How to Treat your Dog when he has the bully Syndrome


In contrast to fear-based aggression, the “bully syndrome” is a different story altogether. Bullies usually have the wrong idea about play. They find out that they’re stronger than other dogs and they body slam them or roll them over. They usually pick on weaker dogs and leave the more confident ones alone; the weaker ones are much more fun! Think of that kid at school who picks on the smaller, weaker kids. Unfortunately, bully dogs act the same way. It’s more show than anything else at first, but the more experienced they become at bullying, the better they get, and the more likely it will turn into more violent aggression. This usually happens when the bully picks the wrong dog and that dog retaliates in earnest. There are certain breed types that are more prone to bullying—they often have a high pain threshold and love rough and tumble play. Labs, Boxers, Rottweilers, and Pit Bulls can have a tendency to be bullies unless they’re discouraged, as can some terriers.

Some dogs who appear to be bullies are really insecure and scared, so they overcompensate. Sometimes they were body slammed or traumatized when they were puppies. They’re often very submissive to more confident dogs but physically dominate weaker, less confident dogs.

Bullies and pseudo-bullies don’t necessarily confine themselves to picking on other dogs. They can target family members who appear weak or strangers who give off weak or frightened “vibes.” Often, the strongest human member of a household doesn’t understand why the other members don’t just “tell the dog off,” not realizing that they can’t. It’s not in their personalities to do so, and the dog knows it.

Behavior Modification Method

The best method of helping a bully dog learn to be civilized is to take the following combination approach.

  • Manage his environment so that he can’t practice picking on other dogs. Don’t take him to dog parks unless you know the other dogs there.
  • Exercise him on his own or with another dog who can handle his rowdiness. If they get too rough with each other, stop the play (physically, if necessary) and allow a cool-down period before allowing them to play again.
  • Encourage play with balls or other objects. This is a great way to work off excess energy.
  • Teach him good manners through extensive obedience work.
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About the Author: Fred Goodson has a passion for pets and animals. He has 4 dogs and is planning to have another one. He is also a blogger who writes about pets and animals. Currently, he is living in New Jersey.

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