I have a 3 year old English bulldog who is generally very happy and playful with people and big dogs, but she always tries to pick a fight with smaller dogs. We also have a Labrador at home, so I'm assuming she thinks she's a big dog (she's actually smaller than a typical bulldog at around 19kg).

When we run into a small dog during walks or gatherings, if the small dog is close enough she will chase it and make LOUD noises that we don't normally hear. I can usually control her fairly good on the leash, but it's like her internal instincts kick in and any training goes out the window. I don't think she ever bit another dog, but it freaks out everyone involved and makes it completely awkward to deal with.

How do I handle this? I feel like correcting her on the spot does nothing. Walking away immediately somewhat works, but doesn't feel like an actual solution.

  • Can you explain this "LOUD noises" some more? Or even better, can you record her reaction to small dogs? As your question stands, it's imppssible to interpret her behavior.
    – Elmy
    Commented Aug 2, 2018 at 16:05
  • It's hard to say since bulldogs have their own unique sounds, but it's like a half bark half whining. She'll try to sprint to the dog and choke herself. She doesn't bare her teeth or look very stiff like an aggressive dog, though it's a horrible way to greet herself (especially if the other dog is aggressive). Anyways I'd like to have some control over her whatever her intentions are instead of dragging her away.
    – user12613
    Commented Aug 3, 2018 at 1:57
  • 1
    I want to remind you of the fact that you opened a bounty on your question (so you really want an answer) but you still don't give us enough information to actually interpret your dogs behavior. A loud noise can be a yapping, barking, growling, gurgling and anything in between. The posture might also be important to understand your dogs behavior. Please try to describe her behavior more detailed or at least find a video with a similar sound or similar behavior.
    – Elmy
    Commented Aug 6, 2018 at 6:45
  • When dogs show unusual behavior towards certain dogs (size, color, bread...) it's most likely due to bad experiences made during a formative stage in their puppyhood (7–16 Weeks see wonder-puppy.com/puppy-stages). Such imprinting is very hard to overcome, since that stage in development shapes the character of your dog. Most fear related issues in dogs are mostly based on things experienced during that time. However, bad behavior (like in your case) is much easier to redirect than fear related behavior. Commented Nov 7, 2018 at 14:42
  • Does your dog actually attack the other dogs or is it unhealthy rough play? Is it aggressive or dominant? Did he have a bad experience with small dogs in his puppyhood? What's the reaction of the smaller dogs (in case of rough play) do they avoid contact or keep playing, how do other bystander dogs react? How dominant is your dog in general, is he aggressive from time to time other then with small dogs? Commented Nov 7, 2018 at 14:46

1 Answer 1


You say your dog fights with other dogs and yet you say she doesn't display aggressive behavior like showing teeth or stiffening up. Sounds to me like this might not be aggressive behavior, especially since she isn't showing this type of behavior to just any dog, but small dogs. What's her tail like, is it wagging, or down between her legs? Is she growling? She may want to play with the other dogs and may be too forward about it, since you say she's a playful dog. Please provide more information.

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