Tarbie

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Feb 26, 2019
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South Africa
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Maisie
We have an English bulldog puppy called Maisie who is 6 months old. She is extremely high energy and at times can be aggressive. This was a huge surprise to me. I'm not someone who has previously owned dogs, but I was lead to believe that English bulldogs were laid back, docile animals that sleep a lot.

Some of the behaviours that we regularly see from Maisie are as follows:

  • What we call "the Land Shark", where Maisie charges about the room with her mouth open. Often jumping at my furniture, or at people, and it can be really painful.
  • Biting my wife's hair when she is sat down.
  • Digging our plant beds up. Our garden used to be beautiful, but now it's an utter mess.
  • Generally charging about the house, and throwing herself off furniture.
  • Biting furniture, rugs, people, pretty much anything in fact.
  • Urinating and defecating in 1 particular part of the front room.

The problems are that bad that she blew out her cruciate ligament when she was just 5 months old jumping off our garden furniture, and has basically already had a knee replacement. This has obviously made matters worse as we have had to cut down the exercise until Maisie's knee is back to 100%.

My wife, who has owned multiple dogs her whole life, believe's in 100% positive training. But it's really hard. We both work from home, so we are always around. But when we are both busy it's hard to give Maisie as much attention as she would like. When she is under exercised, bored, or simply over stimulated from people visiting, this is when we see the worst side of her.

Does anyone have any helpful suggestions for me?
 

Hceril

Well-known member
Jan 19, 2017
4,294
567
Middle Georgia
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USA
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Bella (EBD) Roxy (pit mix) Tyson (pit mix) Sadie (boxer)
Welcome! You will get plenty of good advice here!
Oh how I remember those shark teeth (exactly what we called them) although I don’t remember her being in hat bad at 6 months old. I think we got it under control before then. Maybe the other dogs we have helped with that training.
Pictures, pictures, pictures are a must!! Lol
 

helsonwheels

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Jan 10, 2016
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Alberta
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Nyala, Jake (R.I.P. Duke)
[MENTION=18888]Tarbie[/MENTION]

Basically your dog needs discipline. 6 months old is like the terrible 2’s in a child. You need to take charge or you won’t have a house left n a dog that has you guys wrapped around his paw. Trust me not all EB are laid back. I have 2 that are 24/7 on overdrive. Especially one. Knee replacements at 5 months old is extremely young. My white face is like a kangaroo. Jumps all day long. At 5 months they’re cartilage is still soft. Odd for knee replacements. Time to show who’s alpha in the house. For him to do all that is cause you’re definitely not the alpha in the household. He is. If your wife had dogs all her life and believes in training....I’m sure she knows where to start. :)
 
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Tarbie

New member
Feb 26, 2019
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South Africa
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Maisie
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[MENTION=18888]Tarbie[/MENTION]

Basically your dog needs discipline. 6 months old is like the terrible 2’s in a child. You need to take charge or you won’t have a house left n a dog that has you guys wrapped around his paw. Trust me not all EB are laid back. I have 2 that are 24/7 on overdrive. Especially one. Knee replacements at 5 months old is extremely young. My white face is like a kangaroo. Jumps all day long. At 5 months they’re cartilage is still soft. Odd for knee replacements. Time to show who’s alpha in the house. For him to do all that is cause you’re definitely not the alpha in the household. He is. If your wife had dogs all her life and believes in training....I’m sure she knows where to start. :)

This is what I've been telling my wife, but all she talks about is positive reinforcement, rewarding the good behaviour, and basically ignoring the constant bad behaviour. I'm also not convinced she does know where to start with training. Her mothers dogs (that were basically hers) are badly behaved. And lets just say, I keep a tidier house than they do.

Personally I want to go down the route of a behaviour corrector, but she tells me that they don't work. What would you recommend in terms of disciplining the dog?

I'm at the end of my tether. I cannot live with the constant stress this pet brings.
 

helsonwheels

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Jan 10, 2016
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Alberta
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Canada
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Nyala, Jake (R.I.P. Duke)
This is what I've been telling my wife, but all she talks about is positive reinforcement, rewarding the good behaviour, and basically ignoring the constant bad behaviour. I'm also not convinced she does know where to start with training. Her mothers dogs (that were basically hers) are badly behaved. And lets just say, I keep a tidier house than they do.

Personally I want to go down the route of a behaviour corrector, but she tells me that they don't work. What would you recommend in terms of disciplining the dog?

I'm at the end of my tether. I cannot live with the constant stress this pet brings.

Oh, the way I read it was your wife had dogs n knows what to do... well then scrap that n YOU take over. Bare in mind your wife n you needs to agree n discipline together n same ways. “Positivite reinforcement, rewarding the good behaviour” as you said is good but NOT if you have a dog breaking things, chewing, pulling your hair and then reward him with a treat or whatever is a reward cause he stopped. Your dog is already 6 months old he should of learned by now at least to sit as sitting calms them down. If it’s feasible get yourself a good trainer but it’s your wife that needs to go with your dog. She needs to also learn what’s acceptable n what’s not. Dogs like yours should never be on the sofa till he learns respect or told to come up. My white face tests me on regular basis till I stand in front of him or stretch my arm n point at him with a “hey”...and trust me he’ll back off fast. Never allow any dog to control you. When your dog is out of control, grab him and drag him to his kennel with a firm NO and lock him in there for a good 15mins. Completely IGNORE him. No eye contact..nothing! When he does something nice n listened to your command, yes of course reward cause of good behaviour. Not if he’s Denise the Menace.
 
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Tarbie

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Feb 26, 2019
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Country
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Maisie
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Oh, the way I read it was your wife had dogs n knows what to do... well then scrap that n YOU take over. Bare in mind your wife n you needs to agree n discipline together n same ways. “Positivite reinforcement, rewarding the good behaviour” as you said is good but NOT if you have a dog breaking things, chewing, pulling your hair and then reward him with a treat or whatever is a reward cause he stopped. Your dog is already 6 months old he should of learned by now at least to sit as sitting calms them down. If it’s feasible get yourself a good trainer but it’s your wife that needs to go with your dog. She needs to also learn what’s acceptable n what’s not. Dogs like yours should never be on the sofa till he learns respect or told to come up. My white face tests me on regular basis till I stand in front of him or stretch my arm n point at him with a “hey”...and trust me he’ll back off fast. Never allow any dog to control you. When your dog is out of control, grab him and drag him to his kennel with a firm NO and lock him in there for a good 15mins. Completely IGNORE him. No eye contact..nothing! When he does something nice n listened to your command, yes of course reward cause of good behaviour. Not if he’s Denise the Menace.

See this is more the line I want to take, but the Mrs just won't have it.

We have been taking Maisie to a puppy class, but again, nothing but positive reinforcement there. The advice the trainer gave me when I asked for help with biting people, furniture etc, was simply to redirect the dogs attention with a toy and absolutely never to shout or physically discipline her.

For the record, Maisie is actually very good at puppy class (although she has quite a short attention span). When it comes to the exercises she's top of her class. Unfortunately the knee surgery has prevented us from going for the last 3 or 4 weeks. It has also meant we have had to significantly reduce Maisie's exercise. Having read a few other posts on here, I think this really might be the issue. Maisie just needs to be taken out for longer walks every day. It's very hot here in Cape Town at the moment, and the wife is scared of overheating. As such (even prior to the surgery), Maisie's walks have been pretty short and only possible early in the morning or in the evening. Perhaps the simple solution is just to exercise her more?
 

helsonwheels

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Jan 10, 2016
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Alberta
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Nyala, Jake (R.I.P. Duke)
See this is more the line I want to take, but the Mrs just won't have it.

We have been taking Maisie to a puppy class, but again, nothing but positive reinforcement there. The advice the trainer gave me when I asked for help with biting people, furniture etc, was simply to redirect the dogs attention with a toy and absolutely never to shout or physically discipline her.

For the record, Maisie is actually very good at puppy class (although she has quite a short attention span). When it comes to the exercises she's top of her class. Unfortunately the knee surgery has prevented us from going for the last 3 or 4 weeks. It has also meant we have had to significantly reduce Maisie's exercise. Having read a few other posts on here, I think this really might be the issue. Maisie just needs to be taken out for longer walks every day. It's very hot here in Cape Town at the moment, and the wife is scared of overheating. As such (even prior to the surgery), Maisie's walks have been pretty short and only possible early in the morning or in the evening. Perhaps the simple solution is just to exercise her more?

For sure you can’t walk him, but it’s not a reason to allow any dog take over the household and does what he wants. You still need to discipline him at home. Knee surgery can take up to a good 2 months of no exercise. Then start slowly. In the meantime, start at home and also tell your trainer what puppy has been doing. Your trainer will give you good tips for home training. He should also get some crate rest to heal faster. :)
 

Lalaloopsie

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Apr 18, 2016
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Tank
No, no and no. If you won’t convince your wife that dog is not a reasonable creature which knows bad from good, you will get unbearable bad behaved dog. And it’s actually very bad not only for you, humans, but also for dog, bcs you will have problems with boarding her, visiting places with her etc. Sometimes dogs are so poorly behaved they end up surrendered. Tell your wife it’s for the dogs benefit!
Dog must know, like Helene says, who’s the leader of the pack in the house. And it is YOU - humans, not her.
Reasonable punishment is not cruel, it is necessity. Unwanted behaviour must be caught in the very beginning and ceased. If dog was allowed to do something for several times, it’s extremely difficult to stop. I don’t mean by any means beating or any atrocities.
Also, you have to prioritise tasks - first of all, you need to stop biting people. Toilet - when does she mess? In the night or day? If it’s in certain place, put a disposable sheet there, she might like to deposit her gifts there.
When she bites you or other humans, you must grab her by the top of her neck and gently but firmly hold her down to the floor, saying NO. It’s absolutely not sore for dog, but this is how mom stops their unwanted behaviour when they are babies and for dogs it’s very primal and powerful impact. If she wiggles, hold her until she is lying still. Release her.
Make sure she has A LOT of chewable toys!
Never let her on the furniture. Not only bulldogs aren’t recommended to jump, but being on the same level with you makes her think she is your equal. Not good for discipline.
Give her bowl with food only after she performs commands - sit, down etc.
Electric shock collar is very helpful - because digging is natural instinct and difficult to control, I don’t believe you can stop it just with positive reinforcement. Instinctual behaviours (humping, digging, gnawing) are not really correctable with behavioural tricks. For this I would use electric collar. I tried it on my own skin prior to using on my dog. IT Is not sore, it is Bzzz and light tingling. It just scares them and diverts attention of a dog from unwanted behaviour. I effectively stopped my Tank from humping in 2 days. And I never need to use it again.
Good luck! May be see you and miss Maisie one day in CPT, as my family and Tank are relocating to CPT!
 

Manydogs

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Community Veteran
May 2, 2013
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If you do not become the alpha , you will have an uncontrollable monster on your hands. They are children, they need to follow the rules(they NEED) rules!
 

oscarmayer

Have Bulldog Will Travel
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Jan 20, 2016
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This problem can get MUCH worse if you do not take control right away. You and your wife need training(educating) and both of you need to be on the same page...so that you can properly manage your bulldog. If this gets any more out of hand than it already is and you turn this dog over to rescue...the likelihood of a successful placement is 50/50 at best. I'm pretty sure you know what that means.
 
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2BullyMama

I'm not OCD....now who moved my bulldog?
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As suggested... walks to tire her out and use ‘nothing in life is free’. It is positive training that sets you being in charge of all resources and the dog must respond to commands (work for it)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

cefe13

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Sep 12, 2013
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Sweden
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Castor (2013-2021 RIP)
You have got lots of good advice here. I don't see positive reinforcement as the opposite to discipline. However, if you and your wife do not agree as to what approach to take, Maisie risks being confused. I suggest you and your wife sit down and list the problem areas that the two of you have identfied and then try to agree on which approach to take regarding each one of them. My guess is that you can divide these situations into categories such as: behaviour that can be ignored, behaviour that can be diverted, and behaviour that must be curbed. The next step will then be to decide on how to divert/curb and stick to a metod that works. You both need to respond to Maisie in the same way.

Perhaps some of the unwanted behaviour can be avoided by resetting the scene, so to speak, until the situation is under control. If she goes bonkers when visitors arrive, perhaps you should not have people come over until her knee has healed? If she digs up the garden, perhaps you will need to fence off flower beds for a season or two? If you have not puppy-proofed your house, do that. Roll up the rugs, make sure she has no access to the couch (we placed a folded drying rack in front of our couch for a few months), and put her on a strict and predictable schedule. If you are around all the time, of course she will want to play. Try to teach her relax time and play time. Perhaps you can find a way to help her relax? Dog massage?

You say you wife believes in positive reinforcement. I'm all for that too but the question is what behaviour should be rewarded? Does the lack of bad behaviour equal good behaviour, or should Maisie obey a command to earn a reward? Well, that depends, I suppose, and will vary over time. I would never punish Castor (who happens to be a very easy dog, so easy for me to say, I know!). Nonetheless, I don't think you need harsh methods to train a 'normal' dog. Then there are dogs that need expert training but most dogs I would say are like kids: they need to feel safe,they need affection, and they need to be able to predict what will happen next. Consistency and a calm environment is therefore important.
 

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