Help - Bull Terrier attacking my kids Discussions

Discussion in 'Bull Terrier' started by smithlaw, Apr 3, 2017.

  1. smithlaw

    smithlaw New Member

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    Help - Bull Terrier attacking my kids

    Please help. My 1yr 3month old female bull terrier has nipped at and hurt my two little girls (now 5yr old and 3 1/2 yr old) since we have had her this past year. When she was tiny it wasn't as big of a deal and we felt she would grow out of it. Now however, she weighs 45lbs and she jumps up and gets their arms, legs and even face. She doesn't do it as much when my wife and I are around. However, if we leave her unattended she does it. She isn't growling and being mean but instead it seems she is playing. We have tried to keep her from doing this and we do not encourage rough play. My wife witnessed her do the same with a neighbor's dog and my wife said it wasn't like anything she had ever seen. It is her high prey drive I guess but I don't know what to do at this point. We are at a point where we are probably going to have to give her away unless some kind of magic tips or training comes along. Any ideas?
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  3. mjfromga

    mjfromga Member

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    CaroleC and GsdSlave like this.
    If you leave the dog unattended with the kids she jumps on them and bites them? How do you know this? And why leave a biting dog unattended with kids? Not a good idea at all.

    Members here are likely mostly going to tell you to seek a "dog behaviorist". A term that would be laughed at by anybody in my area. But the dog does need immediate training or to be given away to a family without small children that can dedicate their time to getting rid of this annoying behavior.

    Does she know basic commands? I find that when my dogs develop an annoying habit, putting them into a sit or stay can help reduce the occurrence of the behavior. They also say well placed time outs can be useful, as can be making a yelping noise when the dog bites.

    Swatting their nose, smacking them, aggressively shouting at them, or snatching them off roughly should be avoided. It's likely to be counter productive, especially since you are sure she is just playing.
  4. GsdSlave

    GsdSlave Member

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    It goes without saying that dogs (no matter how good they are) should never be left alone with young children.

    Children play and the dog gets over exited which can lead to trouble, you need to teach the children to respect the dog and vice versa, there is no miracle cure, time and commitment is needed and "Better" management practices in the home would be the way forward and a good training club.
  5. Dogloverlou

    Dogloverlou Member

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    The dog is not attacking your children, as you so rightly point out it is play and no, pups do not grow out of it unless taught otherwise. It just then becomes an adult dog using it's adult teeth instead of it's needle like puppy teeth and thus people tend to think it isn't cute or funny anymore. Your dog isn't to know the difference though. She's been allowed to get away with the behaviour her entre life so far.

    Time-outs tend to work very well. Dog gets hyped up & starts nipping/getting rough - out into another room behind a door or baby gate she goes. No fuss, no shouting, just simply cease all interacting with her and remove her to the other room. This is not something you will see instant results with but with consistency & patience it does work. Question is, do you have time to train her as your last comment about having to give her away does not bode well. Training a dog is a lifetime commitment and should be a fun journey the whole family can join in with and enjoy. It should not be a burden.

    Have you attended training classes or looked into them? I think you'd find them very beneficial if you find the right class. Where abouts are you?
  6. smithlaw

    smithlaw New Member

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    Guys/ladies - seriously? 1. I am an attorney and use people's words against them every single day. But please, don't read too much into the "attacking" in the title. The title space does not allow me to write a paragraph to explain what is actually going on. 2. Someone said that it goes without saying to never leave a dog, no matter how well trained, alone with your children. This seems absurd in a sense and if that is the case, why would anyone have an animal as a pet (some as a member of the family) that you cannot trust to be around your children? I imagine most people in this group were around dogs as children and most were not always accompanied by an adult. 3. I know that my dog ("Maebelle") jumps and bites at my children when they are unattended because they tell me, because we have cameras, and because I may see it out of the window. And when we leave them unattended, it is just for usually a minute or less. Just long enough to run inside and grab something and come back. Also, when I say biting, she is playing but when I child screams or tries to run, Maebelle thinks it is even more of a game. She doesn't bite hard but her teeth are sharp and even play bites can hurt a child. Everyone I know that has dogs and puppies are able to allow them around their children and not have any issues. These are large and small dogs.

    Additionally, my wife believes it is Maebelle's intense prey drive. They were in the front yard last week and a neighbor went by walking her dog. Maebelle pulled out of her collar (was too loose) and went straight for the other dog. She did not appear to be vicious or mad but more like she was playing/circling the other dog and would not stop. My wife and the neighbor tried to get her to stop and by the end the collar was broken and the neighbor had to carry her dog into my yard just to get Maebelle back inside the fence. Nothing they did fazed Maebelle and it was like she had to have that dog and nothing was going to stop her. She was biting at the dog but it was more like play than her being vicious. My wife said that she had never seen a dog act that way and I have not seen it with her, either.

    As to a behavioral class - I got the information when she was a puppy but then the class never happened. As far as having time to spend doing extensive training - I do not have that. I do bring her to work with me every day and she is fine with everyone in the office. She has started jumping up on people more but she is very sweet and calm for the most part while at the office.

    In the end, my children and family come first. I am not one of these people that will put the dog before my family. However, I do love her and have developed a strong bond and do not want to just "throw in the towel" so to speak.
  7. Jackie

    Jackie Member

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    I'm afraid you have made a classic mistake made by many dog owners " it was cute while she was a puppy" , but now you have a fully grown powerful dog and that cute behaviour is no longer cute.

    You need to go right back to basics with your training, and treat her like a puppy, puppies play with their teeth , unfortunately you have not taught your dog " bite inhibitation" and that mouthing and jumping is not acceptable behaviour, now you have a powerful dog that knows no different and is playing rough, I'm glad you did not really mean " attacking " as I'm sure you realise this is not so, although it does not really matter, teeth hurt whether it's in play or not.

    You need to follow a strict regime, for ALL the family that includes kids and adults and the dog, have a google for "NILF" nothing in life is free, it is a way to instil self control and eduction in your dog.

    Basically you dog has to work for everything, that includes food, petting walks and play, she will have to perform a behaviour I.e sit, wait, down and so on before she gets anything from you, this will help her with her self control .

    You wife may never have seen anything like it in the behaviour with the other dog, but what she witnessed was a normal over boisterous reaction from her, bull terriers are full on dogs, it's in their DNA ' they can be OTT and if not contained can get out of hand.

    You have a couple of choices, rehomed her now before it gets worse, have you spoke to her breeder.? . Or get a trainer in to help set down a routine ,please use positive training methods and not someone who believes in " dominance" .

    Google NILF, along with "mouthing " and any thing on jumping, nipping. There is plenty on YouTube, you will have to include your children in this, excitable noisey children and excitable boisterous dogs don't do well together , training traing trading is needed all round.

    I would also have a quiet place for her to retreat to away fron the children from time to time, and the children must understand this is a time to bring any excitable behaviour down to "calm" so it's a no go time ..." time out " for both dog and children .
  8. mjfromga

    mjfromga Member

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    If you did not want advice and merely reject and argue everything and act as if you are right, why even post? Nobody was using your words against you, that was merely your perception, which is not our fault.

    If you don't have the time to train the dog as Jackie and everyone else is saying, then get rid of the dog. There aren't shortcuts and this issue is serious and may worsen. You've been told what you need to do, you can do it or not. We have no further power.

    The issue with the children isn't that you cannot trust the dog, it is usually more of not trusting the children. Very young children like 3 years old can do things to dogs that they hate and the dog may react in defense and if you aren't there, it can lead to disaster. Happens way too often.

    Nobody suggested you put the dog before your family. None of us would do that either. The dog needs training and you are the owners and thus responsible for such training. That's all we were saying.
  9. smithlaw

    smithlaw New Member

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    This is great advice. Thank you Jackie. I actually did try to train her the right way but I obviously did not do it the right way or enough. Sadly, I grew up and the training a dog consisted of spanking, etc. I have not done that with Maebelle but also haven't taken the proper steps to do it the right way. I also purchased the book last night "When Pigs Fly" so hopefully that will be helpful as well.

    As far as current obedience - she will sit when told, but doesn't stay long. I will continue to work. Thanks again!
  10. smithlaw

    smithlaw New Member

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    I do want advice. That is why I posted here. And, perhaps I did take it as though I was being insulted by some insinuating I was not putting my children first if I was leaving a dog around them unattended. Also, I do not know anyone here. I know I have a few people that work in my office that would divorce their spouses before setting any rules for their pets. As strange as that seems to me, that is the world we live in now. Also, my girls really are not doing anything to the dog to get this behavior. I know what you are saying and my oldest daughter would do these things to our mini dachshund when she was much younger. That dog passed away 2 years ago. Often my girls are doing their own thing and the dog comes up to them jumping up and biting at their arms and legs, and at face level, I am guessing seeking attention. I have witnessed this.

    What is the best way to keep her from jumping? I try the ignoring/turning my back, saying "no". I know that popping on the nose isn't the suggested way. Is there an effective way to do this that someone can suggest?
  11. Dogloverlou

    Dogloverlou Member

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    The thing with leaving children unattended with a dog is you do not know how the children are treating the dog. No dog should just put up with being constantly poked, prodded, jumped on, pulled around etc etc, and you'd be surprised at how many parents do think that is acceptable and how a family pet should be treated. Then lo & behold, dog finally reaches it's tether and snaps and it's a one way trip to the vets because the behaviour was so 'out of character'. Not saying your children behave in that manner at all, but you can understand why people do not advice leaving dogs & children unattended.

    Just by your last few posts I'd guess your dog is bored and under stimulated hence her running towards the other dog and desperately trying to initiate play and the same in regards to your children. Dogs can have all the physical exercise in the world, but they need mental exercise too which includes training sessions, looking at other ways to feed her perhaps i.e from food dispensing toys, playing impulse control exercises etc.

    As you don't have time for ongoing training I'd suggest looking at rehoming her. The behaviours you listed will not improve without daily training & interaction.
  12. pooch495

    pooch495 New Member

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    I have owned several Bull Terriers I can say that without all of them were without a doubt the most loving and and affectionate pooches I have ever owned. However, they all have also been totally unaware of thier own strength and easily could knock down kids or even adults. They also tend to nip when excited and unlike other breeds seem to have poor control over how hard they are with thier mouths. I've had a lot of ripped shirts and pants over the years! These seem to be breed traits. The trick with getting this stubborn breed to refrain from doing certain behaviors is to make it seem as if it in thier own best interest. Usually by bribing them with treats for good behavior. Other methods of training often fail with them since they are so headstrong. they sometimes seem to take commands as suggestions when there is nothing in it for them.And of course they always need to be supervised with kids, these bullies are just too boisterous!
  13. mjfromga

    mjfromga Member

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    What has boggled my mind for eons is why people insist on keeping these breeds? You almost never see people come on these dog sites and post "MY LABRADOR IS ATTACKING MY KIDS". It's 90% these bully breeds. This user returned a year later battling the SAME EXACT PROBLEM.

    It's like me trying to own Piranha which are aggressive by nature and then complaining "MY FISH BIT ME". Of course it did! Why not own a nice goldfish instead? Much less likely to do that!

    Yeah you can say it's the owners fault, but I mean if you don't pick a dog that has these "dormant" aggressive traits, and these "stubborn" and hard to train personalities to begin with, maybe you wouldn't have to focus so much on training it out of them?

    Judging by all the people who are bitten by these dogs annually, clearly there are too many people who aren't competent enough to train these dogs. There are so many breeds of dogs, I just don't see why people pick these types of dogs.

    Not trying to be mean, I literally just don't see why people do it after all these years. Why not just pick a breed that isn't known for aggression and stubbornness? Is it that these people want a challenge? Do they think an aggressive dog is cool? I don't even understand.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019

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