The AB is extremely, incredibly, above-all-expectations gentle and loving with people, especially children. He adores people. This is good and bad, because he will also sometimes launch an attack on the other dog when he feels that the other dog may be taking human attention away from him. This is less predictable- I can pet them together without this happening, and they will eat out of the same bowl without incident- but twice my 5 y.o. son's attention has apparently been the reason for a fight.
The fights are severe and I don't believe they would stop until one or both dogs were dead, if my husband and I didn't intervene. We are able to take hold of both dogs by their hind ends and pull them apart without them turning their aggression on us. The important thing is to stay behind them, not get in between, which is what my husband did on Saturday. He was accidentally bitten by the American Bulldog as I was pulling him back and he was going in for a last bite at the other dog.
I've worked with trainers and tried different training methods. He is a severe case and while we've made some progress by identifying and avoiding his triggers, it's not markedly better. Tonight they had a skirmish that my husband quickly broke up, but our son was on the floor and unable to jump on the couch as quickly as usual. He was bowled over by the fighting dogs until I pulled him to safety. He was unhurt but it scared us to death.
So now the dogs can only be out of their crates one at a time. This is not how any of us want to live... My husband is beyond angry and does not want to keep him. He wants to put the AB to sleep. This breaks my heart because I LOVE him, and he LOVES people so much! He'd be a good single dog, but it's nearly impossible to find an appropriate home for a dog like this, according to my friend in bulldog rescue. And honestly, even if we could find a home like that- I'm not sure I would feel comfortable with rehoming him. What if he got away from the new owners and killed someone's dog? So I'm devastated to consider it, but maybe putting him to sleep is the most responsible thing to do?
I emailed a vet with our dilemma and got a response. She suggested trying Clomicalm to try and decrease his aggression. She said if it works, it will take a few weeks to see a difference. Does anyone have any experience with this?