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Thread: Aggression is not a death sentence

  1. #1
    Newbie Rosie1989's Avatar
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    Default Aggression is not a death sentence

    Sorry for the long post guys but please stick with it So I don't know if you read my posts from last year, but basically my rescue English Bulldog Vinny was becoming increasingly dominant and aggressive. He would corner me and growl and regularly attacked other people, including biting our neighbor putting him in hospital. We could not have people in our apartment and although he had always been more respectful of my boyfriend he eventually attacked him. He weighs about 85 pounds (not fat, just big and strong) and would drag me round walks and was completely uncontrollable. We were devastated and tried everything. He wore a muzzle whenever we had people around or was outside, but his pure side would leave large bruises from his attacks. I read a load of books and watched all seasons of dog whisperer. I went to multiple trainers in the area and without naming names I had 4 refuse to meet with Vinny at all and told me to put him down, while another 5 either met him or had a skype meeting with him with basically the same response. This was all between october 2012 and june 2013. In July he attacked my boyfriends mother and we made the soul destroying decision to put him to sleep. I was a wreck. In the week leading up to us taking him to the vet I made one last reach out to a trainer and found my new savior!

    I spoke to Steve on the phone and he was so honest but essentially told me although he couldn't guarantee it he would train Vinny and tell me whether it was handle-able or beyond repair. This gave me solace. I could not live with making a life changing decision based on my limited knowledge of dog behavior. We went to his FREE meetings for a few weeks, in which time Vinny attempted to attack and bite basically all the trainers and really showed his wicked side. Steve came to pick him up for a 4-6 week doggy bootcamp, which had the price broker in to more manageable amounts as we are a young-ish couple (24 and 26) and could not afford the full price up front. We said our goodbyes as Steve had agreed he would take Vinny to be put down if he felt it was the best option. Half way through he called and said Vinny would need to stay longer and he eventually stayed for 10 weeks. My partner and I used this time to save all our pennies to pay for the training and buy a car so we could take Vinny out places, which Steve recommended. Living in a one bedroom apartment we do have a park across the road but we couldn't take him off the leash ever as he continually attacked people and their pets.

    The day Vinny came home was terrifying and we had soo much to learn. Steve gave us a structure and the tools we needed, including a few items I previously did not agree with. He told us we had to let him off the leash to run 3 times a day and to keep training! Vinny was still himself but it was like night and day. It showed us how miserable he must have been before as he seemed so relaxed and content. The lack of control in his life was obviously not good for him either. He is now happy to take himself off to bed for a nap which he previously would never have done as it would interrupt his constant psychotic stalking. He runs in the park and will play with me and I trust him enough to take him places. We go hiking and have recently started an agility class, he isn't very good at it yet but we are working on it. He still would rather not be near other people and when we have people in the apartment he will take himself out of the situation and go to sleep or sleep in the room and pay people very little attention. He is not going to be a sociable dog that jumps and kisses people but he is happy and that is all i care about.

    Going through this process made me realize how incredibly scared I was of him. I am still recovering and Vinny is still a work in progress having good and less good days but it has been a bonding experience that has changed my life. If anyone is going through any similar issues please reach out and I will put you in contact with Steve. I hope my experience will give anyone in the same situation the will to keep trying and a brighter outlook. Every single person who knew Vinny said he was a lost cause and irreparable, but from this I 100% believe that no dog is a lost cause. Good luck to any difficult bulldoggy parents out there

  2. #2
    Skinny-Dippin' Smokin' Tidy Bowl Bionic Woman Become a 4 Paw Member
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    brutus77's Avatar
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    Default Re: Aggression is not a death sentence

    Wow. Thank you for not giving up on Vinnie. I am so glad he was able to stay with you and your boyfriend. Keep up the good work and welcome back to EBN.
    My smooshy face boy!

  3. #3
    Baxter Tiberius
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    Default Re: Aggression is not a death sentence

    Where are you and Steve located?

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    EBN's SWEETHEART aka our little GOOB Become a 4 Paw Member
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    Default Re: Aggression is not a death sentence

    I'm so glad that you shared your story w/Vinnie, and kudos to you for never giving up on him!!! Do you think something happened to him before you guys rescued him?!! I feel so bad for him... he must of been so stressed out...


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

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    RIP Wellie, Bella, Winston & Roxie

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    Default Re: Aggression is not a death sentence

    THANK-YOU, for not giving up on Vinnie!! You and your bf saved this boy's life thru your perseverance and believing that Vinnie could change. Of course, your trainer Steve played a big role in this too but w/out you believing in Vinnie, this would not have the happy conclusion that it did. I know it's an ongoing, work in progress still, but that's how I feel about my boys too...always something to learn and to improve on.




  6. #6
    Bully Bootie Duty Julzz9170's Avatar
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    Default Re: Aggression is not a death sentence

    Wow @Rosie1989 your story definitely strikes a familiar chord for me..our 5 yr old boy Fatso is aggressive and has bit many people including my children..he absolutely hates my 20 year old son.i have a video of him chasing him which he does every time my son walks through our kitchen which I will try to post if I can..we were also told by a trainer to put him down..but he is so loving towards myself and my husband and we are very attached to him..he was not a rescue but was with 2 other families prevoius to us..we got him from a trainer that took him from the family that had him last but never told us the full extent of his issues..he will approach someone and want to get touched or climb up on a lap and when the person is petting him he will just turn around and bite..needless to say we don't let anyone pet him anymore and when we have certain people that don't know how to handle him or groups of people in our house we have to isolate him..we even got another bulldog so he would not be so dominate..Our other boy is 3 now and is the complete opposite trusting, playful and calm and loving, we got him when he was a puppy so it makes us wonder if Fatso was mistreated in some way before he came to us..They tolerate each other and play sometimes but fatso mostly can't be bothered with anyone but us..I wonder if a trading camp would work for us or if this is just how it will be for him..I take him on walks in a large field near my house and I take him off his leash and he never leaves my side..he is very obedient in that way but I don't do dog parks or crowded places anymore because he doesn't like other dogs sniffing him and we have had a few small altercations and also there's all the people that want to pet him..he never will outright go after someone but his behavior is almost passive aggressive..I'm happy to read about your finding away to deal with your boys behavior..keep up the good work!!

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    Default Re: Aggression is not a death sentence

    Bless you for having faith in Vinnie. I hope they he continues to be a happy and healthy bulldog
    My sunshine doesn’t come from the skies,
    It comes from the love in my dog’s eyes.


    James Hond, My Sunshine



  8. #8
    Newbie Rosie1989's Avatar
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    Default Re: Aggression is not a death sentence

    Thank you guys! We are in the bronx, NY and Steve is out in Long Island so still an hours drive but really not too bad.
    @Julzz9170 I would definitely recommend a training camp. It gives the dogs the opportunity to change their learnt and relied upon behavior without all the triggers they have come to associate with a certain aggressive response. When Vinnie came back at first in certain situations which had originally turned him in to a manic loony he would get stressed, as if he was fighting his own natural reactions. It was very interesting to see. He is so much happier with the very black and white training we now use with him, and he knows categorically what behavior is expected from him, and what will lead a negative response. Also, Vinnie used to do the climbing on top of people thing or at least trying and some other behaviors seem very similar, which we now know is a sign of 100% confidence in a dog. Cocky losers

  9. #9
    Bulldog Vet in Training Bazza's Avatar
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    Default Re: Aggression is not a death sentence

    @Rosie1989 what a wonderful, heartwarming and emotional story to share, It is great you did share for so many others that have aggression issue's. It is wonderful to hear that you did not just give up on him ! Hope it continues to improve.
    I have found that when you are deeply troubled, there are things you get from the devoted companionship of a dog that you can get from no other source

  10. #10
    Crazy Bulldog Lady IPickedADaisy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Aggression is not a death sentence

    Wow! Wonderful story to share. So happy for all of you that it worked out. Aggression is the hardest becase we become fearful ourselves.
    Want to see more of me? Follow me on Instagram @DaisyMaeHambone

  11. #11
    Dog Park Attendant Lily122511's Avatar
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    Default Re: Aggression is not a death sentence

    What an amazing story! So happy that things worked out well for you guys in the end!

  12. #12
    Rescue Volunteer cefe13's Avatar
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    Default Re: Aggression is not a death sentence

    I agree with the previous postings; thanks for sharing your story! What an amazing difference you describe and how wonderful that you managed to find this trainer who could help you and Vinny!

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