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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My husband and I have had our Frenchie, Ponzu, for just over two years now (since she was 8 weeks) and over the past 2-3 months, she's begun exhibiting "bully" behaviors towards other dogs -- at the dog park, at daycare, and sometimes when other dogs are at our house. She will sometimes charge at another dog, enough to startle it, but never bites. On occasion, she'll snap at another dog if she feels like the other dog is getting too close. Yesterday, we had friends and dogs over and she was a total bully to an 8-month old Boston Terrier (charging, snapping). I was frustrated beyond belief!

We've talked to a trainer about her behavior, who suggested a shaker can and the "leave it" command. I'm not sure how effective it is so far, because when she gets fixated on another dog, it's extremely difficult to break her of her focus.

Has anyone else experienced similar behavior issues? Any thoughts or advice would be hugely appreciated!
 

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I wouldn't use the shaker can, especially if she hates the sound. Using a shaker can could actually make an already negative association with other dogs more negative.

Unfortunately, I don't have any experience with this kind of behavior, so I can't give you much advice in that regard. I would say maybe cut back on how much time she's spending around other dogs until you get a better handle on the behavior.
 

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I wouldn't use the shaker can, especially if she hates the sound. Using a shaker can could actually make an already negative association with other dogs more negative.

Unfortunately, I don't have any experience with this kind of behavior, so I can't give you much advice in that regard. I would say maybe cut back on how much time she's spending around other dogs until you get a better handle on the behavior.
Thanks for your response. I guess the problem too, is that she becomes so fixated on another dog that the shaker can does nothing to snap her out of it. She shuts down when she starts focusing on another dog such that clicker training / treats are ineffective too.

She is such a loving and sweet dog with all people and (most) dogs, so it's just frustrating to see her acting out. I haven't really been able to pinpoint a specific type of dog, characteristic, or stimulus that triggers this behavior either, other than perhaps overly rambunctious or overly excited dogs. Still, the 8-month old Boston Terrier she was bullying yesterday was not rambunctious or in her face, so I'm at a loss!
 

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She's growing up. It's very common for dogs to like other dogs as puppies, then start to get less and less tolerant and more and more aggressive once they hit maturity at approximately 2 years.

Why force the issue? Stop pushing her to like other dogs and enjoy her for the dog she is.
 

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It sounds like she is getting progressively sensitized to dogs being 'in her space'. No dog starts out like a jerk, but when they are uncomfortable with something that another dog is doing, they only have so many ways of communicating that without growling, barking or biting! I think that bulldogs (english and french) have an especially momentous task in canine communication because of their unusual faces, naturally stiff postures and stumpy tails. Facial expressions and body-language that are very easy to pick out in breeds like a chihuahua, a greyhound or a pitbull like a wagging tail, a fleeting lift of the lip or a 'stress smile' don't come as easily to a bulldog.

This makes their body language very subtle and different for dogs to interpret. Its very likely (I pretty much guarantee it) that if you could put a speech bubble above her head when she is exhibiting these 'bully' behaviors, what she is actually saying is "This is the sixth time I'm gonna say it; give me some space here!!!"

For starters, I would skip the dog park and daycare. For now, at least. She's clearly not having a good time there if she is constantly having to tell dogs so clearly to back the heck off. If you do need outside care for her while you are working or taking a trip, you might do better to hire a dog walker-- Someone who has a small group of mellow, mannerly dogs who will not be too intrusive or offensive around her.

I still think it would be a good idea to consult with a trainer about this, as at times she will probably have to tolerate other dogs in close proximity-- In the lobby of the vet or the groomer, or if you have doggy guests visiting. This should be a fairly straightforward problem to clear up; she just needs to be counter-conditioned to the immediate presence of dogs so that she feels relaxed and at ease around them. Look for a trainer who is versed in positive reinforcement techniques-- Choking, shouting or zapping are not bound to make her keen on other dogs.

I would peruse these stickies:

http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/dogs-social-behaviour-13482/
http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/calming-signals-10084/
http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/growling-86338/

And, informed on this reading, find a trainer who will help her to feel better, not worse, about other dogs. My own little guy is very much like this in his older age. I strive for a balance of keeping him sane and safe, but also respecting his 'dog sense'. He's an 11 year-old pomeranian with femurs the thickness of pencils. Of course he's not going to greet an exuberant, pushy labrador puppy with open arms (er, paws)! I wish I had some web links handy for resources on crabby dogs but my mind is just blank at the moment :(
 

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Don't use choke collar corrections, as advised above, or shaker cans. Punishing aggressive behavior is never the correct response. Despite the fact that people claim it works, what you may get may be entirely different.

Your dog has reached sexual and social maturity. He's letting you know that for whatever reason, he is not comfortable around other dogs. If you'd like to explore the subject of reactive dogs, see this site:

CAREforreactivedogs.com
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you all, for the helpful advice! I will definitely look into all of these helpful links and suggestions.

Grabby -- I think you hit the nail on the head that she's letting me (and the other dog) know that she's not comfortable with certain situations. I just have to figure out what the reason is (over-stimulation? fear? possessiveness?) and correct with positive reinforcement.

Thanks again!
 

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Thank you all, for the helpful advice! I will definitely look into all of these helpful links and suggestions.

Grabby -- I think you hit the nail on the head that she's letting me (and the other dog) know that she's not comfortable with certain situations. I just have to figure out what the reason is (over-stimulation? fear? possessiveness?) and correct with positive reinforcement.

Thanks again!
The site I mentioned will help you learn how to go about this using counter conditioning and desensitization. Do keep in mind that not all dogs like other dogs once they become mature. Just like people, dogs change as they mature. Good luck and keep us posted. I love Frenchies with an almost obsessive passion. :)
 

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As a reminder, this is an exclusively +R-based forum. Promotion of any aversive techniques is a violation of forum rules and guidelines. Any further recommendation of such training mechanisms will be removed.

Also, please keep posts on topic and polite. Failure to do so is a rule violation and will result in further action as well.

http://www.dogforum.com/dogforum-co...es-guidelines-training-behavior-please-23692/

Thank you!
 
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