Help ,dog aggression

Posted by Deb
Sep 10, 2008
hi there i have a 6 month old Staffordshire bull terrier he was well socialised with dogs from an early age ,he loves my sister in laws dog and has played with lots of other dogs on the estate and we have let him play with dogs of various shapes and sizes , but the last two days he has begun to bark at other dogs and growl at them we met a cute 10wk old Stafford tonight on our travels we got together to have a chat and say hi the puppy went to sniff mine and mine growled twice i told him off by saying NO and after that he behaved and they played a little while ,then when nearly home there was a lad on a bike with a border collie running by his side he went mental growling and barking at the dog i know he was not growling at the bike as he doesn't bat an eye lid at people on bikes ,is this just hormones starting to kick in or do i have a real problem ??
I will be having him neutered ,he is due for his adolescent check up at the vets end of this month
Thank you in advance
Posted by KOPsRobyn
Jan 22, 2010
Hi there

It is a good idea to have your dog neutered, because the hormone changes that occur during the adolescent stage often contribute quite a lot to the increased aggression levels seen.

You will especially need to keep up your alpha dog training during this period, to reinforce your status as the leader of the pack. He may try and challenge you for this position, so it is important that you make it clear to him that you are still top dog and will be staying there. There are a few things that you can incorporate into your daily routine to re-establish yourself as the alpha dog. These include insisting that you walk ahead of him through doorways and when walking on the leash, and feeding him after you have finished your own meal. You must ignore him if he comes up to you for attention, as he has to learn that attention from you is earned and not just given out whenever he wants it. Before you pat him or play with him, give him a command, such as 'sit-stay' so that he will see that your attention is a reward for good behavior. This will act as an incentive for the future. If you are playing a game with him, make sure it is you that chooses the toy and when you decide that you have had enough, take the toy away with you so that he realizes that it is you that controls playtime. When you first come home, you should greet the rest of the household first before saying hello to him, which will help him realize his place in the hierarchy. All these things can be incorporated relatively easily into your normal daily routine, although it will require some patience and perseverance from you.

It is also a good idea to set aside some time each day for a bit of obedience training, which will not only improve his obedience levels but also the relationship between you.

If he misbehaves on walks, you should turn around and take him home immediately. This is so that he will learn that he will not get something he enjoys, such as walks, if he is naughty. If he growls at other dogs when he is at home, take him by the collar and lead him away to a 'time-out zone'. Don't speak to him or make eye contact when taking him away, so that he is getting absolutely no attention from anyone at all. This place should be quiet and free of distractions, away from other people and dogs so that he can be left completely alone. Leave him there until he calms down and then make him obey a command, such as 'sit-stay', before releasing him from the 'time-out zone'. If he misbehaves again, do exactly the same. He will soon learn that that is not the way to get your attention, in fact it will lead to complete isolation instead, which is not what he wants.

I hope this helps and all the best with the training!