Aggression Towards Strangers

sarlynne

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May 24, 2022
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Romeo
Hi there,
Really needing some advice and quick! My male english bulldog Romeo will turn 2 in July. The last few weeks he has been acting aggressive towards dog walkers I have hired to take him out during the day. These are people who live in my building and who I have introduced him to beforehand. I initially introduced these people to him with me present so he knows that they are friends and not scary intruders. Romeo was friendly as can be with me around but when the dog walkers come alone during the day he growls in his crate not wanting to come out. If he does come out, he acts fine until they try to put his harness on him. That is when he growls and will get aggressive/snap at them. I do not know what to do. I need him to feel comfortable with people since I work during the day. He has always been friendly with every person up until this point. Some other info: we moved to NYC about 6 months ago so I would assume he is still adjusting. I feel that he is feeling terriorial of our apartment and his space. Any advice on how I can reverse this behavior before he thinks this is okay? We do use an e collar for behavior but haven’t used it since his 6 week formal training/boarding before we moved. Any input is much appreciated, thanks!!
 

ddnene

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Any aggressive behavior that comes up out of nowhere like you're describing should be taken seriously... my first step would be a trip to the vets to make sure he's not it any pain. Pain can present itself in aggression, even towards people that your dog is comfortable with. Depending on your vet's diagnosis, I would involve a good dog trainer to come in your home and observe the behavior. I'm not making a judgement on the e-collar, but I think that discovering his "triggers" may be the best route to take on this.
 
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sarlynne

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May 24, 2022
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Romeo
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Any aggressive behavior that comes up out of nowhere like you're describing should be taken seriously... my first step would be a trip to the vets to make sure he's not it any pain. Pain can present itself in aggression, even towards people that your dog is comfortable with. Depending on your vet's diagnosis, I would involve a good dog trainer to come in your home and observe the behavior. I'm not making a judgement on the e-collar, but I think that discovering his "triggers" may be the best route to take on this.
Thank you for your input, he did just visit the vet about 3 weeks ago and he was healthy. I don’t use the e collar unless he’s presenting really bad/dangerous behavior such as aggression towards other dogs in public. It was what a professional trainer recommended for those situations. Hence why I haven’t used it in the past 6 months, because his behavior has been good aside from the new person aggression. So I don’t think that the collar would be a trigger for him since I haven’t used it, it’s moreso the harness that gets him aggressive. Is there anything else you can think of as to why he doesn’t trust these new people to take him out? He didn’t have this problem before. I appreciate it
 

oscarmayer

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It could be that he's guarding you and that's just the tip of the iceberg in his assuming the Alpha role in your home. Get a trainer.
BTW, 2 years is about right for unaltered males to start feeling the effects of raging testosterone...some way more than others. Consider neutering if not already done. If you told me that he's already been neutered, I would be a bit surprised by this behavior.
 

ddnene

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It could be that he's guarding you and that's just the tip of the iceberg in his assuming the Alpha role in your home. Get a trainer.
BTW, 2 years is about right for unaltered males to start feeling the effects of raging testosterone...some way more than others. Consider neutering if not already done. If you told me that he's already been neutered, I would be a bit surprised by this behavior.
THIS RIGHT HERE!!!

Our Walter was acting aggressive to the human males in our home, and as soon as we had him neutered he changed immediately. Some dogs have way TOO much testosterone in their systems... causing aggressive behavior to spiral.
 
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sarlynne

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THIS RIGHT HERE!!!

Our Walter was acting aggressive to the human males in our home, and as soon as we had him neutered he changed immediately. Some dogs have way TOO much testosterone in their systems... causing aggressive behavior to spiral.
Here’s the kicker, he is neutered… 😩 He’s been neutered since he was about 6 months old. It’s so puzzling to me. I think it might just be that he is uncomfortable with people he doesn’t know very well in our home/doesn’t trust them yet to take him out? He really is a sweet dog and is friendly to any friends we have over. If anyone has experienced this and has any recommendations I’d appreciate it! I think slowly introducing him to people that will be walking him might be the best move. Definitely not the easiest thing but he’s worth it!
 

2BullyMama

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It could be that he's guarding you and that's just the tip of the iceberg in his assuming the Alpha role in your home. Get a trainer.
BTW, 2 years is about right for unaltered males to start feeling the effects of raging testosterone...some way more than others. Consider neutering if not already done. If you told me that he's already been neutered, I would be a bit surprised by this behavior.
Totally agree with Chip.
 

2BullyMama

I'm not OCD....now who moved my bulldog?
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Here’s the kicker, he is neutered… 😩 He’s been neutered since he was about 6 months old. It’s so puzzling to me. I think it might just be that he is uncomfortable with people he doesn’t know very well in our home/doesn’t trust them yet to take him out? He really is a sweet dog and is friendly to any friends we have over. If anyone has experienced this and has any recommendations I’d appreciate it! I think slowly introducing him to people that will be walking him might be the best move. Definitely not the easiest thing but he’s worth it!
It could be how they are approaching him… you should do a some time where they come in with you ther to see how they approach, or if you have a video camera in home see if that will help .
 
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sarlynne

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May 24, 2022
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Romeo
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It could be that he's guarding you and that's just the tip of the iceberg in his assuming the Alpha role in your home. Get a trainer.
BTW, 2 years is about right for unaltered males to start feeling the effects of raging testosterone...some way more than others. Consider neutering if not already done. If you told me that he's already been neutered, I would be a bit surprised by this behavior.
Really appreciate your input! He is neutered so sadly that’s not a quick fix haha. He does definitely try to take the Alpha role when he can but I’m sure to put him in his place if he starts getting stubborn. Maybe he thinks he can fool these new people since my roomies and I aren’t around? My friend was able to get him to stop growling by sternly saying “NO” when she went to take him for a walk. He then sat nicely and let her put the harness on him, they had a great walk. Maybe he just needs a little more control and stern tone to show him who’s boss? Thanks so much for the advice.
 

2BullyMama

I'm not OCD....now who moved my bulldog?
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Really appreciate your input! He is neutered so sadly that’s not a quick fix haha. He does definitely try to take the Alpha role when he can but I’m sure to put him in his place if he starts getting stubborn. Maybe he thinks he can fool these new people since my roomies and I aren’t around? My friend was able to get him to stop growling by sternly saying “NO” when she went to take him for a walk. He then sat nicely and let her put the harness on him, they had a great walk. Maybe he just needs a little more control and stern tone to show him who’s boss? Thanks so much for the advice.
Nothing in life is free is a great east training tool
 

Cbrugs

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Maybe he is just apprehensive to the newer people coming into the house without you there. Perhaps have them come over when you are home so he can get comfortable with them.
 

oscarmayer

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Maybe he just needs a little more control and stern tone to show him who’s boss? Thanks so much for the advice.
Considering where you are now with him(in regards to his aggression), this is a very good approach. Nip it in the bud...startle him with how quick you are to get his attention. You will need to look for and identify any triggers. Learn what sets him off and be ready for it.
Work on a default command to distract from these triggers...get him focused on you...something like
"LEAVE IT!".
My wife's favorite(putting her finger to her nose) "WATCH ME!".
even something as simple as "NO!"
The actual words mean less than the tone of voice, any hand gestures, and the quickness of the delivery. Train using the commands and treat accordingly...using high value treats, of course.
 

anatess

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My 2 cents:

He is experiencing trust issues. Something might have happened while he was walked recently which is giving him anxiety.

My suggestion:

You will need to arrange with your employment for the next 2 weeks to allow you to go home and personally hand the dog over to the person you assigned to take him. It would be best if you get only one person to do this until the behavior is corrected. This will help rebuild his confidence and trust.
 

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