Aggression in dogs is the result of many causes. There may be a trigger that can spark aggression for example, if your dog was attacked or felt threatened as a pup and this was not resolved properly, or it could be that your dog has dominance issues. Aggression in dogs, especially bulldogs needs to be addressed promptly and effectively whatever the reason. Due to their powerful physique American Bulldogs with aggression issues can be dangerous dogs. It is paramount that this be dealt with straight away for the safety of all, including the dog.
The Source of Aggressive Behavior in American Bulldogs
A critical age for socializing a dog is 6 weeks, this is when training your dog should begin, starting with teaching them to not bite. Socializing your dog involves getting them familiar interacting with people and other dogs; it can take 14 weeks but can extend to a longer period.
There are a number of factors to take into consideration. To begin with, a puppy needs to be with its mother and littermates until it reaches 8 weeks old. Treat your puppy gently between 8 – 10 weeks old and avoid at all costs using harsh discipline towards them. Aggressive behavior in dogs can be brought about by treating them harshly by shouting or hitting them at a young age. In order to avoid future aggression issues proper socialization with people and other dogs needs to be in place by the time the puppy reaches 14 weeks.
Many influences can trigger actual aggression. It is not carved in stone but some dog breeds can lean more towards aggression than others, genetics and heredity can and do play a part. Also, un-neutered or un-spayed dogs are more predisposed to aggression.
The environment in which the dog lives is by far the most important concern when it comes to aggressive behavior. A frightened dog or one who has previously been attacked by another dog, one living in poor conditions, punitive owners, or no socialization, are key factors in dogs that show aggressive behavior.
The need to establish a pack pecking order can nurture aggression. A dog testing for dominance can do this by posturing, biting and other aggressive mannerisms. Establishing dominance with your dog at a young age is important for you as the owner/master, this will stop your dog attempting to take control of the home.
Stopping and Controlling Aggressive Behavior
Your dog will reach sexual maturity at 14 months and if they are displaying aggressive behavior especially after they have been neutered or spayed, it is advisable to seek proper help with training. The thing to do is establish yourself as pack leader. No matter what, do not reward aggressive behavior for any reason, especially if the behavior is caused by fear.
Ensure there is strong leadership in the home, train your dog to respond to commands and that you are in charge of feeding and walking times. Giving in to the demands of your dog and letting it off when they behave poorly will lead to it them showing aggression towards other people.
Defensive-aggression through fear can cause a dog to lash out at a person, as improper socialization may have happened at some point. Seek out some training with a dog behaviorist who can work with acclimatizing the dog to social surroundings; it is critical that these dogs are kept away from small children as they can be seen as direct threats to the dog.
Aggressive behavior in dogs is a massive problem experienced by many owners but do not despair, it can be addressed. If aggression escalates to attack you are looking at serious consequences so seek professional help immediately.