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Hi, my name is Hope & my husband & I own an english bulldog & an american bulldog. The english bulldog is 3 & the american bulldog will be 1 nov. 28th. I have been trying to train both dogs & basically know how to do most things but the one issue is that my english & american bulldog is kind of aggressive with certain things.... I know that I have to step up to be a leader & i've been trying to do that & I can handle my english bulldog.... My american bulldog though, one thing he does to be aggressive is when he gets in the trash & gets something out of it if I try to get it he'll start growling & I don't know how to actually handle that. He doesn't do it with his toys or anything just if he gets something out of the trash .. my english bulldog does it too but he doesn't get things out of the trash though I can now handle him to where he'll eventually drop whatever is in his mouth & he'll stop growling.
I figured before going & spending money on a trainer i'd at least research & ask around... thanks, here is photos of my boys




 

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First of all, regardless of this situation, all dogs need training. If you lack experience with training dogs then find a QUALIFIED trainer to help you.

In the meantime, you need to teach your dog a command for letting go of things. I use the word "out" and it is very easy to teach. Make sure your dog is hungry...in other words you can substitute his meal time with a training session.

Give him a favorite toy.....someting that he goes nuts for. Then show him you have the food, Tell him the word "out" . If he's hungry and has any type of food drive he will probably let go of the toy before you even finish getting the word out of your mouth. That is ok...reward him with a handful of food anyways..but always say "out" as he is releasing in the beginning. Keep doing this..eventually your dog will understand that "out" means release what is in his mouth...and will mean he is rewarded. Do this every day if you can until you see the dog is understanding...eventually this will transfer to the garbage stealing.

Once he is clear with the "out" and if you catch him in the trash the command should transfer. You can proof this by trying to take a chew toy or bone away from him after you have done the training with the toy. Of course, preventing your dog from getting into the trash in the first place would be the best thing...put it in a room he cant get to or elevate it somehow.

The growling is a whole other issue. Your dog is probably dominant and when you are yelling at it to release what it has from the trash your dog is probably confused and has no idea what is going on or what you want. Unless you have TAUGHT him through training what it is you are asking of him then it is not fair that you get angry at him for not listening to you. Many times dominant dogs will not take too kindly to unfairness. From his point of view you are taking from him what is his all the while probably yelling/scolding him. The dog is like "WTF". What is she screaming about and out of frustration lets out a growl. The growling does need to be dealt with but first you need to teach the dog what you want. You have to be FAIR with the dog. Some dogs will try and take a chunk out of you if you are not....I admire a dog like that but it takes a certain type of owner to manage it. It all comes down to training....teaching commands fairly and motivationally, then proofing them later and correcting them when you know they are 100% cognitive of what you asked. Until then you have no business scolding a dog for not listening to you...dogs are opportunistic creatures and you can't blame them for doing things like stealing food from the trash, counter surfing etc. But, you can blame them if you have farily taught them what is expected and they flip you the bird anyways......that is when a good, hard correction will usually work well to deter "most" dogs.
 

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Just for everyone else to read.... she had emailed me and this is how I responded:

For walking the doggys, prongs work good if used correctly, but i like them to be used as a last resort. try walking one dog at a time and when they start pulling, turn right around and walk the opposite direction. that way they learn they have to pay attention to you. this will have to be done many times. if you have to use the prong, make sure it fits high up on the neck and you don't let them pull with it. when they start to pull, do a quick tug/snap on the leash and let it goes loose again. work on the heal command too, that will help with them seein you as alpha, they walk next to or slightly behind you.

as for the getting in the garbage and getting aggressive... Dogs tend to get into stuff when they are bored and have lots of engery to expend. I understand the walk thing cause I too live in a one bedroom apartment! Running with them will be great exercise for both of you! If you do this twice a day, or even a run and a long walk, that should help the AB out and hopefully he wont get into the trash anymore. If he still does, easy fix.... put the trash up. If you see him go near it, give a firm no and get inbetween him and the trash and say no again. Let him know that is unacceptable. Does he get aggressive with his chew bones or food in his bowl? If you don't know, I would slowly and carefully check just to see if he even looks like he will growl. If he does... you need to stop this immediately because it is even more unacceptable. You can start fixing this problem but implementing NILF... nothing in life is free. Hand feed him, peice by piece. Make him realize food comes from you and it is not his. Make sure you dont leave his food out all day, if he doesnt eat it right away, you put it up until the next time. Make him work for everything, take away all toys and give them to him one by one when you want to play. He can only get up on furniture when you invite him up. Just little things like that can go a longggggg way. Even if the aggression is with the trash only, that is still aggression and should be addressed. If that is the only aggression, NILF should probably be used to so it doesnt go any farther and you nip it in the bud right now.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the advice. I understand that it's not the dogs fault for getting in the trash & such because I didn't know how to command him right for that. Basically, what I was wondering if what I could do to command him & now that I know from someone else, thanks! Kate i've been doing what you have told me especially about the walks & it's been very good so far. About the trash i've stepped in front of him & told him no & then walked toward the door & went out & told him to "come" & it worked.
 

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thats awesome!!! I'm so glad things are working out. It is amazing how the littlest things can change so much
 

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If you use the word "out" already, as in "outside; go potty, etc", you may try "leave it" or "drop it". The principle is the same.

Trash problem - get one of those metal trash cans that has the "step-on to open" lids. Chopper hasn't bothered it in 5 months. Maybe, eventually, he may figure it out, but for now, this is good.

Definitely invest in several good training sessions for yourself & your dogs. As they get older, you'll be glad you did.

Maria
 
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