Our expert says:
Dog Behaviour Expert
Hi Mark, nice to hear from you - I absolutely love Staffies, such character!
It sounds to me that your bitch perceives herself to be the highest ranking dog and is showing the male that she is in charge and whether or not she has been spade will not change this attitude - many females take the rank of top dog in a domestic situation. There is no such thing as a democracy with dogs and it is vitally important in a combined human/canine pack that the owners are the highest ranking pack members and say what is and isnt allowed, especially when reactive behaviour exists. Many people think that the 'top dog' should be greeted first, fed first etc, and i do agree to a degree, but as you should be the highest ranking membe of the pack, it is you that should decide which dog is greeted first etc, and mixing this up occassionally, will raise your own status.
Where reactive behaviour is concerned, this can easily escalate and a serious fight between two Staffies is not a nice thing - i would advise you to get in a behaviourist to show you how to sort this out. It is not difficult but will involve changes in your dealings with the dogs and overall will make the dogs more confident and secure as if you are not acting as a confident pack leader they will try to assume the position.
In between i would advise that your feed the dogs seperately, twice a day and get them to start 'working for their living' at the same time. When food time comes, ask the one dog to sit and wait while you put the food down. Allow 15 minutes maximum for the dog to eat and then take away the bowl. Repeat with the other dog seperately and allow them the time seperately to enjoy their meal - it is after all one of the highlights of their day. Dont leave food out for the dogs during the day as this is definately an area where the 'its mine' syndrome exists.
Additionally, start bringing in the 'work to earn' in all aspects of your dealings with the dogs - ask them to sit for food, sit for attention, sit and wait before going out a door, sit when you come home to be greeted etc.
These are very small changes that will help but do consider getting in professional help. Thanks and good luck, Scotty
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