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Question
Posted by: Lara | 2004/10/04

Bull Terrier

Our neighbours have recently aquired a male bull terrier puppy. I have heard that these dogs tend to be territorial and will kill other dogs in the area. How can I prevent this from happening to my dogs? Should I socialise them? If so how? We have 1,5 meter fence between the two houses and I ensure that our gates are always closed. Are there any methods to ensure that the bull terrier stays out of our garden? This dog is still very young and is already showing agression.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberVet

Hi Lara
Socialising the bull terrier puppy is absolutely crucial, but the owners really should do that, so that they can also learn about training and caring for their dog. Puppy classes are the best and most efficient way to do this, so perhaps find out if there are any in your area and let your neighbours know. As well as that I suggest you socialise your dogs with the puppy, on both territories or on neutral territory, with the help of the puppy's owners, of course. You will need to do this every week at least for a year or more and this still may not prevent aggression, depending on all the dogs' temperaments. Although bull terriers have a bad reputation for aggression and therefore take a lot more work to socialise, they can be pleasant dogs around other dogs if their owners make an effort from early on (9 weeks, if possible). Fences seem to create aggression, but are necessary to prevent injury. The worst injuries and deaths occur when a dog gets bitten through a fence and then pulled through, so the best type of fence is either a double one or one with fine mesh. If the dog has all its needs met (has company most of the day, gets regular daily walks, can socialise with other dogs, has toys and things to chew, has a view out of the property, is allowed inside etc.) then stress and frustration levels will be low and aggression less likely.
Karen Gray-Kilfoil
ANIMAL BEHAVIOURIST

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Lucia | 2004/10/06

Lara - you are a very, very sensible person as far as pets are concerned - you made my day with your last paragraph !!!!!!!!!

Carol & Chill - so gad to see you two have stopped biting each other. But Carol did say something which I have to agree with, whenever I read posting that starts with "I want to spay my dog as soon as she has had her first litter of puppies" or anything in that line, then I want to freak out.

Like I said before, we all live in our own small worlds and do not realise the extent of the problem with unwanted animals but the more people we make aware of the fact that breeding irresponsibly is a not on, the better things will become for domestic pets.

I have learned that unless I told my kids that their fingers will break off in their noses if they dig for diamonds, the quicker they were to stop that awful habit, but if you tell them "please refrain from sticking your fingers in you facial orifices", they tend to ignore you. Sometimes one has to be cruel to be kind and to be able to deliver the message.

You two play nice now.

Reply to Lucia
Posted by: Lara | 2004/10/06

Thanks guys - I never even considered that the dog may bite through the wire! Thanks for the warning. My older dog is neutered already and the youngest will go as soon as she is ready.
(By the way I take NO offence to being told to neuter my dogs - it is the most responsible thing to do. There are far too many unwanted pets :) )

Reply to Lara
Posted by: Carol | 2004/10/06

Chill .. sadly Tact has never been one of my strong points .. im a capricorn .. and us goats are a tad awkward. I do try tho ...

U should join us on "theworld" I would invite u to join our boxer forum but u dont have boxers do u ?

Reply to Carol
Posted by: Chill | 2004/10/05

I think for them to all play together will go a long way to preventing any problems. But, if the dog should get aggressive, then I'd not feel very confident about wire mesh, even with rocks. It's not very sturdy, and just bouncing off the wire will shift rocks unless they are really massive...

Another thing: when I was a little kid, I unfortunately witnessed something which gave me nightmares for years: a dog barking at another one through a fence somehow managed to grab hold of the other one's muzzle, and would not let go. There was blood all over, and the victim screamed and screamed - it was a horriffic thing to see... the dog needed extensive treatment and stitches, and even though it's 40 years ago, I can still hear the dog's screams and see the blood. I'm not meaning to scare you, but forewarned is forearmed... you could maybe think of putting up some fine mesh in addition to the existing mesh, in places where such a thing could take place.

Carol: Believe it or not, I think we've always been on the same side. But what I'm concerned about (and somewhat allergic to!) is that pontificating to people is so often counterproductive. You've seen yourself how some people react to being 'told' to neuter their dogs when all they've done is ask a simple question. Even though you are right, being a little more circumspect is far less likely to put peoples' backs up and achieve the result you're wanting.

(Now the ball's in your court.... you can tell me how not to put peoples' backs up, hehehe......)

Reply to Chill
Posted by: carol | 2004/10/05

ooh that bully is going to love yr girlies .. i would have them both spayed asap .. before he gets any romantic notions which trust me can be as young as 5 mos.

What are the possibilities that you can let baby bully come play with yr 2 ? they are the perfect age to teach BB manners and generaly have a ball and it will do them all good

Chill i sense a softening toward me (hehehe)

Reply to carol
Posted by: Lara | 2004/10/05

Thank you both for the advice.

My dogs are both female, 6 months and a year, and the fence is wire. The can see each other, however I have placed rocks at the bottom to make sure they cant dig under.

More advice would very much be appreciated!

Reply to Lara
Posted by: Chill | 2004/10/04

While Carol is perfectly correct, it doesn't really help to tell someone to neuter, train and socialise their neighbours' pet.

However, what I'm going to say may not be very useful either... and that is that it is your neighbours' responsibility to ensure that their dog is kept on their property and that it cannot escape into yours. As you have already figured out, the time to worry about that is now, because if he gets into your yard when he's fullgrown, he can cause a considerable amount of damage, and it's a bit late to address the problem then.

You don't say what kind of fence you have - is it wire mesh? Can the dogs all see each other? Could any of them dig UNDER the fence? And finally, what dogs to you have - breed, age and sex... if you don't have any males, it may help to ask your neighbours to let them play together while their dogs is still young. This would in any case enable you to better judge if the bull terrier is likely to be a threat to your dogs.

I have to say that I'm glad I"m not in the situation you're in. I love bull terriers too, they can be wonderful dogs, but frankly, those belonging to other people can be very intimidating and threatening to other dogs. Good luck!

Reply to Chill
Posted by: Carol | 2004/10/04

Firstly he MUST be neutered , he MUST be trained and socilised .

Good Luck if all of the above is done properly he should be ok .. bullterriers can also be real sweeties ..I love them but they do need careful handling

Reply to Carol

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