Samantha’s mom writes:
“My Pitbull/Mastiff is generally very sweet, good with people and most dogs.
Troubles arise when Samantha is playing with more than one dog present. She competes for the ball, is ok if she doesn’t get it once or twice, but it seems she snaps out of calm mode into aggressive, dominant mode very quickly, esp. if a smaller dog (female) is acting very passive/submissive. She’ll attempt to bite the dog and insist on attacking until I finally sit on her to calm her down. (Now I am able to stop the situation from escalating, though @ 3 other times dogs got bit.)
I hesitate to take her out on walks where there are other dogs. She is also barking at neighbors when they walk by the house, terrorizing certain neighbors (the ones already afraid who have ‘profiled’ her assuming all pits are bad. this breaks my heart.)”
This is a situation where an owner thinks they know dog terminology and understand their dog’s behavior, but they do not. And, who thinks of using a technique of sitting their dog to stop them attacking?? Ugh!!
Most of my job is trying to help people really understand why their dogs act they way they do… and, usually the #1 reason is because the owner has allowed them to act this way (for too long).
You need to be on top of your dog’s behavior and not just stop things before they escalate, but train her how to behave differently in the future. Otherwise, you are only managing a dangerous situation that is bound to keep repeating itself.
If your dog is doing something you don’t like, figure out what you’d like her to do differently and then start teaching her to do that instead. It’s that simple. However, it’s not always easy to do… since many underlying issues may exist and the communication channel is often weak or broken.
Never give up! A good behaviorist can help you see where things have broken down and teach you how to communicate & train your dog to behave more safely and calmly. The Pooch Coach is here to help!