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Question
Posted by: felicity | 2011/03/15

aggressive Staffie

Hi, I''m hoping you can help!! I have 5 Labradors ranging in age from 2 eleven month old (spayed females) and 1 3 year old (spayed female), 1 5 year old (spayed female) and 1 11 year old neutered male. They all get on well and happy " children"  My brother lives on the property and has a 3 year old Staff (spayed female) who has live here since birth. She started showing aggression towards my dogs when she reached 18 months an it is now becoming a weekly occassion where she will bite one of them (generally face, muzzle and eye area). She is top dog and is treated accordingly by all " human"  owners. She gets fed first, comes through the door first (before the humans I have to admit) and gets walked on her own daily. I am not seeing a common trigger to the aggression, she will just seem to launch into one of them whenever she feels like it. I have started trying to show dominance over her to establish myself as top dog but she still seems to find the Labs as her " chew toy"  rwgularly! Any suggestions as I am beginning to resent her. I have nowhere where I could seperate her from the rest of the pack and am now at my wits end!! HELP

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDog Behaviour Expert

Hi Felicity, nice to hear from you. That she started to show this behaviour at this age is not unusual as it is round about this age when hierarchy becomes important to a dog and she will try to establish her position. This normally occurs between 18mths to 3 years. Her breed is also an element in this behaviour.
What needs to happen is that she needs to be shown that she is not top dog - all the humans in the family are above her! To achieve this you need to urgently get in someobdy to show you how to do this, how to bring in reprecussions for the behaviour, explain and show you Calming and Stress signals in order that you will have the tools to observe her body language to see when rective behaviour is about to occur. Reactive behaviour never happens in a 'vacuum', there is always something that triggers it, whether it be so simple as another dog staring at her, and you need to learn these to stop/distract the behaviour before it happens. Unfortunately this is not the type of situation that can be handled in a forum such as this.
I do urge you to contact a qualified behaviourist urgently as i have learnt from experience that these situations just escalate and you want to nip it in the bud before it gets worse. Google animal behaviour consultants and please check out peoples credentials before you bring them in. Good luck and do let me know how it goes, thanks Scotty

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1
Our users say:
Posted by: Dog Behaviour Expert | 2011/03/25

Hi Felicity, nice to hear from you. That she started to show this behaviour at this age is not unusual as it is round about this age when hierarchy becomes important to a dog and she will try to establish her position. This normally occurs between 18mths to 3 years. Her breed is also an element in this behaviour.
What needs to happen is that she needs to be shown that she is not top dog - all the humans in the family are above her! To achieve this you need to urgently get in someobdy to show you how to do this, how to bring in reprecussions for the behaviour, explain and show you Calming and Stress signals in order that you will have the tools to observe her body language to see when rective behaviour is about to occur. Reactive behaviour never happens in a 'vacuum', there is always something that triggers it, whether it be so simple as another dog staring at her, and you need to learn these to stop/distract the behaviour before it happens. Unfortunately this is not the type of situation that can be handled in a forum such as this.
I do urge you to contact a qualified behaviourist urgently as i have learnt from experience that these situations just escalate and you want to nip it in the bud before it gets worse. Google animal behaviour consultants and please check out peoples credentials before you bring them in. Good luck and do let me know how it goes, thanks Scotty

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