bullies other dogsThree-year-old Ollie is large for a Boxer and he’s wonderfull! He’s not only absolutely confident and fearless, but also gentle and friendly without being pushy. In the house he’s biddable and obedient.

He has been extremely well socialised from the start, sensibly trained, and was castrated at about eighteen months.[divider type=”white”]

Now bullies other dogs

However gradually, over time, his attitude towards other dogs has deteriorated. Ollie now bullies other dogs – those he doesn’t know. He seems to want to control every dog he meets. He will put his head over them, stand over them and if the dog submits he’ll pin it down.

If the other dog doesn’t like it, there’s trouble!

Walks are now taken early morning to avoid other dogs, along exactly the same route each day, mostly off lead. He goes daily to the family farm where he has freedom to do as he wishes and go where he likes.

When he’s called he comes back (maybe finishes first what he was doing!)………unless he sees another dog.[divider type=”white”]

Could rough play from humans be contributing to the problem?

Ollie has control of most things in life. He also has excellent self-control. He’s not a demanding dog, but what he wants in the way of attention and play he usually gets. Add to this a mix of frustration and over-excitement building up in him due to the sort of play he gets, and it could be what triggers his intolerance.

The young man and his friends play rough and tumble with Ollie, which ends up with him being so hyped up that he starts to hump them. To stop him they lift him up (he must be very heavy) and though they don’t mean to tease him, this is what is happening.

Daily on his way to the farm he is fired up with barking at dogs from the back of the truck. On arrival, the young man kicks a basketball for him as they walk through the fields. This ball is too big for him to pick up and destroy, so he becomes frustrated. I remember years ago having a similar ball for my Rottweiller and not being able to ‘catch it’ would make him frustrated and angry. He would then redirect his frustration onto the other dog I had at the time.

Needless to say I removed the ball. It is proven that stress continues to build up in dogs over time. It may not show from outside.

We don’t approach this problem with Ollie and other dogs head on – the fact he bullies other dogs in itself it’s not the problem, more a symptom.

Getting a little more control over all general decision-making, putting a few more demands on Ollie in terms of working for them for rewards along with cutting down on excitement and frustration should make a huge difference.

Added to this, his humans need to react appropriately when they see another dog. Avoiding dogs altogether will get them nowhere. They also need to be working very hard on Ollie’s recall, making themselves relevant and more rewarding than anything else so that obeying a call or whistle becomes automatic over time.