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Help! 5 month old Bulldog problems

(6 Posts)
Mupski Wed 08-Jun-11 09:25:18

We have a gorgeous English Bulldog who is now 5 months but we have a few issues with him that we are really struggling with - I hope someone might be able to offer some advice.

The first problem is his persistant 'humping'. I believe this could be that he is trying to show that he is dominant and not a sexual act as such but how do we stop him from doing it? Should we ignore it, tell him off, smack him on the nose? It's worse when all the family are in the same room and is just constant and really spoils our time with our pet. To make matters worse he has now started to snarl and snap at us when we try to release he grip on our legs!

Our other issue is with his barking. I think we may have caused this problem ourselves by rushing to him when he barks to prevent him waking up our baby daughter. Unfortunately he has now taken to barking from 4am in the morning and won't stop until one of us goes to him. Is he trying to tell us that he needs a wee or is he just after attention? Should we ignore him? At 5 months should a crated pup be able to go from say 11pm until 6am without being let out to toilet?

Any advice would be most gratefully received!

LetThereBeCupcakes Wed 08-Jun-11 15:30:53

The idea of "dominance" is very much under question. Has he been castrated yet? Possibly not as he's a little young, but once you have had this done things will probably improve. If he's becoming aggressive when you try to intervene with the humping, I would teach him an alternate command to interupt the behaviour. Any command which he will respond to.
Re: the barking - what does he do if you ignore it? I would suspect he's doing it because it has worked in the past - you have responded so he keeps doing it. It's difficult to tell without obeserving the behaviour though!
Is there a good trainer local to you? Somebody who uses positive training methods (eg clicker training). The APDT lists trainers that are accredited.
I really wouldn't smack him - that's just likely to encourage aggression back and then you'll be in a real pickle!
I'm a dog trainer, but not a behaviourist. feel free to PM me if you want to ask anything though.

K9999 Wed 08-Jun-11 15:40:10

I was going to say all that Cupcakes has although I'm not a trainer. I'd certainly have the pup neutered asap and agree that ignoring, a PITA as it may be at first, should teach him that he doesn't get what he wants when he demands it and that silly o'clock is not time to wake up and demand to play!

Re the humping, have you tried distraction and referral? Distract him with his very favourite thing, be that cheese or a toy, and then refer him elsewhere to do something else such as a game in the garden, a walk, his meal, a chew or whatever is appropriate at the time. Make him stop because he wants to rather than giving him the opportunity to intimidate and scare you from stopping him. Otherwise this will be another area in which he thinks, "Ha, I can get my own way. I growl and they get lost! I'll do that again!".

LetThereBeCupcakes Wed 08-Jun-11 15:44:44

Actually, what K9999 has just said has made me think - could this be excess energy? How much exercise (physical and mental) is he getting each day? Maybe you can tire him out so he can't be bothered to mount people...

Mupski Wed 08-Jun-11 19:18:25

Thank you both so much for your responses, very helpful. Our vet has suggested castration between 6 and 9 months and we did hope that would help but are aware that we need to change our behaviour around him in the mean time.

I have contacted a local APDT trainer and she is coming to our home to give us an initial assessment and advice next week. She will then suggest appropriate training classes/further one-on-one sessions based on her findings.

We'll ignore his barking tomorrow morning and see how we get on. He is a bright pup so hopefully it won't take him too long to get the message (well it certainly didn't take him too long to work out that barking gets our attention!).

With regard to exercise, he gets at least one good walk each day. Yesterday I took him to nearby fields and walked/played with him for around 90 min. This didn't appear to alter his behaviour at all to be honest. Perhaps I should walk him for longer or more often? That's a good point about the mental stimulation though. I'm now thinking we do not do enough in this area and I guess this could be the route cause of another little issue of his which is to destroy anything he can get hold of.....boredom?

Well thanks again for your advice and for pointing me in the right direction for trainers. He's such a lovely dog and the hard work will be worth it in the end I'm sure.

LetThereBeCupcakes Thu 09-Jun-11 09:52:08

Best of luck with it, I'm sure you and your dog will be just fine with a little bit of guidance!

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