Is the American Bully Breed Aggressive?

portrait of oso american bully xl

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Whether you rescue or shop for a dog, it’s a big moment in your life; everyone wants the perfect dog, but no one stops to think about being the perfect owner. Sure, buying them food, treats, cute clothes, and warm snow boots are all examples of being the “perfect” pet parent…

However, dogs don’t automatically come trained and disciplined. That takes work, and if you don’t put in the work, your dog might end up aggressive.

The American Bully can be aggressive, just like any other dog breed. Aggression is more likely if your Bully had abusive owners in the past, is in pain, is sick, is suffering from neglect, or receives improper training. You can fix this behavior with clicker training or trust-building games.

The rest of this article will further explain aggressive behavior and more questions related, including why your dog may be aggressive and how to put a stop to it.

Why Is My American Bully Aggressive?

american bully showing its teeth during shower
Shower time attitude!

Dogs can be aggressive for a number of reasons, including their past and their current living situations. The American Bully is no exception!

Your Dog’s Past

While it’s odd to think about, your dog likely had a past before you rescued or shopped unless you got them at a very young age. From something as minor as a sickness to something as major as abuse, your dog likely went through a lot before they met you.

If you decided to adopt a rescue dog, which is a great thing to do, your dog likely went through something awful in the past. The most common reason dogs become a rescue is due to abuse. However, keep in mind that not all abused dogs end up aggressive.

So, there’s a chance that your American Bulldog is aggressive due to something that may have happened with a previous owner or dog.

Current Living Situations

Let’s say you try to pet your American Bulldog on their back, and they snarl at you. While you may be taken aback at first, you should analyze the situation before you get upset. There’s a possibility that something might be wrong with your dog. 

Many dogs have different ways of showing that something is wrong with them. For example, your dog might not eat for a while, or they’ll be uninterested in treats. This could be a warning sign that something is wrong. On the other hand, they might growl, snarl, or even bite you if you touch the area that has been causing pain. 

So just keep in mind that if your dog is being aggressive, there’s a chance that they could be in pain. Take your Bully to the vet if you’re unsure about anything.

How To Stop Your Dog From Being Aggressive

kind american bully

When you’ve identified that your dog has become aggressive, there are a few ways to solve it.

Talk to Your Vet

As previously mentioned, your dog might be aggressive due to sickness. You’ll try to pet your dog, and they growl at you because the area you touched hurts. If you believe something is wrong, it’s always a great option to take your dog to the vet. You never know if your dog could be suffering from something awful.

Also, while at the vet, you could discuss medicine. For a simpler yet short-term way of calming your dog down, you may want to use medicine. There are many types of calming medicines, including room sprays, pills, treats, and even collars with calming pheromones. Just be sure to talk to a vet first before using any of these.


If you’ve determined that your dog isn’t sick, you should consider training your American Bully. You could either train them yourself or hire a professional trainer. However, you need to be sure that you don’t yell while training them, which might make the aggression worse.

How To Train Aggressive Dogs (Positively)

training american bully with a heart shaped plush toy

So you’re ready to train your aggressive American Bully, but you’re aware that yelling a discipline won’t help. Then what are you supposed to do? Well, you should use positive training.

When you use positive reinforcement, you’ll often give rewards and praise when your dog does something right. This is a way better option than yelling and screaming.

Why Use Positive Reinforcement?

The best part about positive reinforcement is that you’re able to have a nice connection with your dog. It gives you a way to communicate, which makes it easier to understand your dog. When you yell at a dog for ripping up your couch, it’s not always necessarily clear. You’re trying to tell your dog not to do that in your home; however, your dog will understand not to do it when you’re around. This can lead to a ripped-up couch while you’re at work. 

Another great thing about positive training is that it’s fun for both you and the dog. Punishment can be a headache for you because of all the yelling and anger. However, positive reinforcement can be entertaining, as you can play games, use treats, and involve the kids as well.

The Give Game

One fun way you can positively train your dog is through games.

There are many different games you can play, however the best one for aggression would be The Give Game. More often than not, your dog will pick up something that they shouldn’t. With the give game, you won’t have to worry about that.

To play The Give Game, toss your dog’s favorite toy at them and wait for them to pick it up. When they do, instruct them to give it to you. If they give it to you, immediately give them treats and praise. So the next time they pick up something that you don’t want them to have, you can instruct them to give it to you. This way, you avoid any issues. 

The Trust Game

Another nice game you can play involves building your trust, which is a great thing for aggressive dogs who have neglect or abuse in their past. This game is called The Trust Game. Many previously abused dogs have a lot of trouble trusting their new owner, so The Trust Game may be a great choice for them. 

To play The Trust Game, ask your dog to lie down. Once they do so, walk around toward their tail and put your feet on each side. Then, return to the front and provide a treat if they stayed. Repeat until they’re comfortable. Then, you will eventually return to the back and walk forward so they are between your legs. Walk from tail to head slowly and provide treats to help establish trust!

Clicker Training

american staff clicker training

Another way to show that your dog is behaving well is to use a clicker. If you’d like to purchase one, head on over to for the PetSafe Clik-R Dog Trainer Clicker.

When you click it, it makes a sound that catches your dog’s attention. If you reward your Bully after the click (like a pet or a treat), they’ll begin to connect the sound with praise. It’s essentially an easier way of praising your dog instead of treats or a high-pitched voice. 


Any dog can be aggressive depending on their previous living situation and their current living situation. They may have been abused, neglected, sick, and more, which could cause aggression. If your dog is aggressive, there are many ways to fix that, including medicine and training. If you’re going to train your dog, just be sure to be nice and use praise instead of yelling because yelling may cause the aggression to become worse.

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