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Old 10-28-2009, 01:23 PM
Location: NJ
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a dog on the leash in the dog park quickly turns into bait for the other dogs. its can be scary sometimes when people leash smaller dogs before they get to the exit. my dog is definitely different on the leash than off the leash, not aggressive though. just loud and annoying. taking her to street fairs is difficult, which is a shame.
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Old 10-28-2009, 03:20 PM
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As corny as it sounds, The Dog Whisperer books and shows have helped a lot with our dogs. The "bully breeds" need strong owners, and Cesar's methods really seem to work for us. I understand there are opposition to his techniques, but look into them. Just by watching his show we've been able to correct a lot of issues we were having. Consulting a professional that has experience with aggressive pitties would likely be your best bet if you can afford them.
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Old 10-28-2009, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Hopes View Post
You need a professional. Immediately. Period.
Ditto - when you deal with a dog with issues its best to get expert advise on how to work through them. Until then keep her closely monitored.
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Old 10-28-2009, 04:57 PM
Location: St. Augustine, Florida
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Originally Posted by LeftCoastee View Post
As the owner of two pits, I completely agree with this. While this may not solve the problem, it will certainly allow you to get control of a situation faster.

Our dominant female will occassionally fence fight on walks, however if you anticipate the situation and divert attention or catch things quickly, we have been able to avoid many situations. For example, if I know we are walking up to a house with a dog, I'll watch my dog very closely and you can see her ears change position very early on. If we break her concentration at this point, we can control the situation. However, if we don't catch her until she's going nuts, it almost impossible to calm her down.

One additional thing I've noticed with our female is that when I run with her, she gets very focused on running and ignores most things that would otherwise set her off. I guess it just comes down to knowing your dog and trying different things until you find something that works.

Good luck and don't give up on her. Its not easy, but its a very admirable path you are going down.
I agree with you 100%, and the body language is a good thing to bring up. It is very important for an owner to know their dogs body language. With all 3 of our APBTs, we could tell what they were about to do just by the way the moved their ears, the way their eyes looked, the way they held their head and tail, etc. I also agree 100% that you have to pay attention and divert your dogs attention when you can tell that something's about to happen. Because with APBTs, in my experiance anyway, once they get locked on something (I don't mean with their jaws , "pit bulls" don't have locking jaws , I mean with their attention), you're not going to be able to get their attention off of whatever it's on without phisically dragging your dog away! So, it is extremly important to know your dog, be able to read his body language, and pay attention at all times (without being crazy with it because you don't want your dog to sense stress, fear, etc.) so you can avoid certain situations all together.

With our male, Brooklyn, we really had to keep a close eye on him when we walked him. Brooklyn was very friendly, but there were always some dogs he didn't like. He wasn't horribly animal-aggressive, he did live with 2 other APBTs, but he didn't like all dogs. And the fence fighting was definitely something we had to deal with sometimes. Thankfully though, we knew his body language well enough to avoid certain situations all together.

Also, back to the dominance thing, with Brooklyn, even though he didn't like all dogs, I feel that he had enough respect for us as the "pack leaders" to listen to us, even in a situation where he might not have wanted to. Brooklyn was a very obedient dog, and he was so intelligent! He was constantly amazing me with how quickly he'd learn things! He was somewhat protective of me, but I feel like he had confidence in us as well. For example, we all know that "pit bulls" were originally bred for dog fighting, among other things, and when Brooklyn (or any "pit bull" really) gets in the zone you can't really divert his attention, at least not easily. So, my biggest fear was always that some unleashed dog would run up and attack Brooklyn while I was walking him. That scared me for many reasons.. 1 - Brooklyn was my baby, the love of my life besides my husband, so I obviously would have been a wreck if he got hurt at all. 2 - I'm not sure what I would even do in that situation because obviously you'd want/need to let your dog defend himself if you couldn't get the other dog to go away, but at the same time, with a so-called "dangerous" breed you have to really be careful because you never know what someone could say. Like if I were to let Brooklyn defend himself so this unleashed dog didn't hurt him, someone could say that Brooklyn, this "vicious pit bull", attacked their dog! And, IMHO, most people would believe the other owner over the so-called "dangerous" breed owner. 3 - I don't know what I would have done if Brooklyn were to get attacked while I was walking him and then him end up being traumatized and not being able to have confidence in me to keep him safe anymore! And 4 - Even if another dog ran up and attacked my fur-baby, who I would have taken a bullet for, I still wouldn't want to see the other dog get seriously hurt. I mean, if it had to be one of them, I can tell you right now it wouldn't be my fur-baby, but I'm an animal lover and seeing any animal in pain is like ripping my heart out! So yeah, that was definitely a huge fear of mine. I never thought about that on walks though because I didn't want Brooklyn to sense my fears and let that affect how he acted.

Anyway, one day my husband, Serg, took Brooklyn for a walk. And when they were walking through our front yard, coming up to the front door, coming home from their walk, this huge Lab/Shepherd mix that belonged to the neighbor across the street, ran into our yard (unleashed, as they always were ) and attacked Brooklyn! Because Brooklyn was on a leash, my husband at first pulled Brooklyn in close so that Brooklyn wouldn't seriously hurt this dog while my husband tried to get the dog away. That wasn't working, and the dogs owner, who was standing right there watching this, didn't do anything to get his dog! Btw, this whole thing lasted only seconds, so it's not like it was this big bad fight, but it wasn't fun either. So, because this dog was able to get to Brooklyn and his owner wasn't interested in stopping him, and Brooklyn wasn't able to defend himself because my husband was holding him so close, my husband let some of the leash go so that Brooklyn could defend himself. As soon as he did this and Brooklyn was now fighting back, the other dogs owner got mad!?! He started yelling for my husband to get Brooklyn off of his dog and he came running over to get his dog. Anyway, my point in all this is that when my husband told Brooklyn that was enough (it's been a couple years now so I don't remember exactly what he said or did), Brooklyn stopped!!! Now again, in my experience with "pit bulls", once they are in that zone where they want to fight or are in a fight, it's really hard to stop them, clam them down, divert their attention, or anything. So, even though I knew that our pits knew that we were in charge, I still never thought that they'd listen to us in a situation like that. That to me proves how powerful it is when you really have your dogs respect. When your dog knows that your the "pack leader".

Now, I have to add that this was the only time something like that happened, so it's not like I can say it was a regular thing for Brooklyn to stop fighting when my husband said to. Thank God that was the only time we had to go through something horrible like that. But still. And like I said before, Brooklyn was such an intelligent, obedient, loyal dog! He was always amazing me! So, that could have just been a fluke thing, or it could have been that Brooklyn trusted my husband as the "pack leader". I like to think of it as Brooklyn trusting in us, but who knows. So yeah, I just really feel like it's so important for your dog to know that you are the dominate one, you are the "pack leader", and that they can trust in you to take care of them. And like you said, while that won't change aggression issues, that is definitely a huge step forward. It is something that everyone needs to establish right away with their dogs, IMHO. It will definitely make just about anything else a good bit easier.

Last edited by PitBullMommie1206; 10-28-2009 at 05:06 PM..
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Old 10-28-2009, 05:02 PM
Location: St. Augustine, Florida
1,930 posts, read 9,458,968 times
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Originally Posted by poopegifts View Post
As corny as it sounds, The Dog Whisperer books and shows have helped a lot with our dogs. The "bully breeds" need strong owners, and Cesar's methods really seem to work for us. I understand there are opposition to his techniques, but look into them. Just by watching his show we've been able to correct a lot of issues we were having. Consulting a professional that has experience with aggressive pitties would likely be your best bet if you can afford them.
I agree completely! Like I said in my first post, Cesar helped us with many issues with our 3 APBTs! Just from watching his show and reading other info off his website, we were able to make our lives so much better! I wish I had known about all of that before we even got our first APBT! Not that we had any serious problems, but I would have used his methods from day one if I had known. I feel like not only are the owners happier, but the dogs are happier too! And to me, that's the best part! With our next APBT, we will use his methods from day one, for sure! And even though I have seen pretty much every episode of The Dog Whisperer, I am going to read his books before we get our next APBT.
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Old 11-15-2009, 11:34 PM
Location: Southern California
3 posts, read 4,189 times
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Let me start off apologizing for not replying sooner, I am new to forums and thought that I was to be notified by email when replies were posted. "Thank you" everyone for all your good advice. I think Dixie and I are starting to come to terms with our new life (not sure if I am training her or the other way around) LOL When I first got her I thought I must have lost my mind getting this dog but, now I don't know how I would live without her. We butted heads several times but, as luck would have it I survived and she has went through a serious transformation; still quite vicious when tethered but, there is no doubt that she loves me. Who can ask for more than that? Day by day we become closer and more of a family than a man and his dog truly amazing! I never knew any animal quite like her... I have studied the replies carefully and done my homework thank you all of you for taking the time to post replies it really has helped. Take care DJ
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Old 11-16-2009, 07:46 AM
Location: Southern California
3 posts, read 4,189 times
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Originally Posted by PitBullMommie1206 View Post
OMG! I just lost my WHOLE post!!!! I'm sooooo mad! I had typed up soooo much! Anyway, lets try this again ...

Wow!.. Well, that sounds exciting! First I have to say thank you, thank you, thank you, for giving your pitty the good, loving home he deserves! My husband and I LOVE all of the "pit bull" breeds, especially APBTs, and though it sounds kind of bad, after owning "pit bulls", we can never see our selves owning any other breed! They truly are amazing companions! So loyal, intelligent, obedient, loving.. and the list goes on and on. Of course, these would be "pit bulls" that have been properly raised, trained, socialized, controlled and cared for. A "pit bull" that has been abused, neglected and/or trained to be aggressive and fight is going to be a handful. A dog like that can definitely be rehabilitated, but it will take time, patience, and a lot of energy and effort on your part. Normally, I would not have suggest someone get a dog like that unless they have experience with dogs that have been through similar things. But, it sounds like you really love your dog and are willing to do what you need to do to help him! I have to give you props for that, and tell you right off that bat that I wish you and your pitty the very best of luck!

I have some questions though, if you don't mind.. Is she tethered often? Is she left alone when she's tethered? Is she an inside dog, an outside dog, or both? And when she is tethered, where is it? Front yard, back yard, side yard? That's some info that would be helpful, but for now, I have a few tips.

So, as far as the aggression goes, that should be able to be changed. There is most likely hope for her. Because "pit bulls" were originally bred to be animal-aggressive (AA), and because she was used for fighting, that might not ever completely go away. Even if that does seem to completely go away, as I'm sure you know, you will never be able to trust her unattended around any animal, for any amount of time, for any reason, just to be safe! Now, the human-aggression (HA), that should be fixable. Even though "pit bulls" were originally bred to be AA, they were also bred specifically to be human-friendly. Human-aggression (HA) is not "normal" for a "pit bull". Even the "pit bulls" that have been used for dog-fighting can normally be rehabilitated and placed in homes, because they don't tend to be, or if they are they don't tend to stay, HA. Even the fighting pits have to be human-friendly so they can be handled. People have to get into the pit when the dogs are fighting, etc. IMHO, the HA comes from being abused and neglected, not from dog-fighting. So yeah, IMHO, she might not ever get over the AA completely, but the as far as the HA goes, I think she has hope. It am very hopeful that with a lot of time, energy, patience, and effort, you will be able to rehabilitate her.

She needs to know that you are in charge, you are dominate, you are the "pack leader", and you will take care of her, never the other way around. Simple little things like not letting her on the sofa or bed unless she's invited, not letting her sit up next to you and beg while you're eating (make her stay several feet back), not letting her go through any doorway (especially if you are going outside or coming back inside) in front of you, making her stay next to you or behind you on walks, feeding her after you eat, etc, etc, etc, will help. All those things show her that you are the "pack leader". If she feel that you aren't dominate, that you don't take control of every situation, she will feel like she needs to do that. In her mind, there has to be a "pack leader", and if you don't take that position, she has to.

Another thing is walking her. She needs to get a couple good, long walks a day. Running around the yard, playing with you, etc, don't count as exercise, they can't replace a good walk. Walks are good for many reasons. 1 - It exercise. A tired dog is a good dog! lol! She won't have the energy to be so aggressive, so it will make helping her with that a whole lot easier! 2 - It helps you and your dog bond, and it helps her to see you as the "pack leader" and to respect you. Again though, to do that you need to make sure that she stays next to you or behind you on the walk. The "pack leader" is the one that leads. And 3 - It is great for socialization. She will see, hear and smell new things. Walks are just definitely a must IMHO. Since she is so aggressive at this point though, I'd definitely suggest you do a couple things to help that. 1 - Use a head collar (gentle leader). This is the exact one we got... Gentle Leader Product Description - Premier Pet I'd suggest you also use a regular collar or a harness with a second leash attached to that as well, just for backup. It may take a while for your pit to warm up to the idea of having something on her head/face like that, but it's a great thing! Try holding a treat on the other side of the head collar, let her smell it, slip the head collar over her head then give her the treat. If she pulls or lunges, she will just turn around basically. She can't pull, lung, anything like that with a head collar on. This keeps her from hurting herself, hurting you (because she's so strong), and possibly hurting another person or animals. And 2 - Walking her with a doggy backpack Amazon.com: LARGE - RED - Outward Hound Quick-Release Dog Backpack: Kitchen & Dining that has water bottles, or something for extra weight (not too much though), in either side will help her fulfill that need to work that she has because she is a working type breed, and it will help her get even more energy out, because we all know that's great for high energy breeds like terriers, which is what she is. Also, when she gets into that working zone, that might help her to ignore other things that would normally set her off.

Now, as far as helping her with the aggression, I don't really feel too comfortable giving you a whole lot of advice on that. I have had to deal with that before, but I am not a dog expert. Different things may work better for you and your dog, you just never know. I would suggest getting a professional to help you. I personally am a big fan of Cesar Millan and what he does has worked wonders for us. I can tell you though, the things that I mentioned above are very important things to start off doing. That won't change the aggression completely, but those are extremely important in getting her to trust you to take care of her, etc. I would strongly suggest you start off with those things, and continue doing all of that as well as whatever it is you decide to do to tackle the aggression issues.

Okay, so again, I love Cesar Millan and I'm a big Believer in what he does. It has worked wonders for us. So, even though some people don't like him, I'd suggest you at least check out his website. Cesar Millan - About Cesar

Understanding Aggression
Cesar Millan - Cesar's Tips - Understanding Aggression

Breed and Aggression
Cesar Millan - Cesar's Tips - Breed & Aggression

Case Study: Aggression
Cesar Millan - Cesar's Tips - Case Study: Aggression

This is a good clip, "Red Zone Case: Pitbull Emily"... Cesar Millan - Video Player It looks kind of bad, but I am telling you as someone who has owned and LOVES "pit bulls", and as someone who has had to deal with behavioral issues and aggression with my "pit bulls", this worked for us many time over! He is not choking the dog or hurting her, he is simply not letting her kill Daddy (Cesar's APBT that he uses to help other dogs), and he's not letting her be the dominate one. Dog in the wild do this and I'm telling you, it worked for us.

There are lots of other good video clips, and more info, tips, suggestions, etc. I'd just suggest you look around the site and see what you think would help you, if anything. Hopefully Cesar can help you as much as he has helped us! Anyway, this is all I'm going to type for now, I had a lot more but again, it somehow got deleted when I was just finishing up! If there's anything else that I can help you with, or that you think I might be able to help you with, please feel free to message me. Hope this helps and again, I wish you the very best of luck!
I just want you to know I appreciate all the time, thought and effort that went into your reply it really meant a lot to me. As far as tethering I started out going to work and leaving her in my home; BIG mistake! She got upset and tore down all the blinds and generally tore my house to pieces! So, now I tether her in the front of my place while gone. She has went through amazing changes in the last few weeks, now she whimpers when I leave and according to neighbors she howls after I pull off???

I never expected this type of support from people that I have never met. It gives one hope not only for Dixie but, it goes a long way to restore my belief in humanity and in a people I thought to be long gone. God Bless all of you, keep up the good work and thank you for your support. DJ
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Old 11-16-2009, 07:55 AM
Location: Montreal -> CT -> MA -> Montreal -> Ottawa
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I haven't read all the responses here so maybe some already said this, but I had (well, HAVE, really) the same issue.

A behaviorist explained it to me as follows:

Dogs have two insincts when they think that they're in danger -- fight or flight. When not tethered, they may very easily choose flight, and just walk away from the situation. When on a leash, they feel that their options are removed -- they can no longer use "flight" and they must resort to "fight" even when the situation is NOT a dangerous one.

My dog had been abused as a puppy, so it's taking a long time to get him desensitized. But, slowly but surely, we're making progress. Not all the time, but in some situations, Artie doesn't feel defensive, and he'll just walk on by. It's progress. Baby steps...

Best of luck. You'll get there. You've got the love going on, which means there's trust there... which means that Dixie is going to learn.
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Old 11-16-2009, 08:08 AM
Location: North Carolina
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Originally Posted by DJ_DeJager View Post
So, now I tether her in the front of my place while gone. She has went through amazing changes in the last few weeks, now she whimpers when I leave and according to neighbors she howls after I pull off???
You leave her tied up outside when you leave? All day?

I have two Pits so I understand they can be a handful, but...I don't really agree w/ that. Sorry.
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Old 11-16-2009, 08:16 AM
Location: North Carolina
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Also..I don't know if her showing signs of aggression while being tethered means she was for sure used for fighting. If she fought she should have little scars all over where the fur doesn't grow back, or grows back white.
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