Bull Terrier Aggression Behaviour

  • 31/10/2010

The roots of bull terrier aggression can stem from many different causes. It might be because of an unsettled dominance related relationship between you and your beloved bull terrier. It might also very well be an impulse or trigger that was not handled correctly when your bull terrier was a puppy. Perhaps another puppy or dog attacked your terrier at a young age. No matter the cause of the aggression you're dealing with, you need to face the problem and work towards helping your pet find a solution to their aggression issues. The implications of leaving your pet's aggression unchecked can lead to scary and dangerous situations for you and anyone else that comes into your household if it gets worse. This is especially true if there are small young ones around.

The Origin of Small Dog Aggression

Small dog aggression behavior can begin as early as 6 weeks of age. In this key age of your puppy's life, your dog should interact with other puppies as well as people who will be central to your dog's life. Your terrier pup should also be given their needed training and instruction which will prevent them from biting other puppies, dogs and people. This level of socialization should be encouraged and maintained until your terrier turns at least 14 weeks old, preferably a few weeks longer than this. You'll find the odds of dog on dog aggression will be minimized the better your dog understands how to interact properly with other dogs.

So there are a few key things to pay attention. For starters, you shouldn't remove a terrier puppy from its litter before they're at least 8 weeks old. The litter provides a natural social environment for your terrier to interact with. When your bull terrier is between 8 and 10 weeks old, ensure that you don't use harsh punishment or yell at your terrier puppy. You should treat them gently. Otherwise, if you do yell and hit your dog during this crucial young age, you might cause your dog to start breeding aggressive behaviours and patterns.

Your bull terrier needs to be properly socialized with other dogs and small groups of people by the time he/she reaches 14 weeks of age to avoid future small dog aggression issues.

The true cause of the aggression of your terrier can be tied to a variety of factors. The exact breed of the dog you have, the breed of the parents and genetics could all definitely play a role. Certainly, some breeds of dogs, bull terriers especially, can be more prone to aggressive behavior than others, but it really isn't as hard and fast a rule as some mistakenly believe.

Also, terriers that haven't been spayed or neutered tend to be more prone to taking on aggressive tendencies.

The top factor that underlies a dog taking on aggressive behavior is without question, the environment that they're in. A bull terrier that has bad living conditions, stringent and overly harsh owners, lack of socialization and/or has been spooked and/or attacked/bitten by other dogs is more prone to become more and more aggressive as it grows up.

A bull terrier's aggression can stem from a need to strike out and enforce a pecking order in a pack to show who's who. It's a physical and psychological trick that dogs, bull terriers especially, have used over the years to get what they want. If your bull terrier postures, bites or growls at others, odds are, it's your terrier testing the waters to see what they can get away with and how much dominance they can grab. You should be firm (not harsh) and establish dominance over your dog beginning from a young age and keep a hold on that position throughout your dog's adolescent years to ensure it doesn't get out of line and take control of your household. It's much easier to do this than it is to try and wrestle control back from your terrier when they've grabbed and established house leader status.

How To Stop and Control Aggressive Behaviors Of Your Bull Terrier

At the 14 month age mark, your terrier has reached sexual maturity. If your terrier displays aggressive behavior after this point, you should take action quickly. I'll repeat this one point because I think it's so important, you should take and maintain pack leader status in your household. Dogs respond to individuals who show pack leader status and behaviours. Their brain is literally hard wired to respond to pack leaders.

Another important point to keep in mind is to never reward your dog for aggressive behaviour. Doing so will only start a pattern where they'll start to seek out the same or new aggressive behaviors in the hopes of getting petted or getting a treat.

Want to know how to establish and maintain pack leader status of the house? Take control of different aspects of your bull terriers life. Control set times for eating and walking. Train your terrier to respond to your commands. If you let the dog get away with whatever they want whenever they want, they'll start to believe they have control and will more easily display strong aggressive behavior towards others. They'll essentially see it as their right if they think they're the leader of the house.

There are some bull terriers that become aggressive when they become defensive. It's sometimes the case that they're actually scared and being aggressive is a way for them to control others to reduce this fear. Odds are, terriers that display this behavior haven't been socialized properly. At this stage, it would be advisable to keep them out of areas with small children since they might see them as threats. I would recommend attending a training session or taking them to a trainer who can help your terrier acclimate to social environments.

While small dog aggression is a big problem that many dog owners have, you should take comfort in knowing that this is a problem that does have a solution and bull terrier aggression behavior can be corrected, even for older dogs. If the aggression ever escalates the point of violence and physical harm, I would highly advise hiring a professional who can quickly intervene and correct this bad dog behaviour before someone gets hurt. If this does happen, both you and your dog might be held responsible.

Please Help Us

We've got a small favour to ask. More people are reading IrishDogs.ie than ever, but far fewer are paying for it.

IrishDogs.ie takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe our perspective matters because it might well be your perspective, too.

Our future could be much more secure with your help. Please SUPPORT us by clicking on the Donate Button at the Top Right of your screen.

Comments (1)

Lynn Thompson
Said this on 20/01/2015 At 03:17 pm

Hi i have a 18 month old b EBT who i have had sinc he was 10 weeks old. About 3 weeks ago he turned on me with a aggresive noise like he was going to attack, i shouted at him and put him in his cage and turned away and ignored him. Yesterday my 11 year old grandaughter was scratching him under his tum and he did the same to her. Im takeing him to the vets to b done. Before this happened he has been a little darling, he only pulls when walking. The grankids all played with him as a puppy and we never leave him out. He dont get smacked as we use our voice. 6 months ago he went to kennels and they said he was very good. If getting him done dont work then i dont know what to do next. My bully will b caged when grankids visit. He dont like men and tends to growl at them. If anyone has any advice i would b very gratefull.

Kind Regards


Post a Comment
* Your Name:
* Your Email:
(not publicly displayed)
Reply Notification:
Approval Notification:
* Security Image:
Security Image Generate new
Copy the numbers and letters from the security image:
* Message:

Email to Friend

Fill in the form below to send this breed article to a friend:

Email to Friend
* Your Name:
* Your Email:
* Friend's Name:
* Friend's Email:
* Security Image:
Security Image Generate new
Copy the numbers and letters from the security image
* Message: