Preston the Bully!

Mommy and Daddy might have to call Cesar Millan “the Dog Whisperer” or Victoria Stilwell of “Its Me or the Dog”. Preston used to be a sweet and easy-going puppy that never showed his teeth unless it was to defend himself.
As Preston got older, he is turning into a grumpy dog. He still plays well with other dogs in the park but has become very protective of his toys and started showing food aggression when another dog is around. This has been giving Mommy and Daddy a big headache.
Not too long after Preston moved to Houston, he met up with his cyber friend, Puggles. (Interesting name, huh? His full name is Puggles TX Ranger) The two boys had a great time at the dog park. They played chase and shared treats together. Puggles is the sweetest boy and has great temperament.

A couple of weeks ago, Puggles invited Preston over to check out his house because when Mommy and Daddy are going on vacation, Puggles and his parents will be looking after Preston. Puggles’ parents would like Preston to get familiar with their house before the sleep-over. How thoughtful! Mommy and Daddy are so grateful for their help.
When Preston arrived at Puggles’ home, the two of them were very happy to see each other. They started running around in the house and were having a lot of fun…well…that was until Preston got his paws on Puggles’ “Waggle“, a treat dispensing toy that Preston also has one at home. Preston brought Waggle to Mommy and wanted her to fill it with treats. Just as Mommy was about to take the toy away from Preston, Puggles happened to walk by and without any warning, Preston snapped at Puggles! It caught everyone off guard. Poor Puggles ran away in shock. He was so terrified of Preston and wouldn’t even be in the same room with him anymore. Mommy and Daddy felt terrible. The poor thing must have thought “Who is this bully coming to my house, stealing my toy and attacking me?”
Mommy really thought Preston had just lost a friend but before Mommy and Daddy took Preston home (with huge embarrassment!), Puggles walked to Preston cautiously, sniffed a little and wagged his tail again. The two of them made up and were friends again. Puggles is truely the sweetest puggle.
What should Mommy and Daddy do about Preston’s agressive behavior? He doesn’t do that to people (thank goodness!). When Bunbun the Havanese slept over, Mommy kept close eyes on them during dinner time. Preston wasn’t aggressive towards Bunbun even when she tried to stick her head in Preston’s bowl when he was eating. Preston is very unpredictable. This has made correcting his behavior harder.
Mommy and Daddy are going on vacation this weekend. Puggles and his parents are so kind and still welcome Preston to their home even after they found Preston is such a bully. Puggles’ mommy and daddy will make sure to keep both boys safe. Preston is so lucky to have a friend like Puggles.
Puggles is very well-loved at his home. He even has his very own room, decorated just for him.

Mommy and Daddy are praying that Preston will behave himself this weekend so they can enjoy their time on the sunny beach…

16 Responses to Preston the Bully!

  1. Lori & Max says:

    Funny that you bring this topic up. I have the same concern with Max. He was such a happy-go-lucky sociable pup growing up, but recently, in the past 6 mos to a year, he’s been snapping and snarling at dogs who either get too close to him, or when he’s on the leash (leash aggression). It bothers me and i brought it up to my vet and they said its much better that he has dog aggression than PEOPLE aggression because that’s far worst. Yes, i’m thankful for that, but it doesn’t put me at ease. Now when i pass other dogs or when a dog comes by to say hello, i get all anxious and stressed out, waiting for Max to snarl his teeth. He actually broke skin on another dog once. Who knows if this is from traumatic experiences he had with unfriendly dogs (a handful of mean dogs have started fights with Max) or that he just grew into a bad habit. But keep me in the loop if you find out what can help this behavior. i know i need to stress out less because they can read our behavior.

  2. kourtney says:

    i am having the same problem with oliver over toys. he doesnt always do it and its not always the same toy or dog but sometimes if he has a toy and another dog tries to take it he becomes mean! i have to watch it especially closely because of jack. if you get any good advice please let me know. and have fun on vacation! i’m sure preston will be a good boy and have a great time with his friend puggles!

    oliver and jack

  3. Rachel says:

    I had the same problem with my Pug Harley. Once he hit two years old one day out of nowhere he charged a friends dogs we’ve been around almost everyday since he was old enough to go to the dog park.

    He had a toy and Davis (a lab pointer mix) came to wrestle with it and he charged. I was in shock and utterly devistated. I cried for days. Its hard to see your sweet and social baby act that way. And it has happened many times since. But ONLY with large breed male dogs. NEVER with any small dogs or any females. Boys feel more challanged by other male dogs.

    My solution was to just make sure there are no toys out when we are near the big boys. He will also start out playing with them and when the play escelates he will charge. Its devistating to see. I think it starts as play and then he gets overwhelmed by their size.

    I would just suggest to avoid the problem especially since its random. Take away any treat toys or chewies. Seperate them when they have food or treats. I make sure no treats or fav toys are around when we are around the big boys and since then I have had NO problems. Good Luck!

  4. We don’t have hardly any playdates at our house but mom thinks that this could be an issue with Mitch too if we did.
    We also have always heard that when a dog’s personality changes, have his thyroid checked out. Just a suggestion.

    Love ya lots
    Maggie and Mitch

  5. Nancy Alexander says:

    I just love your blog, and Preston. I have a three year old Puggle Max. We recently got another Puggle, Maxina ,and they fight over food and toys as well. Honestly, I think it is teritorial, and Puggles seems to have the Alpha personality regardless if it’s one or more Puggles together, they all take the Alpha role on at once, no submission whatsoever.

    On another note, from following your blog, it appears to me that Preston usually associates with other dogs outside of a home (like at the dogpark). I know he’s had a few visits here and there at friends homes, but for the most part, he hasn’t really been with other dogs in close quarters? Maybe that has something to do with it?

    When they fight, it always seems so vicious, and when it’s over you think there will be wounds, etc., with mine it seems it looks and sounds worse than it really is. To resolve the issue, I put one of my Puggles in their crate to separate them until they have eaten everything…Can’t do much about the toys, but if they do get into a rumble, I keep a spray bottle with water and vinegar on hand..and spray it directly in their faces that seems to break them up..Never attempt to break them apart yourself, I got a very deep laceration doing that once with two Boxers I used to have (RIP)..Learned my lesson! I used a broom once with Max and Maxine, and the dogs won, the broom was a mess! Maybe Puggles mom can try the water/vinegar if they go at it again..Praying that all will be fine though..Enjoy your trip, knowing they are in good hands, which is a good thing! Can’t always trust that if at a kennel.

  6. Atticus is the same way! It must be a puggle thing! He has never snapped at me but he sometimes growls when I get close to his food bowl or when I try to take away one of his favorite toys. I’m trying to work on his food bowl aggression by sitting by his bowl and handing him little bits of beggin strips to show that I’m there to be nice. It’s tougher with the toys since I don’t always have beggin strips on hand. If you figure out a way to help a puggle out I would love to know too! They are good dogs, they just don’t want anybody messin with their food!!!

  7. Bruschi says:

    We have experienced this ourselves too. Bruschi is super social and has always loved every dog, until we brought Ebby into the house… he barks wildly at any other dog that we pass while walking, but is not food aggressive or toy aggressive. Generally 2 boys don’t get along great (which we found out through fostering), but if Puggles TX Ranger is sweet and doesn’t fight back, Preston is likely just establishing dominance over him. Just make sure that they are fed separately, and when they are playing together, keep a watchful eye! Try not to worry too much while you are on vacation!! Good luck!!
    I know how stressful it is to see that side of them come out!

  8. Oh – I really empathised (and sympathised!) with this post as Honey can be a terrible bully too! She isn’t food or toy aggressive – as far as we can see – but she can play in a very rough, intimidating way – almost not play but more like haraassing/bullying the other dog. She only does this with dogs that are already quite timid/shy/submissive – those are the worst types to meet as they seem to bring out the worst in her! – and it’s awful as I always feel so embarrassed, It’s like – that poor dog is already scared of you – why do you need to bully her too?

    I also find that Honey is quite a “dominant” dog and so is quite unwilling to “yield” when out in the dog park. If someone wants a fight, she’ll give them one! I’ve hardly ever seen her back down and act submissive – although if a dog is confident himself, she will be respectful of him. I find it is regardless of size. She will bully the biggest Dane and be respectful of the smallest Chihuahua. It’s all down to their personality.

    It’s very sad as she also used to be so social and “play with anything” kind of dog – I would have unhesitatingly said she was fine with all dogs. But since she has gotten older, I am more nervous of other dogs around her now and can’t say with as much conviction that she will always be fine, especially if she is on-leash – she definitely doens’t like strange dogs approaching her then. But she is also a lot less tolerant. in the past, other dogs jumping on her would have been a cue for her to wrestle with them – now she often growls at them instead! And she has also got a lot worse over barriers (not that she was ever very good at them) – if she meets another dog through a barrier, (eg. fence), there is almost guaranteed to be problems – although I think part of this problem was exacerbated by our terrible neighbours back in Brisbane.

    Reading through your other comments, it seems like a common thing with many dogs as they grow up so maybe we just have to accept it. I suppose it’s the same for humans – we also get a lot less tolerant and have much shorter fuse as we get older! I know I do! I used to be friends with anyone and be game to get involved in anything when i was at Uni – whereas now I am a lot more fussy & picky of the people I spend my time with.

    Anyway, sorry I don’t have much suggestions to offer other than to second what someone else said about removing toys & food when other dogs are there. At least if you know that his “bad behaviour” is directed at those 2 things, then you can control it easier. I think as a general rule, unless the dogs are very young, it’s a good idea to remove all toys when dogs are together – young dogs seem to be very tolerant and not care but as they get older, they seem to be a lot more conscious of pack dynamics and dominance and that sort of thing – and be more interested in guarding resources to show their status!

    Anyway, I’m sure Preston was a good boy with Puggles (at least he’s sweet & submissive – as long as one dog lets the other dominate him, then it’s OK) – so hope you enjoy your holiday!


  9. Oh Preston! You are not a bully, you are just used to being the only dog indoors! I know you didn’t mean to be aggressive.

    I’m quite the opposite. I’ll usually curl my tail between my legs when I meet new dogs; usually get really jealous when any of the humans are petting my roommates; and don’t like the roommates playing with my toys. I don’t get aggressive, Id just go steal it back.

    Hopefully your Mommy and Daddy will not have to resort to Cezar Milan because we’ll all be in for punishment. His motto is “exercise, discipline, then affection.” I think we’ve gotten our parents to give affection first. That is why we think that we are human!

    I know you’ll be a gentle pup at Puggles’ house. You’ll make us proud. I hope your parents have a fabulous weekend!


  10. Preston, We hope you and Puggles have a fun weekend together. It sure is hard to share toys sometimes. Even Brother Jackie and Sister Ella-Belle have a hard time sharing toys. You are very lucky to have a friend like Puggles and he is lucky to have a friend like you. I’m sure you will have a fun weekend and be best of friends by the time Mommy and Daddy get back. You be a good boy, Preston, as you always have been 😉 Love,
    Jack, Ella and Mommy Ann

  11. We hope that you and Puggles have a good weekend together. We know that it’s hard to share toys sometimes. Mommy and Daddy don’t give us certain types of bones anymore because Owen will continue to bark at me and try to steal mine and it makes me sad.
    Maddy and Owen

  12. Update for everyone- Preston & Puggles have been playing fine today! No toys, treats, or anything they could fight over around today. We took everything up & made sure to watch close. Puggles has definitely taken the submissive stance but has started to build his confidence up again! Preston’s bark is so much louder than Puggles’- I think that’s the only thing that scares Puggles now! But we are making progress & having fun. 🙂 We’re all still friends around here!!

  13. I think maybe Male dogs hate another male Dogs ! Piggy is acting aggressive to Champ ( male golden retriever) all the time. He don’t share treats, foods and toys with Champ, even WATER! BUT Piggy is fine with LULU ( Female PUG) He will go away or turn his face away when Lulu is sniffing at his food. Piggy also quite aggressive to human, especially that person wear in dark color shirt, with hats! BUT he will be nice with you if you ignore him while he barking at you

  14. Kristen says:

    Interesting comments. My puggle, Freddy also sometimes shows aggression when he has something he shouldn’t (i.e. piece of garbage) or when someone tries to take something away from him. The other day at the dog park he found something in the snow (have no idea what) but he became obsessed with it. He growled anytime a dog came near him and I couldn’t get him away from the object (it was also dark). It was horrible. He never growls or bares his teeth at my husband – just me. It was scary. He’s 98% of the time the most perfect dog ever but man that 2% of the time is scary. I also have toddlers in the house so don’t leave them alone b/c who knows what they’ll try and take away from the dog. Would be interested in hearing any tips on dealing with random bouts of aggression.

  15. We received our package in the mail today, Preston and we have posted about it. Thank you so very much!

    Love ya lots
    Maggie and Mitch

  16. Stinson the puggle says:

    Preston! This is a behavior question since it seems like you can be a rascal sometimes too. Stinson barks a little more than we would like outside (at neighbor dogs, at the dog park when people are hiding treats in their pocket etc.) Has this ever been an issue with Preston? Have you ever heard of people teaching the “speak” & “quiet” commands? Stinson has done numerous group training classes, and had a private training session for this issue, with little success….