"Ask the Dog Guy" with John Wade

"Ask the Dog Guy" with John Wade

Puppy and Obedience Training Without Food or Fear

Bulldog Mix Increasingly Aggressive

– Posted in: Aggression, Behavior Problems, Columns, Newsletters
bulldog beagle aggression

Hi John,

I have a few questions about some behaviour and training issues for my dog Pipah. Pipah just turned 1 and is a beagle and english bulldog mix. She has a big personality overall and can be very kind of cheeky when we tell her no jumping while in play mode so she’ll stare at us and bark as if to say, “I’m the boss”.

My biggest worry is what happened today. We share our yard with another unit and they have a little terrier. Both Abby and Pipah are competitive when it comes to going after balls etc. Well They went after a ball, Abby growled as they were right by it, Pipah growled (which seems to happen every time), and Pipah then had Abby on the ground and her mouth was around Abby’s throat. This obviously scared me, and so I found you online. She’s been aggressive with other dogs since she was a baby, but never to this extreme. She seems to be always trying to assert dominance and based on her reactions to other dogs I think that’s from insecurity/ fear of other dogs.

Ultimately there are basic commands and training she needs, plus we need to figure out this aggression thing. We wanted to do some training earlier, but the cost and some surprise vet bills seemed to suck up the extra funds for it. Now I don’t think we have much choice.

How do you usually approach a case like this? Would this be one that the training would have to be with other dogs as that’s how she seems to present her worst aggression?

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this!

Lana

Hi Lana,

Thanks for the email. We have to keep in mind that I haven’t met your dog or can ask the questions I would ask in a consultation but I can say what you are describing isn’t out of the range of normal when one considers the influence of genetics (bulldog) and age (approaching adulthood). I’ve worked with many people with similar situations. The best way to approach this is realistically and incrementally. By realistically I mean that some dogs are bred to retrieve, some to herd, some to guard. If your dog’s genetics is telling her that she’s more “qualified” then other dogs and they should always play second fiddle to her we have to understand the power in that and choose her social settings more carefully. However, I’ve worked with so many dogs like this where when their owners began to incrementally send the message as to who is the teacher and who is the student the dogs became less competitive with other dogs and when they felt compelled by their genetics were able to take decoration from their owners because they respected their position and authority.

I prefer private sessions as opposed to group for this sort of situation.

John Wade

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