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Canine Behavior/my staffie keeps going for my other dog

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Question
Hi
I've got a staffie who is a bitch and have had her since she was 5wks old. When i met my partner he had a Basset who came with him. They are both around the same age which is 4 years old. When they first met they got on fine in the house and on walks,and use to play lovely together.  lately my staffie has started going for her,for really no reason. The staffie seems to be very protective around the children not just mine my partners as well and me. The staffie like to try and lick the bassets face and other dogs, but as soon as she goes to move the staffie will have a go.  i praise them both together and treat them both together but have you got any advice that will help. Thanks

Answer
First: this cannot be an American Staffordshire Terrier ("Staffie") because no legitimate breeder would ever allow a puppy to go at the tender age of five weeks.

Second: these are two bitches and there IS a "reason" this is happening but you cannot identify it (perfectly normal since you are not an expert in dog behavior).   "Protective" around the children is a huge problem for me.  This Pit Bull's reaction to other dogs as you describe is aberrant: licking is an appeasement behavior that should never be followed by aggression.  Because she was separated from litter mates and dam at far too young an age and most likely not properly socialized to other dogs, her signals are confused and are confusing to other dogs.

In the UK there are many sources for those who are (supposedly) expert in dog behavior (NOT dog "training").  A dog that demonstrates aggression toward other dogs is at risk of demonstrating aggression toward people, especially children.  You must have the dog and your situation carefully evaluated.

Here are some links to sources of certified applied animal behaviorists in the UK
http://asab.nottingham.ac.uk/accred/reg.php
http://www.coape.org/pfn/index.html
http://www.johnrogerson.com/consultation.html
http://www.iaabc.org/  

Canine Behavior

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Jill Connor, Ph.D.

Expertise

I have spent my entire professional life rehabilitating the behavior of the domestic dog and I can answer any question regarding any behavior problem in any breed dog. I have answered more than 5,000 QUESTIONS on this site in the past (almost) eight years. If you are a caring, committed owner and need advice, I'm here for you. I am personally acquainted with my colleagues (Turid Rugaas, Ian Dunbar, etc.) who were members of an elite group in EGroups that I founded: K9Shrinks. THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES for serious behavioral issues; not only is it unprofessional to offer same, it is also unethical. IF I ASK YOU SUBSEQUENT QUESTIONS, I NEED YOU TO INTERACT WITH ME. More information equals more credible answers and a more successful outcome. If you want ANSWERS THAT WORK, participate in any way I request. I'm quite committed to working on this site for YOUR benefit and the benefit of YOUR DOG. Help me in any way you can.

Experience

30 years of solving serious behavior problems in domestic dogs; expert in dog to human aggression; Internet columnist for ThePetChannel.com for 5 years; former radio talk show host, WHPC.FM, Garden City, NY "Bite Back" (1995 through 2000). List owner, international animal behavior experts, K9Shrinks@egroups.com. Seminar leader: "Operant Conditioning and Learning"; "Aggression in The Domestic Dog"; "Solving Problem Behaviors" -- conducted for various training facilities on Long Island from 1993 through 2000. Former clinical director of "Behavioral Abnormalities" in conjunction with Mark Beckerman, DVM, Hempstead, New York.

Organizations
Member, APDT (UK); Psychologists in Ethical Treatment with Animals

Publications
Harcourt Brace Learning Direct: "The Business of Dog Training" "The Fail Safe Dog: Brain Training, not Pain Training"

Education/Credentials
Ph.D., UC Berkeley

Past/Present Clients
Board of Directors: Northeast Dog Rescue Connection; The Dog Project; Sav-A-Dog Foundation; etc. Pro Bono counselor: Little Shelter Humane Society My practice is presently limited to forensics. I diagnose cause of dog bite, based upon testimony before the Court, for attorneys and insurance companies litigating dog bites, including fatal injuries. I also do pro bono work for bona fide rescue organizations, humane societies, et al, regarding such analysis in an effort to obtain release for dogs being held for death in municipal shelters in the US.

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