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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 18805
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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We have a Stafford terrier mix that seldom, but on occasion

Customer Question

We have a Stafford terrier mix that seldom, but on occasion gets very angry at my wife and hovers over her threatening to bit if she comes out of her curled ball position. It takes a while to encourage him to go away from her even with treats. It like he goes into an attack mode for some unknown reason. Has has only done this with her, not me or the other dog. She has been his main caregiver and gets alot of attention from her. The rest of the time he is a loving pet. What can we do?
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 6 months ago.
Hi JaCustomer, My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today. In order to supply you with an informed answer, it is necessary for me to collect some additional information from you. When I receive your response or reply, it will likely take me between 30-45 minutes to type up my reply if I am still online when I receive notice that you replied. I hope you can be patient. Is he neutered?Does she give him attention for no reason but to love him?What obedience training has been done with him and when?What activities does the dog have such as walks, ball chasing, etc?Is he allowed on the furniture?How is he with people outside the home or visitors?How about strange dogs?Has he ever bitten her or anyone?What have you tried so far to get him to stop?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
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Customer: replied 6 months ago.
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Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 6 months ago.
Can you see this? IF so please respond?
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 6 months ago.
I'm going to go ahead and type up a response based on the information I already have which may help. If he isn't neutered, get that done. It may not help his dominance aggression which is likely what this is, but will lower his testosterone levels and hopefully have a calming affect. It sounds like your dog may be having issues with dominance aggression. Many dominant dogs are described as well behaved until you try to get them to do something they do not want to do, and then they reprimand you either with a growl or bite if you don't heed the growl. Things like taking away something they want, making them move when they don't want to, waking them up, etc can cause them to reprimand (bite) you. If your wife is doing something the dog may not approve of even if it is just moving from one room to another, this might cause him to react. Dogs that are allowed on furniture tend to feel that since they are elevated to your level or higher if on your lap, they mentally feel elevated as well in the pack order and thus are the boss. Keeping them on the floor can help lower them mentally back to a submissive position in the pack. So the first thing is to not allow him higher that the humans or even on the same level. In addition, humans shouldn't be on the floor with him either. A small short stool is enough to keep them higher than the dog when petting the dog. Attach a leash and keep it on him so it can be used to remove him from the furniture. Give a correction in the form of a quick tug and firm "NO" when he attempts to get on and a treat (hot dog slivers work best) when he starts not trying to get on the furniture. Thus you are providing negative reinforcement for the getting on the furniture and positive reinforcement for the desired behavior (not attempting to get on the furniture). There are other ways to regain the dominant position in the house as well. The best way is to start obedience training. While a formal training class is great, you can start obedience training without a formal class. The following site is helpful in helping owners train their dog. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions. Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below. He needs to see your wife as the boss, so she needs to do the training with him. You will also want to keep a leash on him at all times initially to grab if he should disobey. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how well your dog does with training. Dogs like knowing what is expected of them and they love the little paper thin slices of hotdogs that I use for treats while training. Give this a try and see how it works for you. Additionally, I would suggest you get a basket muzzle and make him wear it anytime children are around or visitors are there. Be sure to use the leash to make him obey you. If he growls give a short tug to get his attention and a firm "NO" to let him know, you are not going to allow his aggression. If he is sleeping, give a little tug to let him know that someone is there so he isn't startled when being woken up. . In addition, if the situation is not improving using the techniques on the previous website, you may have to consult a professional behaviorist. You can usually find a behaviorist by asking your Vet for a recommendation or you may be able to find one using the following site. I am curious as to how your wife gets in the curled up position or is she already laying down when he starts this behavior?
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 6 months ago.
Here is a great site for teaching your dog to wear a muzzle. I also want to mention that the dog might be reacting to your wife giving the other dog affection first. The alpha dog should always be fed first, given treats first and shown affection first. If she shows the other dog affection, the boss dog feels she is disrespecting him and thus the need for a reprimand. Training will help him see her as the boos and the muzzle will help her feel more comfortable about working with him.
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 5 months ago.
A quick note to see how things are going with your dog. Remember to rate if you found my answer helpful.

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