American Bulldog behavior problems

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American Bulldog behavior problems

This is a discussion on American Bulldog behavior problems within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; My 3 year old american bulldog is a very sweet dog to me and my family, however when new people come around it is very ...

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Old 01-26-2012, 05:45 PM
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American Bulldog behavior problems

My 3 year old american bulldog is a very sweet dog to me and my family, however when new people come around it is very hard to tell what he will do. Sometimes he is a very loving and affectionate to new people, but other times he has actually bit people. It is hard to understand what he is thinking.

He will wag his tail and walk right up to someone that is sitting down and start licking their hand. Most people's reaction once he does that is to pull out there hand and try to pet him but when that happens he can let out a deep bark and bite their hand. Hes never bit anyone hard, more like a warning bite. He's done it a few times. I don't understand that behavior because I always thought that when a dog comes up to you and starts touching you that that is his way of saying that it's okay for you to touch him. Another thing is if he is walking by and a stranger reaches down to pet him he will cower down with his tail down and sometimes he will jump up and try to bite at them.

Once i take him out of the house, he turns into being full alert. Looking around everywhere like hes hunting or something. I can fell hes very nervous and on edge. He never really seems to relax when hes outside.

With dogs, its hit or miss as well. He absolutely loves small dogs. With big dogs he usually gets into the domanint stance where the tail is up and ears are up, and it usually leads into a fight.

From the first day I got him I have been watching dog whisperer and reading cesar millans books to try to make sure that doesn't happen to him, but i guess im failing.

He listens to commands most of the time but i dont think he views me as a pack leader.

I would appreciate any sort of advice anybody can give me to help his behavior. He is such a loving dog to me and my family, i just wish he could be friendly with new people so i dont have to keep him isolated whenever people come over. And it would be nice to bring him to public places without worrying either.

Im willing to do anything for him, i just dont know what i should do anymore. I know isolating him wont solve the problem but i dont want to risk someone getting hurt if i bring him out around strangers.

Thanks

Keith

Lifeorde4th@yahoo.com
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Old 01-26-2012, 09:00 PM
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Dear kjhman;

In regards to your dog going up to someone and licking their hand, indeed its a friendly gesture; however, once someone reaches out to pet him; he sees this as a dominant move, especially if its the top of the head. The dog is simply displaying dominant aggression, and wants to play his game on his own terms.

As for being outdoors and being nervous, it sounds as though he may have not been desensitized around society when he was a pup, therefore creating a nervous dog outdoors. He also sounds as though he has anxiety issues, Does he bark a lot when you leave him alone? When did you get the dog, was he a pup when you got him?

As for the bigger dogs, he's simply reacting to being intimidated by the size difference because they over tower him, he sees this as a threat, and will react in a dominant manner, where a smaller dog seems less threatening to his eyes.

What you can do in regards to the aggression, have him on leash when you interact with both dogs and humans. Each time he attempts to bite, or even growl, give a single rapid jerk to the leash pulling from the side and say ''No''! in a loud firm voice. (Don't yank his leash too rough, but enough to match the weight of the dog )

Upon being outside, walk him more often near noisy streets. Praise him for not being nervous. Also praise the canine when good behavior is established upon meeting other people and dogs.
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Old 01-27-2012, 08:42 AM
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I would highly recommend you seek the help of a qualified behaviorist to help you with this problem. The dog is fearful.

Also, you might consider that Ceasar's methods are making things worse for this dog.

Check out some threads in the dog behavior section. There will also be links to help you find a behaviorist.
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Old 01-29-2012, 03:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tess View Post
I would highly recommend you seek the help of a qualified behaviorist to help you with this problem. The dog is fearful.

Also, you might consider that Ceasar's methods are making things worse for this dog.

Check out some threads in the dog behavior section. There will also be links to help you find a behaviorist.

I wouldn't say that Cesar's methods are making things worse. But maybe they are being applied wrong. It is not a easy thing to take off a TV show or out of a book-with him it is all about feel and energy. You need to know how to apply it or it could, like you said, not work or in the worst case make the situation worse.

I agree though-seek professional help that you can personally work with. If he has already bitten some people if is time for intervention and should he taken seriously.
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Last edited by EmilysSheltie2012; 01-29-2012 at 03:21 PM.
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