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Thread: Toothless Attack

  1. #1

    Default Toothless Attack

    Hi All,

    My beautiful Della a 1.5yr amstaff x I've had since 8 weeks is beginning to display some alarmingly aggressive behaviour.

    She was basically a rescue, coming from a backyard breeder with absolutely no idea! The bitch was struggling to keep all the 11 pups fed resulting in about half the litter being seriously undernourished. Instead of supplementing with a milk replacement they were feeding the undernourished pups scrambled eggs. At a few days old Della was accidentally "stepped on" by the mother causing a rather large wound on her back, the breeders failed to seek vet attention or advice and the wound was left to heal open. The enclosure the pups were kept in was a squalid mess of dirt, urine and faeces. I brought Della straight from the breeder to the vet where she stayed for 3 days. She was suffering from staph, worms, fleas and Coccidia. In short Della had a very rough start!

    Despite her beginnings Della is a very sweet playful dog and has recovered from her ailments completely.... (apart from the decent sized "stepping" scar on her back) Della lives with 3 other dogs who all get along relatively well until the last few months.
    She has taken a particular dislike for one of her mates in particular a desexed male amstaff x. They can play together just fine occasionally getting into arguments that he usually wins. Around their kennel however and inside with us is a different story. She won't let him come near her and if she goes near him he's not allowed to move or she'll growl and snap but without really biting. My partner and I are growing pretty tired of that behaviour as we don't like having to keep them separate and we can't understand why she's playing with him one minute and attacking him the next!
    And then today.......... Della is currently recovering after a a backyard injury resulted in a trip to the vet and some stitches and has been kept inside for 3 days. Today i left her asleep on her mat to get something from my car and I left the door open, the neighbour had her little dog outside with her when Della came bounding out. She leapt on this little dog as it was yelping its face off, I thought it was a goner Della had her mouth around its neck and looked as though she was attacking it! We got them separated and the little dog did not have a mark on it apart from some dog drool on its neck. This little dog has occasionally barked at Della from behind the safety of its screen door and Della at first acted aggressively but eventually got used to it!

    I have no idea where this aggression has suddenly come from and also why she would seemingly attack another dog to this extent without actually biting it! Has anyone seen this type of behaviour before? attacking seemingly viciously without actually biting. Is it a precursor to a more serious attack? What can be done about it?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    Hi Aalicat

    I would take a punt and say this behaviour has nothing to do with your dog's "rough start".

    Has anyone seen this type of behaviour before? attacking seemingly viciously without actually biting.
    yes. my dog can do this. She does it to most poodle crosses, sometimes she nips and makes them squeal - sometimes they squeal and she never touched them - just roared at them. It's a thing with poodle crosses she hasn't been properly introduced to. They're rude, they make direct approaches, don't notice back off signals she gives them (looking away, licking lips, growling!) and then they jump on her head.

    The key thing is - she used to put up with all that when she was a puppy - even a big puppy but from about 2 years old - she stopped tolerating it. And now she sees it as her personal job to be the manners minder of the local parks. Or it's a self preservation thing. She's no longer allowed to spend time with my brother's groodle because it is huge and extremely rude. It doesn't take a very forceful painful even - NO - for an answer and will pester her by biting her bum and baiting her into chasing him. So she just does the charge and chomp, least effort for most result. And now all new curly coat dogs cop the same treatment unless they are properly and politely introduced - ie calm indirect approach with many pauses and polite sniffing...

    So I would say your dog's puppy age tolerance for the desexed amstaff who is possibly quite rude and rough with her - has expired now she's becoming an adult dog. You need to train him to leave her alone when she says or it will get worse. It might help to give her a safe place to go - especially if she's a bit sore post vet visit.

    Is it a precursor to a more serious attack? What can be done about it?
    It can get worse. It largely depends on how you handle it and what you do to prevent it.

    for instance I had been making a training nightmare (iceberg) for myself when taking my dog out our front door for walks. If there was anything going on out there - it was her street - she owns it as far as she's concerned so she'd go nuts, barking, lunging, growling - even at her friends (some she just wanted to say hello but what she was doing was pretty off putting and some she would quite happily nip and herd away - not ok either). And I was not doing anything about it because - she was on lead - couldn't actually do anything so we'd continue on the walk.

    But it was getting worse. And eventually I decided that it was probably contributing to bad behaviour elsewhere. So I decided - if she's not calm and polite going out the front door - she goes back inside at speed and I shut the door and we start over.

    So the front door routine is she must sit until I get the door open and give her permission to go through. Any stiffness, hackles, death stares, growling, lunging, barking (sheesh), and I pull her straight back inside and shut the door. If I got as far as the front gate - we'd turn around and head into the back yard where she couldn't see the trigger any more. And we'd repeat the process with the side gate.

    Only a calm dog gets to go outside.

    And a calm dog is a thinking listening dog.

    I also noticed once my dog got to about 2 years of age - if I scolded a human for not picking up or a dog for peeing on my stuff etc - my dog would "help" and she would try to drive off the human or dog. And it looked pretty nasty. So I have to be really sing song happy if I tell someone to pick up after their dog. And not leave anything where a dog might pee on it. And we stay away from poodle crosses - tho it can be hard - because they do run up to us even when my dog is on lead and jump on her head. I figure if they get nipped after that (and I've told the owner to call their dog) - they deserve it.

    There's a few dogs out there that seem to attract aggression from other dogs - I don't know why. And I don't know why the owners of those persist in bringing them to off lead dog parks and letting them go. I've also met a few (mostly poodle crosses) who will run up to a dog, invite it to play chase and then scream (untouched) and run away. WTF.

    I think puppy mill specials are just rude dogs. And dogs that have grown up with their litter and lots of other dogs and had plenty of human company - don't tolerate the rudeness. Only the gun dogs (Labradors etc) might. Terriers and herding dogs won't.

    But you have to manage and train your dog(s) to behave how you want.

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