Is my dog over aggressive?


New Member
I adopted a 4 month old Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier (she is almost 7 months now) namd Molly. She is 46lbs and energetic (bigtime), she loves to run, chew, and play with me and the family. When with us she is very obedient and submissive and loves every human that comes in contact with her. I take her to our local dog park 3 to 4 times a week and when we are there she plays at a level that some consider aggressive. I am not sure if it is her breed or behavioural issue, or even if it is an issue at all. She goes after a dogs throat (side of the throat or neck sometimes even grabs their collar and holds on) and tries to "tackle it" or knock it down and then will actually try to lay on the dog. At the dog park she is kind of in limbo between the puppy and small dog side and the large or adult side. She is too rough in the puppy side and sometimes too stupid to understand that in the adult side not every dog wants to play with her that way. Anyhow, it doesn't matter how big the dog is, what sex it is, she picks the dog she wants to chew on and will continue to do so until either the dog puts her in check or I have to take her away. She has never started a fight at the park but there has been instances (at least 5 that I can think of) where a dog started a fight either over a ball or two at a time on her, and she does not submit or back down but comes back at them like a completely different dog - well I guess I should say as an Irish Staffie would. When this happens I clap my hands very loudly and shout her name and she stops. Dont get me wrong, she has submitted at the park - sometimes if there are a bunch of dogs when we enter she will roll over and submit to the group and a couple of times when an older much bigger dog has put her in check she has rolled and submitted.

I guess my biggest concern is, is this high energy, super rough wrestle and chewfest normal and should I permit it or am I condoning some type of aggression that I dont want. She has never drawn blood, and very rarely have I heard a yelp from her or anydog she is playing with but, I have never seen the tenacity that this puppy shows. I have had Dobes, Boxers, and Bullies my entire life but nothing like this puppy. She will run for 2 hours straight and never ever gives up.

I appreciate your comments and feedback! Thx, Bill


Experienced Member
I wouldn't consider the behavior you have described as aggressive, but it is very rough play and probably very rude. as a bully breed, a lot of them like that really rough and tumble type of play and I don't think that's something you can change in her. Really that style of play may not even be a problem depending on who she's playing with. However, she does need to learn how to respect other dogs when they tell her that she is too much for them.

i would personally not let her in the puppy side, as other puppies she can bowl right over and is not learning respect. I would also be weary of just bringing her to the dog park in general. I do think that she needs to play with adult dogs, but with adult dogs that you know will be able to handle her and set limits nicely. At the dog park it's just to big of a gamble who she will run into and there could either be a fight when she doesn't back down, or she could learn to be a bully.

So my personal opinion is to stop going to dog parks. Instead maybe find some friends with nice dogs for some small play groups, or see if a doggy daycare is right for her. She may not be a good fit for a daycare, but I would think it's worth checking into since there should be a lot of supervision and hopefully Molly would be redirected appropriately, given appropriate time outs, and overall learn to play nicely. I work at a doggy daycare and have seen a lot of over exuberant dogs do nicely. But like I said, daycare still isn't for every dog and if Molly is too much to handle it could still make the problem worse.

at the very least, I would take her on walks with other dogs so she learns to be around others and still have focus on you. But play with other dogs should be carefully managed so she doesn't learn to become a bully of others.


Experienced Member
oh, and I am very glad to hear that you are supervising your dog nicely in the park! too many owners tune out completly and don't even care! so good job :)

And to be clearer on my answer, I don't think that the "high energy, super rough wrestle" is a bad thing. it's not going to condone aggression. But I would be very careful on who you allow her to do this with and be careful that she is learning how to properly read other dogs.