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I think I dont love my dog:(

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by rmt81, Apr 11, 2011.


  1. rmt81

    rmt81 PetForums Newbie

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    I know this sounds horrible. I am aware and I feel awful but want to do the best thing. I rehomed a staffie cross puppy last year and she is one now. I have another dog who is nearly 3 and a couple of cats. I wanted the puppy as I enjoyed having my other dog so much and wanted a companion for her. I got a puppy because I thought I could shape her into a good dog. I am a good owner- I took her to puppy socialisation classes, walk her for at least 1.5 hours every day, she was spayed at 6 months etc etc. I read training books and have done courses on dog behaviour. She is a very obedient in other ways-recall, basic commands, taking gently etc but has a really nasty aggressive streak with other dogs. I had to stop taking her to puppy classes at 4wks because it was mayhem and she wanted to kill all the other puppies when they played to much and jumped on her. She has a very dominant personality and there seems to be no rhyme or reason to who she starts with. She is ok 90% of the time but when she starts she doesnt listen to me and wont stop. She doesnt bite, just pins other dogs and wrestles them. I have determind that I will need to muzzle her just in case. She is extremely friendly with people. All this has really played havoc with our relationship and all though at times I feel I love her at other times I wish I had never got her. She has changed the whole dynamics of our home and my once enjoyable walks are now so stressful. My partner wont walk our dogs now because he has'nt got the patience so it all falls on my shoulders. She has also started to chase cats in the garden, including my own. She was from an abandoned litter so I have no idea what her parents were like
     
  2. billie jo

    billie jo PetForums Member

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    Find a good training school and get her booked into lessons. Sometimes things seem worse than they are and mountains are made out of molehills. You could also try one to one lessons with a QUALIFIED dog trainer. Beware tho, there are plenty who talk the talk and know zilch! So make some enquiries first before you decide who to approach. Ask at your vets to see if they know anyone that they trust. APDT qualifications are what you should be looking for - even then check them out. She is still just a puppy, don't give up on her. The training will be not only for the pup - but for you too! Sweetheart, I'm a registered dog handler - but I learn things every day! Who knows - a year from now, you could be sitting with a perfectly well behaved dog wondering what all the fuss was about! It's a hard old slog with a difficult dog, but believe me - it's worth it! As for being booted out of puppy classes - shame on them! They should have pointed you in the right directions for advice. Grit your teeth and perservere! Good luck with it.
     
  3. Carla-Jade

    Carla-Jade PetForums VIP

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    Welcome to the forum! Do some research about local behaviourists or 1-1 trainers to see if you can set up some sessions to help out your little one. Has thsi always been the case, has the behaviour got worse or just appeared recently?
     
  4. shibby

    shibby PetForums VIP

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    Perhaps it would be best to see an APBC pet behaviour counsellor (The APBC | Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors) referred to by your vet? Things can be construed in different ways when in text. Like the puppy classes, in our case, sometimes the other dogs would 'go for' our dog because he was quite excitable and they were telling him off. The pinning/wrestling of other dogs could also be taken as rough play, which is a default play style for a lot of staffies, but it is important that it's balanced and the dogs are taking turns, not one dog being harassed by the other. I'm not saying it's this, just emphasising how important it is to seek professional advice in person because on the internet it can be taken in different ways. It sounds like you've done a good job with her with recall etc. :) I hope you manage to resolve these issues. Do you know what she is crossed with? I think it's natural to feel a little resentful and well done for taking everything on...
     
    #4 shibby, Apr 11, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2011
  5. billie jo

    billie jo PetForums Member

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    Sorry forgot to mention what APDT stands, Association of Pet Dog Trainers. Really you'll have to decide whether its a good trainer you need, or as suggested a good behaviourist. Wish you well anyways.
     
  6. Bobbie

    Bobbie PetForums VIP

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    I think maybe you are wondering if you should rehome her? do what you think is best for you and your family as you are the one who has to live with your decision. But don't think you are a failure.
     
  7. keirk

    keirk PetForums Member

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    How is she trying to kill other dogs by wrestling? Are you sure it isnt excited play?
     
  8. rmt81

    rmt81 PetForums Newbie

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    I say wrestling because I dont know how to explain it- she gets them round the neck and drags them or pins them and stands over them-there is lots of snarling, growling and air biting. She hasnt drawn blood yet but I have no doubts that she will if not muzzled. It is most definately not just excited play as she knows how to play and can take a good game. She is the instigator-if she see's a dog with something in its mouth it seems her mission is to take it from them. The only time she wont do this is if the dog is even more of a cow than she is. I've spoken to a few behaviourists over the last few days (including one that was on Dog Borstal) and they have said she can be improved but doesnt mean I will necessarily be able to walk her off lead in a park full of dogs. This is difficult as I want to take my dogs on holiday with me and have days out at the beach like I could when I just had one dog.
    My head is telling me that she is'nt right for us but my heart is telling me that the rescue is over run with staffies and I worry how she would cope if I gave her back. Its so hard to know what to do for the best....the best for us and the best for her
     
  9. newfiesmum

    newfiesmum Banned

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    I was wondering this myself, and a good trainer should be able to tell if it is really aggression. Is she growling, snarling at other dogs, or just keen to get at them? I would not be putting a muzzle on her if she hasn't looked like she is going to bite anybody, as this can make people fear her, which she will pick up on. There are dogs who only want to play, but will end up ganging up on another dog, not giving them a chance to play as well. Mine can be like that with other dogs, though not with each other. Is she ok with your other dog?

    I am a bit puzzled as you said you had to withdraw her from puppy class at four weeks. Do you mean after four weeks? I would hate to think she was at puppy class at only four weeks old.
     
  10. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    At the puppy romp I attended, a Staffie pup (tiny) was in with the larger boisterous gang (likely mostly older to). It loved rough & tumble play, was excited and seemed to play most with a nearly 6 month old Rottie, who you would probably think was trying to kill her! Motto was "I get knocked down.. but I stand up again!".

    The thing is, prolonged pinning does need interruption. On Dunbar's site (who popularised on purpose puppy socialisation) he says 1 session a week is not enough, it tends to lead to the over excited play group bully or shrinking violet whose afraid to be involved.

    It sounds like over-excitement, needing brief regular cessation of play until the dog learns to self-regulate and play with pauses.
     
  11. rmt81

    rmt81 PetForums Newbie

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    Sounds good but she hasnt attended puppy classes for last 6 months. This is all happening in the park. I think it would have to be seen to be understood. This is not play, as I said she can play very well. She seems to challenge certain other dogs and its like I can feel the excited energy coming off of her. If I could grab her I would but she dodges me and goes back time and time again until I do catch her. Im not slow or timid-Im very fit and healthy and not a push over but I just cant seem to control this drive in her, Ive managed to get every other aspect of her behaviour into very good order. I should also add that 3 of her litter mates have also been returned with problems-aggression towards other dogs.
     
  12. rmt81

    rmt81 PetForums Newbie

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    But she knows how to behave. She socialises well with 99% of dogs but just seems to get the edvil in her occassionally. For instance, in the park on sunday a fox terrier (that she is always very good with) picked up hre ball. My dog told her off and then the fox terrier had a go back. It quickly escelated to my dog pinning this other dog etc. The owner wasnt concerned as his dog can be a bit nasty herself. Anyway-he put his dog on the lead and I tried to grab mine but she went steaming back over to the dog and carried on-she did this twice before I could get hold of her. The man could easily have had his leg bitten severely. Within two seconds of this incident she went steaming up to a tiny pug that was nearby but not involved and had a go at it. All this happened in the space of ten seconds.
     
  13. catz4m8z

    catz4m8z PetForums VIP

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    Cant you just walk her muzzled and on a long lead for better control??:confused:
    She has another dog at home to play with, people to give her cuddles and what sounds like a nice life. It would be a shame if she got given up (and PTS) for what amounts to a couple of hours out of the day. It sounds like you are going to have to decide if you can live with her not being the dog you hoped for or face rehoming a DA Staffie..:(
     
  14. shibby

    shibby PetForums VIP

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    I agree with RobD-BCactive, she sounds very aroused in these situations and I would personally keep her on lead (long line/extendable for some freedom) until you can manage the situation. You need to be in control of her when out and about and she needs help with it. The pug incident could have been her still over excited about the previous incident with the terrier and she needed a chance to calm down and focus. It's not just her issue. There are things that an owner can do to help with excitement issues, if it is excitement related. These are some good links that have been posted on this forum:

    Camling Your Cerraazzzy Canine: Under Pressure | Pet Central's Pawsitive Dawgs Blog!
    Crazy Canines | Pet Central's Pawsitive Dawgs Blog!
    http://www.petforums.co.uk/dog-training-behaviour/88630-dog-body-language-why-matters-so-much.html

    However, no one on the internet can definitively tell you what's what. If you genuinely believe it's aggressive behaviour you need to consult someone about it in person. Three litter mates may have been returned but do you know how they were brought up? They might not have been well socialised and the problem could lie with the owners.
     
    RobD-BCactive likes this.
  15. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    That sounds like a dog-dog resource guarding moment, I was advised to distract with a super toy in a recent thread so I could avoid incident with impolite dogs who ignore warnings and try and grab tennis balls.

    Play is good but needs interrupting as excitement builds to avoid spats. Healthy play between dogs has many pauses to avoid things getting out of hand. If they're just going at it, without self imposed pauses the sort of thing you descibe is expected.

    The point is that ought to have been part of the puppy play, so your dog could learn, rather than be branded as a "hooligan" at a young age.

    Think Staffie's have a reputation for exciteability, so may be you could benefit from tripod's site Calming Your Cerrrrraaaazzzzzy Canine
     
  16. rmt81

    rmt81 PetForums Newbie

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    Well thats the only option if I keep her-muzzle and/or long lead-she's been on a lead since the weekend. i think my problem is that I have not bonded with her like I should have. There is no way on gods earth I would ever consider giving back my other rescue dog and she came with a barking issue and chewed terribly when I got her at 6 months-she almost ruined the house. My new dog came from a non-destruction charity so she will not be PTS if she goes back. She is such a lovely dog in other ways-fantastic with kids, affectionate, funny etc but I am really struggling to get over this issue and have a dog that I'm proud of. BTW my other dog is still a barker etc but I can cope with her problems........I know it sounds awful and I hate myself for it :(
     
  17. Rottiefan

    Rottiefan PetForums VIP

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    Sounds like she has had a remedial socialisation with other dogs, quite honestly. Nothing to do with dominance (dogs can not have a 'dominant personality'- it doesn't make sense) but she be incredibly frustrated when meeting other dogs and, on the arousal/stress continuum, it doesn't take long for high frustration levels to surface into aggressive interactions. What I would say is that she hasn't actually hurt another dog yet, which is a good thing. A one year old Staffy could do a lot of damage, yet she hasn't.

    Keep her on a lead and practise positive associations with other dogs. Give treats when she spots another dog (and doesn't get hyped up) and engage her with your voice, food etc. If she gets too frustrated, say 'Lets go' and turn away. As soon as she comes with you, treat and praise.

    I would get a behaviourist to work with you. Maybe something new like clicker training if she's food motivated. You have to maintain her on a lead- it's not fair on her or other dogs and owners for her to be off lead and you running around trying to grab her.

    Coming from having experience in rescues, I say don't give her back. She sounds like she's a nice dog most of the time. If you're going to have a dog, it's your responsibility to care for her welfare and needs.
     
  18. shibby

    shibby PetForums VIP

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    Hypothetically speaking, if it was excitement issues, it is unlikely that she would need to be on lead or muzzled for life. How have you tried to help her overcome these difficulties? Would you be willing to give her up because of these issues when you say "she socialises well with 99% of dogs"? Whilst she might not be put to sleep, it could be a long time before she finds a new home. You should check out the links posted above, they are extremely useful. There's no need to cope, with some help from a behaviourist/counsellor, you and some support from your partner (which is important), she can overcome this...
     
  19. rmt81

    rmt81 PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks for all your advice. I am going to go with one of the behaviourists I spoke to and see what plan he can help me draw up to work on it.
     
  20. codyann

    codyann PetForums Senior

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    hey i would go see a APBC pet behaviour counsellor i will be going to see one very soon about my dog, they aint cheap but its worth it :D
     
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