Margie bit our friend


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Aug 1, 2013
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Well it happened yesterday, Marg snipped/bit a friend of ours... Her behavior has been weird lately but I never would have expected this.
Saturday night we had friends over at our house. Marg was being her typical antisocial self, and avoiding everyone and hiding behind me. This behavior has gotten worse over the past couple months and I hate that she is that way, but we respect it and I just tell everyone she is shy and doesn't like strangers. So Saturday night she was a little stressed out but was ok after everyone started ignoring her.

On Sunday my husband had a friend over to visit. When his friend entered, Marg lost it, she barked at him for about 3 minutes before calming down. Our friend went to the bathroom and when he came out she lost it again, he approached her and said "oh come on marg, i'm not going to hurt you" and he reached down to pet her and she snipped at him. She didn't break skin or anything, but the minute I saw her do that I took her and put her in a submissive position on her back and told her "No". Right after I did that she cuddled in my lap and her eyes were super big. Once she was calm I sat next to our friend and told him to pet her, he did and she was fine. I dont think she necessarily liked him petting her but she tolerated it since I yelled at her before.

I am lost... I have never had to deal with this kind of behavior. Both of our other dogs are friendly and love people. Was what I did by putting her in a submissive position right? If that wasn't right what should I have done? Just let her get away with snipping and ignore it? We are in the process of finding a trainer but are very limited. Our Kennel Club that does obedience training does not to private in home training. So we have contacted our vet to try and find someone who does. I am desperate..... any advice?

She is the sweetest most loving dog with my husband and I, and she is great with SOME people she knows. We have a male dog sitter that stays at our house with her when we are not home, and he has never said anything about her snipping at him or being aggressive so I think it is a protective thing of either her territory only when we are home....

Wow, Trish, I think that is unusual behavior for a Frenchie. I remember an earlier post about a female Frenchie biting a neighbor, but don't remember who posted. It sounds like she is afraid, and when your friend reached out to her she did what she could do to protect herself. I don't know if submitting her was the right thing to do or not, but she allowed the friend the friend to pet her when she was in the safety of your lap. Getting help from a trainer will be good, but that trainer needs to know the Bulldog breed. Does Marg feel threatened when she is away from home? Is she friendly with strangers away from home? Taking her to private training outside her home might be good.
I feel so lost with what happened. It happened quickly, and I was so confused as to what to do.... I just spoke with her Breeder/Vet today and she wants to see her right away to be sure everything is ok. She also wanted to see how she acts with me outside of the home. We are working on finding an in home trainer, and we are on the waiting list for obedience class training in March (unfortunately they are backed up and March is as early as we can get in)..... Marg has always been shy and unsure of strangers, but the barking and assertiveness towards them is new and startling for us since she is such a sweet lover with us....
Even away from the home is hesitant to greet strangers, but it seems to be worse in the home.
Again it is only when I am around.... Our dog sitter and other people who have stopped to take care of the dogs while we were away or working late at work have never reported any issues with her being aggressive towards them.
Hi Trish,
As I mentioned before, I completely understand, as I had a shy, timid dog and know that it can be very upsetting. First, I actually think my gut instinct would have been to do exactly what you did in the circumstance that you described. Of course, her underlying fearfulness is the issue that is provoking her to act aggressively so increasing her confidence would be the ultimate goal. Here is a link from a trainer who seems to be highly regarded . Maybe something like this can help? Like Marg, our dog, while loving all children, would be fearful of certain adults, and most of the time there was really no determining which adults she would like and which would trigger her fear. ? But, overall, I would say keep working on it while she is young! If I had one thing to do over again, I would have redoubled my efforts while she was young! I think with a lot of exposure and coming up with a game plan (hopefully you will find a good behaviorist), Marg will be fine.