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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 20179
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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my dog wasnt socalised properly while she was young due to

Customer Question

my dog wasnt socalised properly while she was young due to my husband being ill she growls at strangers people when shes out walking also my neighbour has just informed she thinks i have no control over her which i didnt realise can you help me ????
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 4 years ago.
Hi Customer

My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today. I am sorry it took some time to get to your question. Different experts come on at different times.

In order to supply you with the best information, I do need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your answer, it will likely take me about 30-45 minutes to type up your response. I hope you can be patient.

What breed is your girl?
Is she spayed?
How old is she now?
Do you walk her on a leash?
Does she have problems with other dogs or just people?
Can you tell me the circumstances where this growling happens?
What do you do when this happens?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

English Bulldog

yes she is speyed

she is 7

always on leash


when we are out walking she gets tense when strangers are walking towards us and trys to lunge at them

i cross over so as to remove us from situation

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 4 years ago.
Thanks for the addtional information. Right now she gets what she wants which is to be away from other dogs and people by lunging at them. They either move away from her or you move her away from them. It is her way of staying away from them. She has learned that this works well.

Given your neighbors comment and your dogs behavior, it is likely that she doesn't see you as the boss. The boss is the one that protects the other members of the family, both dogs and people. So if the dog feels that she is the boss, then she feels that she needs to protect you and herself and this is the way she has found works.

So we want to have her see you as the boss. This will help in a lot of different ways as she will always come to you when called, sit and lay down when commanded to and listen to your commands and thus will be under your control. Since she is already reactive to other dogs and people, you will want to start training at home before going to group classes. The following site is helpful for teaching you how to train your dog. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.

Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below.

Unfortunately, the site does not allow me to make clickable links, so to view the supporting websites, you will need to copy and paste the link into a new browser window or tab. Once you have some obedience training done and she is listening better, then start group classes. The group classes will help add distractions to the training exercise so she learns to obey even if people and dogs are around.

It will be helpful if you can find someone with a dog to help you once you have your dog listening to commands consistently. Since she is reactive to people and your neighbor is concerned, perhaps they will help with training. What you will do is have your dog on the leash. You will have your helper off in the distance. Your helper will gradually a bit closer to you preferably walking past your position in the distance. As long as your dog ignores them, you can give your dog praise and a treat. The second you see her fixate on the other dog or show any other sign of aggression (hair standing up, etc.) give your dog a correction by giving a short tug and a firm low toned "NO". It shouldn't take your dog long to realize you will not tolerate the aggression and that if she ignores the other dog, she gets treats. Once this happens you can repeat the training moving the person closer until she is no longer trying to lunge at them. You will need to practice this when you and your dog are walking as well. Once she is no longer reactive to people add a dog to the mix having the person walk the dog repeating the training.

Another method is called BAT training. Read about those here:

So to sum it up, you want to start with obedience training. After a few weeks start the individual training with a helper and once you feel she is good with commands, go ahead and put her into a group class to socialize her in a controlled environment. You can also sit in dog parks or outside of school yards but do not allow interaction between her and the dogs and children initially. You want her to get used to them being around but not interacting with them. As she gets used to them and is calm around them, then have people toss her a tasty treat when they are near. She will associate them with good things. For treats during training, I recommend vieena sausage slivers or liver slivers. They are high value stinky treats that keep a dog's attention on you since you have the treat.
I also need to mention that if she has pain, it will affect her behavior around others, so be sure she does not have any medical reasons that might affect her behavior like arthritis or disc problems.

I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .
If you have questions in the future that you wish me to answer, you may go here and bookmark the page or make it a favorite. It is best to put my name "JANE" in the question as well. Please recommend me to your friends and family members if they have any problems with their dog as well. I would truly appreciate it.

Since there have been recalls on certain foods, please check the following site to be sure the food your animals eat is not affected. If it is affected, contact your vet as soon as possible. Have your dog seen if they have any symptoms.