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Canine Behavior/My 8 month old Amer.Bulldog/Pit Has Agressive problems and I am afraid I am going to have to put him down. Can you help me?


"Dear Madeline, I have read you biography and I promise to read and rate your response within three days.  I understand that your time is valuable, that you are most likely spending at least 45 minutes of your time in response to my question, and I understand too that when questioners read and rate your responses fairly that you make random donations to animal shelters to help homeless animals.  In the interest of being appreciative of your time AND helping shelter dogs and cats, I agree that I will rate your response and give you fair feedback."  If you do not copy and paste this statement, I will automatically reject your question and will not answer it even if you re-submit it to me.
I raised this pup, from the time he was three days old. He is my child. I don't know what to do. I have never had an issue like this and I was told last night to put him down. He gets very aggressive over his toys food ect. and it has taken a turn for the worse. WE try to work him, we live on 22 acres so he has plenty of room to run. We play soccer, he sits well but he hates a leash. He has been wearing one since he could walk. He is neutered. he is very high energy. when he goes into guarding his toys he will attack you and think nothing about it, he does give warning but he is 75 pounds of muscle. Do you have any ideas of what I should do is there anyway to stop it or should I put him down. I have cried myself to sleep over him. I keep thinking there is something I can do but I am just not sure. Most of the time he is a big baby. HE chews on everything and swallows whatever he can. Do you have any answers on what I can do about this.  I have to hold rawhides for him to chew on or he will start guarding them and then we have to go through the whole process all over again.  He attacked my husband night before last and he told me I had to do something or he was going to shoot him and that doesn't help matters much. Is he going to get worse? I don't think I will ever hand raise another puppy. If you have any suggestions please help me. I don't know what I am going to do.
Thank you,

Hi, Joy,

I debated answering this question for several days because of the nature of the problem, which is quite serious, and because of this forum, which isn't the context for "doing something" about your dog's guarding issue other than getting information to explain it and lead you towards assistance.
At the risk of receiving poor ratings from you, I am going ahead and answering as best I can in order that my response be published and have an impact on others reading in terms of educating people about puppy raising and resource guarding dogs.

First, you write that your Bulldog-Pit mix was "hand-raised from three days old." What this tells me is the following:

Unless you were and are a reputable breeder, was the result of a backyard breeding, which means your dog was.not bred for the appropriate reasons such as good temperament or other positive.attributes. which are.the only reasons for breeding a dog, which is to better the breed according to the breed stamdatds (see AKC

Second, if you hand-raised your pup that means that he had little or no interaction with the mother and littermates who would have taught him important socialization lessons and lessons about sharing and the magnitude of reaction needed in order to keep a valued resource.  It is difficult for a human to teach these important lessons to a pup during the early critical learning weeks in the pup's social development, but not impossible.  However, in order to hand-raise a pup, the raiser must be aware of critical developmental periods for puppies and those with appropriate training.

I don't know if your pup had any interaction with his mother and littermats because you don't say, so the best I can do is guess that he did not.

Resource guarding from people of valued items by dogs is a very serious issue, particularly of the magnitude that you describe and with a dog the size and weight of yours.

If you have any chance of resolving this very serious guarding issue, it will take at least weeks, and possibly months, of working with a  very professional and positive methods ONLY trainer who really knows his or her behavioral business when it comes to dogs.  Few professional dog trainers are this highly trained and equipped to deal with an issue of the magnitude that you describe.  I wish I were in your service ate, but I am not.

Methods such as shaping with negative reinforcement might work as well as teaching your dog cues that will engender his trust when he learns to drop items for you.  As well, he needs to be taught in a gentle manner to learn to control his impulses.  He also has to be prevented, for now and until any training can take hold, from being allowed to chew any items which he considers valuable enough to guard.  Rawhides are definitely NOT appropriate as they are generally too high-ranking and valuable for most dogs.  Stuffed Kongs would be more appropriate as they can be finished in a finite and predictable amount of short time.  

In this venue, it is impossible fore to impart the type and amount of training your dog needs in order to be made safe.  However, it IS possible and I hope you can and will use the Internet as a resource to find the appropriate person to help you.

Check to start your search, as they have recently become a reputable resource for folks looking for trainers within the last several years.

I hope you feel your dog is worth the effort and I wish you the best in finding the right person and resolving his guarding issues.

Best regards,
Madeline Friedman, M.A.
DELRAY beach Dog Training and Allezperts Volunteer

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Madeline S. Friedman, M.A.


I respond to public questions only. I'm not a veterinarian & do not respond to medical questions.Suggestions: Submit a question in one area of priority, as what I am able to address in this venue is limited. Provide as much detail re: the behavior & issue as you can. Tell me how & if behavior is a change from previous behavior & when the changes occurred. Let me know what you think may have triggered such changes & what you have tried so far to resolve it, & what the results were. Let me know what you want help with & what are your concerns & questions about the behavior. I have set up a payment/donation to myself for responding to questions. I donate most of it to animal shelters & rescues. I keep a small portion for my time. The minimum donation is $25.00 on PayPal. When I see that a donation has been made, I will respond to your question. You will be prompted to make the donation before submitting your question. When you have read & rated my response fairly, which must be at the time you read it, I will refund $5.00 back to you IF YOU REQUEST that I do so in your rating comments. If I ask for more details, please respond as a "follow-up" & not as a new question. If I don't respond to your question, I will refund your donation less $5.00. DO rate me fairly at the end of our exchange. I will be pleased if you DO nominate me for volunteer of the month - why not, if I was generous in my response? I may suggest something you were not necessarily ready to hear, but I am honest in the interest of helping your dog, & that is my goal. Please keep that in mind. Please do NOT contact me privately about Allexperts questions through my e-mail or website unless I have invited you to do so. That is an invasion of my privacy - thank you for respecting it. If you would like to contact me for actual dog training & behavior consulting, you may contact me through my Web site.


Own & operate dog training & behavior consulting businesses, Hoboken Dog Trainer, and ny-njDogTrainer, in the NYC & NYC Metro areas since 2002. Work with thousands of dog owners & their dogs, & shelter & rescue dogs. Active volunteer in dog shelters and rescues (rescues being "no kill" and shelters being municipality-run urban shelters that can and do euthanize dogs). AllExperts volunteer in "Dogs, Category 701" and "Dog Training" and "Canine Behavior" since 2006. When you submit a question, please make sure it's being submitted in the appropriate category as I volunteer in two different categories. Make sure you agree to the Virtual Contract (the instructions I outline for question submissions) and agree to read and rate my response when I answer in the body of your question. I make donations to various animal non-profits based on YOUR ratings. If you don't rate my response, or rate it unfairly, you have just denied a dog rescue org or shelter a donation. Keep that in mind.

Professional Member of APDT for five years Founding Member of Animal Behavior Associates Behavior Education Network Former Board Member of IAABC, appointed by Founder Former Member of IPDTA in Canada Founding member of Behavior Education Network

Chronicle of the Dog (APDT, peer publication, numerous articles) Popular Dog Series magazine, numerous entries AOL in Tonowanda News Morris County News Vermont News Boston NOW New York A.M. Polo Trace Newsletter The Dodo AOL

Counseling Psychology, Caldwell College Animal Science, Rutgers University Master of Arts Degree Permanent New Jersey State Teaching Certification (teach public school and university level) Numerous workshops, lectures, and seminars on dog training and behavior Ongoing self-motivated study in my area of expertise

Awards and Honors
Best Canine Coach Award, 2006, Rondout Valley Instructor's Training Course Society of Illustrators, second place international competition Jellybean Photographics, second place international competition Fashion Institute of Technology "Commitment to Illustration" award

Past/Present Clients
Testimonials from a number of clients appear on my Web site at under "Reviews." My customers include: Puppy owners wanting to get their puppies off to the best start; owners of mature dogs who want their dogs to have more obedience skills; fosters and owners of rescue dogs or shelter dogs; customers with special needs who need to train or retrain their dogs; housetraining and housebreaking; owners who have behavioral issues with their dogs such as house accidents, aggression towards humans, aggression towards other animals, inattentive dogs, unmotivated dogs, overly-exuberant dogs; and, more.

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