William is a three-year-old Lurcher, or maybe a Greyhound, who came from Battersea Dog’s Home at four months old. He is inclined to get very excited, very easily. For some of the time two Staffies stay in the same house, and neither are calm dogs, one plays rather too roughly (William isn’t innocent as he usually provokes him) and the other is not a good influence, with plenty of snarling and baring of teeth.
A bit like a teenager that has got in with the wrong friends, I feel that much of William’s behaviour has been influenced by them. He has not been learning polite dog-to-dog language and behaviour. He has not practised normal polite interaction and play with other dogs.
The owners’ dream is to be able to take William for walks in the park and go on holiday with him, but when he sees another dog he is so wild with excitement and fired up with anxiety, made worse by the reaction of the humans, that he is rearing, lunging and screaming. He has never attacked another dog, just been pushy and over-excited. Never aggressive.
The most shocking thing is that the lady, in her very best efforts to give her Battersea dog a good life, has had three people in to help her with her lovely dog. One gave her a prong collar and the other an electric collar. I’m relieved that she never used the e-collar, but just imagine the prongs of the other collar on a skinny Greyhound neck.
The way to reverse a particular behaviour is to get to the cause of it and deal with that, not to inflict pain or fear.
William isn’t an aggressive dog but he just lacks manners and experience. He needs working on, alone. Much of the human response when he’s been confronted with another dog will have made things worse. It is tragic, because a dog owner who wants to do the very best for their dog has in good faith called in ‘experts’ and basically been told to torture him. I feel that they are now very relieved.
Gradual but controlled exposure to other dogs at a comfortable distance, with owners who react appropriately, like proper Leaders and not bullies, will bring things around for William and his family, but it could take quite a long time.