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Thread: Older English Bulldog becoming aggressive

  1. #1

    Older English Bulldog becoming aggressive

    I have a 6 year old English Bulldog named Lola. She is spayed. We've had her since she was 8 weeks old, and she's been a great, calm, sometimes stubborn, mostly submissive dog. I've noticed over the last year or so that she's started barking at other dogs when she used to mostly ignore other dogs.
    She's never shown aggression to any people until recently. The first time happened recently when she pooped in the house. I was scolding her and making her walk over to the poop so she'd remember what she'd done (I didn't find the poop until a couple hours after she'd done it), and she started growling and snarling at me. The most recent incident happened over food. We have a 15 month old daughter. She eats in a high chair, and the dog typically cleans up whatever she throws on the floor. My daughter was walking around one day, and my husband gave her a marshmallow. The dog went over to her and started trying to eat the marshmallow out of her hand. My daughter started crying because the dog wasn't being very gentle, but I don't think the dog was trying to hurt my daughter; just being too excited about the marshmallow. My husband walked over and tried to stop the dog by pushing her head away. The dog snarled at my husband and bit his finger, causing him to bleed. We yelled at her, and you could tell she felt bad. I'm becoming concerned because I feel like my dog is starting to get more aggressive as she gets older and I don't trust her like I used to, especially with my daughter around. It's like she loses her mind for a minute. How can I prevent the aggression? We've started locking the dog in another room when my daughter is eating so she can't eat any of the spillage on the floor, but I can't always prevent the dog from being around my daughter when she has food, especially as she gets older and grows out of the highchair. I would feel awful if my child got bit in the future, but I don't want to get rid of the dog if I can train this behavior out of her. What can I do?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Indiana
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    411
    I can't really be of much help, but since nobody else is replying I will try. I would get a vet check to make sure she has no medical issues, then try positive/reward based training with a professional. And I would love a picture of her I once had an English Bulldog who passed away far too young. I will always have a soft spot for them!
    Owned by my baby and heart-dog Lolli.

    If each pet we love takes a part of our heart and replaces it with a part of theirs, my heart is a very strange collection of pieces, but I wouldn't have it any other way


    Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go, and then do it. --Ann Landers

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mbadger View Post
    I was scolding her and making her walk over to the poop so she'd remember what she'd done (I didn't find the poop until a couple hours after she'd done it), and she started growling and snarling at me.
    This was a HUGE no no, and now the dog doesn't trust YOU to be the kind, gentle but firm pack leader she needs. If you do not see her in the act, there is no 'reminding' her what she did. And dogs do NOT appreciate poop in their faces, they stay well away from it. So you have crossed a line and most likely this is what started everything. I do however agree that you need to have her in for a vet check to ensure nothing physical is bothering her.


    The most recent incident happened over food. We have a 15 month old daughter. She eats in a high chair, and the dog typically cleans up whatever she throws on the floor. My daughter was walking around one day, and my husband gave her a marshmallow. The dog went over to her and started trying to eat the marshmallow out of her hand. My daughter started crying because the dog wasn't being very gentle, but I don't think the dog was trying to hurt my daughter; just being too excited about the marshmallow. My husband walked over and tried to stop the dog by pushing her head away. The dog snarled at my husband and bit his finger, causing him to bleed. We yelled at her,
    Alright, now I am really worried about this poor dog. You and husband need to get into dog training classes immeditely, to learn the proper ways to interact with a dog. Touching a dog's head is a major aggressive act in Dogdom, and dogs learn not to do this as puppies. I can hear the dog, "He started it! I need to finish this before he gets meaner with me!"

    Yelling at a dog does NOTHING. Yelling is akin to barking in Dogdom, which is a group activity. I'm surprised she didn't join in!

    The proper way is to use another food item (dog treat, even a marshmallow if that is all which is close at hand) and divert the dog's attention. In training classes, you will learn many commands including "Leave it." Which is the command which would have applied in this situation.

    In these 2 examples, you have made it plain that neither of you knows how to properly communicate with a dog - any dog. And the ways in which you are responding to this dog are clear acts of aggression, so the dog is responding in kind. Should you continue in this pattern, the dog is going to learn that:
    - life used to be fine
    - now this little tyke appears and my former pack leaders are going nuts and getting aggressive, threatening me, pushing me, so it must be time to get rid of this tyke so we can go back to a calm life.

    Please get both of you in to group classes, asap. Find a place which uses positive reinforcement methods. Make sure both of you do all the home work and practices each week between classes. There are often 3 levels of classes; here at the school I attend they are: Basic Manners, Beyond the Basics, and Above & Beyond. You need to take all of them.

    Being in a group setting means you get to observe other folks with their dogs and will see and learn as the Trainer points out things which occur with them. And others in the class will also learn from observing you. The dog will learn to follow you as leader even in the presence of distractions -- which will be very helpful as your daughter grows.

    You can use this link as a starting place to find a good school -- just put in your zip code and see if any comes up:
    https://apdt.com/trainer-search/

    Now, you started off stating that the dog used to ignore other dogs but has started barking at them. This is all reactive on her part, due to the treatment she is receiving in her home. She no longer feels safe and secure that her pack leaders are going to protect her, so SHE has to step in and start fending for herself. Everything is connected, in the facts you have provided, and this is a direct result of the things happening in the home.

    Please get to classes and learn proper behaviors for interacting with your dog.
    I've been BOO'd!!
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri
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    5,395
    I agree with freedom 100%.

    Please consider getting into some formal training classes, not only to help curb the dog's behavior, but to help teach you and your husband how to better communicate and react to your dog in unfavorable situations. There are a lot of red flags with how you've reacted to some of these situations in your initial post that may likely exasperate the situation, and with a toddler in the mix you DO NOT want this situation to escalate out of control.

    It sounds like there are issues with food (not necessarily food aggression but I'd dare to say borderline food aggression) as well.

    Please, please consider getting some formal training for both the dog AND yourselves, and I am not talking about the 6 week long training at PetCo or Petsmart... I mean a legitimate, certified trainer who is used to handling troublesome situations.

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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jessika View Post
    I agree with freedom 100%.


    Please, please consider getting some formal training for both the dog AND yourselves, and I am not talking about the 6 week long training at PetCo or Petsmart... I mean a legitimate, certified trainer who is used to handling troublesome situations.
    Exactly!!! Good point, so glad you added this.
    I've been BOO'd!!
    Thank you Karen, for fixing my siggy!

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