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help for friend with aggressive english bulldog

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

  
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Theodore aka- Teddy - **CGC**

Big Head. Big- Heart.
 
 
Barked: Sun Nov 23, '08 5:41am PST 
My friend has a 1 year old female English Bulldog who has been getting increasingly aggressive toward other dogs. It started with an intolerance of dogs coming near her, and now it has escalated into full blown-growling and biting. We ran into her this morning, and unprovoked, she lunged, grabbed Teddy by his neck, and pinned him down. Luckily Teddy is a good-natured little guy and didn't fight back, but it was really scary. I also know this is not the first time her dog has done this. She says her dog-trainer is helping, but I think she needs a trained behaviorist. Any advice on how to gently let her know that I think she needs more help than she is currently getting? I think this dog could really become dangerous.
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Cracker

Dog About- Rosedale

moderator
 
 
Barked: Sun Nov 23, '08 6:43am PST 
Oh poor Teddy! I'm glad he's okay and a cool little guy not to let it bother him too much.

English bulldogs are not a naturally aggressive breed, stubborn though.lol..Occasionally they do show up aggressive and when they ARE they are usually very aggressive..if that makes sense. Do we know if it is fear based or what her triggers are? Is she better off leash than on? When did the behaviour start? Is she spayed (could she be coming into season if not?)

There are many reasons why a dog could suddenly escalate aggression. Physical health reasons, has she been vetted recently? Fear issues, stress etc. This is not something that can be "trained" out without ascertaining why it is happening and developing a plan.

Maybe you can help her find a behaviourist (take the work part out of it for her...) to assess the dog. I agree a powerful breed like this needs to be assessed before she becomes a true danger to dogs and people alike.

Good luck.
Taz - cgc tdi

869092
 
 
Barked: Sun Nov 23, '08 7:31am PST 
English bulldogs are usually very confident dogs, but with a difference from some of the other confident type dogs out their. They were bred to rush into a situation, with no regard for consistence. They tend to play rougher then most breeds, so what could appear as aggression could just his play style. Just something to keep in mind. In the end, Cracker gave pretty good advice, I would look into a trainer or behaviorist, if nothing else, it would help you understand what's going on.
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Theodore aka- Teddy - **CGC**

Big Head. Big- Heart.
 
 
Barked: Sun Nov 23, '08 8:58am PST 
Thanks for the advice! The dog is spayed, and actually makes frequent vet visits because like a lot of English Bulldogs, she has other health issues (skin, breathing, etc). I am not sure if they have done any bloodwork however. In regards to triggers, I know that sometimes if a dog goes near her when she is playing with a toy, that can set her off. It also seems though that she doesn't like being approached by other dogs either on-leash, or off. I should mention that she shares a home with a chihuahua, and it has gotten so bad that they can't even be in the same room! The bulldog has literally grabbed the other dog by it's neck and shaken her. The bulldog was raised with the chihuahua, and was fine for the first few months, but now can't tolerate the other dog as well. It's quite scary. I know my friend is frustrated, so I think it is a good idea for me to do some of the legwork. smile
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Bob, CGC

To err is- human-to forgive- canine
 
 
Barked: Sun Nov 23, '08 9:47am PST 
Bulldogs can have aggression issues. They are usually mellow but when worked up WATCH OUT!

My bulldog Bob, age 1 and a half, has aggresion issues around food only. Three times he has gotten into scuffles iwth my pug Ping and it was scary and required citronella spray to break up. When food is not around he is fine and he shares toys etc. However, I see that when he is worked up he is not listening at all.

We consulted with a behaviorist who basically told us to use management. We dont have food or toys down around the dogs. We do lots of trianing with Bob to ensure that he is listening to us. We keep citronella spray around for emergencies. Luckily our behaviorist felt our problem was easily dealt with. It sounds like your friends problem is more serious since it involves aggresion aorund toys and also when no food or toys are present. He will bat the little dogs with a paw and run away but not wrestling. I supervise all play htough.

Bulldogs do play rough but that rough play is not aggresion. However, it can lead to that particularly when other dogs dont enjoy it. I try to let Bob play wiht dogs that liek to wrestle, his brother Norbert does and he will start a playgroup soon. He has learned not to play with small dogs too rough and is very gentle with are small dogs in every situation unless food is present.

Your friend should get a behaviorist to work with her and the dog. Make sure its a positive behaviorist. Bulldogs love food and he will respond well to a positve class. Maybe a feisty fidos class if you can find a training center that offers one. Or try clicker training Bob loves that.

Also tell your friend to get some citronella spray so if there is anotehr fight between her dog and another she can break it up without injurin gherself or any of the dogs.

Edited by author Sun Nov 23, '08 9:51am PST

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Brutus

Brutus the- Buddhist-the Zen- of Dog
 
 
Barked: Sun Nov 23, '08 6:49pm PST 
This may sound like a strange question,but is your friends dog a English Bulldog or an Olde English Bulldogge? I have a couple of clients that are Olde English Bulldogges and both are dog aggressive. Either way, a behaviorist is the way to go as many trainers are not behaviorists. It can help your friend learn to manage to situation.
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Theodore aka- Teddy - **CGC**

Big Head. Big- Heart.
 
 
Barked: Sun Nov 23, '08 7:52pm PST 
She is an English Bulldog--I believe she is a miniature actually (are those AKC recognized?). I was thinking more about thsi dog, and it is possible she has some reactivity problems in general. She lunges at bikes, runners, and strollers as well as her dog aggression issues. I know my friend wants the best for her dog, but as graduate students, our money is tight, and I think she thinks behaviorists are too pricey and I think her current obedience trainer has her convinced that she can deal with it by obedience alone...
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Brutus

Brutus the- Buddhist-the Zen- of Dog
 
 
Barked: Sun Nov 23, '08 8:41pm PST 
I don't really think think the current trainer has her best interests at heart if the dog is that reactive. A lot of trainers do have a background in behavior issues. I used to do training and never had a problem referring out a dog to the 2 closest trainers with a background dealing with behavior issues. First rule should always be "do no harm" and not to send a dog to a behaviorist when it is needed is doing harm. The quicker your friends dog is evaluated and a course of action is taken the better. Behaviorists are not always real expensive, as I said, most are trainers with a background in behavior. Please ask your friend to look around ask for referrals, etc.
Where is she located? I am sure many of the trainers here can help!
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Biscuits

Move over cuz I- want to sit- there!
 
 
Barked: Sun Nov 23, '08 11:51pm PST 
If the dog is a "miniature," she probably has bad breeding and was improperly socialized as a pup, which can certainly contribute to these aggression issues. It seems to me that people selling mini EBs (since there is no such thing as an mini EB) don't follow proper breeding practices, and are out to make money on a designer dog. I have been told that the health problems only multiply when you try to make the dog smaller.

I am no expert and it's true that bullies like to play rough-- but to me, that means barging into dogs with their heads and rolling around a lot, not biting at the neck and shaking. Here's hoping your friend can get some help and especially that the dog stays on a tight leash when other dogs are around!
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Theodore aka- Teddy - **CGC**

Big Head. Big- Heart.
 
 
Barked: Mon Nov 24, '08 3:19am PST 
Thanks so much for everyone's responses! We are located in Washington, DC smile My little guy plays rough, but he has never shown ANY sign of aggression, so I know that what my friend's dog is showing is definitely more than playing rough. In fact, she barely plays at all because she is so reactive! I will definitely look up some behaviorists--I just hope my friend is receptive to my help and doesn't get offended.....
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