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Thread: I'm scared of my bulldog

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    Newbie tinainvirginia's Avatar
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    Default I'm scared of my bulldog

    We rescued our EB in October. We don't know much about his background other than he was neglected and we believe, abused. He was found as a stray by animal control and then by a rescue group.

    He came with a lot of medical issues which we have been treating at our local vet-med university hospital. Physically, he is doing much much better.

    Since we adopted Bentley, he has had anxiety issues - random barking and growling, trouble sleeping, a couple scuffles with our other EB over food or attention. Since my husband and I work most of the day, we take Bentley to doggie day care for attention, socialization and exercise.

    About a month ago, both dogs were on my bed. I was leaving for work and when I kissed Bentley goodbye, he chomped on my face and I required 8 stitches. Since then, even though I try not to, I can't help but be scared of Bentley. I know he can sense my fear b/c he has nipped at me a couple other times and has definitely taken to my husband as his "master".

    How do I overcome this fear?
    Tina in Virginia
    My first dog - Goliath the Bulldog (adopted as puppy 4/2010)
    My second dog - Sir Bentley the Bulldog (adopted as rescue 10/2014)

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    Texas Carol....put the heart in EBN Become a 4 Paw Member
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    Default Re: I'm scared of my bulldog

    I'm so sorry, Tina, I understand your feelings and definitely agree,
    bulldogs can be scary and more so, if you don't know them well and
    even more so, if you don't know their background! It'll be fine, you
    to slow down and let all calm down, settle down and find their places
    in the family dynamic, it's not been very long and there's plenty of
    time for love, trust & bonding to happen and it will

    It sounds like neither of you have formed trust FIRST before moving
    right into a relationship, I am the Queen of rushing things and I also,
    made this mistake with my 1st bully, Brutus, that I adopted. Bonded
    right away (mutually) and he was very sweet with great manners.
    But....he'd been very neglected, mostly caged, wasn't potty trained (I
    think shamed, screamed at & abused for this) wasn't played with, no
    toys, really had just been 'the forgotten bully in the corner in his cage'
    and just passed on & on & on, all to apparently, very busy people.
    Including the nurse I got him from (she got him off craigslist), why do
    people do this?!!

    So, of course, I was going to 'save' Brutus & 'fix' him, certainly not why
    or what I intended but realized later, had happened.

    Please tell us more, how old is he (and your other bully's age), neutered
    (other bully?), do you have kids, other pets, etc

    Then I'll tell you what happened to me & Brutus


    My 1st bully, Brutus
    RIP beloved boy.

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    Texas Carol....put the heart in EBN Become a 4 Paw Member
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    Default Re: I'm scared of my bulldog

    Okay...I'll finish Brutus' story!

    Things were great for awhile, we had no dogs but a cat (they adored
    each other) he loved to ride with us & just fit in like meant to be. He
    was slow getting the potty training (I understood) was about 3-5 y'o,
    didn't wrestle around (like he was afraid to cut loose), no toy or bone
    interest at all. Then about 2 months later, I got up early, let him out,
    fed him, in a few minutes he'd pooped & peed right in front of the door,
    no warnings or barking, etc I'm not a morning gal nor had coffee yet so
    my tone was mad & slightly raised, as I'm scolding him, without thinking
    I bent over him. Brutus immediately cowered and grimaced over his back,
    showing teeth. I was shocked! I had no idea of the fear in him OR that he
    could/would fear me! When I say it broke my heart, it really did, I saw my
    self thru his eyes, it sickened me. I just assumed he knew I'd never hurt him
    but to him, I was just another human that might and most likely, would! It
    was a profound lesson I got immediately. Tears running down my face, I very
    gently kneeled beside him and asked forgiveness for being thoughtless, smug
    and stupid. He did and I made sure to EARN his trust. No standing over him,
    no loud voices, slow movements, gentle, gentle hands and lots of time for HIM
    to understand, this home was his forever and he was family, forever. It was my
    thinking 7 way of doing that needed changing, not Brutus.

    Honestly, that day, we started a heart to heart journey of love that brings tears
    just remembering it, Brutus & CoCo are together in Heaven & I've adopted Cami
    who is filling my heart & easing the pain of their passing from me.

    Get to know each other and trust & mutual respect & understanding will happen.
    Love follows and fear leaves Many bullies are startled by sudden movements
    like you bent over him and leaned into his face to kiss him, he probably reacted
    before he knew his intentions, I doubt he intended to bite you. Don't be afraid to
    calmly & firmly disagree with his actions that are not acceptable to you, be assertive
    just patiently, consistently & lovingly

    Let us know how it goes, more EBN'ers will offer their great advice & experience to
    help. GOD bless you for rescuing him & opening your heart & home to him!


    My 1st bully, Brutus
    RIP beloved boy.

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    Default Re: I'm scared of my bulldog

    I would be afraid too. That's the hard thing about a rescue....you never know what type of background they have. I really don't have any advice for you, but I just wanted to let you know that I really appreciate you saving a bulldogs life. There are a lot of people on here that will give you great advice and some suggestions.
    Hopefully one of them will work for you and allow for a great bond to be formed.

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    Default Re: I'm scared of my bulldog

    We adopted an older male bulldog from a place where he was neglected and possibly abused too, we don't know... He was fine in the beginning, so sweet and great in every way, but as time went by he became more and more possessive and aggressive. He and our other male bulldog fought, it was full on till death fights. They couldn't even see each other. But he also snapped at me several times, once when I tried to take his bed so I could clean it he bit my hand badly. Obviously I became scared of him We hired a dog trainer and got some light onto the problem... I had been to soft with him, babied him and felt sorry for him and he took advantage of that and had no respect for me. So we did the "back to basics" training, or "nothing is for free" training with him. He became much better but the fights with our other male continued so our trainer ended up adopting him. It didn't take him long to sort him out, he was a completely different dog when I met him at the trainers house, so it is in no way impossible to work out

    I think you need to take some control over him, in the right way. Let him work for things, if he wants out, he must sit first and be calm, before he eats he must sit and not take the food until you allow it, before he jumps up on bed or sofas he needs permission to do so. What ever he wants he has to work for it in some way. The key is to always stay calm, not have any bad feelings like fear, annoyance or lose patience with him. When I got more confidence I did feeding exercises with him. I had the food bowl in my hand, I made him sit and then I put the food bowl down behind me so I was between him and the food. Then I would step back and stand behind the food bowl and give him the sign that he can eat. After a while I would tell him to leave it and sit and I would once again step in between him and the food bowl and then repeat that a couple of times while he ate. The same can be done when it comes to toys and toy aggression. This should NOT be done if there is any chance of him getting aggressive with you, then rather have a trainer do it, they know how to handle themselves if something would happen.

    Thank you for adopting<3 I hope you can find a way to get over your fear, I know it's not easy It will probably be the hardest part. If you can get a trainer to work with you it will help, I felt safe and more confident with the trainer present.
    You were born with the ability to change someone's life, don't ever waste it.



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    Newbie tinainvirginia's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm scared of my bulldog

    Thank you for your reply!

    We don't know exactly how old Bentley is. The vet thinks he's about 6 years old.

    Our other EB, Goliath, is 5 years old. We got him as a puppy. To say he is an angel is an understatement...Goliath has chewed on only 1 thing he wasn't supposed to in his entire life. He is neutered, never barks, doesn't have potty accidents, never whines...he's just a chill, happy bulldog.
    And Goliath is the first and only dog I've ever owned - thus, he has spoiled me and I, him. My ignorance assumed that all EB's are just like Goliath.

    We think Bentley was tied up bc of the bare spots on his fur. He was also terrified to go outside after dark when we first got him. He can still be stubborn about going out after dark; however, if he sees Goliath go out, he will usually go outside with him no problem.

    I wouldn't say the 2 bullies are friends - but more of they acknowledge each other. They have separate beds and hang out together napping. They've had a few scuffles over food territory and attention. Bentley gets VERY jealous when he sees Goliath getting attention. When we first got Bentley, he was a total loner with other dogs. Since he's been going to doggie daycare, that has gotten better. He still doesn't really play with the other dogs, but he doesn't sit in the corner anymore either.

    After Bentley bit me, I could tell he felt bad. He followed me from room to room as I got towels for my face. As I said, he is only my second dog ever and I am very inexperienced with dog behavior. My husband is much better with Bentley and I can see where Bentley respects him and behaves better around him.
    Tina in Virginia
    My first dog - Goliath the Bulldog (adopted as puppy 4/2010)
    My second dog - Sir Bentley the Bulldog (adopted as rescue 10/2014)

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    Default Re: I'm scared of my bulldog

    I would advise getting a trainer involved… not only can they advise w/Bentley, but they can give you tips on what YOU need to do to make sure that Bentley understands that YOU are in charge. I want to also commend you for rescuing him and NOT giving up on him!!!

    "What we once enjoyed and deeply loved, we can never lose, for all that we love deeply becomes a part of us." Helen Keller
    RIP Wellie, Bella, Winston & Roxie

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    Default Re: I'm scared of my bulldog

    I have had goob since puppy hood. A few months ago, he had hurt his hind leg so my husband and I kept him off of everything, yes, even his favorite chair. One day, I accidentally left the chair faced out and Goob jumped in it. No problem right? I would just pick him up like always and put him on the floor.

    Well, THIS time, he growled at me!!! I could not believe it!!! Never once had he ever done this to me no matter what I needed to do with him, pick him up for a bath, clean his ears, daily maintenance, lift him off the bed NOTHING. I instantly recoiled and thought....YIKES....I guess he is going to sit in that chair. But, thanks to reading multiple posts on our good ol EBN, I KNEW that I couldn't let him win. If I did, he would start growling at me over everything knowing that I would give into his aggression.

    So, I turned my back to him, took a deep breath, faced him again, told him "no chair" in firm voice and picked that butt up and put him on the floor. I told myself "I am going to win even if he bites me!" I guess it's a little different since Goob has never bitten me but for me...I had to decide that Goob was NOT going to start this behavior and get away with it. Was I still afraid? Yes, somewhat. But Goob turns things into habits so quickly I saw this situation leading to a very bad place.

    I would say to find some advice from these seasoned EBN warriors and try it out for a while with 100% consistency. They know their bulldogs. It sounds like you love Bentley SO much and are willing to do whatever he needs to become secure in your home. Of course, we need pictures of your two rugrats
    The righteous care for the needs of their animals,
    but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.


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    Newbie tinainvirginia's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm scared of my bulldog

    Here are a couple photos of them. Bentley is the white EB. Thank you all so much for taking the time to share and offer support. I already feel better and will be contacting a trainer this weekend!

    -img_8637-jpg-img_7954-jpg
    Tina in Virginia
    My first dog - Goliath the Bulldog (adopted as puppy 4/2010)
    My second dog - Sir Bentley the Bulldog (adopted as rescue 10/2014)

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    Default Re: I'm scared of my bulldog

    Quote Originally Posted by tinainvirginia View Post
    Here are a couple photos of them. Bentley is the white EB. Thank you all so much for taking the time to share and offer support. I already feel better and will be contacting a trainer this weekend!

    -img_8637-jpg-img_7954-jpg
    Both of them are SUPER cute!!! We are always here for you and your babies… keep us posted on what the trainer says!!!

    "What we once enjoyed and deeply loved, we can never lose, for all that we love deeply becomes a part of us." Helen Keller
    RIP Wellie, Bella, Winston & Roxie

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    Bulldog Vet in Training g8erjackie's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm scared of my bulldog

    Quote Originally Posted by tinainvirginia View Post
    Thank you for your reply!

    We don't know exactly how old Bentley is. The vet thinks he's about 6 years old.

    Our other EB, Goliath, is 5 years old. We got him as a puppy. To say he is an angel is an understatement...Goliath has chewed on only 1 thing he wasn't supposed to in his entire life. He is neutered, never barks, doesn't have potty accidents, never whines...he's just a chill, happy bulldog.
    And Goliath is the first and only dog I've ever owned - thus, he has spoiled me and I, him. My ignorance assumed that all EB's are just like Goliath.

    We think Bentley was tied up bc of the bare spots on his fur. He was also terrified to go outside after dark when we first got him. He can still be stubborn about going out after dark; however, if he sees Goliath go out, he will usually go outside with him no problem.

    I wouldn't say the 2 bullies are friends - but more of they acknowledge each other. They have separate beds and hang out together napping. They've had a few scuffles over food territory and attention. Bentley gets VERY jealous when he sees Goliath getting attention. When we first got Bentley, he was a total loner with other dogs. Since he's been going to doggie daycare, that has gotten better. He still doesn't really play with the other dogs, but he doesn't sit in the corner anymore either.

    After Bentley bit me, I could tell he felt bad. He followed me from room to room as I got towels for my face. As I said, he is only my second dog ever and I am very inexperienced with dog behavior. My husband is much better with Bentley and I can see where Bentley respects him and behaves better around him.
    Following you around seems like it was his way of saying "sorry mommy I bit you when you wanted a smooch, you still love me?" -- some rescues have triggers from past abuse and scare easily and he probably reacted before he knew what he did. I agree that a trainer and/or behaviorist could help immensely with Bentley and you and also Bentley and Goliath.

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    Bulldog Vet in Training g8erjackie's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm scared of my bulldog

    P.s. You're awesome for rescuing him!

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