aggressive American bulldog

Posted by Gibson
May 28, 2009
Hello everyone,
I have a 15 month old american bulldog who is very aggressive towards people he hasn't met before. I practice Alpha all the time. He walks great on a leash and we did basic training in November where he was at the top of the class even tho he was the youngest. I brought him home when he was 10 weeks old and the next day started taking him everywhere I went. We went to a friends house and my boyfriend was holding him and when they went to pet him he grawled and snapped. I was kinda shocked because he was so new and I thought way to young to be aggressive. I started taking him to work with me, and down to the horse barns where evryone could pet him and he seemed to come right out of his shell at about 8 months he started to revert back to that snappy puppy so I signed us up for training and got him nuetered. At christmas he seemed really stressed out at my moms and even tried to bite my brother. Since then I don't take him places unless I am sure no one else will be there and I can control him. It is the worst at my house. I can't bring anyone in or he will attack him this seems to stem from a time in January when I man entered my home while I was in the washroom. Gibson bit him in the leg and the man left. I think this may play a role in his protectivness in my home. I want him to be confortable with anyone I invite into my home and I want to take him places and know he is going to behave and not bite. Where do I start? Thanks Danielle
Posted by KOPsarah
Jun 1, 2009
Hi Danielle and thanks for your post. Before I suggest a solution I was just wondering whether you have tried a head collar with him and also what you usually do when he shows aggression?
Posted by Gibson
Jun 3, 2009
I have not used a head collar as he is wonderful to walk. When I walk him in a group of dogs I use a pinch collar that was recommended by the trainer because as with most dogs he forgets how to heal when he is with his buddies.
When he is aggressive I usually jerk on the leash and put him in a down stay. He will lay there no problem but if the person moves in any direction or evn their hands he will jump back up and try to get them again. He does not try to get people when I am walking him only when in the house or if a stranger approuches him to pet him. If someone just walks past him he ignores them. I have also tried giving him time out. Then bring him back.If he does it again he gets another one. Anyone who comes to the house is not allowed to touch him or make I contact. They don't usually speak to him either. They are usually to afraid.When I leash him before someone comes over I do a quick sit stay come down before they get there but when they come in he still looses it. So I have started putting him away allowing them to sit down then bring him out. He will lay beside me but like I said any movement and he could go nuts. I have a feild by my house so sometimes when he is with Uno (dogo mastiff) we will let them off leash. If someone sneaks up on us. He runs righ tover to them and does nothing. But I am afriad that could change. He seems to like people that have dogs with them. I try not to be nervous so he wont get any bad feelings from me but when he tries to eat someone it is very scary.
Posted by catecate
Jun 16, 2009
Hi Gibson,

Your topic really struck a chord with me as I have been through a similar situation. That is why I initially purchased secrets to dog training.

Whilst I think secrets to dog training gave me a great grounding and is fantastic, I personally think when it comes to aggressive dogs you need to see a reputable behaviourist as they will pick up on things you may not have even noticed let alone thought to mention.

I saw two behaviourists. The first one was not much help at all...he mainly wanted to show off his dog handling skills but after the first negative experience I searched around and found a great one.

My dog now does stand for examinations at obedience and always defers to me. I think having the theory is very important but when dealing with aggressive dogs you need someone 'in the know' to help with timing and tayloring a program to your specific dog.

Best wishes.
Posted by KOPsarah
Jun 19, 2009
Hi again gibson sorry for the late re-reply. I have given your situation considerable thought. I think at this point as catecate says, you need to consider visiting a behaviourist in you area to work with you and your dog personally to get this situation under control without anyone being put at risk. When a dog is regularly biting other people training to reverse this situation needs to be very intensive and you will need constant observation, support and feed back in order to be effective. In the mean time I would also recommend switching from a pinch collar to a head collar for increased control, the ability to close the dogs mouth and to help prevent lunging and snapping. Most importantly pinch collars promote aggression in already aggressive dogs as does any form of physical correction and can increase the dogs negative associations with meeting strange people and dogs. Also if you feel anyone is in danger use a muzzle for full protection.

I am sure you will soon find a good behaviorist in your area who uses effective positive reinforcement methods and you and your dog will soon be having a much easier time with visiting and meeting people. Please let us know how you get on.