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Dr L Simmon
Dr L Simmon, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 3485
Experience:  Veterinarian MVB MRCVS
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My dog is barking at everyone and being quite aggressive and

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Hi Pearl, my dog is barking at everyone and being quite aggressive and snapping it jaw.. how can I stop this? I’m due to have my baby in January and won’t be able to keep my dog if she carries on like this
JA: Hi there. I'll do all I can to help. When did you first notice this aggression? Does it happen all the time or only sometimes?
Customer: It’s every day... seems more in the night maybe when she’s bored or wants someone to play with her
JA: Have you tried anything so far that helps the dog with her aggression?
Customer: Nothing seems to work so far
JA: What's the dog's name?
Customer: Luna
JA: Is there anything else the Vet should know?
Customer: She hasn’t been spayed yet but she is due this in 2 weeks so maybe this could help other than that nothing

Hi there, you are through to Dr Linda.

I'm sorry to hear this and appreciate it must be very concerning.

Certainly, a baby and an aggressive dog is not a good combination and they would need to be kept entirely separately and supervised at all times.

What breed is she?

How much exercise does she get and what about her training / mental stimulation?

What has been tried so far?

For example:

Has she had a vet check for a source of pain?

Have you consulted a behaviourist?

Have you tried any calming medication (prescription or not)?

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Hi, she’s and English bulldog - she has a walk if not 2 a day she has basic training she knows it wrong but seems to continue to do so, we have tried to ignore her barking or putting her out for 5 minutes but she’s got so bad she’s barking in our faces.. I was due to take her to some training but unfortunately being on lockdown we can’t now, I haven’t tried any calming medication I hadn’t actually thought of this.. and hasn’t seen a vet either could this be a thing to put in place ?

I understand; lockdown has made addressing things like this increasingly difficult.

Bullies are clever dogs who are used to being kept active and using their mind. I would ensure she is being brought on a variety of walks and is able to sniff and explore when out and about. Simply getting from A to B is not the aim, it is more about wearing her out mentally and providing her with a nice distraction. When out, we should play fetch, 'find the treat', practice her recall etc.

With regards ***** ***** the barking, all family members must be doing the same thing consistently. For example, if we choose to ignore (which is what I recommend), everyone ignores her until barking stops. This means no talking to her, shouting 'stop', saying 'no barking' etc. It even means no looking at her. We act as if she doesn't exist. Once she stops and settles, she gets praise and a treat.

We should also work on teaching her a stop barking command such as 'Done'. We can work on this at times when she is not nuisance barking but eventually would hope that it works to control the nuisance barking too.

Barking is often a sign of frustration and boredom so ensure she has lots to keep her occupied when home such as food puzzles, interactive toys etc.

Non prescription calming supplements such as Yucalm and Zylkene are worth trying but you may need to move up to prescribed Fluoxetine if they do not help.

With regards ***** ***** vet, which would be great, you would need to call you local clinic. Many are doing over the phone consults and will then see a dog in person if they deem necessary, Given that baby is due soon, they may well be happy to see Luna.

Hopefully we can start getting this sorted as a barking dog is not something you want when trying to settle a newborn!

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
When on walks she does come off lead to smell and play fetch ect.. she come back to call nicely as I done a lot of this with her when she was a puppy, is there anything else we can do to drain her mentally then? I will go and pick up a treat ball tonight and see if this helps as it’s mostly in the evenings she’s like this and we all dread it! She is due to be spayed so potentially could ask for a check over then also..

That's good when walking; that's good stimulation!

Training wise we can do cues e.g. sit, stay (working on longer distances), paw, roll over etc.

Absolutely, they will check her before her spay so that should highlight any medical issues.

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Hi, when ignoring like we discussed she gets frustrated and is barking and jumping to our faces snapping.. I’m not sure if ignoring her is going to be the best way?
It is not unusual for the behaviour to escalate when they are not getting what they want.
She is attention seeking and then getting increasingly frustrated as it isn't working. She has likely learnt that snapping gets the reaction she craves.
If it is unsafe to ignore her, I agree we need an alternative tact.
It may be that she needs to be crated (if crate trained) or put behind a baby gate or gated room. We continue to ignore (keeping in mind she will not like this at all) and then praise heavily when the barking stops. We should find the time this takes gets shorter each time.
I do think, however, we will get better results of doing this alongside a behavioural programme and veterinary prescribed medicine
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Okay I shall try this way, I am picking up some calming tablets as at the moment we can’t see a vet - I’m going to keep calling every day until hopefully we get some help as the last thing I want to do is get rid of her
I completely understand. Hopefully we start to see some improvements soon.
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Customer: replied 11 days ago.
Hi just wanted to update you, putting Luna in a different room has worked really well for us ... We’ve gone from barking and snapping and bitting/nibbling constantly to now having to saying do you want to go out for her to stop and go play with her toys... it’s such an improvement but we still have a few improvements to make but I definitely feel so much better I knowing that if we all follow the same rules she will be perfect just in time before our baby comes !!! Thank you so much for all your help and guidance