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Canine Behavior/2year old Staffordshire Bill terrier

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Question
Hi, I have a 2 year old male Staffordshire bull terrior..he's started growling at my boyfriend and it seems to be getting worse. For some examples: tai ( my staff ) will jump up on to the bed or the couch and my boyfriend will tell him to get down, he'll growl. I can do the same with no problems.
At feeding time he has to sit then we put his food down and he has to wait until he's told before he can have his food, he does this perfectly fine with me I can even leave the room for a matter of minutes and he will sit and wait for my command, my boyfriend will tell him to sit and he will start growling even before the foods been put down for him, last night he managed to feed him fine but as soon as he started to walk out of the room tai started to growl at him.
Hopefully you have some advise that could help me as I'm afraid he'll end up biting my boyfriend.
Thank you.

Answer
You have a male Staffie who is exhibiting active aggression toward a Human male; he is essentially challenging the Human male and this will escalate.  He may not have been appropriately socialized to men, or your boyfriend may very well have done something (out of your sight and knowledge) to provoke a fear response from this dog.

In the UK, there are licensed and credentialed behaviorists: people who actually know what they're doing.  YOU NEED ONE.  The dog should be evaluated and a male Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist would be my first choice.  Find one from the following sites:

http://asab.nottingham.ac.uk/accred/reg.php

http://www.apbc.org.uk/members.php

http://www.johnrogerson.com/consultation.html

http://www.coape.org/pfn/index.html

Will this be cheap?  NO.  You MUST ask for references, and check them; you MUST tell the truth about your dog's behavior so the Behaviorist can determine if he is competent to deal with it (this is active aggression, a growl is a bite waiting to happen).  You MUST do this ASAP.  Meanwhile: your boyfriend should give NO orders to your dog OR feed him.  This dog does not belong on the furniture and certainly NOT on your bed however, you must wait for a professional to evaluate and advise before doing anything.

No one can "fix" a potentially dangerous situation (and deadly for the dog who will pay with his life) in a text box.  Can this be fixed?  Yes I believe so but it won't be easy and it won't be fast.

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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