Bulldog staying with friends is becoming more and more aggressive

Posted by crystal-batey
May 30, 2012

I just joined this site and need to fix a problem immediately.

Less than a month ago I had to move my 6 year old English Bulldog and 5 year old Boxer across the US to live with friends of mine while I attend school outside the country. Today I received a phone call that my bulldog has begun nipping and becomes very aggressive when he doesn't get his way. (The boxer is very friendly until the bulldog becomes aggressive...then they team up and become extra aggressive). I want this behavior to stop but really am not sure what to do as he doesn't act this way with me. (I have had him since he was 10 weeks old; the boxer since he was 5 weeks old). I think my bulldog may just be trying my friend to see what he can get away with but this is a behavior that wont be tolerated.

Anybody have advice/techniques that might work? I downloaded the material just prior to posting so I am trying to educate myself but thought I would post here and see what feedback I would get.

Posted by MaxHollyNoah
May 31, 2012
Hi Crystal,

It must be very heartbreaking and frustrating to hear about your dogs' misbehaviors.

Are your friends familiar with dogs, breeds, especially with having multiple dogs? This is a huge task to take, especially bully breeds like yours.

I think your dogs are very confused with all the changes. As you said, they might be trying to see how far they can go to break the boundaries, or they don't know who to follow (among your friends) now that you are gone, or maybe just getting excited once in a while and your friends might take it as "aggression". For not-dog-savvy people it is possible to misunderstand dogs' exciting behaviors as aggressions.

Can you do Skype with your friends and observe your dogs' behaviors with your own eyes? YOU know the dogs the best so you should be able to give them the best advice.

If you think it is an aggression indeed, you might want your friends to consult with dog behaviorist before it gets out of hand.

In general, it is best for your friends to give the dogs a lot of opportunities to bond them by walking them, feeding them, giving them daily training, etc., especially one-on-one attention to each of the dogs.

You should ask your friends to be consistent (for example, if the dogs are not allowed on the couch, everybody should follow the rule). Dogs can sense very easily if your friends are intimidated by them and if they are acutually it will be very hard for your friends to make the dogs obey them. Dogs will be happier when there are leader(s) rather than they need to be the leaders.

Hope someone else can give you better solutions.
Posted by KOPCaroline
Jun 3, 2012
Hi Crystal,

It might help to get one of your friends to be in charge of feeding, one in charge of walks, etc (not sure how many people there are) - that way your dogs will learn that all of your friends are authority figures/resource holders and that will hopefully get them to respect your friends quickly.

Echoing MHN - have your friends be consistent, and try to encourage them each to work with your dogs at least once or twice a day - even just play training. It will help.

Time outs can help nip a bad behaviour in the bud as well - just shut the dog away in a dark, quiet room by themself (dont put both in the same room) for 10-15 minutes to calm down. This should be done immediately when they start acting up, and done every time they act up. Hopefully it helps your friends!