Bully dog behavior is more common than people want to admit. Guardians of bully dogs are mostly unaware or in denial, so the problem persists. The bigger problem with bully dogs is that they are making other dogs fearful which gives rise to becoming potential bullies in the future.
A child who is abused will often times grow up to be abusive. The same with a bully dog. A bully becomes a bully because they were bullied. Since there was no bloodshed or major fights to make it clear to the guardian that something was wrong, the bullying continues. The dog who is being bullied takes it, until she can’t take it any more because no one stepped in to intervene. They don’t often take it out on the dog who bullied them, mostly on other dogs who are more timid than they are. If they do tell the dog who bullied them, then a fight is bound to happen. Bullying is a viscous (pun intended) cycle that continues until the guardian realizes that it’s gotten out of control. The potential for bullied dogs to grow up to be bullies is not only possible but probable. Another overlooked aspect of bully dogs is that they are mostly in a stressful state. Once the guardian realizes that they have a bully dog, it would really behoove them to get help, to restore harmony in the home.
Signs of a bully dog:
- A bully dog barks at others, people, dogs, cats, etc and doesn’t let up even when it notices that the animal they are barking at is fearful or trying to ignore them. Bully dogs don’t respect others body language and boundaries.
- A bully is often standing over the other dog.
- A bully dog engages in play in a very assertive manner completely unconcerned about whether the dog is interested or completely ignoring the signs of “not interested”.
- A bully dog consistently charges or aggresses another dog over toys, territory or food even when the other dog backs down or is just entering the room with no attention on the toy, food or anything, just wandering into the same room or territory.
- A bully dog actually gets more amped up when another dog tries harder and harder to say NO, without intervention. They don’t back down but get more energetic in their need to engage and a fight is often the outcome. A bully dog is often reactive to other dogs on leash.
Bully dogs can be any breed. It’s not about breed but about behavior.
Learning about body language will help you understand when a dog is stressed and acting like a bully and the signs of the dog who is being bullied, so you can help both dogs before a fight happens. When you understand body language, you will be better equipped to do what needs to be done to help your dog feel less stressed in her world thereby not wreaking havoc on other dogs giving way to the ongoing cycle of bullying.
About the author: Jill Breitner, is a professional dog trainer, award winning author, writing articles for Dogster, The Whole Dog Journal, Animal Wellness and her own blog. She is also a dog body language expert, loving and living her life on the west coast of the USA. She is the author of Dog Decoder, a smartphone app about dog body language recommended and used by veterinarians, shelters, trainers, educators and guardians worldwide. It’s available in iTunes and Google play. Jill, is Fear Free Certified and has been teaching gentle handling/basic husbandry skills to clients dogs for 40 years. She helps you to be your pets advocate for a happier and stress free life. She also does online dog training, worldwide. Join Jill on her Dog Decoder Facebook page