Here is a straight forward list of how to handle Bugsy. He has improved A LOT but he will always have some aggressive traits. It’s just how he is. He has bad days. You have to train yourself how to handle him. I can tell you what has worked for us and you should use our tips. But you may find other things that work better for you. Use this as the base of your training and go from there.
Bugsy will become a devil dog sometimes. As in growling and showing teeth.
When he gets like this, do not challenge him. Do not yell at him to stop or make contact with him. He will retaliate and you won’t be happy.
He gets this way in his bed. A lot worse in a crate so I gave up on the crate. Try to put his bed in the living room in a space without direct traffic. You will see the worst of it in the beginning as he needs to get used to a new environment and learn that he is safe. This behavior will decrease as he learns to trust you. He stops growling as soon as he feels safe again.
Make his bed a happy and safe place. When you walk by his bed, throw treats in there. But don’t make eye contact or say anything. You just want him to associate you and the bed with things he likes (treats).
When he is in devil mode, shaking his treat box. It snaps him out of it sometimes. When he snaps out of it, tell him to come to you. Make him do commands (come, up, sit, spin, etc). If he does this, give him a treat. If he doesn’t, don’t treat him.
When he is acting up, grab his leash and start walking away. I would leave his leash on at all times. This will especially be helpful if he tries to lay on the sofa. If you try to push him off of it, he might bite you.
We have let Bugsy be on the sofa a few times. Usually when he has been so good. We have stopped this completely since Bugsy does snap at the end if he get startled.
Don’t let Bugsy hide under things or he will become the devil dog. When he is scared, he will try to hide in a room or under furniture. He will do this specially if it’s raining/thundering outside. He hates bad weather. It makes him scared. Best option is to tie him to something so that he cannot hide.
Until you have him in check that he will not go on your sofa or try to hide somewhere, tie him by his bed when you are gone. It will work like a crate without having to put in one.
Handling Bugsy at first will be challenging and maybe even overwhelming. But as long as you are willing to train to handle him, you will be fine. After you have learned this, rest is easy. Bugsy is low maintenance dog with many fun, quirky sides to him. It’s easy to take care of him and he is non-destructive. He knows lots of tricks and he walks on the leash well.
My days with Bugsy now are pretty uneventful. We go for walks. He flips over for belly rubs. He attempts to communicate with me. I think it’s about either he has to poop or he wants to play. He runs and taps on the door if he needs to pee sometimes. I know he will go into devil mode from time to time but I have the situation under control as long as I follow my own tips.
The rewards of having Bugsy far outweigh the downsides! He is an adorable, playful, terrier mix that loves to do tricks. The only thing you need to do is learn to handle his fear related quirks. Just remember not to challenge him when he goes into devil mode – he is in a scared, defensive mode but will quickly snap out of it if you let him know that everything will be OK.