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Thread: Vinny took a big step back. Help

  1. #13
    Arts'y bulldog farts'y Become a 4 Paw Member ModernFemme's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vinny took a big step back. Help

    Sorry, my reply is ridiculously long.

    I was tagged in this post. Someone probably thought I could help you because of my journey with Remi. Even as a young pup, after 3-4 long walks a day, he still would act like a rabid dog sometimes. He was never too tired to lose his mind and act inappropriately. He's always been a ridiculous nipper. Sometimes even now, if he doesn't get his way, he'll lunge at me, nipping at me and biting at my clothes. But I'll be honest, a few times in the past, I was scared of him. It didn't help that he would accidentally draw blood on a weekly basis. I now take it for what it is - a temper tantrum by a really strong dog.

    Once, many months ago, when I was trying to break up a little scuffle he was having with my cat, I pulled him away and he totally growled at me. It startled me. (Okay. It scared the **** out of me) These kind of dogs in general, they sound menacing, and it can be difficult to tell what is straight out aggressive, and what is throwing a temper tantrum. I believe Remi was acting aggressively and I curbed the behavior in a nick of time. He is now a total sweet heart and I don't worry about him hurting me or other people anymore.

    The whole issue for us was building trust. (Crazy right?!) In the case above with the cat, Now when I tell him to come, and walk past the scary cat, he listens, instead of growling and chasing. Instead of acting out in an aggressive way when he's afraid, he takes a more submissive role because he knows I'm going to handle it.

    I can tell you attitude is everything with this and not everything that is proposed to you will work. However the people here are outstanding with their advice, and I have no idea what I would have done without them. I tried every suggestion offered, and here is what personally worked for us. If this doesn't work, don't give up!!

    1) Hand feeding. It sounds silly, and can sometimes be gross, but it's just direct symbolism that he eats because you allow it. We started off hardcore, letting him eat right out of are hands, while teaching him to be "gentle" while eating, and making him do obedience commands for his next bite. We do the same thing now, but we spare ourselves the disgusting part by dropping food into his bowl from the scooper instead of getting his drool all over our hands, but I definitely recommend the former to start out with. Do this for every meal, and let your boy friend do the same, so he can begin establishing himself as a leader of the pack. I wish I started this sooner. ALSO - this goes hand in hand with don't give him anything for free. If you want to give him an ice cube, make him sit first. Before you give him water, make him do something. Be a total hardass - it'll pay off in the end.

    2) Avoid Triggers. For example, I used to love watching TV at night with Remi on the couch, but it got to the point where all he did was try to hump me. AND I TRIED EVERYTHING. I saved myself the frustration by cutting out that habit completely by not even going there and allowing him to escalate. The longer you can "prevent" the triggers, the more they will get over them in my personal opinion. They grow out of it, especially when you start changing so many other things and figure out what works for you and how to correct them. (Btw, now I can lay on the couch fine with Remi and he only tries to hump every now and again, and with a correction, he's over it)

    3) Walk Vinny and spend time with him. I know that seems kind of silly, but when I started going on walks with Remi one on one, we really bonded. If you go out as a pack, let your boy friend walk him. You may want to get a trainer for this one, it can be a challenge, because you'll definitely want the dog at your side and not pulling. Exercise always makes dogs more happy. I know I'm cranky if I'm sitting around all day. Obedience training is literally the best, most fun bonding experience.

    4) Find the right correction. I have tried everything from submitting, (and lets be honest, when a dog turns 50 pounds, it's more like wrestling) can of coins, spray bottle, loud yips, yelling, shoving, timeouts. Submitting has NEVER worked for us. PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS. (Can you tell were getting frustrated?) It just gets him all worked up and pissed off. Plus there will be a point where they are just too strong, and if you truly have an aggressive dog, it's just plain dangerous. This worked well on my husky, but terrible, so very terrible, on our bulldog. They are quite sensitive and any "violence" towards them, including a playful slap to the butt with a newspaper really grates on them. (This also includes shoving them off of you if humping. Trust me, I've tried it all.) What I can say is that a more delicate approach has always worked, but it does take a ridiculous amount of patience and a pair of balls. I recommend taking the dog by the collar, gently, and putting him in his crate. The leash is fine, but if your dog is anything like mine, he will just be super annoying and try to bite at it all the time.

    Many here will disagree with me because a crate should always be a happy place, but realistically, there is absolutely no other place safer for a puppy who happens to be a Hoover, which is important for this next step. Typically, under normal circumstances, there are plenty of toys in the crate, and I always throw in a few treats every single time we put him in there. When he gets a TIME OUT - I gently place him in there and close the door without giving him a treat, and then I leave the room. Leaving the room is important, because it's not the crate that's the punishment, it's the isolation. For Remi, he generally needs a good 30 minutes on average to chill the hell out.

    Here is another important tip. Do not let him out until he lays down on command. If he refuses, he's not acknowledging you as pack leader and may try to start off where you left off the last time you placed him in. If he refuses the first 2 times, ask him every 5 minutes thereafter. When he lays down, let him out and give him a ton of love and then act like nothing happened. This has worked ridiculous miracles for us. Bulldogs are stubborn, and I usually have to ask more than once, but it's a total game changer.

    The can of coins works awesome for minor offences, like not listening when I ask him to get "down" off a surface, but does not work for everything. Plus overusing it will make it lose it's impact.

    5) Last but not least, if you think Vinny is starting to escalate to nut job status, bust out the treats and make him do obedience commands. It totally distracts them and they become a lot more pleasant. Do it for at least 5 minutes. Plus it's great exercise.

    In closing, the best thing you can do is for you and your bf to be on the same page and doing everything consistently. Anyway, I hope this stuff helped. If your dog continues to growl after you give this a solid couple of months, I would definitely seek out a behavioralist. GOOD LUCK - we're here if you need us.

    DON'T GIVE UP!!!!!!
    Last edited by ModernFemme; 05-18-2013 at 09:05 AM.



  2. #14
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    Default Re: Vinny took a big step back. Help

    You've gotten really great advice. You mustn't doubt yourself. One day even one hour at a time. Like Kazzy said..there will be steps backward. You just get your bearings and move forward. Eventually, he will move forward with you. It's like raising children...you wouldn't give up when they hit puberty...you just keep going.

  3. #15
    "Slug Assassin" and PBS Gardening Dweeb Vicaroo1000's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vinny took a big step back. Help

    Quote Originally Posted by ModernFemme View Post
    Sorry, my reply is ridiculously long.

    GOOD LUCK - we're here if you need us.

    DON'T GIVE UP!!!!!!
    ...and ridiculously awesome!

    One of the best posts ever. Don't we have an award for something like this? You deserve it. GOOD STUFF.

  4. #16
    "Slug Assassin" and PBS Gardening Dweeb Vicaroo1000's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vinny took a big step back. Help

    Quote Originally Posted by JAKEISGREAT View Post
    You've gotten really great advice. You mustn't doubt yourself. One day even one hour at a time. Like Kazzy said..there will be steps backward. You just get your bearings and move forward. Eventually, he will move forward with you. It's like raising children...you wouldn't give up when they hit puberty...you just keep going.
    GREAT point also and one I have to remind myself of from time to time. They say "terrible twos". Bo turned 2 in February but for him, it was the "terrible ones". LOL He's becoming a different dog, right before my eyes and it's due to consistent leadership and trust.

    You can do this.

  5. #17
    Texas Carol....put the heart in EBN Become a 4 Paw Member
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    Default Re: Vinny took a big step back. Help

    Quote Originally Posted by Vicaroo1000 View Post
    ...and ridiculously awesome!

    One of the best posts ever. Don't we have an award for something like this? You deserve it. GOOD STUFF.

    @ModernFemme ...Completely and totally agree!


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    Default Re: Vinny took a big step back. Help

    Quote Originally Posted by ModernFemme View Post
    Sorry, my reply is ridiculously long.

    DON'T GIVE UP!!!!!!

    FANTASTIC advice and post!!
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    e.

    Nitschke (2004-2011) and Banks (2005-2014) -- My angels
    Thank you for all the love, fun and teachings




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    Bulldog Vet in Training anatess's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vinny took a big step back. Help

    I don't remember seeing the other thread and so I don't have much info about your particular situation except what's on the OP and its bedtime so I just want to say something quick...

    Not all growl-accompanied-by-snapping-teeth is a sign of "I wanna be alpha". My Angus, for example, is a super-omega dog. He's scared of his own shadow. But there was once that my husband corrected him, he got scared, and snapped at my husband. You can usually tell if it's a "I'm the boss of you" snapping or an "I'm gonna die!" snapping by the tucked in tail and bowed body and the flinching. Once you identify the cause of the snapping, then you can give the appropriate correction. A scared-snap still needs correction - a dog should not snap at you even if it's for his self-defense. But trust needs to be built so that a dog will not be so scared of you that he feels the need to snap in self-defense.

    if this is the case with your dog, let me know and I'll share how my husband deals with this type of behavior.

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

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    "Slug Assassin" and PBS Gardening Dweeb Vicaroo1000's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vinny took a big step back. Help

    Quote Originally Posted by anatess View Post
    I don't remember seeing the other thread and so I don't have much info about your particular situation except what's on the OP and its bedtime so I just want to say something quick...

    Not all growl-accompanied-by-snapping-teeth is a sign of "I wanna be alpha". My Angus, for example, is a super-omega dog. He's scared of his own shadow. But there was once that my husband corrected him, he got scared, and snapped at my husband. You can usually tell if it's a "I'm the boss of you" snapping or an "I'm gonna die!" snapping by the tucked in tail and bowed body and the flinching. Once you identify the cause of the snapping, then you can give the appropriate correction. A scared-snap still needs correction - a dog should not snap at you even if it's for his self-defense. But trust needs to be built so that a dog will not be so scared of you that he feels the need to snap in self-defense.

    if this is the case with your dog, let me know and I'll share how my husband deals with this type of behavior.
    Great point. I think many dogs are "diagnosed" as aggressive when that couldn't be further from the truth. Fear aggression is harder to rehabilitate too.

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