now thinking it's probably more like nervousness as opposed to aggression. I did sit in front of the mirror with her giving her treats when you she approached the mirror without growling or barking and that seemed to calm her down but I could tell she wasn't comfortable
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PostSubject: Re: potential dog aggression?   Wed 15 Apr 2015, 4:01 pm

Then I'd get her to meet more puppies / dogs from a distance, that sound as if she is weary or anxious. Maybe try holding her in puppy class so she can see them but has security of your arms while she watches the others moving about.  They can never have enough contact with others.
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PostSubject: Re: potential dog aggression?   Fri 17 Apr 2015, 8:37 pm

Shes getting better with the mirror, she's able to look at herself for longer without being distressed, I'm planning to do a few outings with her in the coming days, seeing as the only place you can really go with an unvaccinated puppy is pet shops she's going to be seeing a few for the next 2 weeks so hopefully her seeing other dogs whilst like you said Tracey being in my arms will help build her confidence.

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PostSubject: Re: potential dog aggression?   Fri 17 Apr 2015, 11:21 pm

Keep us posted on how she gets on please. Hopefully adam will be around soon to offer some advice

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PostSubject: Re: potential dog aggression?   Sat 18 Apr 2015, 9:54 am

I would certainly get her amongst as many dogs as possible, from a distance then closer to build her confidence.  Ensuring the dogs she meets are friendly & don't set her back.

By the way... if you have a beach near you? It is also safe to take a pup there at low tide only. Carry her down there to have a play. The salt water kills most everyting & my vet said it was fine when I had boris. & it was. He loved the beach plays before all his vacc's were done.

I also took him up the street in my arms, to hear & see cars, trucks, kids, shopping trolleys etc & to friends houses that I knew the dogs were vacc yearly to avoid any risks.

P.s. you have to be confident & not care how she reacts to others unless its aggressive. Just a firm no,no, if she barks or growls then, just move on. Don't react to any fear she shows to comfort her. It only tells her it's ok to be afraid & she'll get mums care if she's fearful. You want to show her there is nothing to be afraid of & other dogs are fun to be with.

We used to get someone to hold Boris while I quiety, gently, calmly played with another dog so he could see it was ok. Then, if he was quite, I went back to calmly pat & praise him.
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PostSubject: Re: potential dog aggression?   Sat 18 Apr 2015, 8:29 pm

Great advice Tracy

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PostSubject: Re: potential dog aggression?   Mon 20 Apr 2015, 2:37 pm

Thank you Jo. Its not really advice as all dogs are different, just my experience with mine & friends dogs, strays etc......

I know what a tough time I had with my rotties. I learnt fast, thanks to our rottie club. Jess presented challenges as did (& does) Tyson. But I think my training at the rottie club + my dads old time, tried & true, methods have served me well through breeders pups & family rescues... I cert dont have all the answers but... mine have always learnt whats expected.
All walk (heal) brilliantly, are gentle with others, know to behave, even Tyson brings baby birds home to show me to help them, my rotties carried parrots on their back around the house,  welcome all baby...whatever breed... my dad had old methods, but to this day. & I still share my bed & cuddles with both mine despite people saying you can't allow a dog in your bed to avoid it wanting yo be the leader. Well I do, & mine know to move when "the big dog gets in or move over for... rasberries, leg pulls, kisses, etc knowing... they have to live by the house rules.
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PostSubject: Re: potential dog aggression?   Mon 20 Apr 2015, 7:04 pm

Hi Peppersmum,
sorry I'm a bit late to this one, I do behavioural work with dogs, principally rescue dogs which means principally staffies!
I've had a read through your comments and here's what I think (of course without seeing the behaviour myself I'm only working on the impression I've got of the situation, but it does sound very typical)

By the way, ignore your vet when it comes to 'breed advice' it sounds very much like they haven't looked very deeply at canine behaviour.  This is usually something vets have to read up on independently of their veterinary training, and some vets simply don't bother.  Offering advice like dogs being 'wired up wrong' indicated a gaping hole in their knowledge of general canine behaviour. But don't let that detract from their skills as an actual vet!

It sounds very much like Pepper is behind on her social skills, being an only pup for 4 week will have set her social education and learning back a bit as I presume the breeders didn't continue to provide her with opportunities to expand her social skills with other dogs/pups.
The behaviour you are seeing sounds very much like fear based issues.  The fear comes from the uncertainty of interacting with other dogs and the possibility of getting into a serious fight.  Which is why (I'm presuming) that Pepper comes in much harder than Harley when things start to go wrong. Pepper needs to use force to control the situation, and you only need physical force in a situation once your communication skills aren't good enough.  Pepper will also become defensive around other dogs (growling/snarling/barking/lunging etc) simply to let the other dogs know she doesn't want them near her.  She thinks that if they don't come close they can't hurt her.

What needs to happen now is you need to really expand Peppers social education, social skills and therefore social confidence.  Once Pepper is socially confident, and she is comfortable around all types of dogs (by this I mean all types of behaviours and personalities; excitable, shy, nervous, playful, aloof etc etc, by types I don't mean breeds, breeds don't mean much to dogs), once comfortable around other dogs she will no longer become defensive.

Achieving this is really simply, Pepper needs to spend time with other dogs in a calm controlled environment, where the other dogs are calm, relaxed and polite. This gives Pepper the chance to observe other dogs, study their behaviour and become familiar with how other dogs typically behave.  Once she has a better understanding of how other dogs behave she will be able to relax in their presence.  From here she can then begin to interact with other dogs and really begin to learn about other dogs and form bonds with them.

The problem you encountered is trying to get your dog's to play right off the bat.  Play is very intimate and requires a lot of trust between the two dogs.  If one dog doesn't trust the other then play can actually be quite a threatening and stressful situation.  Pepper clearly hasn't got the confidence to play with Harley, mainly because she hasn't built up any trust with Harley yet.

So, the easiest way to build confidence? lots and lots of onlead walking with no pulling, no excitement, no fear, no tension (that includes from you! keep the lead loose) and just let the dogs walk and explore together in a nice relaxed manner.  The more dogs you can do this with the faster Pepper's education will grow.  The calmer things are the quicker you will see Pepper will try to interact with other dogs, this is based on my very simple principal; 'You never get trouble from a calm dog'.  Dogs only really do 'bad' (antisocial) behaviour when they are emotional (excited, scared, frustrated, aggressive etc etc), so by keeping your dogs calm they will bond much faster, build trust much faster then will begin to play at a level they are both comfortable with.

Puppy classes are essential too, I always recommend signing up for 2 or 3 different classes so your dog can meet many more pups in different environments and if Pepper takes to some of the dogs arrange to meet up with the owners at your's or theirs to let the pups continue to learn and gain social skills. You only have a few months to educate a pup, so cram as much in as you can!

My advice for puppies is always - meet 100 dogs and 100 people calmly and positively in a relaxed manner before the pup gets to about 7/8 months old.  If you achieve this your pup is set for life!

I wrote an short article a few years back for the rescue I'm based at about how we deal with puppies at the rescue as we try to prevent 'bad' behaviours from developing;

http://ncarblog.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/paddington-pups-education.html

and just so you know it can be done, here is a video of my dogs play fighting over there few years together. Both dogs had aggression problems when I adopted them (several months apart) and it took a bit of time for them to relax and bond with each other, (we did lots of long calm onlead walks) but after a few weeks they started to play, rough but well mannered and fair...


Here is some text I copied off my own website, pretty much saying the same sort of thing;

A puppy’s education must be delivered in a relatively short space of time. Before the puppy is 6 months old, it must have experienced everything it is ever going to encounter in it’s day to day life as an adult dog. This includes meeting as many people and dogs as possible, a good number to aim for is 100 people and 100 dogs before the pup is 6 months old. The pup should meet cats, horses, cows, sheep etc. The environments should include other houses, gardens, parks, beaches, quite streets, busy streets, town centres, markets, roads with heavy traffic, roads with fast traffic, shops, inside cars, trains etc.

The vital factor in this education is calmness, if the pup associates all these experiences with being calm, then this is how it will respond in a similar situation as an adult dog. If the pup is allowed to get over excited during it’s education then it will react with over excitement as a full grown adult dog and this will become a problem. The more the pup can experience calmly before it reaches 6 months old, the more successfully it will be able to handle life as an adult dog. Many adult dogs show problematic behaviours which can be simply put down to the owner not putting in the time and effort to educating their pup during the vital first 6 months.

There is a big responsibility that comes with a puppy, and that responsibility is on the owning family to raise a dog who will become a reliable family member and socially acceptable dog within their community.
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PostSubject: Re: potential dog aggression?   Mon 20 Apr 2015, 7:13 pm

oh yea, if you like, video them together and post it on here and I'll have a much better idea of what's going on. You don't have to let them start fighting or anything but if I can see how they are together I may be able to help further.
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PostSubject: Re: potential dog aggression?   Tue 21 Apr 2015, 9:18 pm

That's amazing thank you so much for your knowledge, everything you said makes completely perfect sense!

Pepper & Harley will be seeing each other tomorrow, we're going to lead walk them in the garden as a starting point so I'll get a video of them. Should I keep them both on the lead for this video?
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