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Thread: Bull Arab with a dog aggression problem!

  1. #1

    Unhappy Bull Arab with a dog aggression problem!


    I have two fur babies, a 3 year old American Bulldog x Labrador, and a 1 1/2 year old Bull Arab.

    Now, we are the the THIRD owners of our Bull Arab Nova, in the first twelve months of his life.
    I know nothing about his first owners, other than they made him pretty flinchy and his tail is broken in more than one place.

    His second owners were a family of four, with two kids under 7. Nova was great with them (aside from occasionally knocking them on their bum when he ran past them), his biggest problem is dog aggression. Hence why they got rid of him, they just couldn't cope.

    Basically, the minute he sees, smells, gets near ANY other dog, he tries to kill them. I'm not exaggerating. He grabs, shakes, and tries to rip them apart. None of the bicker some dogs do to figure out pack places, full on attacking.

    We managed to socialise him with our female am. bulldog x, that took a muzzle, slip chain, spray bottle, and hour and my husband. But since then, we haven't had the same luck. We tried to introduce him to my mums dogs (bull terrier, fox terrier x pug & labrador), none of which are aggressive. We took him with his muzzle on, all went great. Took his muzzle off, fine. On the third or so visit, completely unprovoked, he grabbed the fox terrier x and shook. I was ropeable (I thought he had killed my little sister's dog!) luckily, she was okay.

    Not long after, we had him at the father in laws (he has no dog), and the neighbour (not realizing there was a dog in the house) came around with her 12 year old collar, Nova went to the front door with him, and one sniff and Nova had her by the back of the head. Six stitches later.

    Since then, we have not been able to successfully introduce him to another dog. We have tried taking him on their territory, or mutual grounds (thinking it might have been a territorial reaction), nothing.

    We can't walk him because the minute he sees another dog, it's on.

    We've been told he was probably made to fight and we will never be trustworthy with other dogs.
    Any help, or anyone else have this problem?

    p.s he does (like most bull arabs) have a huge prey response, and has killed birds and chickens, but is fine with our two twelve week old kittens.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    se qld


    Can you post some photos?
    Interested to see what breeds he has in him as there can be many variations.
    As far as I know they are bred for hunting wild pigs/boar.
    They usually have GSPointer in them, hence his love (!) of birds.

  3. #3



    I'm hoping that will show up! He's a bit chunkier than that.
    I know traditionally they're pointer x, but he's a bit bigger than the average bull arab, I'm sure he has some boxer in there! He's close on sixty kilos, and when he stands on his back legs (puts his paws on my shoulders and looks me in the eyes! haha), stands about 170cm tall. Big boy ! He's stockier than he looks there.

    Oh he definitely loves birds, two pigeons and one of my darling silkie hens learnt that the hard way! I'm just concerned about his dog agression

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    melbourne australia


    Hi Kaitlyn
    Nova sounds interesting. And extreemly dog reactive right now. But that's temporary. You have come to the right place.
    Can i just assist you to manage the risks. It sounds like Nova is muzzle trained. So pop that on.
    No more dog introductions. (for now)
    Keep exercising your dog. A tired dog, is a happy dog n all that. With a muzzle, and on a leash only, just until you have gained control.
    Is a leash sufficient control for you and your dog right now? Do you need to use something to manage him more securely till you have gained control? A harness for instance? Halti

    And get in a trainer.
    There are some lovely suggestions coming your way from some very expert behaviourists here.
    Calming signals is where its at for Nova. He needs to learn, that whilst he can rip the shit out of anything, he musn't, its rude and there's no need. You've got his back.
    Behavioural Adjustment training is where you change the emotional state of the dog, and the behavioural response changes too. So you will be training him, that all is fine, stand down, its just another dog, with a dog accross an oval. If that is where your dogs drive initiation begins. I spent 4 weeks, with a rottie, just walking the field the dogs trained in. At week for, using B.A.T. the rottie was sat in line, with the others. And relaxed floppy tongue, led on command to get a belly rub in front of them.
    He was never what you might call a sociable dog. But would behave politely around other dogs.

    whilst its tempting to avoid walking the little poppit, keep at it. But try to go somewhere, or go at some time, where you are unlikely to find another dog. If possible.
    Really early in the morning is a goodun i find.
    Good luck!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2009



    What is your nearest capital city - if we know where you are we might be able to recommend someone who can help.

    There are dog trainers - a few in each state - that can work with these kinds of dogs that will help you at least get some basic control back - though it may be that you can never trust your bull arab with small fluffy critters of any sort ever.

    What I'd be looking to do is something like what is described in "control unleashed" - getting your dog to think of other dogs as good things in his life. Not as threats or prey to be attacked.

    Some kinds of dog training - where the dog is punished for trying to attack or showing aggression (eg growling) - leads to suppression of all the warning signs - if you punish a dog for growling... you may end up with a dog that doesn't growl before attacking - they just go straight to attack. If you punish for attacking - it's too late. You need to reward for showing calm behaviour - though you might have to do that immediately after preventing (punishing) the lunging and growling. It's really important the dog doesn't connect the reward with the lunging and growling (my mistake...).

    A really good trainer can help you with this. Or at least give you some advice on what they think your chances are of being able to help. Some dogs have fundamental problems (brain tumours or bad brain wiring) that prevents them from ever being safe around other animals and sometimes humans.

    There are so many nice friendly well behaved dogs that get PTS every year - that it seems hard to go to a huge effort to try to rehab a dog that can't be fixed. I don't know if your dog is one of these - but it is worth considering - that there might be another dog out there more deserving of your effort and money.

  6. #6


    Ah fabulous! Im in SA.

    It's just a little heartbreaking! I'm going to get on to walking him early in the AM, try an tucker him out. It gets a little tricky because whilst I can deal with him, he definitely does give me a bit of a pull and makes me lose my temper a little (not fair on him!). But that's just patience, and some learning on my part. I completely forgot about Haltis... I have one in the cupboard for my am. bulldog x... will have to get on that. I HATE choker chains....especially because they don't overly work on him anyway...

    I'll leave the dog introductions until he can work on a lead perfectly, and knows a solid "Leave" command.

    I more so wanted to know if it was true that "some dogs can't be helped". I understand he might not never be completely trustworthy around other dogs, especially smaller ones... But I do hope that one day I'll be able to take him to obedience class, or a dog park... Either way, I love his guts and he's my baby boy.

    I know plenty of dogs get put to sleep, and it breaks my heart, all of my pets have been adopted pets. I just can't let him go knowing it was probably a not-so-nice person, that taught him to behave the way he does. Plus he's still so young...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    hi Kaitlyn

    Disclaimer - I don't promise the following will work for you. It depends on a lot of factors, including the health of your dog, and your choice of trainer - and how consistent you manage to be with the training.

    I like to use a front attach harness - correctly fitted because it gives me a lot more leverage and power over my dog, and if she really lunges after something (speeding cars are current fave), she ends up doing a full pivot around the attach point on her chest and facing me not the car. Takes all the reward out of it for her.

    So best trainer I know of in Adelaide / SA for your problem is Mark Singer...
    Dog Training & Behaviour Adelaide | Dog Whispering & Behaviour | puppy raising - Adelaide Canine Training

    he would probably cost several hundred dollars but you get a lot of support included after the visit. I haven't met him but I've met several dogs and owners from before and after meeting him and the joy he brings back is worth every cent to them.

    I know another person who had a reactive dog (tries to attack/stand over other dogs) recommends this trainer
    Amy Van Dyk at Advance Behavioural Training
    About Us | Advance Behavioural Training | Dog Trainer Adelaide, South Australia

    And yet another person I know recommends Debra Millikan - though I don't know if aggressive dogs are her thing but you could ask her who she would recommend.
    Debra Millikan is full of knowledge and extremely helpful. . She has been instrumental in positive training methods in the state.

    And I recommend this article to help you decide which dog trainer you want to use.
    How to Choose a Dog Trainer | Steve Courtney Dog Training

    There's no point choosing a dog trainer / behavourist who doesn't train you as much if not more than the dog. They need to use methods you'd be comfortable using with your dog. Some might recommend a prong collar or similar, but if you don't want to go there (I wouldn't personally but they do work), ask if there is some other way. If they're recommending you do something you don't want to do - be sure to let them know you're uncomfortable with that method and get them to either come up with another way you are happy with or explain the consequences of doing or not doing what they ask.

    The main thing you want to be doing - is setting up the behaviour you do want, and rewarding that, then adding in a very controlled way - the triggers for bad behaviour (distractions) - far enough away that your dog can still think - and then rewarding the behaviours you do want... with increasing levels of distraction.

    What a really good trainer can do - is help you identify the triggers, and the warning signs in your dog, work out some training plans to address those and then help you with your timing and "mechanics" so you decrease the bad behaviours and increase the desirable ones.

    If for some reason these trainers don't suit you, ask them to recommend someone else who might.

    Let us know how you go with it.

  8. #8


    Thank you ! That's really helpful and has given me a really good starting point!

    Hopefully we can get it under control and he can make a friend or two !

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