American Bulldog and Another Postman Incident

American Bulldog was friendly whilst keeping an eye on his ownersAmerican Bulldog Bruno with his ballBruno is a seven-year-old American Bulldog – quite a large dog. The story is a bit similar to the dog I went to a couple of days ago.

He, too, is protective and territorial. He is absolutely fine with other dogs, but people approaching the house or walking towards him or his owners can set him off barking, hackles up and even shaking.

I was expecting something very different when I arrived. Because of what I had been told over the phone I was expecting a dangerous dog and I took all the precautions, so when I was seated the other side of the room, I asked the gentleman to bring Bruno in on lead. Soon it was obvious that this wasn’t necessary at all! Bruno was absolutely lovely – friendly and calm (whilst also keeping a careful eye on his owners).

They have always known that Bruno was protective and have been careful, but in one careless moment when their concentration was elsewhere, Bruno was out the front as the postman walked towards the house. To his credit he didn’t actually bite – though a tooth caught the man’s skin. Bruno did all in his power to chase the man off – he reared, barked, lunged and jumped at him. His hackles were up and he sounded ferocious.

What he got for his efforts was serious trouble.

Life must seem so unfair to a dog sometimes.

At home and alone with the family, Bruno is affectionate and a wonderful pet. But – they do everything he asks and his every wish is pandered to. He eats when he wishes, he is given treats when he asks and never has to to earn anything; he has been sleeping where he wants, he gets all attention and play upon his own terms, and so on. In order to show Bruno that they don’t need protecting, they will have to show him that they are not his ‘charges’. It has to be the other way around.

It is about understanding the dog better, what makes him tick and what to do about it in ways that he understands. They absolutely adore their beautiful dog, and I know they will go that extra mile for him.

Just ten days later: “A vast improvement in Bruno’s attitude to people: Just back from a weekend down the coast with all the family. Bruno was a star! He was calm, even though our 2 year old grandson was forever stroking and talking to him. We took him out along the beach, and he never pulled once. There was a funfair and fete on the cliffs, and he walked through all the people without the slightest concern. We even had someone walk past our caravan, and he barked once, but left it to me to investigate. So the work we’re putting in is really helping him.”.
I can help you, too, with these problems or any other that you may be having with your dog.
 

Staffie Stressed and Easily Scared

Yawning - uneasy because the camera is ointing at him Max is three years old. He is gentle and affectionate, but becoming increasingly confused and nervous. The photo on the right shows hiim yawning because the camera was pointed at him – typical signs of uneasiness are yawning and lip-licking.

His companion dog died in August and things have gone downhill for him since. His lady owner is lavishing far too much physical affection on him which she is the first to admit is mostly for her own benefit whilst giving him no boundaries at all. She jumps to his bidding, even in the middle of the night. In the past he had the other dog, who was by nature a lot more confident, to share this burden.

To add to Max’ problems, fStaff Max is a gentle and affectionate dogamily members and friends who visit daily are giving all sorts of mixed messages.

He is shouted at for licking them whilst being encouraged to jump onto them. He is more or less force-fed from human plates whilst refusing to eat his own food – though he is partial to doughnuts. He only has to bark at the box, and he is given one. He is becoming increasingly scared out on walks, running back to the car at the slightest sudden noise. In fact he is reluctant to leave the house even to go into the garden to toilet, and he makes himself last nearly twenty four hours some days.

When I was there the slightest trigger sent him either into the corner or in front of the lady, shaking. She understandably then fussed and comforted him which will be reinforcing his fear (‘come to mummy she will protect you from the big bad wolf’!). She would do a lot better to ocntrol the source of his fear, if possible. However, she feels powerless to protect him from real threats, like visitors who shout and knee him for jumping up or who threaten to force him to go out and ‘behave’ when he is scared.

I know the lady is on board with my advice. I sincerely hope she has influence over her visiting family and friends – at least to the extent of leaving Max in another room where he would be perfectly happy – and insist he is left alone.

I can help you, too, with these problems or any other that you may be having with your dog.