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Thread: I thought English Bulldogs were docile

  1. #1
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    Mar 2013
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    I thought English Bulldogs were docile

    I bought an English Bulldog about 6 months ago. He turned 1 yr old on September 23, 2012. When we brought him home he was somewhat punchy. We thought it was because of unfamiliar ground. He has since nestled in, however, he still continues to cower and back himself into a corner. I am married and have two grown daughters, and a 17 yr old step son. Here are the issues that I am dealing with and don't know how to deal with:
    1. He becomes very, very aggressive when my step son walks in the door, he growls and on occasion has lunged at him. This has also occurred when my daughters boyfriend comes over to visit. I have noticed that he is more aggressive toward men than women.
    2. On occasion, he has jumped on furniture and peed, ugh, what is up with that. He is lavished in affection from my girls and I, I don't understand this behavior.
    3. Trying to keep him off my furniture is almost impossible. Any suggestions here.
    He is neutered. Any input is appreciated, I don't want to have to get rid of him, but I cannot have a liability in the house either. Overwhelmed and don't know what to do.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
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    He needs more obedience training. He has hit that awkward teenage stage, where he is challenging everyone for dominance. How much training has he had?

    You may want to try some simple behavior training right away. When your stepson is going to come over, make sure you have the dog with you, on a leash. If he starts toward you stepson, tug the leash and redirect his attention toward you. Once your stepson is inside, and the dog is calm, the stepson can then go get a small treat, and work with asking the dog to sit, and them giving him the treat, and praising him if he takes it gently. Any sign of aggression, and no treat. If possible, have the stepson take him for a walk when he visits, just so they get acquainted, and the dog gets used to him. Then you can work on socialization with other young men. Will the dog play with a ball? Is there any game the stepson could play with the dog after all the initial greeting and entering is calm and peaceful?

    Peeing in the ouch is definitely "marking" behavior, and cannot be tolerated. First clean it thoroughly with a good enzymatic cleaner, so not scent of the pee remains. Then keep him on a leash, and not letting him jump up on the couch for a while, just tug him back off with the leash. Keep it blocked off when you are not home might help that. He needs to learn the couch does not belong to him. And as a bulldog, it is probably better for his joint health in the long run not to be jumping on and off of it anyway.

    Get everyone in the family on the same page! No dog on couch, ever. And maybe consider some obedience classes just for fun for both of you, and to reinforce the relationship between you and the dog.
    I've Been Frosted

  3. #3
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    Oh, and one thing I almost forgot to add - the most important part is to be stubborn about the training! Don;t give up or give in, ever. English Bulldogs vary in temperament, so are not always docile, as you have discovered, but the one thing they all DO seem to have i common is a stubborn streak as wide as that bully grin!

    And keeping him off the furniture is simple if he's on a leash, and a few pieces of cardboard propped in front of things while training is happening can help. Persist, but patient and consistent, and you will have a great, great dog! How many people are in the house? How old is your stepson?
    I've Been Frosted

  4. #4
    Just to echo the Mayor's comments, consistency.

    Everyone has to be on the same page as to what behavior is allowed and what isn't.

    As to interaction with the stepson, just a little story:

    My brother had a lab/dane mix. She was a great dog, friendly, playful....except with me when I first came into the house. Not when she first met me, but the first few minutes when I'd come into the house for her entire life, Princess would growl at me. My brother would go to the cookie jar, hand me a biscuit, I'd give it to Princess, and then she'd be fine. Some pups are just odd with certain people.

    I'd do classes, with the pup, just to ensure the dog knows who the leader is. It HAS to be you, and with some dogs there can never be a question of who the alpha is (right, Lady?).
    The one eyed man in the kingdom of the blind wasn't king, he was stoned for seeing light.

  5. #5

    English Bulldog passive/aggresive behavior

    My 5-1/2 year old female English Bulldog has started lying on the grass or scooting on her belly and will not stand up or resume walking. I spent approx 20 mins this evening trying to heave her up by her harness and she would roll over on her back and when I attempted to lift her she snapped at me. This is the most loving, affectionate dog and I am at a loss why she suddenly is behaving like this. She has done this lying on the grass before without snapping, but usually it only was for a few seconds but this went on for a long time. I finally hauled her by her harness back onto the sidewalk and literally made her stand on 4 legs. She weighs 47 lbs and I am over 70 and this was very stressful for me. Any advice or suggestions? Thank you

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joan Dixon Xavier View Post
    My 5-1/2 year old female English Bulldog has started lying on the grass or scooting on her belly and will not stand up or resume walking. I spent approx 20 mins this evening trying to heave her up by her harness and she would roll over on her back and when I attempted to lift her she snapped at me. This is the most loving, affectionate dog and I am at a loss why she suddenly is behaving like this. She has done this lying on the grass before without snapping, but usually it only was for a few seconds but this went on for a long time. I finally hauled her by her harness back onto the sidewalk and literally made her stand on 4 legs. She weighs 47 lbs and I am over 70 and this was very stressful for me. Any advice or suggestions? Thank you
    Definitely a trip to the vet is in order - her snapping at you seems like a reaction she'd only have if she was in pain, and if she was lying on her belly on the grass, knowing English Bulldogs, it may be her hips are bothering her. Absolutely to the vet, okay? Could be a number of things causing her pain, I really doubt this is behavioral. Dog's can;t say, "Mom, me knees are sore," so they communicate the only way they know how.
    I've Been Frosted

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Karen View Post
    Definitely a trip to the vet is in order - her snapping at you seems like a reaction she'd only have if she was in pain, and if she was lying on her belly on the grass, knowing English Bulldogs, it may be her hips are bothering her. Absolutely to the vet, okay? Could be a number of things causing her pain, I really doubt this is behavioral. Dog's can;t say, "Mom, me knees are sore," so they communicate the only way they know how.
    I don't believe she is any sort of pain. She very much chooses how much she wants to walk and will head back when she has had enough. I'm afraid she wilfully just wanted her way to hang out on the grass and also to run. She is actually at Doggie Day Care today at the vet's so will be checked out.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joan Dixon Xavier View Post
    I don't believe she is any sort of pain. She very much chooses how much she wants to walk and will head back when she has had enough. I'm afraid she wilfully just wanted her way to hang out on the grass and also to run. She is actually at Doggie Day Care today at the vet's so will be checked out.
    Okay, yes, they should definitely check her hips - bulldogs are prone to hip issues, what with their odd anatomy. Pain is usually the reason a usually docile dog will snap, the other thought is check her feet to see if she's got a cut or torn pad or infected toenail or something relatively minor that would nonetheless make it uncomfortable to stand.
    I've Been Frosted

  9. #9
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    I have known so many people who get bulldogs thinking they are very laid back, but it is the complete opposite lol. The Bulldogs that I know are very hyper, and playful, rambunctious. Now I haven't seen them become human aggressive very often but I have seen them become dog aggressive.. My suggestion is obedience training with a professional. Its worth it, it doesn't cost to much either, around $140 for 5-7 weeks of training... They will help you with behaviour and how to handle situations when the dog is about to react with dominance... I wish you much luck.. He sounds like a beautiful dog, we need pics ,,

    Take care.
    Rainbowbridge- Tikeya 'forever loved'
    Owned By Luna, Prudence, and Raven

  10. #10

    I know your pain!

    My question for you is. .. Usually your bulldogs pees on the couch when your not at home? The side that it pee's on, is that where the main caregiver sits? Is that the only dog in your home?
    Here is something that they don't tell you about bulldogs. ...
    They are a one person dog! You can have them as a family pet but they only see one person as the alpha! Usually they also suffer from separation anixety! They will become territorial over that one person. I had a girl and a boy, and the girl turned out to be a alpha female. She threw tantrums , lol! If I left out the house and didn't put her in her kennel where ever I sat the most she marked as her territory. Meaning she considered me her property. As far as the aggression goes, they are very protective of there home. My male dog was socialized and around my family from the age of 6 weeks, but when I went to work he went to our bedroom and would growl and become antisocial until I returned home. He wouldn't eat, didn't want to be touched, and wouldn't go outside unless he really had to go! The aggression I really didn't mind because they were a good judge of character, but thoose were the best dogs I have owned in my life. When the male became old and senile, the only person he remembered was me! They are very loyal. Now I have 1 of their daughters left, and its pretty much the same thing. But I will never own a different breed of dog! No other breed comes close! (:

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    A lady I used to work with would often bring her bulldog with her to work. The dog would mosey through the office all day or lay at her desk, never a problem. But, he was an older dog. I would physically prevent the dog from getting on the furniture with a barrier until he learns that is not wanted behavior. People above have give good advice on your problem. Just be sure you clean the pee area thoroughly with an enzymatic cleaner. We humans think it is clean, but the dog know better. I think your problem can be corrected with a little persistence.

  12. #12
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    Consistency, consistency, consistency.

    Oh, also... everyone in the house hold, EVERY PERSON, MUST be on the same page with this dog or he will get mixed signals.

    If you haven't already, I STRONGLY urge you to sign him up for an obedience program. At this point I do not recommend group classes like the ones at PetCo or Petsmart (I don't really recommend those, anyway) because he will need more one-on-one work with a trainer with his issues.

    I think a majority of these issues can be worked out with the help of an experienced trainer.

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  13. #13

    I thought English Bulldogs were docile

    Actually, he needs some special training. So, you can manage these breeds dogs.

    Thank you

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