I really don’t even know where to begin with this. First let me preface by saying that the dog in question is my sister’s dog not mine, but I love him as much as my own and am absolutely desperate for some help.
He is a 1.5 year old English Bull Terrier, my sister and her partner have had him since a puppy and he has been an absolute whirlwind as seems to be the norm with the breed! He’s fantastic, very energetic and extremely sociable, loves cuddles etc and is generally a very healthy guy. He’s shown signs of anxiety from very young such as paw chewing and has some sensitive skin issues along with a sensitive stomach which we think came along after having surgery to remove a blanket he decided to eat as a puppy—but this
Is mostly controlled with lotions and sensory stimulation to calm him, along with a raw diet that includes all of his needed vitamins etc.
Over the past few months he has displayed very sudden aggression that only came about after an incident involving their cat. They have always been kept separate due to the dog constantly wanting to chase the cat—this one in a million chance he did catch him, miraculously the cat was unharmed but to keep him safe my sister’s partner who had hold of the dog at the time had to press the spot behind his ear to get him to let go? (I don’t know much about this, it’s something he had heard of) and since then he has shown the aggression mainly to my sister’s partner—it started as growling and barking but has escalated to two separate incidents of a bite—nothing too serious but obviously a HUGE issue. The only aggression he has shown to my sister herself has been one incident of barking at her.
They have been working with a behaviourist for a while just to train him up a bit as he is incredibly stubborn, so when this aggression first showed they consulted her and she suggested it was a form of PTSD from the incident with the cat, gave them a few suggestions in how to handle it and then things seemed to improve until the first sudden bite. Since then they have taken him to the vets for a full physical examination to rule out any cause of pain in that area and they said he was in perfect physical condition, so nothing they could see in that department is causing the aggression.
Since the second bite, the behaviourist has been round to observe him since and said that she hasn’t ever seen the sort of symptoms he’s showing in a purely behaviour based aggression display before, and thinks there could be an underlying medical condition. My sister and her partner have another appointment with the vet tomorrow to see if they can schedule some scans etc to look at his brain as this was the main place
The vet couldn’t rule out, along with xrays etc
My main question is really how much hope does anyone think we have? My sister and her partner are prepared to explore every avenue regardless of cost before they go down the inevitable path, but I’m just wondering if there is anyone here who has been in a similar situation? We are really desperate and we really don’t want to lose him.
Thanks in advanceJanuary 10, 2020 at 12:16 pm #20645 in reply to: Help with sudden aggression in English Bull Terrier
I’m sorry for the delay – new discussion group! I wonder how the vet visit went? From what I understand about aggression, anxiety is often an underlying cause or contributing factor. It does sound like it’s been triggered from that first event, but he is also at an age where if he was predisposed to aggression you might start seeing it now (opposed to if he was 5 yrs for example)
In “mentally healthy” dogs it’s possible to use desensitization and counter conditioning to treat aggression issues at this early stage. In dogs that may have anxiety issues – that definitely needs to be treated as well. The problem with fear is that the brain never forgets it and in times of high stress the fear response will come back so you will always need to make sure that your dog is not being triggered.
Reading the body language can go a long way assuming that the dog to help with that. Of course, if your dog is not showing any warning signs (you mentioned sudden) this might not help. In most cases the dogs do show warning signs. Turning the head away, pulling the ears back are a couple.
Stiffening up is a big one but often happens right before a bite so there might not be enough time to act.
Quick questions, is anyone scolding the dog for growing barking etc.?
Is the partner doing anything like physically moving the dog, or stepping over him or things like that before the bites, and if not what is happening.
Are there any punishments with teaching or correcting the dog?January 10, 2020 at 4:40 pm #20656 in reply to: Help with sudden aggression in English Bull Terrier
It’s not a bad sign that he is showing some bite inhibition.
What has everyone been doing just before you start to see the warning signs?
Has anyone told the dog no, or punished him when he barks or growls? If so that might have escalated it to biting,
Hang in there!AuthorPostsViewing 3 posts - 1 through 3 (of 3 total)
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