Aggressive Male English Bull Terrier

by Sam H.
(England, Hertfordshire)

I got Sonny from Bullie SOS back in 2009, he is a rescue dog and was just over 12 mths old. The charity told me nothing about him or his life before he was found abandoned because they had no idea the terrible ordeal he must have gone through, which clearly indicates that he was treated very badly. The reason I say this is because when I got him he had no idea about commands and he would go for his own reflection, as well as constantly barking at any other dog no matter how far away they were. All I do know is that he was attacked by other dog/s and was badly hurt with a metal object of some sort as the vet who did his health check when Sonny was first found stated was the cause of a damaged rib. About a year after getting Sonny I had finally stopped his aggression towards his reflection and his barking had been reduced considerably considering how he was at the start. My main concern and the one thing that I have not been able to control even now is his terrible aggression towards other dogs, so much so that it controls my life. As soon as Sonny comes within close proximity of another dog he whines, lunges and will fight and push himself backwards with his lead to free himself, and the sounds that he makes are scary to everyone else (I have been told to have him put down by other dog walkers) which I refuse point blank to do. Would a parent with an uncontrollable child with anger issues put that child up for adoption? No I dont think they would. So for the last five years I have made sure that I walk Sonny very late at night to avoid other dogs, but this is not fair on him or me. I am not asking for much, all I want is for Sonny and I to take a walk amongst other dogs at a reasonable hour and for him to be happy when confronted with another dog/s, as I live in a very predominant dog walking area. I do not for one minute think that Sonny will ever be able to walk off the lead but a walk that does not entail me having to be 50 steps ahead of Sonny and other dogs and always being on guard when out walking. Also Sonny has a problem with any animal whether it is another dog or something as timid as a hedgehog! Which when he comes across causes him to behave in exactly the same manner as he does with a dog! He has unfortunately got hold of a hedgehog and ripped it to shreds and didnt take any notice of the spikes in his nose and face. I cant afford to hire a professional dog trainer and I really do not know what else to do. Other than spend the rest of Sonny's life walking him late at night just to make life easier. Can someone please please help me as it isn't fair on Sonny as he is missing out on having a completely happy and fulfilled life. I want him to be able to socialise with other animals and I would love him to be able to run free but walking him without any drama would be the best thing ever for the both of us.

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Sep 16, 2014
Nothing In Life Is Free
by: Adam G. Katz

Employ the "Nothing In Life Is Free" approach, so that your dog starts to view you as the "pack leader." If your dog doesn't see you as the leader, then your corrections will be meaningless. So, if you're doing subtle things (inadvertently) to undermine your leadership role around the house-- it will be counter-productive.

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All the best,

Adam G. Katz is the author of, "Secrets of a Professional Dog Trainer!" -- which you can find at

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