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rescued great dog, she just need a little guidance

Posted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 7:33 am
by katoom400
I posted this in Introductions, but now that I can post everywhere I guess this is the appropriate place for it.

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We just brought her home from the shelter 3 weeks ago.

The wife is settling in nicely with the dog, we are still working on the jumping up and the getting on the furniture, but it's going to take time....it's only been 3 weeks. she now walks very nicely on leash...(thanks to the gentle leader head collar) and the "accidents" in the basement have stopped. we would like to trust her with run of the first floor, but I just don't think she will stay off the sofa...and I know she will scratch at the front door and destroy it.

our biggest challenge now is separation anxiety. (we do not tell her we are leaving, or say goodbye...just put her in the basement and go...) previously she was in the basement during the day with doggy door out to her 16 X 16 pen. the problem was as soon as we left she would scratch like crazy at the hallway door...she is completely destroying it. so we decided to put another doggy door in the hallway door and then put a 36" tall baby gate from the living room to the hallway. at least then she would have a nice warm comfy place to lay during the day. Today was the first day we tried it. we left for work and my wife watched her through the front window....within minutes she jumped the 36" gate.. what now? the largest gate I can find online is 41" I just don't know if she'd jump extra 4" that just as easily.

Our last problem is with other dogs, I have now brought her over two different friends homes who have other "dog friendly" dogs, it first she is very good, a bit submissive and then once comfortable she turns into a little "bitch" she will do a little sneak attack where she nips/bites and runs away once the other dog responds. I tell her no and put her in a "time out" but I have to keep following her around the house like a 2 year old. I need to find a way to stop this as all of my friends have friendly dogs and this will end up isolating her from many activities. she is however very good with the kids and the kids friends....(which earned her major points with the wife)katoom400


In the introduction thread, someone asked if I'm new to pits, and yes this is my first pit, however my friend has a very nice pit who can be a bit of a bitch with other dogs, but is fine once adjusted. I do think that maybe I was moving a bit fast itroducing her to other dogs in a enclosed atmosphere (inside small houses) I will try walking them together in the woods off leash and see how it goes.

someone also suggested using a crate. I've had rotties in the past and always house broken them with the crate and then left it open from there. I have no problem using a crate with Lilly, however give the fact that my wife and i are both gone for at least 8 hours a day, I prefer not to limit her to the crate given the setup I have: a 16 X 16 kennel(under the deck w/cement floor) with dog door into the basement and another dog door into the 1st floor 6 X 10 heated hallway then pet gate to keep her out of the living space until I can trust her....

Re: rescued great dog, she just need a little guidance

Posted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 7:59 am
by Amie
Do NOT walk them off leash in the woods to see if she can get used to other dogs. ON LEASH ONLY.

Re: rescued great dog, she just need a little guidance

Posted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 8:43 am
by katoom400
the other dogs are off leash, it will never work with one dog on the leash! I've tried...the other dogs want her to play and stay right by her and she will pull as hard as she can to run with them... I could leave a leash on her to get a hold on her should a situation arrise.

Re: rescued great dog, she just need a little guidance

Posted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 11:37 am
by rgyoung777
Cute dog! :))

Why can't all of the dogs be leashed, just for saftey's sake? You've had this dog for under a month, and in my opinion, you're moving things along far too quickly. This girl is still just getting to know you and your household, she's gotta be overwhelmed by all of the changes. I know you're eager to have her make friends with your friends' dogs, but I think you need to take a step back and go more slowly.

Provided she avoids any major health issues, she will be a part of your life for ten to fifteen years; so you've got plenty of time for everything you'd like to do with her. You also may want to reassess the goals you have for her and tailor them more to her individual personality.

Did you do a two-week shutdown with her? If not, I'd suggest that you read the thread in this section titled "Two Weeks! Give 'em a Break!" Give some thought to following the instructions in that thread--a shutdown can work wonders for a new dog.

The bottom line here is that she needs more time to find her footing in her new life before she mixes and mingles with your friends' dogs. There is also a possibility that she's not the kind of dog who wants or needs dog friends. Some dogs just aren't social butterflies.

Re: rescued great dog, she just need a little guidance

Posted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 12:06 pm
by katoom400
I think you are correct, I will take it a little slower. I can't expect everything in a few weeks. most of the other dogs we walk with are not leash dogs, they are with their owners 24/7 and well behaived and trained. they live in a rural area and have never known a leash. I can't expect them to have to change their dogs walks just for me. but I think I will take the dog introductions a bit slower.

I'm going to have to work with her on the seperation anxiety by putting her behind the gate and leaving for a few seconds and returning...not paying any attention to her until she is calm. I will gradually increase the time away from seconds to minutes, then hours until she does not panic when I leave or get too excited when I return.

It may be a little late to do the "shutdown" but I think a slowdown is in order for both of us.

She is a really good loving girl and a total people/attention whore.

She is very intelligent and trains very easily for the most part. I've taught her to sit, stay, go to her bed, lay down in only a few weeks. She still trys to get on the sofa's and jumps but I think those are going to take some time. My main focus right now is to make her comfortable and secure feeling when we are out. which is at least 8 hours a day during the week.

she pulls on the leash so I've tried the gentle leader, which works great! but she always "grunts/snorts" when I give a pull/correction...so I'm not sure I'm crazy about it. I thought maybe I had the neck strap too tight, but if i loosen it then it rotates and defeats the purpose.... she doesn't seem to mind much but my wife doesn't like it, or the look...she get's a lot of people thinking it's a muzzle and the dog is mean...

I'm going to try the easy walk harness and see if that works better for us.

Re: rescued great dog, she just need a little guidance

Posted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 12:35 pm
by AllisonPitbullLvr
It's not too late to do the shut down and it DOES work. I use it with every foster I bring in (modifying it as needed) and we have always been successful.

Re: rescued great dog, she just need a little guidance

Posted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 12:58 pm
by Stormi
katoom400 wrote:I'm going to have to work with her on the seperation anxiety by putting her behind the gate and leaving for a few seconds and returning...not paying any attention to her until she is calm. I will gradually increase the time away from seconds to minutes, then hours until she does not panic when I leave or get too excited when I return.


What other symptoms is she exhibiting aside from scratching and escape artistry?


she pulls on the leash so I've tried the gentle leader, which works great! but she always "grunts/snorts" when I give a pull/correction...so I'm not sure I'm crazy about it.


You should not be issuing any sort of correction on a gentle leader. did you watch the DVD that comes with it? If not, do. The whole point is for it to apply gentle pressue and turn the dog's head so you are able to mark and reward for a loose leash. The dog places pressure on the halter, not you. Pulling back and "correcting" on a gentle leader and result in serious neck issues for the dog. She's probably grunting because it's uncomfortable and possibly hurts.

Re: rescued great dog, she just need a little guidance

Posted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 2:03 pm
by katoom400
Just scratching at the door and general anxiety when we leave, followed by overwhelming excitement when we return....(Jumping...going nuts). I suspect this will get better with time, It's been so long since my Rottie was a pup that I can't remember how long it took him to settle down.

as far as a "correction", what I mean is gently pulling her .I hold the end of the leash in my left hand and just leave 2 fingers gently on the lead at my right side, if she starts pulling I gently pull with just those 2 fingers in the direction she needs to go...if she gets ahead of me I gently take up the slack with those 2 fingers until she slows and is at my side. this is still a "correction". I did watch the video and believe I have it set up correctly. and I do not pull hard or yank to give a "correction". It just seems like it has to be her neck tight for it not to rotate..I know they say in the video "if you think it's too tight, then it's probably just right"

Thanks,
Andy

Re: rescued great dog, she just need a little guidance

Posted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 3:44 pm
by Stormi
katoom400 wrote:Just scratching at the door and general anxiety when we leave, followed by overwhelming excitement when we return....(Jumping...going nuts). I suspect this will get better with time, It's been so long since my Rottie was a pup that I can't remember how long it took him to settle down.


Chances are with what you've described, you're not looking at clinical separation anxiety. True separation anxiety comes with a whole host of difficult symptoms, most commonly extreme vocalization, stress induced elimination upon being left alone, pre-depature pacing and stress panting, and refusal to eat unless in the presence of someone. The scratching at the door is potentially worrisome, although on its own not enough to diagnose separation anxiety. Being that she is brand new to your household, there's no doubt that there is some level of general anxiety present. How much exercise and mental stimulation does she get in a given day? When she is left alone, what is she given to do while you're gone?

as far as a "correction", what I mean is gently pulling her .I hold the end of the leash in my left hand and just leave 2 fingers gently on the lead at my right side, if she starts pulling I gently pull with just those 2 fingers in the direction she needs to go...if she gets ahead of me I gently take up the slack with those 2 fingers until she slows and is at my side. this is still a "correction". I did watch the video and believe I have it set up correctly. and I do not pull hard or yank to give a "correction". It just seems like it has to be her neck tight for it not to rotate..I know they say in the video "if you think it's too tight, then it's probably just right"


Rather than applying pressure and physically manuevering her around, try teaching her what you'd like her to do so she's able to make those movements and follow you on her own. It makes the walk much more enjoyable for the both of you :) Here's a couple videos to help:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFgtqgiAKoQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8Xwz8g4ki0&feature=pyv

Re: rescued great dog, she just need a little guidance

Posted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 4:00 pm
by katoom400
Chances are with what you've described, you're not looking at clinical separation anxiety. True separation anxiety comes with a whole host of difficult symptoms, most commonly extreme vocalization, stress induced elimination upon being left alone, pre-depature pacing and stress panting, and refusal to eat unless in the presence of someone. The scratching at the door is potentially worrisome, although on its own not enough to diagnose separation anxiety. Being that she is brand new to your household, there's no doubt that there is some level of general anxiety present. How much exercise and mental stimulation does she get in a given day? When she is left alone, what is she given to do while you're gone?

she does cry at the door as well as scratch...hopefully not all day! as far as excersice, my wife generally gets home before me and walks her for 2-4 miles, then I will walk her for a few miles if I get home at a decent hour. we both leave very early in the morning so AM walks are not an option for us. at night my 30X30 finished garage serves as an indoor play area for her and the kids to chase her ball or tug o war with the rope.

if we are working outside she is on a 75' cable run with a 20' lead. The kids love to play fetch with her outside and she runs around quite a bit. However the second she is alone on the run with nobody around she starts barking....she does not like to be seperated from her "pack"
if
Rather than applying pressure and physically manuevering her around, try teaching her what you'd like her to do so she's able to make those movements and follow you on her own. It makes the walk much more enjoyable for the both of you :) Here's a couple videos to help:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFgtqgiAKoQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8Xwz8g4ki0&feature=pyv[/quote]

Re: rescued great dog, she just need a little guidance

Posted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 8:11 pm
by luvnstuff
Its definatly not to late to start a two week shut down, this dog has had to absorb alot in a short amount of time! Its a very common mistake made by the best hearted humans , so dont feel bad, just hit the reset button, read the two week shut down..or at least the first page.
Alot too fast can set up anxiety like symptoms. A crate can help, and also keep the dog in a zone where it learns to be alone and can take in the new world without it coming at them. If no crate, at least a smaller safe area out of the line of life (like a bed room or smaller room out of the busy of a home and front windows/road etc..)
We want our dog to become secure in being alone. needy needy behaviour is just a lack of nerves , but dont worry that isnt a forever diagnosis! Its just a starting point.
You can imagine how scary it is in a shelter..all that crazy going on in front of her, no where to really retreat too, all the smells , sights, sounds, to a dog, just imagine that!
And right now DO DOGS. it can trigger fear based and defensive based behaviour. She doesnt know your family is THERE FOR HER, so meeting another dog she might think she has to defend herself, and if the other dog picks up on her anxiety it can lead to a not so nice meeting and set you way back in her trust of your decisions.
:0)

Easy peasy.. as a member wrote here (maryellen) years ago, and I love this line "This is the dating period NOT the honeymoon! "
you dont have to put the dog away for long periods of time, just short ones even can give her a mind break to absorb her new experiencs of the day
http://www.pitbullforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=81654

Re: rescued great dog, she just need a little guidance

Posted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 10:02 am
by katoom400
I thought since it's been a couple of months now since we took her home it was time for an update.

She has really settled in nicely with the family.

she is still jumping up when we enter the house, but the "be a tree" method is working....she's not completely broken of the bad habit but it's getting better and I think it will just take time and consistency.

we ended up re arranging our living room since the dog/baby gates where not slowing her down. she now has run of the 1st floor of the house and to stop her from jumping on the sofa we moved it away from the window and used an old toy chest as her "spot" to look out the window during the day. We used Velcro to attach her crate pad to it and she loves it.
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she would still try to lay on the sofa and to stop this we use a upside down plastic carpet runner on the sofa while we are away and she stays off. However when we are home and the runner is not on the sofa she jumps right on....we might try one of these next:

http://www.amazon.com/Tattle-Tale-Sonic ... 274&sr=1-3

I took her for a 5 mile hike in the woods and she stayed right by me off leash the entire time....she was loving being free and would only venture a short distance from me and come charging back once I got too far from her. Unfortunately I crushed my foot about 10 years ago and there is a lot of arthritis in there which really flared up after the hike. I could not walk right for 2 weeks. I'm an active person and can't let that slow me or her down.

I know I can ride my bike for miles without pain so I researched biking with the dog and found the "biking with your bully" sticky on here. I went ahead and bought the walky-dog bike attachment and it is working out fantastic! I use the ezy-dog harness and lengthened the lead a bit and we can now bang out a 3-4 mile run every day after work in 30-45 minutes and she loves it! I pick up her harness and say "zoom zoom" and she runs to the bike and waits for me!

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I have to find out what kind of water dog she is going to be, we have a lot of still water (lake) kayaking near my house and I would love to take her...it will surely be a bit of a challenge getting her to be mellow on the kayak.....I have an ocean sit on top kayak that should work pretty well for this, but we shall see.

I have noticed she is shedding excessively lately and I'm not sure if that is normal for the breed this early in the season. it's been very warm in NJ this month and she is shedding like crazy. We recently switched her from Blue to Kirkland brand food due the extremely high cost of the Blue food. Kirkland seemed to be one of the best "inexpensive" foods we could find, but I wonder if that is contributing to the shedding.

I also treated her with K9-Advantix a few weeks ago, but she was already shedding before the application. I hate using frontline and advantix, but ticks and lyme are a serious problem around here. and with the warm winter we had they are already extremely active this year. She had no adverse reactions to the advantix so we will most likely keep her on it. I did a 1 mile hike with her and 2 other dogs off leash a week ago and I was pulling ticks off of me left and right. with the advantix I only found 1 on her and it was not attached and moving very slow.

Re: rescued great dog, she just need a little guidance

Posted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 10:22 am
by FransterDoo
Awww, sounds like you're all figured it out quite well!!


For the shedding, it can totally happen with weather that's hot one day and cold the next. We had highs of 75 last week and everyone started shedding around here.

I love my Kong Zoom Groom and try to brush everyone each week. In good weather, I'll just go outside and let the fur fly!

Re: rescued great dog, she just need a little guidance

Posted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:11 am
by Ilovethepits
Gosh Lilly is GORGEOUS!! She also looks happy with her window seat and that big bully smile in her latest photo!!
I am so happy for you all!! :)

Re: rescued great dog, she just need a little guidance

Posted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 4:12 pm
by Nickdawg
WOW she look so happy, love seeing the shift from the first kinda confused photo to the BIG grin, sparkling eyes one... sounds like you are doing a great job with her...