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Thread: Bully behavior and some other issues

  1. #1
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    Default Bully behavior and some other issues

    I have a 2 yr old female (spayed). She is becoming aggressive but I believe it is more of a "fear" aggression. This has been getting more and more. She is overweight (75lbs) and has lost the fur on one side and starting to lose it on the other. I brought her to the vet for the first time since she was fixed last summer to see if it might be a thyroid issue, due to the weight, fur lose and increase of aggression. When we walked in she was tucked up under me, when I sat down she sat against my legs and her jaw/head were shaking (as if nervous/scared). One tech came over to pet her and she growled, barked and air bite towards her, then continued her shakes. When we got in the room she continuously tried to climb on me, the vet and tech couldn't get near her to look her over, she would pucker her lips and start to growl. I would sternly say no and she would stop until they would try to get near her again. Finally we had to sedate her to get a blood sample. And even with that she was showing us she wasn't happy with them being near her. The aggression at home is mainly when she's doing something she's not supposed to and you try to get her to move, she will growl, "yip" and air bite while running away, usually to hide behind something so you can get her to go out or in the other room, if you reach to get her out from behind something she will again air bite...if my boyfriend does this she's even worse with him, has actually made contact at times. She has always from day one been aggressive toward other dogs on our road, we live in secluded dead end road but people feel free to bring their dogs down our road, let them off their leashes (most of the time) and let them poop up and down the road. And when we are outside with Tonka she has been known to run after them and hold them down, we have to chase after her and get her to get off of them...not an easy task when she's 75 lbs. I have not really tested her out anywhere else with other animals so I'm not sure if this is a "territory" thing or not. We have 2 cats at home that she will chase in the house if they give her a chance to do so but they are pretty smart and keep their distance. When she was a pup she went to puppy classes, they weren't very helpful. She was fine while there, as long as the other dogs didn't get up in her face (again being on a leash...?? territorial), and no aggression with listening to me, she at this point had ALL my attention to herself. When she is in our car people she don't know can't get too close...again territory is what people tell me.
    NOTE: We have a 3 yr old daughter who can do anything she wishes to this bully with no sign of aggression at all!! The only thing we see with the two of them is the fight for attention. Most of the time when it's just myself, boyfriend, daughter and bully things are quiet...as soon as family or friends come over Tonka acts up, very obnoxious, "look at me, look at me"...and we chalk that up to the fighting for the attention (with the 3 yr old). We have a training shock collar. If we take that out Tonka will usually calm right down, she comes over head down and lets us put it on, very seldom do we even have to turn it on...the threat of it usually works. When we go outside we have been starting to put this on, when she won't listen we give her a few warnings then a shock if we have to. This usually is when she's doing something like eating a rock. We haven't seen another dog go by (or at least she hasn't) since we've been trying to put this on her outside. I'm not sure it will stop her if she decides to go after them though because she's so stubborn that when we do have to shock her we usually have to get pretty high in the #'s before she will finally give in and listen.

    Any suggestions for anything above would be great! We love her to death but sometimes we feel like she is going to be the death of us :-) And we would really love to be able to take her places and enjoy more time doing family things with her...we're just not sure we can trust her to behave.

    PS the thyroid test came back fine. Vet told me to cut her food down (she's already down to 2 cups total a day (3/4 of a 16 oz keg cup) one at night one in morning)...and cutting her back is going to be tough, she acts like she's starving now!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Bully behavior and some other issues

    a cup is 8 ounces so if she's getting 3/4 of a 16 OZ cup she's getting a cup and a half each feeding for a total of 3 per day. Somewhere on the bag of food it should tell you how many calories per cup the food has. If you find one lower in fat it will probably have fewer calories per cup (look at healthy weight formulas) and you may be able to give her more food with fewer calories. Also, you can give her some veggies to fill her belly. There are many who do that here. Frozen green beans seem to be well liked. She needs exercise so maybe short walks on a short leash will help.

  3. #3
    "Slug Assassin" and PBS Gardening Dweeb Vicaroo1000's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bully behavior and some other issues

    Its my opinion that this dog is dying for some leadership.
    Please please give it to her or she's going to end up in rescue or chained to a tree in the back yard.

    What was the shock collar for?

  4. #4
    The Ultimate Sourmug Sherry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bully behavior and some other issues

    You need to be the hero to her. she's looking for direction and in fear of not knowing what to do? start with the basics again. and yes she really should lose 10 pounds maybe a bit more. she'd feel better. take her for lots of walks or play in the yard . the basics , sit, come, stay, down, use hand signals also. this way she'll look up to you.
    Life is like a box of chocolate covered

  5. #5
    Wrinkle Wiper Bullyproof's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bully behavior and some other issues

    @Vicaroo1000 and @Sherry hit the nails on the head. Your bully needs leadership, structure and discipline. Please use positive reinforcement. They don't respond well to yelling and negative physical punishment. You cant let her get away with bad behavior, at all set up rules for her, teach her with love. Within 2 days of having Kiah she knew not to go into the bedroom or the kitchen. All I had to do was get in front of her, use the hand command for out and walk towards her from the room she wasn't supposed to be in. By getting in front of her, it made her back up. Which in turn I taught her the command to back up. Lots of treats and praise as well. Now she will walk up to the doorway to the kitchen and just stop, sniff and turn around. If you get frustrated, sometimes the best thing to do is just walk away and cool off.

    Regarding the food, it sounds like there may be over feeding. Kiah gets 1 cup twice a day, with treats throughout the day for good behavior. She is a solid 49lbs. I may even switch her over to raw food at night and kibble in the morning. The raw diet might help with your bullies coat. Check out the section here about it. If she is food motivated, use it to your advantage. Get a treat bag and take it with you on walks. Teach her to leave it, when she goes after a rock and lets go to get her moving. What type of harness and leash are you using? The easy walk harness is amazing with the hook in the front. Until you get this under control, the best thing to do when she gets aggressive with other dogs is to redirect her the other way. My bully is dog aggressive too. When I first rescued her I couldn't have her on the porch if a dog walked by. Now she just sits there and watches, unless they get too close. We work on it everyday and there have been major improvements. Im hoping in 6 months to a year she will be able to have other dogs within 5-10 feet of her. Be patient, it will take time...
    Last edited by Bullyproof; 05-03-2013 at 10:01 AM. Reason: darn you auto correct!!!! :D
    Everyday I see an improvement. Everyday she respects and trusts me even more. I'm honored that she chose me...


  6. #6
    Bulldog Vet in Training anatess's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bully behavior and some other issues

    Some suggestions:

    1.) When she shows fear agression, reprimanding the dog with a NO is not going to help. It would only make it worse because the already negative feeling is going to be added onto by the negative feeling you invoke in her by the reprimand. The best way to deal with fear aggression is to make the situation a POSITIVE one superceding the negative feelings that brought on the fear by a positive/comfortable/happy feeling. So, instead of the reprimand, give her comfort ("it's okay baby, I'm here for you, look at me, I'm okay, you're okay, everything is okay").

    2.) Shock collars SHOULD ONLY be used by properly trained pack leaders DURING training. And I suggest to not call it a "shock collar". Call it an "Remote Training Collar" then you assign the proper name for its use. Same with a prong collar, choke collar, and the like. Shocking a dog when she eats a rock is not the proper use of a remote training collar. Teaching the dog not to eat the rock by going through a training session with the remote training collar is the proper use of the collar. And more importantly, using a remote training collar as a THREAT mechanism is NOT the proper use of a remote training collar. The dog is supposed to learn that the behavior is NOT desired at any time - not that the behavior is NOT desired BECAUSE of the collar. So, when the dog is associating the avoidance of the bad behavior with the collar, then the training was a failure.

    A remote training collar is not meant to punish. It is meant to TEACH. Therefore, a remote training collar's purpose is ONLY to get the dog to associate a behavior with an unpleasant experience to establish a pattern. The dog is not supposed to associate the unpleasant feeling with the collar - because then when the collar is off, then the unpleasantness is gone and he's free to continue the bad behavior. Therefore, the remote training collar should be used in a TRAINING environment with the trainer so that the response is consistent. This is then immediately followed up with the proper training method of positive reinforcement and reward.

    Anyway, my advice is - do not use remote training collars, choke/prong collars for now because it is going to just make things worse. See if you can enroll in some train-the-trainer sessions to learn the proper use of remote training collars.

    I have other suggestions but I have not much time right now so I'll add more later. Good luck.
    Last edited by anatess; 05-03-2013 at 10:23 AM.

    I got Bullied and loving it!
    Bella "Bullie" Rose, adopted on July 24, 2011

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Bully behavior and some other issues

    She will NEVER be tied to a tree OR given up..I have rescued many dogs that were abused, I'm the last person in the world to abuse an animal

    I am trying everything to help figure out how to work with her...and we are slowly making progress. The training collar was recommended..and FYI it's never actually used (other than the beeper), but when we mention it we seem to get her attention that we can't otherwise. I thank you for your comments and vote of confidence though...

    - - - Updated - - -

    We are going back to the basics with her...she is a tough and strong willed girl but we are progressing in the right direction. Thank you

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Bully behavior and some other issues

    Thank you for your advise. We are working very hard with her right now, being patient and keeping her directed at the good things (not the dogs walking down our road, etc). She is VERY food motivated, that is one of her big problems, eating anything she can get her mouth on. I have changed her diet and hoping this along with exercising every night when we get home from work will help. She still is losing her fur so I'm sure she will be needing another trip to the vet, which is very stressful on her. But we are working together to help make her comfortable and feel loved....which we've never lacked on giving her from day one!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Bully behavior and some other issues

    We have been able to remove the collar out the scene for the over all, we have been able to improve many things by positive reinforcement for EVERYTHING she does right and when she's doing wrong "calmly explaining, showing" her so, when she responds to this we again respond with lots of excitement and good praises.

  10. #10
    Bulldog Vet in Training anatess's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bully behavior and some other issues

    Very good news! Go go go! You're on a roll!

    Try ice-cube treats for rewards. My bullies just go gaga over ice-cubes. Zero calories.

    I got Bullied and loving it!
    Bella "Bullie" Rose, adopted on July 24, 2011

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Bully behavior and some other issues

    I know how frustrating it is that people let their dogs off their leads at the end of your road. We live on a busy pedestrian corner--everyone wants to walk their dogs in our neighborhood--many of them off-leash, in spite of a leash law here. I know Mabel has a history of dog aggression, so I never let her off lead outside of her little fenced area. My husband learned his lesson when she took off after a golden retriever. I would try to keep your dog on a leash in case there is a problem with one of these idiots' dogs. In most places, they assume the bully breed is the aggressor--even if they are defending themselves.




    "Dogs have a way of finding the people who need them and
    filling an emptiness we didn't even know we had."




  12. #12
    "Slug Assassin" and PBS Gardening Dweeb Vicaroo1000's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bully behavior and some other issues

    Quote Originally Posted by iceprincess View Post
    Thank you for your advise. We are working very hard with her right now, being patient and keeping her directed at the good things (not the dogs walking down our road, etc). She is VERY food motivated, that is one of her big problems, eating anything she can get her mouth on. I have changed her diet and hoping this along with exercising every night when we get home from work will help. She still is losing her fur so I'm sure she will be needing another trip to the vet, which is very stressful on her. But we are working together to help make her comfortable and feel loved....which we've never lacked on giving her from day one!
    The good news is that she IS food motivated and that you know this. Use this to your advantage!!!! Bo is very food motivated so it's easy to teach him things -- Bea; not so much. It's far easier to mark a good behavior with a food reward.

    Many folks here give frozen green beans and other low cal items for treats. Maybe that will work for you? (My dogs look at me like, WTF is THAT? Ewww.)

    I'm not a trainer or anything and I am no expert but I don't think your dog is aggressive. If she were, your kid would be at risk and you've indicated that you don't fear her interacting with the baby at all. Google "NILF" or "Nothing in Life is Free" dog rehabilitation. Follow it to the letter. I bet with some strong leadership, your pup will blossom into the best dog you've ever had.

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