|Barked: Fri Nov 9, '12 1:02am PST |
|Thank you all. He is aggressive towards dogs and humans, including members of my household, me included. We live in Bucks county, Pennsylvania. He is three years old and we have had him as a puppy. We socialized him as much as possible when he was younger, took him to group training in two different areas, and it seemed for a short time he might be making progress.
He used to be food aggressive when we would try to feed him in the morning. He worked hard with him on that and now he waits like an angel. However, as he grew his reactive responses to dogs and people on walks grew worse. We started going to a private trainer, which did not help.
Only recently, in the past few months, did it suddenly take a turn for the worse. Atlas, the dog in question, went under the table to eat some cat throw up. When I came near to chase him away, he latched onto my arm and bit me repeatedly. I was deeply bruised, but only a little bloody, no stitches needed. But when I tried to get away he chased me, jumped and lunged. He then chased my mother, and my brother, who tried to intervene. Hackles raised, circling the table.
He has been aggressive without food present as well, but never anything like that- a brief snap if someone tries to tell him to get up, things that are unacceptable but workable.
It happened again later. There was some food under a chair that my mom didn't see. This time, she didn't do anything but walk by and Atlas started growling. I ran into the room, saw him lunge for her, but she pulled out a chair to have something between him and herself. I lept in front of her and sternly commanded him to sit. He did. I told him just as firmly to lay down, and he did. I started to relax. I told my family to stay still and not take his focus away from me. We waited, and then finally I moved away and tried to call him to me. But instead, as soon as he stood he "charged" at my younger brother across the room who was no where near, hackles up, growling, and tried to bite his hand but my younger brother grabbed his head and sidled behind a chair. Only then, When Atlas backed off and went to eat what was under the chair, did we even realize something was there to cause the problem.
He has shown signs of what I have seen called both 'dominance aggression' and 'social aggression', but it seems that some trainers also argue that this kind of aggression does not exist. He as always mouthed, despite our best efforts to train him out of it, at our hands and coats. I originally though it was just him having trouble getting over a puppy habit, until I read that it was a predecessor of this kind of aggression.
I have had other American Bulldogs and also other breeds in the past, and I have noticed these distinct differences: 1) Atlas never responds when he is scolded or reprimanded. There is no head hanging, no 'sheepish' expression, no sign that he acknowledges or dislikes our displeasure. 2) He has never been jealous of attention given to the other animals in the house. I don't know if those help at all, they are just characteristics all our other dogs had that he noticeably doesn't.
At the moment, he has bitten 5 members of the family on different occasions. When he gets violent, I try to turn my side or back to him, to show that I am not in a position to attack, and I tell him calmly to sit. Thus far this has worked with me only receiving a few bites and bruises, but clearly it cannot continue. Every day feels like a roll of the dice. He is not a rescue. He has never been abused.
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