Randomly aggressive 10 mo neutered English Bulldog

by Emily
(Taipei, Taiwan)

I got Hank from a local breeder when he was appx 10 weeks old. The breeder seemed honest and knowledgeable; there were no "red flags."

Of course looking back, there were some red flags that should have been immediately corrected. I remember one situation where Hank growled and snapped at people. I didn't think a lot of it at first because it was an overwhelming situation - loud noise, hot, tired, people etc. Still, in the beginning I was limited in how much I was able to get him to interact with others - there was a local rabies scare (we live in Asia), he wasn't done with his initial vaccinations and the weather was hot. I took him to work at least once/week where he loved meeting new people. When Hank was about 15 weeks old, my live-in boyfriend returned from work abroad. The first day, Hank was scared and growled, but boyfriend gave him a bunch of treats, loved on him and it seemed fine.

When Hank was about 6 months old we noticed he was possessive of certain toys and his food. He also started lunging at people on the street if they came close. If he was on the bed or couch, with me, he would grow at my boyfriend when he came near. His aggression got so bad that we called a local trainer who came over and gave us some very helpful guidance, particularly w food. We're getting better and better over his food and he doesn't growl at all over his toys anymore. We also made a real point to go around and "introduce" him to new people and situations. That was getting a lot better for a while, but we slacked off and he's been a bit more aggressive again lately. So, we're back to taking him everywhere, standing in random crowds, having people over etc. We're optimistic for this as he's such a people-loving ham!

Finally the question - what else can we do? The trainer we met once was great, but then turned into a total flake and won't return calls. Our biggest issue now is how aggressive Hank is to my boyfriend in certain situations. One-on-one, Hank loves my boyfriend. They play, and cuddle, and go for walks. No problem. But, if the three of us are on the couch or in the car, Hank won't let BF pet him, or barely look at him or talk to him. He growls and has started aggressively lunging. We've started giving him cookies anytime he's on the couch. We will hold him down (laid flat out, holding him down at the neck as instructed by our now-absent trainer) until he's calm. We tell him "no." etc.

What else to do? Hank seems like he should be a good dog. He's funny, fun, smart and really loves people - you can tell.

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Mar 01, 2014
Stop growling and lunging
by: Adam G. Katz

Hi, Emily:

You'll need to start by asking yourself two questions:

1. Does the dog understand that the dog aggression is unwanted behavior?


2. If he understands that he shouldn't be aggressive, then he's choosing to ignore me. In which case, you have a respect issue.

Get a prong collar and a six foot leather leash and learn how to correct your dog in a safe and humane manner. I can guarantee that you'll see an almost immediate, dramatic improvement.

And finally: 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 DogProblems.com.

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