My new pitbull Seze!

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infamousjr
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My new pitbull Seze!

Postby infamousjr » Tue Jan 26, 2010 1:30 am

Hi guys, I'm John. I just brought my first pitbull Seze, pronounced Seh Zeh, home last weekend. She's a 10 week old APBT. Before bringing her home I researched and read and researched and read, oh and did I mention RESEARCHED and READ!!, for months everything that I could find about being a good pitbull owner and proper training. I understand the importance of having a well-behaved pit and I want to do the breed justice. I'm sure you'll believe me when I say that I already have nay-sayers hating on my little baby.

I'm 21 and was living on my own 2 weeks ago, with a single room mate. I have just moved back to my parent's house because they need help financially. The house is home to both of my parents, my grandmother, two younger brothers (18 and 16) and the home also holds 4 other animals: 2 cats that live indoors but have already learned to let us know when they want to be let out, and 2 golden retriever "old-timers" (12 and 13 years) that live outside because my mother doesn't want them shedding all over her house.

I was so excited to bring her home and begin training her and for the first few days noticed some progress while training her alone:bite inhibition and learning sit, come, and stay, and assumed she wasn't obeying as speedily while around the rest of the family because there were so many distractions. If I had her attention she would obey for the most part. But, as a few days became a week, she became a terror. She stopped listening, has started to bark and growl when she doesn't get her way, will throw a tantrum when put into her "time-out" box (where I put her when she needs to calm down since I read it's not a good idea to punish her in her crate) and will pull up the blanket to get to the bottom and try to dig through it if I don't let her hop out of the top, AND is beginning to bite at my hands when I try to correct her!

I was worried until I found these forums. I researched (again roflmao) and saw the post about the "Two Week - Shut Down" and I know that this was my mistake along with letting my frustration get the better of me once or twice in the last 48 hours:

I introduced her to this new world too quickly, have every family member trying to give her commands when I haven't even established myself as her leader, and have each cat doing completely opposite things with her (one is submissive and allows her to chase and wrestle if caught while the other is dominant and will fight back usually choosing to do so from higher ground where the cat has the advantage) adding to her stress and confusion.

Also, my brother watches her during the day (we leave her in the restroom when no one is home) and today he called me and said he's going to leave her in the restroom until I get home, she's biting and HOLDING when she doesn't get her way or is corrected, which is what got me to look for other information.

I'm going to begin her shut down tonight and hopefully it's still early enough to "reset" her behavior and trust in me as a leader. I was wondering if you guys think that this will work as she's already explored (and soiled!!) just about every inch of the house. Do you think she'll take him for her leader if he feeds her during the hours that I'm at work? I feed her twice in the morning before I leave, once when I get home, and he feeds her once in between.

Sorry for the novel but I know that she must have been really out of hand if my brother gave up on her hours before I can get home. He seems to be the most understanding and willing to learn about the new puppy's needs.

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Re: My new pitbull Seze!

Postby BrokenAquarian » Tue Jan 26, 2010 2:05 am

Haha Congrats and condolences on your new puppy experience lol

The less time you spend with a little puppy, the harder it is to teach them. They have very short little attention spans. That means they need little training sessions many times a day.

Your brother feeding the pup should not make a huge difference. The pup should see all people in the house as it's leader. It's not a good idea for the dog not to listen to the people that live there.

If you don't spend enough time with the dog, it very may well look to someone else as it's leader/master. As long as you are spending the vital quality time with it, while working on bonding and training things should be fine. Don't isolate the pup because you fear it attaching itself to someone else. :)

Babies need lots of socialization and stimulation as part of a well rounded puppyhood.

I don't think a puppy of 10 weeks needs a 2 week shut down, that's more for older dogs. Puppies are very versatile and go with the flow. It's more about spending more time with training. Many many 5 minute sessions a day. :thumbsup:

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Re: My new pitbull Seze!

Postby jamielvsaustin » Tue Jan 26, 2010 10:36 am

I vote for the two week shut down. I think it gives you a fresh start. I don't know if your brother feeding her will have an impact, but if you're worried about it, why not come home for lunch? Is that an option?

I have a question about the bathroom? Why not the crate instead? And then, feed her in her crate, so it's a really good thing and she'll look forward to going in it.

Ther are threads here about mouthy pups that might be helpful. Also, she seems a bit young for this, but some dogs will learn everything and be loving it...and then the next time they refuse to do anything they've learned, it's like they're teenagers! If you feel that's the case, then take a deep breath and keep trying.

As far as the potty incidents, a schedule (in my opinion) would be the most helpful tool. If she's 10 weeks, then I'd only leave her in the crate (or bathroom) for 3.5 hours at a time. The suggested time frame is 1 hour plus however many months old the dog is. 10 weeks=2.5 months. So 1+2.5=3.5.

There are leadership exercises you can do with your pup to help her understand that you are the one in charge. I'm not sure having your brother help train her will ruin that. People send their dogs off to trainers all the time, and the dog still comes home to it's "leader". There will come a point in her training where everything is generalized-meaning anyone can tell her to sit, and she should do it.

Good luck!

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Re: My new pitbull Seze!

Postby Stormi » Tue Jan 26, 2010 12:42 pm

The two week shut down is a great idea for older dogs, but NOT recommended for puppies. She's at a very vital socialization period and needs to be experiancing all the world has to offer right now, meeting as many new places, people, dogs, and things you can possibly introduce her to. Most of what you describe isn't all that outta the norm for a puppy, and expecting a 10 week old to "obey" in all situations is unrealistic. It sounds like you've done lots of reading and are on the right track, just be aware that these things take time. Here's a couple other books that may give you some insights on dog training and behavior: The Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson, The Other End of the Leash by Patricia McConnell, The Power of Positive Training by Pat Miller.

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Re: My new pitbull Seze!

Postby infamousjr » Tue Jan 26, 2010 2:26 pm

My reasoning behind the 2 week shut down is that I did exactly what the article said not to do: Introduced her to 5 family members that live with me, 4 of our pets, and countless other people and their pets that we ran into when I brought her along on trips or had visitors to the house. I'd estimate around 30+ people and 8-10 animals in a WEEK!! I can see in her face that she's still confused, scared, anxious, and not at all trusting in me.

TWO WEEKS - "shut down"
For the first two weeks, (sometimes even longer) a dog takes in the new environment, who is the top person, or animal, who ARE these people!? By pushing a dog too fast, and throwing too much at the dog we look like we are not the leaders,and the dog can feel it MUST defend itself , as the leader is surely no one he has met so far!


Also, I'm not worried about her obeying me right now; I know it's unrealistic to think that she will. I'm worried that she went from learning bite inhibition to BITING, HOLDING, and THRASHING my hands and legs. I have to pry her mouth open sometimes. I thought she was happy but after seeing the faces of the other dogs in the article and seeing the same in her little face that I realized she's beginning to go into defensive mode.

I'm thinking part of the problem is that everyone in the house is trying to not only give her commands but correct her when she doesn't obey them and they haven't earned her respect or the right to do that. I don't even have that right yet. We're becoming a source of conflict for her and I'm hoping the shut down will let her lose those feelings.

Also, I realize that I need to socialize her as much as possible once the shut down is over but she's only had her first shot. Would it be ok to take her out or do I need to wait until she has all 3 months worth of shots.

It really pisses me off because I feel like my job is going to be that much more difficult because of her irresponsible breeders. She was born and raised in an auto shop and her original owners had no business breeding their dogs!! I literally had to scrub the grease and grime off of her the first day I brought her home. It was so bad that I thought she was a brindle until was cleaned up. I'm praying that I can get her on the right track.

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Re: My new pitbull Seze!

Postby Stormi » Tue Jan 26, 2010 2:48 pm

I'd get her second shot as soon as you can, at 10 weeks shes old enough for it, and then start getting her out in the world. There's still debates as to when exactly the socialization window for puppies closes (I've heard anywhere from 12-18 weeks depending on the dog), but loosing 2 weeks out of that time can be detrimental to her behavioral development. Not to say that socialization can't occur past that age obviously, but it does become increasingly more difficult. Many places offer early puppy classes for this very purpose. Have you thought about taking her to a puppy obedience class? How are you going about working with her mouthyness?

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Re: My new pitbull Seze!

Postby infamousjr » Tue Jan 26, 2010 2:58 pm

jamielvsaustin wrote:I vote for the two week shut down. I think it gives you a fresh start. I don't know if your brother feeding her will have an impact, but if you're worried about it, why not come home for lunch? Is that an option?


Lunch isn't an option. I live about 30 minutes from work and I only get a 30 minute lunch.

jamielvsaustin wrote:I have a question about the bathroom? Why not the crate instead? And then, feed her in her crate, so it's a really good thing and she'll look forward to going in it.


I just bought a crate last night. She was sleeping in an open top box next to my bed for the last week. Another mistake on my part I think. She'll be fed in it from now on.

jamielvsaustin wrote:There are threads here about mouthy pups that might be helpful. Also, she seems a bit young for this, but some dogs will learn everything and be loving it...and then the next time they refuse to do anything they've learned, it's like they're teenagers! If you feel that's the case, then take a deep breath and keep trying.


I think she was beginning to take me for her leader the first few days but, again my fault, when I would tell my family that she's beginning to learn a new command they would give the same command (sometimes a different word or variation of words) and correct or punish her when she didn't follow the command. Also she had complete freedom to go wherever she pleased in a 5 bedroom, 4 bathroom, 2 story home. Again, my fault, letting her do what she wants and causing me to have to chase her down. I would think that would add to her feeling like she's now in control and seeing us as a source of conflict. She gets caught and punished=we're the bad guy. I'm hoping that seeing only me and my brother and lots of happy play time and positive reinforcement will cause her to reset those feelings of conflict and see us as her leaders until I can assimilate her into the rest of the family.

jamielvsaustin wrote:As far as the potty incidents, a schedule (in my opinion) would be the most helpful tool. If she's 10 weeks, then I'd only leave her in the crate (or bathroom) for 3.5 hours at a time. The suggested time frame is 1 hour plus however many months old the dog is. 10 weeks=2.5 months. So 1+2.5=3.5.


She's very good with potty training. She'll hold it as long as she needs to. I didn't mean to but I think I made her hold it almost 6 hours last night. I went to let her out one last time around midnight last night but she was fast asleep and I didn't want to wake her because she literally cried herself to sleep. I won't be doing that again. I'm used to having her right next to me while she sleeps and she'll stand up against my bed, lick my face, and whimper to wake me up and let me know she needs to go, usually around 4-5am. She'll come out with me and do her business and head straight back into her bed. She learned that on her own lol. She wasn't able to do that last night because she wasn't in the same room and slept in the crate for the first time last night. When I went to let her out this morning she literally bolted for the door like she was about to burst. I caught her mid-air and she let me put the harness on her before running for the stairs. When she got down the stairs to the front door she also sat and waited for me to open it like she's been trained to do but she was more antsy about it than usual, like she was telling me, "please please please hurry hurry hurry!", and as soon as she was outside she chose her spot and let loose. I'm sure she had been holding it for a good while.

jamielvsaustin wrote:There are leadership exercises you can do with your pup to help her understand that you are the one in charge. I'm not sure having your brother help train her will ruin that. People send their dogs off to trainers all the time, and the dog still comes home to it's "leader". There will come a point in her training where everything is generalized-meaning anyone can tell her to sit, and she should do it.

Good luck!


Thanks for all the advice. I'll check out those leadership exercises asap.

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Re: My new pitbull Seze!

Postby infamousjr » Tue Jan 26, 2010 3:07 pm

Stormi wrote:I'd get her second shot as soon as you can, at 10 weeks shes old enough for it, and then start getting her out in the world. There's still debates as to when exactly the socialization window for puppies closes (I've heard anywhere from 12-18 weeks depending on the dog), but loosing 2 weeks out of that time can be detrimental to her behavioral development. Not to say that socialization can't occur past that age obviously, but it does become increasingly more difficult. Many places offer early puppy classes for this very purpose. Have you thought about taking her to a puppy obedience class? How are you going about working with her mouthyness?


Yeah, that's what I was thinking about the shots too. I'll see if I can get them sooner than the 1 month that the vet said I should wait. I plan to get her into obedience classes but I wasn't sure if it would be a good idea if she's trying to bite everything that moves. I started with the yelp and ignore method when she bites. That worked for the first week but when the weekend came, I don't know what changed, but she started to bite at everything. It could be that her nipping at the cats and them running gave her the idea that she has power if she bites... it could be that any one of us pulled our hands back if she bit. I know I've pulled my hand back once or twice when she snapped at me and I was caught off guard.

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Re: My new pitbull Seze!

Postby Stormi » Tue Jan 26, 2010 3:18 pm

Yeah, that's what I was thinking about the shots too. I'll see if I can get them sooner than the 1 month that the vet said I should wait. I plan to get her into obedience classes but I wasn't sure if it would be a good idea if she's trying to bite everything that moves.


There's always a bit of a battle between medical and behavior when it comes to this, but as Dr Ian Dunbar has pointed out, a dog is far more likely to be put down from behavioral issues caused from lack of early socialization than to be effected by not having that 3rd round quite yet. The second round is important, but you can begin socializing before he gets the 3rd. And ya know what? A LOT of puppy clases are specifically designed to deal with bite inhibition. If you'd like, I can try to recommend a facility near you.


I started with the yelp and ignore method when she bites. That worked for the first week but when the weekend came, I don't know what changed, but she started to bite at everything. It could be that her nipping at the cats and them running gave her the idea that she has power if she bites... it could be that any one of us pulled our hands back if she bit. I know I've pulled my hand back once or twice when she snapped at me and I was caught off guard.


It sounds like she's going thru what is called and extinction burst. Its as if she's decided "Well. biting doesn't get me attention anymore, so I'll bite harder!!" This is common and expected. She may even add extra behaviors such as jumping at you and grabbing your clothing. Keep up with the ignoring this behavior, and leave the room and separate youself from her if she gets too pushy. You want her to get the idea that under no circumstances will the behavior get her attention of any kind, be it good or bad (yes, scolding or telling her "no!" does count as attention). It does take time for her to exhaust her options and realize that the behavior doesn't pay off, but just keep with it and she'll get the point!

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Re: My new pitbull Seze!

Postby infamousjr » Tue Jan 26, 2010 3:34 pm

I would appreciate it very much if you could recommend something. I was planning on just enrolling her in the PetSmart puppy obedience classes but from prior experience they aren't very good at what they do.

I've never heard of that but that might be what it is. She's definitely started to lunge at us and pulls on clothes. Again everyone's first reaction is, "NO!" then pick her up and move her or something to that affect. It's difficult to ignore her when she's got her jaws locked on my youngest brother's or grandmother's leg. She's only adding to the fears that my mother and grandmother have for the breed. They've already told me that if I can't get her under control she's going to the pound. I'll fight for her but I also don't want a pit that I can't trust to be alone with my family.

I think the plan right now is 2 week shutdown but let her out for obedience training classes if I can get her enrolled soon and play time 2-3 times a day but only after I get home from work and only with me or my brother.

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Re: My new pitbull Seze!

Postby Stormi » Tue Jan 26, 2010 3:46 pm

I would appreciate it very much if you could recommend something. I was planning on just enrolling her in the PetSmart puppy obedience classes but from prior experience they aren't very good at what they do.


Eh, it generally depends on the trainer, but I personally prefer someone with real credentials. Where are you located? (You can PM me if you don't want to post it publicly)


She's only adding to the fears that my mother and grandmother have for the breed. They've already told me that if I can't get her under control she's going to the pound. I'll fight for her but I also don't want a pit that I can't trust to be alone with my family.


Just do your best to let her know that this is very typical puppy behavior of ANY breed. Chihuahua, Dane, Lab, or any other breed of dog goes thru the same thing as a young pup. As long as you give her consistancy, the behavior will end eventually.

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Re: My new pitbull Seze!

Postby Stormi » Tue Jan 26, 2010 3:51 pm

Here's a great article by Ian Dunbar on teaching bite inhibition and the importance of it:

http://www.crickethollowfarm.com/biteinhib.htm

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Re: My new pitbull Seze!

Postby infamousjr » Tue Jan 26, 2010 4:01 pm

I live in Alhambra, CA 91803. About 5-10 minutes outside of Los Angeles city.

Yeah, I've told them. That's why they're giving it a chance. But they're biased toward the breed already. We've only owned a husky and golden retrievers. the only other dog we had was a chow that would bite at our legs. He was sent to the pound and probably put to sleep. The husky and retrievers never gave us a problem because they stood outside so were only given attention on our terms. I want her to be an indoor dog. Another reason that I want to use the shut down. I'm hoping, like my previous dogs, that the lack of attention will force her to understand NILIF.

Thanks for everything Stormi. If you think there's a better way to do this, by all means, tell me. I'm open to all suggestions. This is my first pit and I really want her to be a success.

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Re: My new pitbull Seze!

Postby Stormi » Tue Jan 26, 2010 4:47 pm

You're not too far from several great trainers. Try giving Caryl Wolff a call. She runs a facility called "Doggie Manners" (website: www.doggiemanners.com) and looks to specialize in puppy behavior and socialization. She's highly qualified and no doubt can help point you in the right direction with puppy biting.

Its aunfortunate your family has a bias, but just think of it as all the more reason to make your little girl a super star breed ambassador, right? Training her is the best way to start!

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Re: My new pitbull Seze!

Postby Kingsgurl » Tue Jan 26, 2010 5:40 pm

It might help to keep in mind that the behaviors you describe are typical PUPPY behaviors, certainly not breed specific. I would agree with the posters who stated that the puppy needs interaction and socialization rather than a shut down as described for older dogs. (which is not to say that the puppy should not be contained when you can not watch her, because she should, in either her crate or a puppy proofed room) The sticky on mouthy pups is a better resource for her issues at this age.

It's hard to remember that puppies don't speak our language and it must be very hard for them to figure out what, exactly, we want. It can be especially confusing to a pup if people use different words (and signals) for the same actions. Try playing 'Fruits and Vegetables' with your family to illustrate this point to them.

In fruits and vegetables, you have one person try to 'train' the other to do some simple behaviors, like sit or come or spin in a circle using ONLY words that are either a fruit or a vegetable (in other words, words that mean nothing in the context they are being used) You have to use one of those words as their 'name' and can't say 'good' or yes, you have to use a veggie (or fruit!) Make sure to smack them if they don't come fast enough when you call 'Radish! Fig! I think I read about that game in "Bones would rain from the sky' and it helps me remember that my dog probably isn't disobeying because he is plotting to take over the world, but rather because I have not been clear enough on what I actually want him to do.


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