A Few Questions

Tricks, obedience, behavior, and more.
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IndigoTerra
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A Few Questions

Postby IndigoTerra » Sat Nov 12, 2011 12:19 pm

Ok, so I have a few questions for you all. I have a 2 year old APBT named Terra. She is the love of my life. But, we have a few issues, that we need to work on and I'm hoping you all can help me with.

1.) She's fearful of strange men. This isn't just her personality, I say that because of our history together. I was in a very bad marriage where my ex husband beat her. He put her head through a few doors/walls, punched her in the head, put a ciggarette out on her face, kicked her down the stairs in a crate. If she tried to protect me from him, he'd beat her. I had another pit, named Rebel, who he hit so hard that he broke his ribs and he suffocated on his own blood and died. Needless to say I left and divorced him and took my dog with me. Together we've been working on her trust and fear. She's never shown any aggression, won't growl or snap, but she does cower or hide. I socialize her as much as possible, positively introducing her to strangers and other animals. Her seperation anxiety is better now as well, she doesn't tear the house apart anymore as long as she has a bone to chew on, her kong to play with, her rope to toss around etc. I now have a new boyfriend who is great with her, but if he shakes out his pants or moves to fast etc, then she runs to me to hide or cowers. Should I try to have him become her "alpha" and try to earn her trust by becoming her calm and assertive leader? Or give it time? She loves him, they play together and she will try to snuggle with him, but doesn't totally trust him.

2.) :yipee: Terra has A LOT of energy, obviousl being only 2 years old. I play tug-o-war with her everyday, also playing fetch while we're playing tug-o-war. She loves it when I take her rope and spin her, in the air, while she's got a grip in the rope, but I can only do this for so long before I'm tired and she wants more. We also go on walks a few times a week, but with the weather turning cold with winter coming, it's going to be hard to walk her everyday. I was thinking about making her a flirt pole, it'd be easy enough, I already own a longe whip because I have horses, so all I have to do is attach a bait of some kind to the end of the rope. Does anyone have any other ideas? I don't have room for a treadmill, or I'd buy one for her. She just always seems to have so much energy, even after we've played for almost an hour.

I'm sorry if their are already topics with these questions answered, but I appreciate any and all help you can give me.

Ashley and Terra

Kitty Kitty
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Re: A Few Questions

Postby Kitty Kitty » Sat Nov 12, 2011 12:54 pm

I`m probably a little weird but I put an eye hook in my dining room ceiling, attached a screen door spring and rope so mine
can tug on it when she gets bored. I need to re-hang it but it was very simple to make

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IndigoTerra
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Re: A Few Questions

Postby IndigoTerra » Sat Nov 12, 2011 3:49 pm

I just laughed out loud because we actually have an eye hook in our ceiling in the living room... It had a punching bag attached it, but nothing now, I'm sure that would actually work! Thanks for the advice.

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Red
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Re: A Few Questions

Postby Red » Sat Nov 12, 2011 5:52 pm

IndigoTerra wrote:He put her head through a few doors/walls, punched her in the head, put a ciggarette out on her face, kicked her down the stairs in a crate. If she tried to protect me from him, he'd beat her. I had another pit, named Rebel, who he hit so hard that he broke his ribs and he suffocated on his own blood and died.


How long have you watched this happening? Did you press charges?

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1lila1
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Re: A Few Questions

Postby 1lila1 » Sat Nov 12, 2011 7:56 pm

IndigoTerra wrote:Should I try to have him become her "alpha" and try to earn her trust by becoming her calm and assertive leader? Or give it time? She loves him, they play together and she will try to snuggle with him, but doesn't totally trust him.


God, please please do not do this! The last thing a dog who went through what yours did is another male acting all aggressive and domineering towards her. She needs to learn that men are her friends and that they are not a threat, not that they are her "alpha". That Ceasar Milan crap that is so widespread has been thoroughly debunked by real scientists and actual dog behaviorists. I would trust them over tv stars with absolutely zero credentials in dog training or behavior.

What your dog needs is positive reinforcement training and activities to build her confidence. As far as her issues with men you need to do everything you can to associate your new boyfriend with the best things ever to her. Treats, praise, and patience. Your bf is going to have to avoid sudden movement (like shaking his pants) or anything that will trigger her fear. Every time he does something that scares her it is reinforcing her fear of him. If he has to get dressed or fold laundry away from her then so be it. Every single thing about your boyfriend should translate as fun, happy, safe, and secure to your dog. Everything!

Your dog has been through hell and, IMO, you need to seek professional help, esp for a dog fearful of humans. I have a dog who started showing signs of fear towards men at about 4m old and I have worked with him using desinsitization and positive reinforcement for over two years now. You would likely never know by meeting him but it is an ongoing thing and one wrong move by a strange man can undo months of work. It will almost certainly be a life long issue with your dog as well. She can definitely improve with professional though!

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Re: A Few Questions

Postby julie64 » Sun Nov 13, 2011 4:23 am

:goodpost: 1lila1 gave some good advice. Reading your post was heartbreaking. My Lilly came to me at 9 months. Someone had broken her jaw and all the pads on her feet were burnt. She will be 8 in Jan and we still deal with her fear of some men. It has definatley lessoned with alot of work, but will always be there. I do take Lilly out and about but I do not push her to meet people. She tends to sit back and "soak" people in at first and sometimes she will want to meet the person, if not that's fine too. Here is a book that helped me out and I still go back and read things.
http://www.patriciamcconnell.com/produc ... ining-book

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IndigoTerra
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Re: A Few Questions

Postby IndigoTerra » Sun Nov 13, 2011 9:42 am

Red wrote:
IndigoTerra wrote:He put her head through a few doors/walls, punched her in the head, put a ciggarette out on her face, kicked her down the stairs in a crate. If she tried to protect me from him, he'd beat her. I had another pit, named Rebel, who he hit so hard that he broke his ribs and he suffocated on his own blood and died.


How long have you watched this happening? Did you press charges?


There was a lot more that went on, some that I'm not comfortable telling, because it has to do with what happened to me, but I will say that I tried to leave and he physically wouldn't let me. Now we've been seperated for almost a year and he's dragging out the divorce process, although he's 1200 miles away in Georgia living with his daddy. I did press charges, as well as the vet that he took Rebel too, because he tried to tell them he got into a dog fight, which he CLEARLY didn't.

1lila1 wrote:
IndigoTerra wrote:Should I try to have him become her "alpha" and try to earn her trust by becoming her calm and assertive leader? Or give it time? She loves him, they play together and she will try to snuggle with him, but doesn't totally trust him.


God, please please do not do this! The last thing a dog who went through what yours did is another male acting all aggressive and domineering towards her. She needs to learn that men are her friends and that they are not a threat, not that they are her "alpha".


I didn't think of it that way. When we're at his house, if she does something he doesn't like, such a getting on the furniture (a pitbull thats a couch potato? never...) or jumping on him, I tell him to tell her "down" etc. That's more of what I meant, not to be domineering and aggressive towards her. He wrestles with her, plays with her, I have him feed her when we're at his apartment, and if she does something really naughty, then I'm the one to disciplin her, which she rarely is. Her "naughty" is trying to eat his mounts (stuffed bear and deer)... Thanks for pointing that out!

julie64 wrote::goodpost: 1lila1 gave some good advice. Reading your post was heartbreaking. My Lilly came to me at 9 months. Someone had broken her jaw and all the pads on her feet were burnt. She will be 8 in Jan and we still deal with her fear of some men. It has definatley lessoned with alot of work, but will always be there. I do take Lilly out and about but I do not push her to meet people. She tends to sit back and "soak" people in at first and sometimes she will want to meet the person, if not that's fine too. Here is a book that helped me out and I still go back and read things.
http://www.patriciamcconnell.com/produc ... ining-book


Thanks for the book reference, I'll definitely check it out. She's doing pretty good with the sociallizing. She walks up to strangers and and says hi, usually with her whole body wiggling, but is still a little reserved because she will run away if they move too fast. She also has no problems with curling up in someone's lap... Your Lilly's story is so sad!!!!

Thanks for the advise everyone, I really appreciate it.

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1lila1
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Re: A Few Questions

Postby 1lila1 » Mon Nov 14, 2011 9:27 am

It's very important when your bf tells her "down" or anything like that that he watches his tone of voice. If your dog is anything like mine male voices can be very scary even though they don't intend them to be. Also make it a game! I get so much joy when telling my dog to "off" the couch or bed and he jumps down all bouncy and like a typical happy pit bull. He thinks "off" is one of the best things ever. I started by teaching "up" to get on the bed or couch or whatever I pat with my hand and then "off". Eventually you get to where the "off" is rewarded by treats, love, play whatever your dog loves and you make a huge deal over it rather than the "up". I've seen so many dogs shrink away and look miserable when kicked off the couch or bed. But really changing that is so easy! It's simply a matter of making it a fun game for your dog. This could also be a way for your bf to bond with your dog.

And about chewing the stuffed game animals, really they should just be out of her way. It's basically setting her up to fail then be corrected for chewing something so totally irresistible. A stuffed toy doesn't last 30 seconds around here I can only imagine how a real stuffed animal would fare! Just put them up so she doesn't have to get corrected over them. I'm not sure what you mean by discipline but around here the only corrections are vocal in the form of an "eh eh" in various intensities depending on what they're doing. Now is the time to build her confidence and learn to associate your bf with all things that are good happy fun and safe. You need to set her up to succeed and minimize any chances for failure. The fewer corrections the better, IMO.

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Re: A Few Questions

Postby jamielvsaustin » Mon Nov 14, 2011 9:46 am

I think all of the advice given has been great so far. I'm sorry you were in a crappy relationship and happy to hear you're out of it. Good for you!

I think training and possibly some work to eat toys might be helpful to you. I'm not saying your dog is ill behaved, but training is a great bonding experience. It's awesome when your "people pleasing" dog can know exactly what you're asking from her and have her be able to give it to you. Really I find PBs want to do what make their people happiest. I think having your boyfriend participate in training would help strengthen the bond between him and Terra. Even if it's not sit, lay down, come, etc. What if it's just something fun. Some sort of problem solving-like targeting, or having him hide a treat in one hand, turning both hands into fists and encouraging her to find the treat. Hiding treats around the house and him helping her find them. I think the work to eat toys/puzzles will help with her energy too...it's helpful if you can tire your dog out physically and mentally.


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