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Thread: Worried Staffy Owner needing advice

  1. #1

    Default Worried Staffy Owner needing advice

    Hi all, I am new to the forum and would appreciate some advice and guidance. We took on a 2 year old male staffy about 6 months ago. He came to us through a dog rescue club and has proven to be the smartest and most loyal dog we have ever had. We have not taken lightly the fact that this breed was bred for fighting however he has behaved beautifully at obedience classes, tolerates other dogs at our home and we have never had any reason to doubt his behaviour with other animals, children or visitors to our home. Unfortunately about two weeks ago we received a letter from the council stating that he had bitten the ranger when he came to our home. I was very surprised and contacted them, they stated that he had been very aggressive and obviously they were very unimpressed. A week later two rangers visited, I was home at the time and was horrified to see how completely out of control he was. He was clearly behaving aggressively, but also seemed very distressed (frightened??). We had one more scheduled visit today with our boy on the leash. We tried to create a calm environment, had him on his leash, asked him to sit, stay etc, we had treats and generally anything to show him that it was OK for that person to be at our home. He was having none of it and we were unable to calm him at all. He remained very angry until the man left.

    I have discussed this with a few people who are experienced with dogs and I have been told that dogs do not live in the past as humans do, but I can't help thinking that his behaviour has something to do with a past history with a ranger or policeman (very similar uniforms). Can anyone shed any light on this and give me some advice? I am very worried, and although we can lock him away when required this is not a satisfactory situation and I now feel we cannot trust him.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    Sunshine Coast
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    A dog would remember their past for sure. Your staffy has probably had a bad experience. Maybe he was mistreated by a former owner who had a uniform job. Maybe you could ring the rescue group and ask them if they had any info on why he was rescued in the first place? He obviously didn't like the rangers.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Rural NSW
    Posts
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    Have a series of non uniformed friends coming in and see what happens then. If all is good take a video. It may help

    Any posts made under the name of Di_dee1 one can be used by anyone as I do not give a rats.

  4. #4

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    I have spoken with them, apparently he was picked up by a ranger and impounded and never collected. Which is very strange because he has clearly been socialised and had some basic training. They felt he was capable of being rehomed and so he was put in to foster care to be tested and I have also spoken with his temporary foster carer and he showed no signs of aggression in the situations he was placed in. I have neighbours come to our home and take eggs from our shed, I have friends come to the house and he doesn't even bother to bark at their car, strange children get off the bus outside our house and walk up to my door (my sons friends) and he can't wait to play with everyone.

    I'm not a dog expert, and I don't want to be pushing my human thinking onto our dog. I was thinking of going to our local (large) police station and sitting with him on the leash to see how he reacts. Is this a good idea. If he goes beserk, what should I do?

  5. #5

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    Thanks for the advice. Visitors to our home are usually non-uniformed. They are girlfriends in skirts, men in shorts, kids in casual clothes or a school uniform(white shirt, tie, black lace up shoes), male neighbours in long pants and boots (we are in a rual area). I can lock him up permanently but would prefer if he could spend time doing things with us when we are at home. He is only home on his own for about five hours, 3 days per week - so not too hard to put him in a secure yard or inside the house during those times. But it is obvious that if someone comes to our home that triggers this response, even if I am at home, then he will attack and not pay any attention to me calling him.

    I should point out that he has been de-sexed for about six months, and the rangers were at the property checking firebreaks and other things, not because there had been a complaint about our dog. But we have been told in no uncertain terms that he must be kept controlled at all times, and although he follows me around the yard all day, then sits at the back door when I am inside the house, I won't always know when someone in a uniform is going to arrive.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    SE QLD
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    I would do as Dee said and record his reaction around other visitors to show them (the rangers) what he is like. He has obviously had a bad experience somewhere along the line that has made him scared of people in uniforms. Staffies are people dogs and I've seen plenty that have had bad things happen to them at the hands of a human and still be trusting and loyal.

    I would probably be inclined also to put a beware of dogs sign on your fence to warn people that a dog lives there. My two, although they sound scary when they notice someone, generally just jump on people and go happy mental but I've still got a sign on the gate to warn people!

    There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.

  7. #7

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    Yes, I will definitely do that. And we will be putting a sign on the gate and closing it if he is not locked up when we go out. But we still must have him contained in a way that allows authorities and emergency servies to get to our front door without being attacked, they made that very clear.

    So I guess my next question is, what would be the best way to get him used to people like this. It would be possible to get a friend in uniform to come over, but I really struggled to hang onto him today when the ranger came, and I used every trick I knew to calm him down and get him to focus on me and relax.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Melbourne
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    I would consider whether you could do some desensitization with him? Perhaps with the help of your obedience club? They could suggest some techniques to help you keep control of him and then work with him around people in uniform (if that is what is setting him off)
    "In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semihuman. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog." - Edward Hoagland

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    SE QLD
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    Also besides the training is it possible for you to split your yard in two? That's what we have done with ours so that the meter man etc can all do their job while we are't home with out worrying about the dogs. It's easier for us because we are on acreage and have the space to do so.

    There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.

  10. #10

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    Judging by his performance today, wherever we put him will have to have very high fences, so it will probably have to be a smaller area, which is a shame because he loves to patrol his property. He knows what time the school bus comes, what time the roos come through to feed, what time the rabbits come out. And he loves to run like a mad thing around the lawn and verandah, just because he can. Seems a shame to lock him up when he has been so good for so long.

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