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Thread: A rescue staffy who needs some help

  1. #1

    Default A rescue staffy who needs some help


    Me and my partner recently rescued a 1 yr old staffy. she is the sweetest thing to people but when we walk her and she sees another dog it seems she gets fixated and barks / pulls to try to get to the other dog.

    she is an american staffy and quite big. i've found the best thing to do is to yank her away and walk in the opposite direction but i want her to be able to play with other dogs. at first we couldn't even get her attention when she was like this but i now carry a water bottle with some rice in it and shake it. straight away i get her attention and we move on. i was just wondering if anyone had some advice ect.

    we are saving to get her doggie lessons soon.

    thanks for any help you have

  2. #2


    Hi and welcome and well done for going with a rescue!!

    I guess I'll be the bearer of bad news ...

    Unfortunately , our breed does tend to be rather dog reactive , not to say it wont improve but just want you to be aware. You might want her to play with other strange dogs but she might have quite other ideas about that.

    Have you actually had her get close to another dog ? If so what does she do up close , still being very vocal etc ?
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  3. #3


    Thanks for the reply. im aware her breed has these traits. its not so much even playing with other dogs but she gets quite anxious if she sees another dog in the distance, i know she has had a very tough life and it is going to take a lot of time and patience, when we got her she had never really been walked before. Just not sure if there are any small tricks to get her mind on the job so to speak. she can hear dogs barking and not really flinch but its mostly when she sees another dog.

    she got up close to another staffy in the pet shop yesterday face to face and after a minute of them both sniffing each other and very quiet they both starting barking.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Gold Coast


    I have the same problem with my pooch, once he sees another dog he just pulls and pulls and its hard to get his attention back again, not really a problem since he is quite small but a staffy i can imagine would pull quite hard....I now bring treats with me and we're working on getting him to walk calmly up to other dogs, he just wants to play but other dogs aren't so sure of him because he is so excited......maybe try asking a friend to bring their dog over for a play to see how she goes if she hasn't been around other dogs yet? Did you get her from a shelter?

  5. #5


    Yeah we got her from a shelter. as soon as we seen her we had to get her out of there. she is like a kid who wants to play but doesnt know what personal space is. were hoping to try that with another friend who has a staffy also. slow and steady i think is the way to go.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Gold Coast


    yeah thats exactly what it is! haha good way to describe it. Yeah it's hard going to a shelter and not going home with them all I was just wondering if she was from a shelter coz i was gonna ask if she was in with another dog or not? She'll probs be a bit calmer off the lead when playing, my dog is totally different around dogs when we're at home or when he's not on the lead. It will be good to see how she goes with your friends dog

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    SE QLD


    Choppa is right. I have Bella who will tolerate other dogs unless they push her around and Harley who I can not let near another dog (apart from Bella, they are inseparable). The behaviour a mix of my fault and their breed.

    I think it is best to take things slowly with her if you can see she is anxious don't push her into a situation she doesn't want to be in as doing so could create more fear based aggression. Treat and encourage good behaviour and if possible use treats as a distraction when she see's another dog. Get her to focus on you and reward when she does.

    What are you using when you walk her? A flat collar, harness or head halti? Front clipping harnesses and head halti's will give you better control over you girl when you are out. I probably wouldn't yank the lead, more direct her attention another way. I seem to tell Harley to ignore and if he doesn't I give him a tap on the side as a distraction and we continue walking. If he is excitable it doesn't always work, but I don't have the issue of my arm getting pulled out of its socket any more :P

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

  8. #8


    you guys have all been great. alot of good advice. im slowly seeing progress... ill try n keep you posted

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2011


    Welcome Ted and Zara!

    Do a search on Look at That (LAT) training on the forum or the net. If you train it the right way, it's a powerful tool for getting your dog to focus on you. But you have to do it lots of times with lots of treats for it to be effective with high distractions. My dog loves it because it is such an easy way for her to get treats and I use it heaps. But it still won't work if she has spotted wildlife. So start easy, with minor distractions to set her up for success. Then gradually make it harder. If ever she doesn't respond, go back to an easier distraction and practice some more.

    Eventually her behaviour may turn out to be too engrained and you may need some help from a professional trainer. But it pays off to first work on basic obedience.

    I used clicker training with my current dog and I have loved it. It worked especially well with the LAT training as the dog seems to understand very quickly what exactly it is that you are rewarding her for, which is interrupting that fixation on the distraction and paying attention to you (however briefly).

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Southern NSW


    Hi ........Just to add some things too....Some of the training methods will help, but also some changes in the household might help with some of the anxiety problems

    Good leadership really helps anxious and fear aggressive starts at home and you have to commit to it every day

    If you have the time, Google Jan Fennell and Tony Knight...lately I have been using their system, it is not so much training as a lifestyle. It helps dogs and it helps leadership problems.After that you can also do all the training you want and deal with the dog to dog issues

    I deal a lot with Dog to dog aggression and initially i used to do a lot of BAT training ( still do but now with), desensitising and counter conditioning (especially on very aggressive dogs), but without the lifestye change at home for the owners/ had some success, but I have had huge success with the changes at home.

    I also use Calming signals, but you have to read dogs well to use those......But making yourself aware of what is happening with your dog is very important

    I can suggest some names for you to google or just go to these links, but there is lots more

    Dr Sophia Yin, lots of free videos Animal Behaviorist | Dr. Sophia Yin her and Cesar milan anre arch enemies LOL

    Jann Fennell and Tony Knight and they have many free Youtubes dog behaviour, dog obedience, dog trainers, puppy training, dog rescue assistance, canine behaviour, canine obedience by Jan Fennell the Dog Listener Amichien Bonding

    Turid Rugaas ( I often get the spelling wrong) Turid Rugaas - International Dog Trainer, I went to her in Europe and she is awesome

    I will use good old fashioned desensitizing and counter conditioning on aggressive dogs...........But I prefer the "BAT" system Behavior Adjustment Training (BAT) | Official site for BAT: dog-friendly training for reactivity (aggression, fear, frustration) by Grisha Stewart, MA

    Never close your mind and keep learning.........
    Last edited by newfsie; 05-30-2012 at 07:38 PM.
    Pets are forever

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