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Thread: My bully is starting to scare me...

  1. #13
    Bike riding, bully loving soldier Become a 4 Paw Member PapaSmurf2's Avatar
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    Default Re: My bully is starting to scare me...

    You need to assert dominance over him. Lay him on his side with his back to you. Gently but firmly hold him down. It might be tough but do your best. I talk to Gracie and pet her while I hold her down it seems to help calm her. Once he settles down (usually shown by laying his head down and doing a typical bully hu ruff sigh) slowly let him up and give him a couple pats. I do this whenever any of my dogs try to assert themselves. It usually works within the first two minutes, but at first it might take longer. Just keep at it whenever her growls or snaps and things should start getting better.
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    Texas Carol....put the heart in EBN Become a 4 Paw Member
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    Default Re: My bully is starting to scare me...

    ​Does he only do this when you are handling his paws?


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    Default Re: My bully is starting to scare me...

    Quote Originally Posted by Texas Carol View Post
    ​Does he only do this when you are handling his paws?
    If so could be that he has a torn or a abcess. I didn't even think about that. Wilson had a cut last summer in the inner part of his pad. I never saw it and it abcessed. The only thing that clued me in was he would get really cranky when touched on that foot. Might be time to really check his paw pads.
    Three Hooligans and 1 Angel - Wilson, Sally, Emma & Jack

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    Default Re: My bully is starting to scare me...

    My boy is cranky when we cut his food down.

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    Default Re: My bully is starting to scare me...

    I'm going to probably end up repeating a lot of what has already been said. Reading through this thread a number of things do come to mind.

    First of all, yes, the honeymoon period could be over ... he's getting more comfortable and is now trying to see where the boundaries are.

    Secondly, he's smack bang in the terrible two's stage ... so a lot of them start to get a bit of a handful whist they go through this age.

    Thirdly, I'd also take a good look at that paw, or take him to a vets and let them examine it. It is possible that he is reacting to an injury of some kind.

    After saying those three points ... I'd like to make sure that when you say you tell him "NO" that you don't just walk away immediately. You are retreating and showing weakness. There is a difference between ignoring him and showing submission by backing away from him. Next time say "NO" and then stand over him. Make sure he realises that you are "towering" over him and that you are the alpha in this home.

    If you are confident there is no injury then you really do need to show that you are the one who is in charge. I can't remember if you said you already did it but I know it's already been suggested that you feed him his food by hand, a bit at a time. You can also go up to his bowl whilst he's eating and pick it up. Only put it down again after he has show submission either by sitting or sitting and giving paw. You can do this with toys too and there is no limit as to how many times you do it.

    Right now he will be sensing fear from you because you are shocked and worried by this situation. These emotions will be read as weakness to him, and will make him worried too because the pack leader is not supposed to give out these messages. He is looking to you for leadership and protection, so it's a bit scary when his "leader" is not acting the way he expects.

    Hope that helps ...... but I'll tag @Vicaroo1000 too and she may also have some other ideas.

  6. #18
    I'm not OCD....now who moved my bulldog? I am an EBN Reporter
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    Default Re: My bully is starting to scare me...

    Quote Originally Posted by Trixie View Post
    Bixby has been a good bully since we got him in November, but recently he's been growling and snapping at us. After we walk him, we wash his paws in warm water and dry it with a baby washcloth. Last night I washed his paws and when I picked up his paws to dry it he started growling and when I let go of his paw he snapped at me. I thought that maybe there was something bothering his paws so later on that evening he was laying down, I looked at all 4 paws to see is there was anything that could be hurting him and I didn't see anything and he didn't seem to mind that. This morning he let me wash his paws but again, when it came to drying them he became aggressive. And now he won't even let me wash them. He's usually good about giving me a handshake but today when I asked for his paw, he slowly raised it but he was growling the whole time. I'm starting to get scared. HELP, please...

    In reading through the whole thread.... I have two questions... does he growl any other time other than when doing something to his paws? And, has he done this to anyone else or just you?
    The others ahve given great advice and I would also continue everthing you are doing and also read up on Nothing In Life Is Free... make him work for everything and as Kazzy220 stated, do not turn and walk away after the firm NO... tower over and let him know you are alpha.

    Now, the paws. We have issue with Banks and her back paws, she is NEVER happy about them being touched, they are sensitive and I found she gets very red/raw between the toes. It is from her allergies.. her front paws are fine, but her back have always been a problem and whenever I touch them she will pull them away or a very low growl. As soon as 'Daddy" touches them, she pins her ears and puts her head down... not happy but no growl. My point is, check for sores or cuts as Jeannie mentioned.

    Good luck and keep us posted
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  8. #20
    "Slug Assassin" and PBS Gardening Dweeb Vicaroo1000's Avatar
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    Default Re: My bully is starting to scare me...

    Great suggestions here. As long as you can confidently rule out anything medical, it sounds to me like you are traveling the right path with him. You are exhibiting leadership and requiring him to "work" for things like food and getting out the door. Bravo!

    I especially like what Kazzy220 and 2BullyMama mentioned about patience. We humans rush through our lives -- often impatiently! (I'm guilty) -- and forget that, with our dogs, we are going to be more successful when we work WITH Mother Nature. A growling dog, when you have his paw in your hand IS kinda scarey! No one wants to get bit. Summon your calmest, most assertive and MOST PATIENT self when handling his paws. Perhaps begin offering a high value treat after the paw handling is complete and there's been no protest. Maybe you can shake up the routine of the paw washing and do something he likes --- butt scratch? -- both before and after the paw handling -- so there's more off a "pay off" for him.

    Stopping a dog from doing something is just one part of the gig, I've learned. The second and most important part is me being patient enough to WAIT for the dog to submit to the exercise / request / whatever it is. That's when the lesson is really learned in the dog's mind.

  9. #21
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    Good advice, couple other items to try. Use a warm cloth and avoid the warm to hot water in case that is sensitive for him. When you say No and walk away, reinforce that stand firm, calm, say no and even back him up by walking into his space. I also force Kain back to his bed and enforce a STAY.
    Depending on your comfort ability to control and be in control of him you can try the submission. Path but use caution as it is an immediate challenge for him. I started young with Kain so he knows if I flip him on his back, one hand on his chest in a bite grasp, and the other over the side of his jaw for approx 2 minutes he went too far and it's GAME OVER!

    Overall I think you have bounderies as you mentioned I think you may have let up your guard, he senses it and is seeing we're this new you goes or if he needs to be boss.

    Calm, assertive, consistent, and work for his rewards under your control and you will be successful again. Don't be scared and know you can do it and you will. Hope that helps!

  10. #22
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    Default Re: My bully is starting to scare me...

    Some dominant dogs or dogs who feel like they could become dominant will not let you touch their feet. My suggestion is to look into nothing in life is free and start doing it . Its easy its gentle and best of all it works. It seems like some bully needs an attitude adjustment.
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  11. #23
    Pooper scooper Trixie's Avatar
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    Default Re: My bully is starting to scare me...

    Update: Bixby is no longer growling when I touch his paws. I made him work for everything and I even started feeding him out of my hand. It's still a work in progress especially me being a new bully mama. And I really so appreciate everyone's advice!!

  12. #24
    Bulldog Vet in Training anatess's Avatar
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    Default Re: My bully is starting to scare me...

    Quote Originally Posted by Trixie View Post
    Update: Bixby is no longer growling when I touch his paws. I made him work for everything and I even started feeding him out of my hand. It's still a work in progress especially me being a new bully mama. And I really so appreciate everyone's advice!!
    Still might be worth getting those paws examined. Bullys are known to have sensitive pads (although only one of my 2 bullys have sensitive pads).

    The way I handle aggression is I don't react to it except a firm No when needed and continue with the activity like nothing happpened. I've had big snappy dogs before (2 male dobermans tearing at each other's throats even) so growling and snapping doesn't scare me. I have noticed that there are several reasons an otherwise well-behaved dog growls/snaps at the "hand that feeds him". First and foremost is he is hurt. Second is he feels trapped and scared. Third he is resource guarding. Fourth is he is testing the hierarchy. In any of these scenarios, I don't react differently. For example, if I was reaching for his paws and he growls/snaps at me, I go ahead and hold his paw anyway without acknowledging the growl/snap. I might give a firm No, sometimes its not necessary. I can tell from the dog's tension if he really wanted to aggress (then I say No) or he didnt want to but feels he had to (I don't bother with the No). When he stops growling/snapping with me still holding his paws I give positive feedback then check for injury.

    I don't do the "submission" thing unless I am 100% sure it's a hierarchy issue (and even then I don't do it - my husband did it for those 2 doberman's that I mentioned but hasn't seen him do it with anybody else - I've always been able to handle challenges with the same firm No and continue with the activity like nothing happened). Doing the submission thing when the dog was hurt or scared is going to do a lot of harm - more harm than good. It will confuse the dog.

    In my experience, a well-established dog will only bite to sink flesh as a very last resort. And I'm typing this with my hand in a bandage after getting bit by my husband's Amazon parrot for the umpteenth time. I'm telling you, there's no taming that bird! I've handled my kids' 6 snakes and was never bitten a single time.. Well, ok, once, but that was when he was still a baby - he didn't even have teeth yet. So yeah, I've done this "ignore the snapping" method all my life with my pet dogs (never somebody else's dogs!) and has never gotten bit - not once.
    Last edited by anatess; 02-06-2013 at 01:59 AM.

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