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Old 02-25-2010, 05:08 PM
Location: South St Louis
3,793 posts, read 3,436,835 times
Reputation: 1942


The three words that immediately stood out to me in the o.p. were:
1. male: Your dog is displaying male assertion, testing you to see where he fits in among your "pack". And yes, your (human) baby is a member of your pack too, but I doubt the dog sees the baby as a threat. He's testing YOU because you are the pack leader. You must STAY the leader, too, by keeping control.
2. un-neutered: As already stated multiple times in this thread, male dogs that haven't been neutered are more brazen and can be confrontational. Unless you are planning on using him as a stud, you must do the responsible thing and get him neutered.
3. year-old: Your young dog is exploring what's acceptable behavior and what's not. That's where your biggest job comes into play-- teaching him boundries. He may be a bit stubborn, but he will learn if given the proper direction. And if YOU aren't sure how to train him properly, enlist the help of a professional.
And remember too that Bull Terriers are generally high-energy by nature. He needs plenty of exercise, as well as things to chew on. My Bullie loves Nylabones, and they are good for the teeth.
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Old 02-25-2010, 05:44 PM
Location: Deep in the Heart of Texas
1,479 posts, read 7,001,849 times
Reputation: 1908
Originally Posted by nardie23 View Post
holding him by the coller and pulling him/pushing him off it is as though he has decided that that isnt going to happen and so snarles when we reach for him, we have been so shocked at this that we have back off and he has slunk away looking like he has done something really naughty.
Many responses to your post have mentioned positive training and the need to have him neutered. Neutering may help improve the aggressive behavior but I believe you will need to change your approach in dealing with your dog's behavior if you wish to eliminate the problem.

In addition to positive training, you need to eliminate the use of any aversive techniques, including some of the things that you have done in the past and may be currently doing. This includes yelling at the dog or doing anything that creates fear for the dog or elicits a fearful response, such as slinking away or hiding. Physical force, snatching a dog's collar and pushing or pulling a dog to control behavior might be a short term solution to a problem, and it might make us humans feel better, but in the long run it just doesn't create good results.

Being the so-called pack leader doesn't mean you have to dominate your dog any more than being a parent means you have to dominate your child. Being an effective leader is about teaching, facilitating and guiding, and good leadership of dogs and humans results in cooperation, not fear.

Please read this article: Alpha Dog Techniques Cause More Harm than Good by Dr. Sophia Yin. Here's a brief excerpt:

"According to a new veterinary study published in The Journal of Applied Animal Behavior (2009), if you’re aggressive to your dog, your dog will be aggressive, too...Indeed, the use of such confrontational training techniques can provoke fear in the dog and lead to defensively aggressive behavior toward the person administering the aversive action."

I think it is most likely that your dog has a behavioral issue. However, there are also medical reasons for sudden aggression in dogs, including Lyme disease, thyroid problems and seizure disorders, so perhaps a complete veterinary check would be a good thing.

Also, please keep in mind that if you don't deal with your dog's behavior now and instead turn him over to a rescue or a shelter, you won't be doing him a favor. Liability and insurance issues and lack of financial resources mean that most rescues and shelters can't afford to keep or place for adoption dogs with aggressive tendencies. There are simply too many homeless dogs to waste time and resources on those that require extensive rehabilitation. If a dog fails a "temperament test" it will be killed. And giving the dog away to a new owner who may be unprepared or unwilling to fix his issues may lead to the same result, or, even worse, abandonment or abuse.

You've identified the problem and it can still be fixed but it will take work. If you don't know where to start, seek professional help. It will be well worth it in the end.

Bottom line: If you change your approach, commit to and follow through with appropriate training, can the dog ever be trusted again?

Yes, absolutely.

Best of luck.
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Old 02-25-2010, 06:29 PM
Location: Mostly in my head
19,805 posts, read 55,631,864 times
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I highly recommemnd the book "The Other End of the Leash" by Patricia McConnell, Ph.D. She is an animal behaviorist who works with dogs. I got a used copy from Amazon but I am sure your library can obtain a copy for you. Even though I have owned dogs for over 40 yrs with no real problems, I learned a few new things in the first few chapters that made my life easier. I now have a pitbull for the first time and he has been a bit of a challenge - sweet dog but stubborn! Good luck!!
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Old 02-25-2010, 06:30 PM
7,079 posts, read 34,416,174 times
Reputation: 4035
Kudos to Leorah! Absolutely CORRECT!
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Old 02-25-2010, 10:02 PM
Location: San Antonio
257 posts, read 466,988 times
Reputation: 238
Neuter your dog, problem solved!
Absolutely not true! Having been a groomer for 15+ years & working in a vet clinic for the past 5, I have seen just as many aggressive neutered males as intact males. Hormone levels will go down in a couple of weeks, but aggressive tendencies will not magically disappear. Training, training, training & consistency is your friend.
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Old 02-26-2010, 02:28 PM
4 posts, read 16,624 times
Reputation: 16
thank you all for your advice, i am sure you will all be glad to hear things are already looking up actually.

I am completely aware that it is my behaviour that has lead to this, but in my own defence i just never imagined it would lead to this i thought at the worst maybe he would just be a bit naughty and that would just be his way (my previous dog was trained by my father as I was only a child but was still generally naughty, but never aggressive and he had his full bits).

I never realised how even the smallest of things to me speak volumes to him.

I thought it lovely that he wanted to follow me all over the house...but now have realised to him it meant he was equal. He used to sit with me in the bath room while I was bathing and I would think it cute that he tried to eat the bubbles off the floor, but now all that is out of bounds, he has boundaries, such as a stair gate and closed doors (those that he can not open block him from those that he can).

We have also re-started training in the living room with all the family, he has a spare blanket on the floor (his main bed is in kitchen where he has slept since he was 12 weeks old) and I am keeping him on a leash at present and if he tries to climb on the sofa I say no, down and then remove him by the long leash (I have also left him in the room alone with the long leash and when he tried to climb on the sofa then I removed him using the leash through the door).

I do not greet him straight away but wait for him to calm and leave me alone then call him to me to pet calmly for as long as I say.

he jumps up to greet visitors still but I have asked that they ignore him until he calms and leaves them alone and then call him to them and greet him. This worked amazingly today and I was actually quite shocked. he usually would be all over them and I would be constantly pulling him down and raising my voice with "down down down" but today i asked that they ignore him even his jumping and simply turn their backs to him and he left them alone after trying to get at them just a few times (which would usually last for their entire visit or until I put him in another room).

We now also have strict rules that all in the house must follow including go through doors first, move him out of the way do not go around him, eat in front of him before he gets his food in his bowl only.

I have to admit I was aware of these training practices but never used them as I never thought really desperate...now i can already see the difference and we havent even been back to school yet!

thanks again everyone I hope I will be able to share a success story one day.
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Old 02-26-2010, 03:13 PM
Location: San Antonio
257 posts, read 466,988 times
Reputation: 238
Yay! Happy to hear it. You're well on way to a happy home & happy dog.

My trainer friend always says: A trained dog is a happy dog.
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Old 02-26-2010, 03:50 PM
Location: Manhattan, Ks
1,280 posts, read 6,113,900 times
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Wonderful news! It sounds like he's a very bright little guy, but also eager to be in your good graces as well. I expect you can look forward to a long, rewarding life together.
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Old 03-13-2010, 12:05 PM
1 posts, read 4,739 times
Reputation: 10
Hi, I have a English Bull Terrier that is now 18 months old, he is neutered ! Hes a great fella and loves people, kids and other dogs. I would never trust him 100% as he is a dog. They are not your average dog ! Every day he tries and wants to be the boss ! The only person he growls at is me as I spend most of the time with him ! Every member of you family has to treat him the same. (my main rule its to ignore him most of the day which is so hard, never let him stand in your way as very teritorial) This is my first dog and still learning myself !
Dont read into this to much because it could *********r head up ! ignore bad behavour praise good ! Look at dog breed info and read the links (alpha male ect, ect) dont read past this web site, its great !
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Old 06-23-2010, 11:02 PM
1 posts, read 4,674 times
Reputation: 10
HI Nardie
I also have a a 14 month old english bull terriers. Believe you me they are dominant breeds. We also are all of a sudden dealing with aggressive behavior. Rage in fact - if we try to tell her out of the kitchen , or putting her on her bed. We have been through three training classes , one with a trainer who has worked with Casesar Milan. She is full trained and we have had confirmed we are doing all of the right things. We do not let her get away with anything ( we were warned to be like this from the breeder as well ) Obviously calm assertive is the way to go but sometimes you may need a choke collar- EVERY BREED IS DIFFERENT positive reinforcement does not always work. Bullies fixate more than other dogs , they are more dominant than other dogs . They are smart as can be they just are also unbelievable stubborn as can be and are exceptionally strong. The sad part is psychologically things can be wrong with them, Ours is not a tail spinner thankfully but she is going through bouts of being aggressive and extremely aggressive She paces and still fixates and barks at herself in the mirror. She ALWAYS wants to be in the crate or pacing when she is at home and she gets 2 hours of excerise a day. Sadly we may have to have her euthanized and this is the very last resort obviously but if his aggression doesn't go away after 5 months of being fixed watch out. ( it can take a few a months for their horomones to balance/ Good luck
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