Playing turns aggressive and then into fullblown fight.

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Playing turns aggressive and then into fullblown fight.

This is a discussion on Playing turns aggressive and then into fullblown fight. within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; I have an 11month Border Collie/Pit mix. Great dog. Friendly to all dogs and humans he encounters. However, when he starts playing with a dog ...

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Old 09-27-2013, 10:34 AM
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Playing turns aggressive and then into fullblown fight.

I have an 11month Border Collie/Pit mix. Great dog. Friendly to all dogs and humans he encounters.

However, when he starts playing with a dog for a certain period of time, and they begin snarling and playing rough, it escalates immediately into a fight (started by my dog) and the only way to stop it is by pulling him off.

I've tried stopping the play once it starts escalating, but that just kickstarts the fight to happen RIGHT then. It happens with any dogs that will play with him really - but typically it's with dogs his size (~55 lbs).

How can I: A) correct this behavior and B) stop a fight once it is happening w/o making it progress to a full on fight?

Also, on a less urgent note, he has issues with sharing toys in the home - if a dog goes for a bone/ball that he is interested in, he'll go after that dog. He doesn't have this issue at dog parks really, only in situations where he thinks the item is HIS and not a community toy (if that makes sense). I've read some tips on how to correct this, but am welcome to any more suggestions.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 09-27-2013, 08:26 PM
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How are you stopping the playing, and where are these fights taking place? For now keep a leash on him and when the play escalates to far, pick up the leash, say let's go (or whatever command you want to use) in a really happy voice, and walk him away to give him a chance to calm down. You should also teach him a really solid recall that you can use in those situations. When he comes to you, he's the best dog ever and you need to treat him like that, give him a couple of really high value treats, praise him to the sky, play with him some, take him for a quick walk, do whatever he likes and whatever will make you seem like a much better thing then whatever he was doing.

At home, with him not wanting anyone near his bone/ball, he's resource guarding. Since it involves other animals your best, and easiest, solution is going to be managing the situation. He does not get to have bones and toys when other dogs are going to be around. If he lives with other dogs then only give him bones in his crate, or in a room he's in by himself, and don't play with him and the other dogs with any toy that he's likely to guard.

Since he has pit bull in him (and I do love pit bulls I'm not being prejudice against them) he really should not be at a dog park. You'd do much better to arrange play dates for him with other dogs. Starting at around 8 months old dogs, not just pits and their mixes, can start to develop dog aggression, and that may be what is happening to your dog. Some become same sex aggressive, some decide that they don't like certain breeds, others that they don't like certain size dogs, still others seem to start hating all other dogs except the ones they grew up with while others simply hate all dogs. Dog aggression can happen even to dogs who have been very well socialized, and unfortunately a lot of pit bulls and pit bull mixes end up falling somewhere on the dog aggression scale.
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Old 09-27-2013, 10:24 PM
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Ok before I even start with the links & info please understand I am not against Pit Bulls I actually quite like them & have worked with numerous Bull breeds & their crosses.
But you have to be a little more aware of what you have on the end of your leash & take the right steps to assure it a happy long life with you.

I would start by reading the links I will add now about why you should look at other ways of spending social times with other dogs than a dog park.
Dog Parks | BAD RAP
Pit Bull Rescue Central

Then this link that is about breed temperament & managing your dog, 1 thing you must understand is a game bred dog can be fine then just switch on generally & it's often between 1 & 3 yrs either when they are just hitting young adulthood or as fully mature adults it's quite an individual thing.
To be driven to fight is not a learned behaviour but is a genetic trait & no amount of the right upbringing will erase genetics.
What You Should Know Before You Bring An APBT Home
I would advise you crate train your dog now as it quite possible you will need to crate & rotate in the future if you have more than 1 dog.
I will leave you with this poem


A Day At The Park

He is just like other dogs I would always say; He loves to go to
the dog park to play every day

Everyone loves him there, so it's ok; My dog won't fight--he
wasn't raised that way

But then one day, right before dark, A troubled young man
came into the park

He had by his side the biggest dog I'd ever seen, And
unfortunately for us, both were quite mean

We asked very nicely if they would just go; The dog answered
with a snarl and the man with a harsh "NO!"

Well his dog was a terror, threatening to all; Then he started a
fight with a Lab over a ball

They fought pretty hard and the man would not intervene;
Then here comes my dog and pushes right in between

He grabbed that big dog and thrashed him around; And with
one quick jerk threw him down on the ground

The Lab was able to escape; I heard everyone cheer; But my
dog was now in a frenzy and would not let me near

When he finally let go, what I saw stopped my heart; That big
mean dog had been torn apart

The authorities were called, the big dog was now dead; But
they didn't take the big dog; they took my dog instead

We all tried to explain that my dog saved the day; But because
of his breed he was taken away

You see my dog was a Pitbull and they don't get any breaks;
One small incident is all that it takes

A dog had died; And though he hadn't started the fight,
My dog was held responsible for what happened that night
He was deemed a danger to all and sentenced to death; And I
hold him now as he takes his last breath

It's my fault that my dog is being killed today; Please listen for
a moment to what I am going to say

Everyone warned me about his potential to fight; I said it won't
happen, I am raising him right

And now my dog is paying the ultimate price; Because I was
stubborn and wouldn't take the advice

He only did what he was bred to do; Learn from our story;
don't let it happen to you.
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Last edited by TMsam; 09-27-2013 at 10:26 PM.
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Old 09-27-2013, 10:41 PM
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personally, i'm not buying the genetic DA stuff lots of dogs, who aren't PBs don't like other dogs, and there is so much that goes into what would make a dog "DA" that it would be hard to point it to genetics. also, if a pitbull gets upset with another dog, it is automatically labelled DA, when other breeds do it, they don't get the same label... doesn't add up. regardless, your dog sounds insecure. RGing is one example of that. getting upset when playing with other dogs is another. many factors could contribute to this, the important thing for you to know is that ANY dog, regardless of breed, exhibiting these behaviors, needs some management to happen, fast.

which dogs is this happening with? does he have any "friend" dogs that he can play/socialize with, and this doesn't happen? is it happening at the dog park? need some more details on that part. until then, the safest thing you can do, at the moment, is keep him away from dogs he is prone to squabble with.
how are you breaking it up? how are you trying to distract him before it escalates? humans don't realize it, but often it is their own behavior that leads to dogs being insecure, and that insecurity leads to the dog being snarky, like you describe.

what are you doing, so far, for the RGing? what do you do when he growls over his food or toys?

some helpful links:
http://www.dogforum.com/dog-behavior...fication-7511/
http://www.dogforum.com/dog-behavior...signals-10084/
http://www.dogforum.com/dog-training...rticles-11426/
http://www.dogforum.com/dog-training...tioning-23702/
http://www.dogforum.com/dog-training...-fallout-4776/
http://www.dogforum.com/dog-behavior...tration-12538/
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Old 09-27-2013, 11:06 PM
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I won't address the RG since it's already been so well done, but as for the playing... It's so hard to really say based on an internet description, but it could really just be as simple as a version of human toddlers who are playing fine one second and then someone just gets overstimulated and then someone gets on someone's nerves and they aren't fine the next second and pretty soon everyone is crying... except with teeth.

If that's what it is, there is often a shift in tone that you can see and hear when someone starts to get a bit overstimulated but before anything actually happens. Interrupt and redirect at that point, just give the dogs a break from each other, and usually things will calm down. If you don't see that shift, just pick a time interval that you're pretty sure your dog will be ok for, and interrupt play before that interval is up. Either way, the goal is to prevent the escalation from rough play to fight.

Once the dogs are calmed down you can try letting them play again but it might or might not be ok. Some dogs just need a moment apart to collect themselves and get it together, but some dogs just pick up where they left off at that high arousal/overstimulated place and you just have to end play altogether.
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Old 09-27-2013, 11:17 PM
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I am not saying this dog is DA as yet he may well just be mismannered. But I do believe in genetics. Just like TB horse are breed to be fast not all, are just as not every pit bull is dog aggressive but you must be aware of the dogs genetics.

I actually would not leave many breeds alone unsupervised nor take them to dog parks as like Pits no matter what they will always come off the losers in the eyes of the law.

Just as retrievers are breed to retrieve & therefor many do & herders to herd & many do & some excel pit bulls where breed to be dog aggressive & therefor you can not expect any different. Of course not all are going to be DA & the further we get from breeding for the pit the less DA Pit bulls there will be.

You can not make a dog fight nor can you make a dog have the heart to scratch back over the line when they known they are beat thats genetic drive that what keeps them going back for more.

It is always part of what makes them such great dogs when in the right situation & environment.

Last edited by TMsam; 09-27-2013 at 11:21 PM.
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Old 09-27-2013, 11:27 PM
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Sorry I really did not address this dog behaviour at all in my first post & now realise it come across like I am saying she has a DA reactive dog but I did not mean her dog in particular.
I honestly need more info to give much opinion at all on that & as I said above it really could be as simple as a poorly mannered pup.
Although the comment about if he tries removes the pup before a fight breaks out the dog will start 1 dose worry me a little but there is plenty of good positive training methods they could start using & some have already been linked I think.

I just think a little breed education is never ever a bad thing & I am not the only person who is against Pit Bulls in dog parks a lot of well respected Pit Bull people agree with me on that 1. It's just too easy for your dog to end up the loser in a number of situations there.

I did socialisation with groups of known dogs when I worked with socialising a youngster from a rescue litter & in situations where I felt I had more control than a public dog park.

Again my advise is not just about Pit Bulls but any game breed breed & a few others 2.
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