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Thread: What is happening to my sweet bully?

  1. #1
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    Unhappy What is happening to my sweet bully?

    I have a 6 year old bully, Hamlet. My husband and I have had Ham since he was a pup; he is our first (and only) bulldog.

    He has been a dream since day one. Even as a puppy he was very low-key and listened well. He did exhibit a lot of caution toward strangers (particularly men). As a grew, he proved to be fearful of certain objects-- umbrellas, ceiling fans, hats-- really, any object that is in the plane above him. He only ever showed caution and fear; never did he show aggression.

    My husband and I recently opened our own office and have recently (in the last few months) begun bringing him into the office everyday. He loves to come with us and had been doing very well just lounging at our feet throughout the day.

    In February, a friend moved into our home. She has a husky who has exhibited aggression toward Ham. She snarls and growls but there has been no incident. Ham doesn't appear anxious around the husky, but he definitely keeps a snipping-distance away from her. We began bringing Ham to work daily largely because we didn't want to leave him unsupervised with the husky at home.

    In March, Ham had eight front upper-teeth removed. He still has all lower teeth and upper-back teeth.

    Shortly after his teeth were removed, he began displaying aggression toward strangers. Initially, it was just posturing-- growling, ears back, barking. In response, people would offer their hand for Ham to sniff. He has "bitten" several vendors this way. Of course, sans any upper-teeth, the biting was really just a gumming. Although the vendors were startled, no damage was done.

    This morning, he lunged aggressively at a female vendor who had offered her hand to him. He actually jumped on her, snarling. Twice.

    I am devastated.

    I truly suspect the teeth removal has something to do with this new behavior, but my google searches turn up nothing. I can only find discussion of teeth removal as a solution to aggression rather than the cause of it.

    I am also worried that the new behavior is a sign of an aging pup. I know temperament may change as dogs age and I am so worried this is a sign of decline in my sweet Ham.

    Although we have not noticed any signs of diminishing eyesight, I am also concerned this new behavior may be the first sign of it.

    This is so uncharacteristic of my Ham. I feel bad for the people he frightens and most of all, I feel bad for my boy. I know he behaves this way because he is fearful and stressed.

    My friend and her husky are scheduled to move out on Monday, and I'm hopeful that we'll see a change in Ham soon. My questions may be premature pending that, but I'm desperate for some answers / reassurance / guidance.

    Could it be a combination of the angry husky at home and the teeth removal? Old age? Failing eyesight?

  2. #2
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    Vikinggirl's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is happening to my sweet bully?

    I'm so sorry you're going through this with Ham. I don't have any experience with aggression, but think you have the right instinct regarding his change in behaviour. I'm not sure what would cause this, but I don't think teeth removal would cause a dog to be aggressive. If anything, I'm assuming his teeth were decayed and that's why they were removed, and if he was having pain from his teeth, that could cause aggression or change in behaviour, but since the teeth have been removed that wouldn't be the case now. I agree with your suspicions that it could be a part of the aging process, and also your friends Husky. The Husky has been acting aggressive to Ham, he's gone from being an only dog in the house to sharing his space with another dog, and also a new person in the house. Our Bullies are so OCD, and any change in their routine, environment or surroundings can cause them stress. You also mentioned that you think his eye sight is failing and so maybe he gets startled more easily, when someone or something approaches him, and he can't see it properly, so he reacts with fear and stress, and his natural instinct is to act aggressively by lunging and or biting. He is showing stress and fear. Is he loose in the office? Maybe if he had a crate at the office in a quiet area, where he could be when a vendor came in, and then be loose when you are alone in the office, it would help. I hope when your friend and her dog move out, things settle down, and if it doesn't work out at the office, then he could maybe be left at home, since he will have the house to himself again. I hope things work out. Please keep us posted.

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    Default Re: What is happening to my sweet bully?

    I agree with Monica's suggestion on having Hamlet set up with his own, comfy, homey crate while he's in your office. And if you want to introduce him to vendors, perhaps have a leash on him so you will have better control in case he lunges at anyone.

    The change in behavior does sound like a combo from the Husky and the pulled teeth. I would think getting all those teeth pulled would be a new sensation he's feeling in his mouth; has he been eating well since getting the teeth extracted? Maybe he's still adjusting to his new dental situation. Have you brought this up to his vet? I would also rec a full physical with blood tests for Ham, just to rule out any other physical causes for the behavioral changes. Hopefully, with the Husky moving out, Ham will feel more at-ease all-around.

  4. #4
    I'm not who moved my bulldog? I am an EBN Reporter
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    Default Re: What is happening to my sweet bully?

    I agree... seems he picked up bad behavior from the 'angry husky' and also my still be in some discomfort form the removal of the teeth.

    Is he eating normal? Also, are you tense due to 'thinking' he may react poorly to an office visitor?

    to EBN! would also love to see pictures of Hamlet!
    There is a part of your heart not alive until a bulldog has entered your lif

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

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