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2+ year old neutered Olde English Bulldogge. First year-lived in a garage, then 6 mo of living in an apt crated while the owner was gone. He was given to us as the owner stated no time and his only issue was food and possession. Not true. I have been working with this dog for over 6 months and have discovered a list with this boy but it basically boils down to...if he doesnt want to do it...growling starts, body language (no ? that he will follow through) and I have been able to redirect and change his thought process. This boy knows obedience, we have worked with P+ and NILIF -listens a majority of the time however when he doesnt, the only defense I have found helpful is redirection and then repeat the original command and he complies. Something as simple as "inside" can turn into an event.
What has brought this to a boil is I have given this boy baths in the past however this week was a nightmare. He went up the ramp, attached the lead to the bolt in the wall, started rinsing and he went off. Growling, bearing his teeth, spinning and doing his best to escape the tub as well as grab a hold of me. We have not had trouble before. I continued the bath if that is what it was called because I was not going to let him believe he won...but the reality check is that situation was potentially dangerous and I may just be counting my lucky stars. Once the bath was finished, it was like a light switch and he was happy with getting towel dried.
How does one get beyond this boys decision of what he wants or does not want to do at any given moment? Like I said, redirecting works a majority of the time but I am becoming increasingly concerned.
He is not a candidate to be rehomed so I have resigned myself he is here to stay but at the same time I have ?'d that as well.
He has been examined by a vet for Thyroid etc. Needless to say he was not cooperative.
Sigh, any thoughts are appreciated. There is alot about him that is endearing and I am fond of him...the good in him is great. But the bad, perhaps I need a reality check.
 

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Which thyroid test was done? The in house test is often not sensitive enough to catch low/normal thyroid which can trigger aggressive tendancies. I know he's having issues at the vet, so ask about getting a tranq you give before you bring him in to make him easier to handle. Also have him checked for Glaucoma, Cataracts and heart conditions such as cardiomyopothy. Too often Illness>fear>aggression.

Frankly, it sounds like much of this has started out as fear based and has escalated. DO NOT punish the growl/snap as you NEED those warnings to work with him.

Next get a professional involved in the rehab, you REALLY need the guidance right now. Look in these places to find someone who will work with him in a non threatening way.

www.iaabc.org
www.apdt.com
 

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Which thyroid test was done? The in house test is often not sensitive enough to catch low/normal thyroid which can trigger aggressive tendancies. I know he's having issues at the vet, so ask about getting a tranq you give before you bring him in to make him easier to handle. Also have him checked for Glaucoma, Cataracts and heart conditions such as cardiomyopothy. Too often Illness>fear>aggression.

Frankly, it sounds like much of this has started out as fear based and has escalated. DO NOT punish the growl/snap as you NEED those warnings to work with him.

Next get a professional involved in the rehab, you REALLY need the guidance right now. Look in these places to find someone who will work with him in a non threatening way.

www.iaabc.org
www.apdt.com
The thing is, I am a professional. We have not punished the growling etc because I know we need the warnings and I dont believe punishment of any sort would get us anywhere. Thank goodness he does warn. We have been working with him in a far from threatening way. Like I said, I have been able to redirect him.
He had a CBC and a T4., full wellness check and I even had him checked for possible Lymes.
It is very clear to me that this dog is highly dominant. I dont see any fear in him. He is very confident even in the way he carries himself day to day. He has challenged from day one. We have made alot of progress such as he is no longer has food or possession issues. He does respond to commands for a majority of the time but there are times, I can see it escalate and he is completely defiant. Just as an example, he knows sit without a doubt on voice as well as hand signal. He may go for weeks and no problem then one day decide to challenge. His challenge is bearing teeth, snarling, growling. I specifically remember this event... I gave him another command "lets go" to redirect him...I tapped my leg and he was thrilled to walk beside me. The second he had another command, his entire disposition changed. I asked him to sit again and he did with no problems. There was another time that we were getting ready to go for a walk. I told him...lets go for a walk. He was excited and happy. The minute I go to put the lead on him, the growling started escalating. I told him to kennel up (his disposition changed immediately)and he happily ran into his crate. Told him he was a good boy, released him out of the crate clipped the lead and off we went.
The bath was the tip of the iceburg because I am to the point I do not know what is going to set him off. He normally loves a bath.
Sigh
 

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I'm going to say this simply, if this is true aggression and not stemming from either a health problem or fear and can't be rehabbed, it may be time to put him down. If he's a danger to you, your family members or the public, he can't be kept around.

Here's some more reading you might try.


FEISTY FIDO - HELP FOR THE LEASH AGGRESSIVE DOG

GETTING A GRIP ON AGGRESSION CASES - PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR DOG TRAINERS

HOW TO RIGHT A DOG GONE WRONG - A ROADMAP FOR REHABILITATING AGGRESSIVE DOGS
Pamela Dennison

I'm also going to refer you to a VERY good group, headed by my good friend Virginia Wind, who trains with Pam Dennison. It's called "Camp Naughty Dog" and it's on the yahoo groups. There are several trainers and they'll 'brainstorm' with you on how to work around this problem IF it can be worked around. I'm a member there, though not as active as I used to be, still I get the newsletters and emails. Let 'em know Carla sent you.
 

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bullies are stubborn to the point that they could be considered defiant at times. sounds like this guy had it tough for a while and i was just wondering if any of his defiance/aggression is brought on by the leash? has his aggression gone beyond growling and showing teeth? are you his 2nd or 3rd owner? being left in a garage all day with no interaction would make me growl and show my teeth too. there are some messed up people out there who can really screw with a dog's head. as a oeb owner and absolute lover of the breed, thank you for giving him the love that this breed craves. i hope it all works out for the both of you. my bulldogge's the best family pet (my wife and i and our 3 kids consider and treat him as a family member) i've ever had and at the same time the most challenging because of his stubbornness. how long have you had him? maybe try to avoid the things that are setting him off until the two of you bond to the point where you both have total trust in one another because he'll be able to sense if you're unsure of him or a situation and that could trigger any dog to go on the defense. unfortunately i don't know as much knowledge from the medical side as the others who've replied but i do have a way with dogs and i'm thinking it will come with time, maybe a bad example, but the same as a neglected or abused child. read up on the breed and spend lots of quality one-on-one time with him. i wish you guys the best.
 

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I think there is alot of confusion when it comes to dogs that are labeled defiant, stubborn, willful, dominant, etc. When dogs feel threatened or unsure of something they're going to react in one of two ways...fight or flight. Almost everyone reads the flight as fear but, so is fight....that's how they naturally respond to a stressful situations.

The cure for both reactions is to remove the fear...take away the stress. Desensitze, take everything slower and in smaller steps, calmer, more gently...using reinforcers.
That is not 'giving in' to their response/behavior....it's teaching/training.
 
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