Stop Bulldog Aggression

bulldog training guide

Bulldog owners commonly want their dogs to exhibit some protective tendencies, but not excessive aggression in inappropriate situations. Unfortunately, it can be hard for a Bulldog to determine when it is appropriate to behave in a protective way. This confusion frequently results in unwanted manifestations of aggressive behavior by Bulldogs. In the article I examine the common causes of Bulldog aggression, and suggest proven solutions to help stop Bulldog aggression.

Common Causes of Bulldog Aggression

Heredity, poor health, as well as the Bulldog's environment and upbringing can all be the root cause of unwanted aggressive behavior. That said, aggression in Bulldogs stemming from heredity (a dogs genetic makeup) is usually considered rare due to the fact that it goes against the idea of domestication.

Aggressive behavior is more frequently the result of poor health. Your dogs aggression problem may well be caused by the fact the your Bulldog feels unwell or is in discomfort, even pain. In these situations, it is actually the dog's health problem that is causing the aggressive behavior. If you suspect that your Bulldog's aggression is caused by is illness or injury, the solution is to take you Bulldog to the vet as soon as possible.

The overwhelmingly most common cause of Bulldog aggressions is environment and upbringing. Misunderstandings, a lack of adequate care, and a lack of Bulldog obedience training and socialization are common environmental causes of unwanted Bulldog aggression.

In cases where a Bulldog is behaving aggressively towards its owner, the problem may be that the owner has not properly established themselves as pack leader. Bulldogs showing aggression towards other high ranking pack members are often under the impression that they can gain alpha status. Bulldog owners really need to leave their dogs in know doubt as to who is in charge. Doing so will help stop Bulldog aggression towards owners and other "pack" members.

bulldog training product

Telltale Signs of Bulldog Aggression

It is very important to be able to identify and respond to the most common signals that indicate your Bulldog is about to become excessively aggressive. Common signs to look for include:

Dealing With Bulldog Aggression - Prey, Pack, Fight, and Flight Drives

When trying to stop bulldog aggression, its important to examine the aggression problem into the context of prey, pack, and defense (fight or flight) drives. Doing so is the only way to truly understand the triggers of Bulldog aggression, which is vital when planning how to stop specific aggression problems. As each of the Bulldog aggression drives mentioned above have their own set of triggers, the best solution will depend on which drive is at the root of the specific aggression problem. It's also really important to get to know your dogs individual personality when trying to stop Bulldog aggression. Your ability to manage your Bulldog's behavior is dependent to a large degree on being able to anticipate their reaction in a variety of situations. So lets continue by examining each of the Bulldog aggression behavioral drives (prey, pack, and defense drives) in turn:

bulldog training product

Stop Bulldog Aggression Prey Drive

It should come as no surprise to find out that behaviors relating to the hunting and killing of prey are among the most common causes of Bulldog aggression.

Bulldog Prey Drive - Triggers

A wide variety of stimuli can trigger Bulldog Prey Drive. This is the reason that Bulldog aggression coming from this drive is the most problematic. Moving objects, as well as sounds and smells can all stimulate Bulldogs high in prey drive.

Bulldog Prey Drive - Solutions

Regularly play retrieve games and be sure that your Bulldog gets regular exercise. If your Bulldog sees another animal on a walk, try to to distract him, get his attention back on you, and walk away from the other animal. Using the "Leave it" command may suffice, or you might have to accompany this with a leash check.

If you can't trust your Bulldog to "come" when called, make sure he is never loose in circumstances where he might decide to run off. Your best bet is put in the effort to train your Bulldog to come on command every time.

bulldog training product

Stop Bulldog Aggression Pack Drive

Pack drive includes behaviors relating to membership of a dog pack. Most relevant to Bulldog aggression problems are behaviors associated with improving a dog's status within the pack, and reproduction. Commonly observed pack drive behaviors include:

Bulldog Pack Drive - Triggers

Bulldog aggression related to pack drive is most commonly observed in dogs that were removed from their litter (and mother) before the age of 7 weeks. Bulldog puppies start to learn canine body language, as well as why it is important to inhibit biting and nipping, between the 5th and 7th weeks or its life. Bulldogs that didn't get the chance to learn these important lessons are more likely to be overly protective of their owners, and excessively aggressive to other dogs and people. In addition to allowing a Bulldog puppy to remain with its mother/litter for 7 weeks, it's also really important to continue to regularly socialize (expose your dog to other dogs and people) a bulldog for the first 6 months of its life.

Bulldog Pack Drive - Solutions

If your Bulldog lacks social skills with other humans, start by gradually introducing your dog to other people over time. Dog on dog pack drive aggression is not so simple to cure. In the beginning prevention is probably more realistic than cure. You can prevent your Bulldog from attacking other dogs by keeping your dog under control on a leash when you go out.

A lot of Bulldog owners claim to have had success using oil of lavender, known for its calming qualities, to help stop Bulldog aggression. Add a few drops onto a small piece of cloth and then wipe your Bulldog's muzzle and the area around the nose.

bulldog training product

Stop Bulldog Aggression Defense (Fight or Flight) Drive

Defense drive is governed by a Bulldog's natural survival instinct. Defense drive is made up of fight or flight responses to potentially dangerous situations. Defense drive is the most complicated drive to manage because the same stimuli that can trigger aggressive behavior (fight) might also trigger avoidance behavior (flight) under different circumstances.

Bulldogs often switch into defense drive from pack drive once an aggressive scenario has begun. For example, should your dog and another dog come together, they commonly check each other out a bit. One of the most common signs of fight aggression is when a dog places his head on top of another dog's head or shoulders. Usually a dog of lower rank will lower his body posture to let the Alpha dog know he recognizes his rank. If however one dog fails to recognize the others dominance, a fight can break out, triggering defense drive behaviors.

Bulldog Defense Drive - Triggers

Defense drive aggression can be triggered by a variety of stimuli. The following are some of the more common triggers:

Bulldog Defense Drive - Solutions

Bulldog owners sometimes cause fights between dogs by keeping their Bulldog on too tight a leash. A tight leash on a Bulldog will alter his body posture to being fairly upright, a posture other dogs commonly recognize as a signal of dominance. If your dog comes close to another dog, keep the leash loose and not tight. From the first moment of trouble, such as another dog staring, snarling, and growling, command your Bulldog to walk away with you. Calling your dog with a pleasant tone is important because you are trying to change your Bulldogs mindset from defense drive back to pack drive before trouble starts.

Make sure you meet your Bulldogs needs in terms of exercise, training, and socialization. In addition, play tug of war several times during the week. Doing these things helps tire your dogs body and mind and will help to stop Bulldog aggression by using up your dogs energy to tug, growl and bite.

If your dog has a more serious defense drive related aggression problem and you are scared of your bulldog, the dog attempts bite people and other dogs regularly, or the dog won't obey the "Down" command, the first step is to apply a muzzle. If you put a muzzle on your Bulldog, you will be able to take him out without worrying about him attacking any people or dogs. You should however consider a muzzle as a short-term last resort. If your situation is this bad the long-term solution is to seek professional help from a dog obedience training expert in your area.

bulldog training product

Stop Bulldog Aggression Fear Biters in Flight Drive

Some Bulldogs bite out of fear for their own safety, especially if they feel cornered or unable to flee. These dogs are known as fear biters. Biting is a last resort for fear biters, who would actually much rather escape.

The most obvious thing that Bulldog owners can do to stop fear biting is to avoid putting the dog in a situation where he feels he has no other choice but to bite. Bulldogs who appear shy and hide behind their owners are high in flight drive. When high in flight (defense) drive, keep them away from other people and dogs, and prevent them from being cornered.

What overly fearful Bulldogs really need is confidence and a predictable environment. Your Bulldog will develop confidence if you use encouragement and positive rewards during training. To help your Bulldog gain confidence around other people and dogs, consider enrolling in a local dog obedience class. Also, have a routine where you do certain activities such as walking, feeding, or playing with your Bulldog at particular times every day.

Stop Bulldog Aggression - Being Attacked By Aggressive Dogs

Sometimes when out for a walk a Bulldog can attract the unwanted attention of another dog. If the other dog is loose and has an aggression problem, this can lead to your Bulldog being the innocent victim of an attack. Here is what you should and should not do if your Bulldog gets attacked:

Feeding and Bulldog Aggression

bulldog training product

Many bulldogs are excessively protective over their food. From a Bulldogs point of view, it is important to guard food from other pack members in order to meet his dietary needs. Food guarding is therefore an instinctive and not at all uncommon response in Bulldogs.

Food possessiveness in a dog is not something to be particularly concerned about. Bare in mind that some Bulldog owners make the problem worse by trying to take away their digs food before they have finished eating. This is not at all recommended and only ever ends up making the food guarding worse.

Try to give your Bulldog peace and quiet when you feed them. A great place to feed a Bulldog is in his crate. By simply leaving them alone while eating you will stop Bulldog aggression associated with food guarding.

I hope that this article on how to stop Bulldog aggression has shed some light on the subject and given you some practical help in dealing with your bulldog's aggressive behavior. Please feel free to browse the rest of this sight for some more free Bulldog training advice.