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Thread: Aggression issues

  1. #1
    Pooper scooper ScuttleGirl's Avatar
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    Default Aggression issues

    Our 3-year-old bully Scuttle, is showing more and more signs of aggression. Scuttle was one of 13 bully's that were taken from a local vet here in Jacksonville last summer. We've had her since September 12 and she has grown by leaps and bounds. It seems that she is comfortable with us and while she is very fearful, she has overcome so much in the last 6 months.

    Since about the first couple of weeks we had her we noticed some aggression toward our Golden Retriever, Sailor (who's a male). Sailor, like most Goldens, gets pretty vocal when he's excited and MUST have something in his mouth. The first time we noticed the aggression issue was one of these times when Sailor was doing his "I'm so happy to see you" moaning with a toy in his mouth. She immediately went at his neck with a snarl and we addressed the situation and became aware of it so we could watch for it next time. She also doesn't like it when he's getting loved on and, depending on her mood, she will do the same thing.

    She also has this thing when we go to bed (she feels most safe in our room) she gets very frisky and wants to play with Sailor. Sailor usually comes to my side of the bed and cowers hoping I'll help him. He ALWAYS avoids eye contact with her. Anyways, she will usually start humping him all the while Sailor is completely ignoring her. I have to tell her to stop and then he will move out of the way. I really think at those times she wants to play, even though the humping is a sign of dominance, I just don't think she knows how!

    Last night, in the middle of the night, Sailor woke up and shook which woke me up too because of his collar. She darted up, snarled and growled and from what I can tell went at him. Then a couple of seconds later did it again. My husband and I immediately were startled and I got up, told her no, and led her back to her bed. I checked on Sailor and he was fine other than being a little shook up, I'm sure.

    She also has aggression towards my 15-year-old son. There are six of us in our family and she loves everyone else including my husband and my 9-year-old son so I know it's not a gender thing. The only thing I can think of is that when we first got her, during those crucial days, he didn't purposely bond with her. So now on a daily basis we are working on her not snarling at him every time he walks into a room. He doesn't show fear around her which is good but I'm afraid she could possibly bite him someday.

    Because of Scuttles fear she isn't very treat motivated so I really need some help on what I should do. We love her SO much and want to help her but I'm a little stuck as normal training techniques don't seem to work on her. Sorry for the long post but I wanted to give you a good picture of what was going on.

    Thanks!!

    PS - We are going to talk to a trainer tonight that knows of the situation to see if she could offer some one-on-one time with her. I'll let you know what the results of that conversation are.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Aggression issues

    This is something I know little about. We do have people here to help and they will be along shortly. I remember the story of these Bully's. I'm not surprised they have a few issues and insecurities. And I'm just as positive it's something you can handle. Let me tag someone who might have some insight. Good Luck..and to you!
    @2BullyMama . @Sherry . @Davidh

  3. #3
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    Davidh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Aggression issues

    Aggression of any kind toward humans should be stopped immediately. There are some things that can be done to stop this. Check with your trainer to see if they can help, plus Cesar Millan has some great books on training and cover this type of behavior. Best thing is be calm and consistent with your training. I have done the "pin" maneuver many times and it works but if done wrong can make things worse. Plus if she is showing aggression on the bed, make she get off, if it's for a toy take it away. Show her you are boos and she needs to come to you for food or anything she needs or wants. If she growls at your son, he and you should in a very stern voice say "NO" to her and not look away from her until she looks away or settles down. You should even feed her last, this will show her she is not the alpha. Good luck with the training.
    Have a Great Bully Day.
    Member of The Bulldog Club of America, The Bulldog Club of Texas and French Bulldog Club of America.
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  4. #4
    Drool Catcher Poppy's Avatar
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    Default

    For the time being its probably best that she not sleep in your room. If she is crate trained she should sleep in her crate until she settles down. Please look up "nothing in life is free" training method. Make sure she eats last, and gets the most exercise. If you have a treadmill this can help. I would also get your son to take her on walks. Start out slow and work up the frequency and time. This will bond them, once he masters the walk she will no longer disrespect him. It sounds like she has a lot of insecurities and it's manifesting in these behaviors. My boy was very fearful and reactive to other dogs, but has since come a long way. We did a 10 week training course where no treats were involved.

    Be patient, it will happen!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Aggression issues

    Not an expert by any means and you have gotten great advice already. I want to add that something that helped me ENORMOUSLY was hand feeding my Miila. Before each handful make her sit or lay or shake, etc. Then give the handful out of your hand, not on the floor. Then make her sit and wait until you feel like picking up another handful. Feed this way every feeding until you see a difference. My Miila is young and was just starting to try and be bossy in a new home and this really helped. Along with pinning and feeding last etc. Also maybe you should have your 15 year old son take 1 feeding a day? She will learn very fast she needs to trust him also this way. You will get a ton more great advice around here, I surely have learned SO much on this topic from all the great help everyone has given me. As for the trainer, that is great but a behaviorist might be better equipped in this case if need be.

  6. #6
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    2BullyMama's Avatar
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    Default Re: Aggression issues

    Great that you are getting a trainer to talk with and bring into the house.

    Scuttle is reacting to Sailor's fears/apprehension of her... she senses he is not comfortable or lacks trust with him so she is (in her mind) protecting herself form the weaker canine. As wellas, if she is dominate and the second dog to be in the home she is trying to 'conquer' top dog status which can be addressed but will not go away. Our Banks was like this with Nitschke... she would attack/lunge at him for no reason other than he was in the room. You will need to learn how to read her body language and get her before she makes the move. the trainer should be able to teach you these signs. Also, a few suggestions for you to begin....Everything that she does is ONLY becasue you let her:

    she goes in/out the door behind us
    she does not eat till we send her to her bowl -- she sits across the kitchen till we 'release' her
    she does not get in bed till we tell her 'up' (if she is not sleeping with you - ignore this one)
    she must sit or down for every and any treat
    she must sit or down for every and any affection from house guest

    So, for your son... does he have long hair, glasses, wear a hat or hoodie? Does he in anyway not 'like' her or is he unease around her? All these things ca cause her to feel she most protect herself. Have him NOT look at or pay any attention to her.. let her come to him when she is ready. He can stand/squat (NOT looking in her direction) and you can approach him with her on lead so she can smell him and do this slowly a few times and see what her actions are... mind you, the whole time this is going on he should be relaxed and NOT looking at her.

    Get a spray bottle, if you haven't already, fill with water and squirt her right in the face with a firm NO when she is doing something you do not want her to do.
    I have a very long email that I will PM to you on what we dealt (still do) with Banks... she is a 6 year work in progress
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    Nitschke (2004-2011) and Banks (2005-2014) -- My angels
    Thank you for all the love, fun and teachings




  7. #7
    Pooper scooper ScuttleGirl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Aggression issues

    You all have given me great advice. I want to address some of the issues to give you all a better picture

    - She is NOT allowed on furniture or the bed. She has her own bed/space on the floor where she sleeps every night. We are going to start crating her because she is obviously claiming our room as her own now.
    - We always make the dogs sit before opening the door and "release" them when we say "ok" (learned that from Ceasar, didn't take long to teach her that)
    - They eat apart from each other, Sailor ALWAYS finishing before her and then he watches her eat. She doesn't have any food aggression, not even with Sailor.
    - When she growls at my son, we use a tin can with a few coins in to break her focus so I can redirect her. So far, it is working VERY well. We tried Ceasar's method where he grabs the neck (like biting with fingers) and saying "shhht". It has no affect on her at all which is why we use the can.
    - I had her sit by me the other day, with my son there and as soon as her body language changed, she was allowed to move. She is fine once she calms down. I'm just trying to be consistent with her and make sure EVERY time she growls to take care of it right away.

    You all have given great advice. I am going to start having my son walk her and hand feed her to see if that helps. Definitely going to start crate training her. Thank you , everyone for your input and advice! I greatly, greatly appreciate it! I will keep you posted!

  8. #8
    The Ultimate Sourmug Sherry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Aggression issues

    You all have given great advice. I am going to start having my son walk her and hand feed her to see if that helps. Definitely going to start crate training her
    @ScuttleGirl I like this part that @Poppy has provided you with.

    I have a 100 pound American Bully that just aint fit! Jack. We hired a trainer that fired us after Jack would only hump on him, lay on the floor, ignore him, and /or pee on him . He wouldn't even take meat from him. LOL not kidding. This guy had all kinds of certificates on his walls from canine college and training police dogs. Forget him. Nothing for Jack.

    Jack is panic aggressive. Little hope for him at this point. He has been an a** since we rescued him at 3 month old. He's got a record for biting. He keeps our house safe from a block away. literally and after he's done barking at ya, he lifts his leg to say, screw you. He's one bad mother. He will sometimes growl at my 20 year old daughter, well, at least twice a week. But 10 minutes later he's laying next to her. If you don't trust him, he's not going to trust you, no matter what you do, its a vicious circle. Since he is all muscle, there aint no holding him down. We must sedate him to get his yearly vaccines. Muzzle and get him in and out quickly. It never goes well. He staggers around all dopey, when they go to touch him, its violent, He gets so panic'd that he loses control of his bowels , his blood vessels in his eyes burst and it's not pretty, trust me.
    Sorry for the long, useless, without help, post. But don't give up, please, they all deserve a chance.

    Now for the good part............he loves little animals.
    Just hates people. Believe when I tell you, I have tried everything. Everything but doggy Prozac. Except I don't know how we'd get a pill in him. He is the smartest dog I have ever seen. You can not get anything past him. The best thing we have found is a barker collar. I gets filled with citronella and runs on batteries. We put it on him when friends come over, he's also gated away from reach. This is secure for him. He can see what's going on, but doesn't like to make a fuss or the spray from under his chin spray's out in front of him and doesn't like it one bit. I wish he knew what he is missing, people would really love on him if they could, he's so handsome. If it weren't for me and my husband, he would have been put down long ago. I must say as bad as all this sounds. we still love him. Maybe because he loves us too.

    here is a picture of Jack.
    -011-jpg-030-jpg
    Life is like a box of chocolate covered

  9. #9
    Dog Groomer MissPennyLue's Avatar
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    Default Re: Aggression issues

    I'm sorry you are dealing with this. Unfortunately, we had a dog with severe aggression issues (guarding & anxiety), so I do have some experience with this. It can be incredibly stressful!

    We worked with a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist with him & did see good results. I would suggest googling to see if you have any in your area. It sounds like you have a good handle on training & basic obedience already, but it may be helpful to have a behaviorist analyze her behavior.

    Ditto the recommendations for at NILIF and hand feeding. With him, we would put the food in the bowl & cover with our hands just releasing a a little bit of kibble at a time. Then have him sit & wait until we released a little more. If that makes any sense.

    Best of luck to you & Scuttle!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Aggression issues

    Fantastic advice here. Great thread.

    Jack is adorable and that first picture is the other side of fabulous. Since you are already familiair with Cesar Millan, you'll remember that he has said many times that an aggressive dog is far easier to rehabilitate than a fearful dog. It sounds like your methods so far have been awesome and as you work together and build mutual trust, they'll get better yet!

    Be a good boy Jack! (sez Bea and Bo)

  11. #11
    Pooper scooper ScuttleGirl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Aggression issues

    Quote Originally Posted by MissPennyLue View Post
    We worked with a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist with him & did see good results. I would suggest googling to see if you have any in your area. It sounds like you have a good handle on training & basic obedience already, but it may be helpful to have a behaviorist analyze her behavior.
    Great idea! Thank you so much for the help I am starting to feel a bit better about the situation. I am SO thankful for this community. You all have been there for me time, and time again!

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