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Dealing with aggression

Hello everyone I purchased an ol southern white Bulldog about 2 weeks ago and just recently started to notice some aggression from the little guy. 2 days ago I gave him a ham bone and if anyone would walk by he would growl at them and if you tried to pet him or tried to take it away he would snap at them. I also find that when he is in a playfull mood he starts to bite but then his playful bites turn aggressive and not playful in the least bit. I have read a lot of different things that are said to work but I need something that is going to be 100% effective. I have 2 small children and don't want anything happening later on down the road.


Good Dog
Super Moderator
Check out this article in regards to the food aggression: Treatment of Food Aggression in Dogs is About Finesse, Not Force | Animal Behavior and Medicine Blog | Dr. Sophia Yin, DVM, MS

As for the other times, do you truly believe that it is aggression, or do you think it could be over-stimulated/over-excited play? Depending on your answer, I would do different things.

If you really believe that it is aggression and that the dog is intending to cause harm, I would contact a behaviourist (preferably one that is familiar with guardian breed dogs) and have the dog assessed. HA is no joke, especially towards the handler and with children in the house.

If it's not actually aggression (and I recommend you read up on dog body language/behaviour to try to determine whether it is), I would start by upping the dog's exercise. A tired dog is a good dog and they will have much less energy to spend on inappropriate play. I would also implement NILF training and work on boundaries. Ignore the dog as soon as they start doing the jumping/biting. Turn your back, and if they persist, walk away. Completely ignore the dog until they have settled down. They learn fairly quickly that this behaviour doesn't garner any attention.

Just a side note, please do not give your dog any cooked bones. I'm not sure if the one you gave was, but either way, just a warning. Cooked bones are very dangerous.
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Good Dog
Sounds like your pup needs to learn some self control. I can see both of the situations you've mention not being actual aggression. Those are two very common areas where something else is mislabeled as aggression. Resource guarding and over stimulation. You are correct in that they need to be addressed immediately. How old is this dog? Did you guys do a two week shut down? If not, and he's of age, it's not to late to do it. I highly recommend it.

The link above that BC shared comes from a really great website full of resources. Maybe spend some time poking around on there.-see if you can find what you're looking for.

One other thing I'd like to address. -you've not said anything to make me believe this is the case, I just feel it's important to point it out incase it's not something youv'e considered- I hope as much training as you are putting (or intend to put) into this dog is also going into your children. It is beyond important for them to learn proper interaction with animals. Not just with your current dog, but any animal along the line. The earlier you start, the more ingrained it becomes in them. We really expect a lot from our dogs...some times too much. If the children are misbehaving and the dog reacts, the dog gets blamed-when in reality it's the parent's (because of the children) fault.
The dog is 9 weeks old. Yes it is very possible that I am labeling it as aggression when in actuality it's not. Not to sure what a 2 week shut down is. And yes I believe training my children to interact properly with dogs is very important as well.


Good Dog
This is the two week shut down...but your pup is too young.
In fact, that could be part of the reason he's acting the way he is-not enough time spent with his mother and siblings (they teach bite inhibition).

The stickies here have a lot of information-I'd check out the training and behavior section and see if you can find some resources there. Otherwise, Dr. Sophia Yin's website (listed above), again, has a ton TON of great info. Also, Pit Bull Rescue Central Pit Bull Rescue Central (I know you said your dog is a Bulldog-but the information can be helpful no matter what breed)

And then here's an article about hyperactive dogs (biting while playing).
Training a Hyperactive Dog to Calm Down - Whole Dog Journal Article

Best of luck to you!


Good Dog
Super Moderator
The dog is 9 weeks old. Yes it is very possible that I am labeling it as aggression when in actuality it's not. Not to sure what a 2 week shut down is. And yes I believe training my children to interact properly with dogs is very important as well.

Oh. At 9 weeks I HIGHLY doubt it's aggression. It's very common for people to not know the difference between play/aggression with pups.

Scrap the behaviourist comment, then. This is just a matter of teaching bite inhibition and proper boundaries. Also don't worry about more exercise, a 9 week old pup doesn't need it. Lots of mental stimulation and obedience training.