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Old 12-02-2010, 09:43 PM
 
5 posts, read 71,759 times
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At about 2 1/2 years of age, our loving english bull terrier has demonstrated sudden aggression to a few people only in the last couple months. It is usually when I am on one end of the leash. It is always directed at a person either coming toward him or facing me/not moving. He gets an "overstimulated" look on his face and leaps out to bite. This has happened a couple times and I have pulled him back to avert the bite. However, this week he attacked a person who leaned over to greet him. It was horrible. After the attack, he had a glazed look in his very bloodshot eyes. I took him home and he was exhausted and could'nt keep his eyes open. I have taken him to obedience training and also worked with behavioral trainers one on one on numerous occasions, but it doesn't stick. He knows all his commands, but when in a situation where there is stimulation, he forgets everything and gets this glazed look. He is an incredibly loving dog at home with no aggression issues. I am married and he loves my husband. We have two other dogs at home too. When I walk him, he stays loose lead beside me. He is a strong boy. This behavior only happens in a new environment that has more than one thing going on. He is neutered also. I have an appointment with my vet tomorrow to run some tests (i.e. thyroid, vision or other type of issue). He does appear to have some challenges with vision and gets excited easily. He doesn't have hair loss or weight loss and he has not overtly shown to seizure. I've been doing a lot of internet reading and found that his behavior is similar to the "sudden rage" to some degree. When he is woken up from a sleep, he jumps up and grumbles rudely, but doesn't attack. When he did attack the person, it was very quick and without any warning (frenzied). I am so incredibly worried that he will demonstrate this behavior again. I'm also heartbroken for my bullie. Has anyone out there experienced or know about this type of behavior? I would very much appreciate comments and feedback.
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Old 12-02-2010, 10:50 PM
 
Location: West Virginia
12,432 posts, read 31,476,724 times
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Sounds like Male Hormones. 1 Castrate Him! 2 Correct him!
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Old 12-02-2010, 10:59 PM
 
Location: SW Missouri
15,847 posts, read 30,341,628 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bullytime View Post
At about 2 1/2 years of age, our loving english bull terrier has demonstrated sudden aggression to a few people only in the last couple months. It is usually when I am on one end of the leash. It is always directed at a person either coming toward him or facing me/not moving. He gets an "overstimulated" look on his face and leaps out to bite. This has happened a couple times and I have pulled him back to avert the bite. However, this week he attacked a person who leaned over to greet him. It was horrible. After the attack, he had a glazed look in his very bloodshot eyes. I took him home and he was exhausted and could'nt keep his eyes open. I have taken him to obedience training and also worked with behavioral trainers one on one on numerous occasions, but it doesn't stick. He knows all his commands, but when in a situation where there is stimulation, he forgets everything and gets this glazed look. He is an incredibly loving dog at home with no aggression issues. I am married and he loves my husband. We have two other dogs at home too. When I walk him, he stays loose lead beside me. He is a strong boy. This behavior only happens in a new environment that has more than one thing going on. He is neutered also. I have an appointment with my vet tomorrow to run some tests (i.e. thyroid, vision or other type of issue). He does appear to have some challenges with vision and gets excited easily. He doesn't have hair loss or weight loss and he has not overtly shown to seizure. I've been doing a lot of internet reading and found that his behavior is similar to the "sudden rage" to some degree. When he is woken up from a sleep, he jumps up and grumbles rudely, but doesn't attack. When he did attack the person, it was very quick and without any warning (frenzied). I am so incredibly worried that he will demonstrate this behavior again. I'm also heartbroken for my bullie. Has anyone out there experienced or know about this type of behavior? I would very much appreciate comments and feedback.
I am no expert, believe me, but I had an issue with a pet of mine once going inexplicably crazy once. So permit me my two cents.

I feel as though it might be a smell that is on the other person. Perhaps the person who bent down to pet your dog had done so previously with another dog and retained some of its scent. I expect that since your dog has vision issues he is using his sense of smell exclusively and the presence of another dog's odor is possibly bringing this on.

Most likely he feels that he is protecting you from this other dog - or showing dominance. Typically English Bull Terriers are the most docile of creatures so I can see how this would bewilder you.

As for grumbling when awoken from a deep sleep. I think that is just a trait in the male of all species. My husband grumbles rudely when I wake him up.

Best of luck getting this resolved.

20yrsinBranson
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Old 12-03-2010, 03:21 AM
 
1,181 posts, read 2,581,507 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bullytime View Post
At about 2 1/2 years of age, our loving english bull terrier has demonstrated sudden aggression to a few people only in the last couple months. It is usually when I am on one end of the leash. It is always directed at a person either coming toward him or facing me/not moving. He gets an "overstimulated" look on his face and leaps out to bite. This has happened a couple times and I have pulled him back to avert the bite. However, this week he attacked a person who leaned over to greet him. It was horrible. After the attack, he had a glazed look in his very bloodshot eyes. I took him home and he was exhausted and could'nt keep his eyes open. I have taken him to obedience training and also worked with behavioral trainers one on one on numerous occasions, but it doesn't stick. He knows all his commands, but when in a situation where there is stimulation, he forgets everything and gets this glazed look. He is an incredibly loving dog at home with no aggression issues. I am married and he loves my husband. We have two other dogs at home too. When I walk him, he stays loose lead beside me. He is a strong boy. This behavior only happens in a new environment that has more than one thing going on. He is neutered also. I have an appointment with my vet tomorrow to run some tests (i.e. thyroid, vision or other type of issue). He does appear to have some challenges with vision and gets excited easily. He doesn't have hair loss or weight loss and he has not overtly shown to seizure. I've been doing a lot of internet reading and found that his behavior is similar to the "sudden rage" to some degree. When he is woken up from a sleep, he jumps up and grumbles rudely, but doesn't attack. When he did attack the person, it was very quick and without any warning (frenzied). I am so incredibly worried that he will demonstrate this behavior again. I'm also heartbroken for my bullie. Has anyone out there experienced or know about this type of behavior? I would very much appreciate comments and feedback.
Make sure the vet runs a full 6-panel thyroid test and tests his blood sugar levels as well (especially for low blood sugar). I'd also have his vision tested, probably by a specialist. Ask your vet.

Meantime, keep a basket-style muzzle on him whenever he's supervised or out on a walk. That will enable you to remain calm, relaxed, and in control of the situation knowing he can't possibly bite someone. You'll have to teach him the muzzle is a good thing by associating it with treats, play and fun times.
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Old 12-03-2010, 06:45 AM
 
5 posts, read 71,759 times
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Thanks all for the replies. These "jumps/nips" occurred with a dog trainer and at the pet store... the attack was at a dog groomer. Very good insight. The fact that it happens on the other end of me holding the leash reinforces the protective instinct. In addition to the thyroid test and bloodwork as well as vision screen, I was also going to check for a low grade UTI (he's prone to UTI's and is on prescription food). I see my vet in a couple hours and will bring forward this discussion. Thank you again.
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Old 12-03-2010, 06:46 AM
 
5 posts, read 71,759 times
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I talked to the vet yesterday about the muzzle already until we determine what is going on. I have no issues working with him to use the muzzle - it will be a challenge as these types of dogs have a mind of their own. I'm also determined. Thanks again!
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Old 12-03-2010, 06:51 AM
 
5 posts, read 71,759 times
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One other thing... after these types of lunges and the one attack, his eyes were very bloodshot, which could mean a number of things (i.e. high blood pressure, glaucoma, etc) which would affect his vision. He can see gross mvmts, but when I throw a ball, he is unable to track it and jumps to the side when it lands near him. I believe that there is gross vision, but not fine detail vision. I will take my vet's recommendation if she wants to get him further evaluated on this. Makes sense. I am praying that we find a fixable medical root cause.
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Old 12-03-2010, 11:31 AM
 
177 posts, read 361,799 times
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I hope a clear course is ahead for you and your dog!


It's a good idea if you let people know as you're out walking her, that you need to keep walking and for them to not stop to say hello.
This I would do very cheerfully and in good spirits, "I need you to not stop and say hello, we're in training ." -- and keep going. When that happens, give her a treat!

What's behind this is to prevent the negative responses your dog is having. Basically, to not reinforce her negative reaction by preventing it. As someone comes over, tell them not to. But again, best to keep it happy! Your girl will pick up on that and will be able to maintain a lot better.

Meeting people outside needs to be kept a pleasant experience, not a 'forbidden' one.
Little pieces of liver jerky treats in your coat pocket is a good thing! These would be given when cheerfully walking past any person close enough to come over and say hello.
Again, people need to be redirected by you to, "Thanks for not stopping just yet, she's in training" -- and give your girl a treat as the person goes by. Very important to keep it cheerful, for you, your dog, and also just people walking by. All of that will be felt, perceived by your dog.


At the point of no reaction at all for a couple of weeks or more, it'd be good to set up a situation with a trusted friend to run into you and your dog while out for a walk, and have the friend come close to you both.
Being nonchalant about it, cheerfully give her a treat, then move along. (The friend is only coming close to say "how are you?" - still no leaning to greet your dog.)
And gradually increase this kind of exposure to people 'intruding'.
The positive response from you - with little training treats, the non threatening nature of practicing with a friend willing to help you work on this could really help.

If there's a bit growling when the friend comes toward you and she, of course that needs to be not rewarded with a treat, but hopefully the contact will be introduced so gradually that she copes well.
If growling happens, go slower with exposing her to these close space type scenarios.
It can often be 1 step forward, 2 steps back, so best to just go slower if there's any indication that she's not coping with the intrusion.
It's a daily routine, every walk, and takes the dedication you sound like you have!


very best of luck to you and your pup! And I know your vet will check, but also keep in mind having her ears checked, and also her teeth. Who knows how many times dogs are treated behaviorially, when the cause is pain from an ear infection, a bad tooth, etc.
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Old 12-03-2010, 06:34 PM
 
5 posts, read 71,759 times
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Got his test results back today and all normal levels for everything. Good eyes, ears and teeth. Have a referral to see a vet behavioral neurologist for a consult next week.
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Old 12-04-2010, 07:18 AM
 
Location: Kenmore, WA
7,491 posts, read 6,472,008 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bullytime View Post
At about 2 1/2 years of age, ... when I am on one end of the leash. It is always directed at a person either coming toward him or facing me/not moving.
Most likely he is protecting you. I suspect a greater degree of socializing, not training, is in order.

Take him out on the lead, to a busy area, find a comfortable place to sit next to him where there are people coming and going. Have lots of his favorite treats in your pocket. Sit where you can restrain him with one arm.

As some one approaches, watch him closely, and as soon as he tenses, start talking to him in a low, soothing voice, assuring him that you are comfortable in the situation, and he has nothing to worry about. Reward him with treats when he is relaxing, sooth him when he is tensing. Hold him firmly to you the whole time. IF he struggles, continue to hold and sooth him. Reward him when he stops struggling.

Once you've had the chance to repeat this at least three times, stop that session and take him somewhere he feels safe and play with him for at least ten minutes.

Repeat this frequently, until you no longer see him tense up in strange circumstances.
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