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Dog Training/toilet and dog aggression problem


Hi, I have a four year old male unneutered staffy. I have had him from a puppy an generally he is a good dog. However we have moved house and since the move our dog Brandy has started relieving himself in the house when no one is around. He is crate trained so when we are at work he is in his crate and we have no incidents, but once we are home and he is out of his cage, if he cant see us he will wee in the house. The funny thing about it is if he can see us he will let us no he needs to go, but if we leave the room for even a minuet when we come back he has relieved himself. I suspect it could be some form of separation anxiety but if we cant catch him in the act how do we correct the behaviour? my mum is getting sick of it and considering re homing him.
My other problem is that next door have a male American bulldog and on two occasions he has attacked Brandy. Brandy is reasonably socialised, he is dominant around other dogs which could potentially start fights but he is not a fighter and usually submits if things things get to physical and often just likes to play. Since his last fight with next doors dog we have had a new fence put up but now if they are both in the gardens Brandy will attack the fence to try get at the other dog. He is only like this with next doors dog. How can i stop this behaviour as im worried he will chew through the fence and if they fight again my dog may not be so lucky this time. also he has bit my mum when she has tried to grab his collar to bring him back inside. I need to know how to prevent this as my mum is now to scared to bring him in once he gets in this state an im not always there to help. any advise would be a heaven sent.  
P.S i am arranging to have him neutered

Greetings, and thank you for contacting All Experts,
As you may already know, dogs love routines, they love being around places where they are used to familiar smells, sounds and sights. Accidents in the home are not unusual when moving to a new place. It's always best to start off with a veterinarian visit to rule out any potential medical problems. Once the vet gives Brandy the all clear bill of health, you can then treat the issue as a behavioral issue. Not too long ago, I wrote an article tackling the issue of having accidents in the house, you may find it helpful to give it a read:

You can help your dog adjust and get some stress relief by sticking to a routine. Feed him at the same times, walk him at the same times, give him a nice structure that predicts what happens next. DAP diffusers which you can plug in your home may be also helpful. They should be available in the UK, ask your vet or pet stores. Perhaps you can find DAP diffusers online. Dap stands for Dog Appeasing Pheromones. Here's a link to a study on its effects in dogs hospitalized and developing separation-related disorders.

For the urination issue, it's imperative not to scold him or make a big deal as this will only make the stress worse. Not only, scolding him will also cause him to become more and more secretive about his urination habits. In his own mind, urinating in the home is bad, so he does it when he's out of sight because he has associating urination with punishment and the person doing the scolding. A little bit of magical management goes a long way for a case like this. In this case, here are some important tips:

1)First thing, when you come home from work: take him out. No fussing, saying hello, petting or telling him how much you missed him. Just open the crate and encourage him to follow you outside. Once he goes potty, then you can praise and reward him with a tasty treat. Do this EVERY day. It will become a routine.

2) Clean all previously soiled areas with an enzyme-based cleaner. Such cleaners work on removing traces of smell that may trigger your dog to use the same areas over and over again. Just as we rely on a bathroom sign to know where a restroom is, a dog smells an area to know where his bathroom is. If your dog smells urine in certain areas in the home he will think "this is my bathroom". If you find a soiled spot, get a napkin to absorb some of the urine. Clean the area with enzyme based cleaner and then take that napkin outside so he can smell his urine outside and hopefully urinate there more.

3) When your dog gives signs he has to go potty, praise him lavishly. Take him outside immediately and throw a party for going outside. Your dog can benefit greatly from being taught how to go potty on command, here is how to teach it:
Also, it may help a lot to train your dog to ring a bell to go outside:
Please keep in mind that these methods take some time.

4)If your dog keeps on having accidents, despite taking him out first thing after coming home, then you may find it useful to keep him on leash with you so he can't sneak off to potty in a hidden spot and hopefully will give you signs he needs to go potty so you can set him for success and take him out immediately.

For the fence fighting, you really need to prevent this from happening. The more Brandy rehearses this behavior, the more he will do it because it's reinforcing. I have crafted for my clients a behavior modification method I call CORę which stands for Conditioned Oriented Reflex. You can read more about my program here:

In this case practice this behavior at home:

Make a smacking noise with your mouth
When your dog turns his head towards you, praise and..
immediately reward with a tasty treat
Repeat, repeat, repeat
After some time, the moment you make the smacking noise, your dog will turn his head in hopes for a treat.

You can then practice this from inside your home but with the door open when bulldog is barking. If he is unable to listen to your smacking noise, chances are, he is over threshold. Close the door and practice farther away. Read this article on threshold to better understand what thresholds means and how to find your dog's:

This behavior modification program uses CORę for dogs who bark at neighbors, but you can use this program as well for reactivity towards neighbor dogs:

When your dog is barking mad at the other dog, he is in a highly aroused state and his first reaction is to bite anything who touches him. This is a very dangerous situation! The solution is managing him so he doesn't get to that point. Your dog would benefit from dog obedience training so he can learn to respond to a recall. For the time being, it's best if he is on leash when taken outside or on a long line. Better off, walking him to go potty rather than letting him out in the yard may be better. Management is your best tool until he can is taught alternate, more acceptable behaviors. Too many collar grabs may also lead to collar sensitivity, even when he isn't over threshold barking mad.

Please recognize that dog behavior modification takes time and comes with some risks. I highly recommend working with a professional. First, see a vet to rule out medical problems, and then,  look for a veterinary behaviorist, a certified applied animal behaviorist or a dog trainer well-versed in dog behavior modification who uses force-free methods. Sorry if there's a lot to read and it turned out lengthy; there's sure a lot to cover. I really hope this helps. Please take a moment to rate my answer. Best wishes and kind regards!
Adrienne Farricelli

Disclaimer: Please consult with a dog behaviorist if your dog is displaying aggressive behaviors. Only a dog behaviorist may see and assess behaviors and offer the most appropriate behavior modification program tailored for your dog. Use extreme caution and make safety your top priority. By reading this answer you accept this disclaimer and assume full responsibility for any of your actions.  

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Adrienne Janet Farricelli CPDT-KA


I can provide advice on training and behavioral problems ranging from minor issues such as potty training to serious issues such as aggression. I cannot give out veterinary advice as this is obviously out of my spectrum, but I may recommend veterinarian visits for behavioral problems that may stem from a possible health problem.


I am a published dog expert writer since 2006 and a certified dog trainer specializing in positive reinforcement training. My favorite specializations are clicker training and the sport of canine freestyle. I also attended various seminars on solving behavioral problems and am the current dog training and dog psychology channel manager for My bookshelves are full of books on dog training, dog breeds, dog care and dog behavior.

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