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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 20218
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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my dog was recently attacked by a staffordshire terrier

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my dog was recently attacked by a staffordshire bull terrier . He had a serious injury to his rump which required emergency treatment and follow up treatment and he was very shocked after the attack. Unfortunately a couple of days later he sustained an injury to his pad which required surgery. As a result he was unable to get off the lead for a couple of months . He was normally a very sociable dog; he had a couple of skirmishes with other dogs but only when provoked and he enjoyed running about and playing with other dogs. His behaviour has now changed. He is less likely to play although he will when he is out with other dogs on his usual dog walk with my son, but he has become more unpredictable. He is neutered but recently has started to try and mount other dogs and when they turn on him it results in escalated aggression. He never actually bites the other dog but growls and chases after them. He does come when I call him off but he is a big strong and fast dog which is obviously disconcerting for the other dogs' owner. He is also more likely to raise his hackles when approached by other dogs now. I had thought of getting him a muzzle because i can't relax completely when i take him out. He needs to be off the lead to get enough exercise and enjoys chasing balls and other toys which he couldn't do if he had a muzzle on and I would rather not muzzle him if it was possible to change this behaviour. He is a two year 8 month old boxer who was neutered at around six months
Hi JaCustomer,

My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

In order to supply you with the best information, I do need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your answer, it will likely take me about 30-45 minutes to type up your response. I hope you can be patient.

What obedience training has he had?
How long ago did this attack on him occur?
Was your dog on a leash at the time?
Can you describe the circumstances of the original attack?
Does he display this behavior on leash as well as off leash?
How much obedience training has he had?
Has he had any testing done at the vet?
What have you done so far to try and stop the behavior?
Do you have a fenced yard or garden?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.


1. I have trained him personally using positive feedback methods.He is generally good with good recall. I will admit that he has been hard to train and he definitely has a different personality from my last boxer who was completely passive and would only rise to a challenge from another dog if really pushed. Louie was also neutered at 6 months and was very ill following this . He ended up in ITU in the vet hospital for a couple of months with necrotising fasciitis and septicaemia and we almost lost him then. so he didn't have an easy start in life

2. the attack occurred just over two months ago

3. He wasn't on a leash at the time. We were going to pick brambles in a field near my old house which is fairly rural I did not expect to see another dog there. My dog approached the other dog in a friendly manner I never thought anything of it because he usually gets on well with other dogs . He liked to have a run about with them. The attack was completely unprovoked. The dog bit into his rump and wouldn't let go . It was very traumatic for him he was in a lot of pain and was so shocked after that we had to take him to an out of hours vet.

4. Not in general but there is one dog that he is aggressive to when he is on the lead. A chocolate lab! My son says that this dog provoked him before but I wasn't there and don't know the circumstances, but if I see the dog I have to put him on the lead. He hasn't gone for the dog but I wouldn't give him the opportunity

5. He has had no formal obedience training

6. since the attack I have seen him be aggressive on one occasion . We live opposite a small park where a lot of dogs congregate with their owners or walk round the park. He plays now but is a bit more reluctant to join in. During this episode I was with other owners and the dogs were playing with balls frisby's etc . he was sharing his toys with the other dogs and there were no signs of aggression towards any of them despite a couple of skirmishes between the other dogs. Another dog who had been walking with his owner came over to the group. They had a sniff at each other and louie tried to mount the dog. The dog snapped at louie and louie growled and chased the dog. I called and he came straight back to me, but I was upset that he had displayed this dominant behaviour with the dog because I felt he wasn't 100% under my control at the time. My partner said that he had displayed similar behaviour with another dog whom he used to play with when he was a pup. another chocolate lab.


7. If he displays any aggression I tell him he's been bad, put him on the leash and take him home, so his walk is cut short. Usually I tell him he's a good boy when we are going home and make a bit of a fuss of him but I don't give him any attention at these times.

7. We have a completely fenced garden




Thanks for all the great information. It is helpful. I know you may not be acknowledging it, but mounting other dogs is a dominant gesture. For submissive dogs, it isn't a problem. However, intact males and strong willed dogs will object to. This behavior is unacceptable and you should correct it.

Dogs are aggressive toward other dogs for a variety of reasons. It might be that they are fearful of other dogs and thus are aggressive before the other dog can be. In other cases, a dog is aggressive in order to dominate the other dogs and be the alpha member of the pack. Other causes could be that the dog feels they are the alpha member of the pack and as the alpha member they must protect the pack (you) from threats (other dogs). Mounting is a passive aggression but the chasing if they don't submit is aggression.
You may also be contributing to his behavior by tensing up and worrying about what will happen. The dog senses the owner worry and feels that he is justified in acting this way because you are obviously worried about the dog. They don't know you are worried about what they will , they just feel that you are worried and assume it is the other dog.

I'm going to recommend more obedience training and hopefully a class situation so you have a trainer that can evaluate his behavior and help tweek how you are handling him as well.

If you allow him in the furniture, I would stop theat. Dogs that are allowed on furniture (even if put on the 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 use it 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 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).

The following site is helpful for teaching obedience and has advanced commands as well. . Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.

I suggest daily training of at least 30 minutes a day in 2 15 minute sessions. This helps the dog I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below.

Unfortunately, the site does not allow me to make clickable links, so to view the supporting websites, you will need to copy and paste the link into a new browser window or tab.
Obedience training serves various purposes. It helps a dog learn what humans expect of them when they state a command which leads to self confidence and less fear. Each time a dog obeys a command, even if it is for a treat, it makes them a little more submissive to that human in the future which helps with dominance aggression. And since it is the leader or boss who is responsible for protecting the pack, if the dog is made submissive with training, you are responsible for protecting him, so that can reduce aggression due to fear and dominance.

You will also want to keep a leash on him at all times initially to grab if he should disobey. He has to be taught that he can not mount other dogs. I know he wants to show dominance, but you are the boss, not him, thus if anyone should be showing dominance, it is you. So he has to see that you are the boss. TRaining should help with that, but you will also need to not allow the behavior. What you will need to do is take some tasty treats like vienna sausage slivers or liver slivers. When he does not try and mount a dog, give a treat. This is positive reinforcement which you are familiar with. However, I want you to also practice negative reinforcement as well. So when he attempts to mount another dog or even looks like he might, give a reprimand in the form of a short tug on the leash and a firm "LOW TONED" No. Keep the tone so it is more like a growl. High tones of voice indicate play for dogs, so keep it low. This helps the dog see that the behavior is unacceptable and that you won't allow it. It shouldn't take too many encounters before he understands why he gets tht reprimands and treats. Another crazy thing that you can do that actually works is to smooth his tail down to a position level with his body or lower. This helps reduce the aggression and dominance. I know it sounds weird, but does work.

I'm also going to suggest you take pepper spray and an umbrella with a hooked end with you. The umbrella can be opened and used as a barrier between dogs, the hooked end can be used to grab a dogs collar and separate them should a fight occur. Of course, the pepper spray can also be used to deter an attacking dog. As the boss, it will be up to you to protect him.

In addition, if the situation is not improving using the techniques I describe, 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 hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .
If you have questions in the future that you wish me to answer, you may go here and bookmark the page or make it a favorite. It is best to put my name "JANE" in the question as well. Please recommend me to your friends and family members if they have any problems with their dog as well. I would truly appreciate it.
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Hi ,

Just a quick follow up to see if you have had time to review the answer I provided and to see if it was helpful.