The Ongoing Saga - Duke

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Postby hugapitbull » July 13th, 2009, 6:35 am

Duke has been doing so great. We got him a lunge line and stake him out late each evening and let him play. Wears him out so there is no more crying in the crate. He's ready for bed when we tell him good night.

He and Trouble have been supervised together for a couple of weeks and all is well. She has stopped growling at him for the most part. Every once in a while he will be a pest and she will give him a warning, but for the most part they are good together. They sleep for Bob just about all day, but when I get home they are both amped. Very little sleeping after that until bedtime.

For the most part he has stopped lunging and barking when he sees the neighbors. He still has issues with their dog and cat, but is getting better. We still have not introduced him to other people yet, and he still has not been out of the yard. We don't have a fenced yard, so he goes out on leash. I pulled out his pinch collar and started using it. That was a quick improvement on his trying to pull us around.

Everything was looking up, I was getting ready to do a post and update everyone of this great progress. Then this weekend we have two Duke episodes. The first just out of the blue, the second was strictly our fault and could/should have been avoided.

While Duke was on his lunge line Friday, there were some folks walking with their dogs. He went nuts trying to get to them. Of course he came to the end of the line and flipped himself in the air. When I got him calmed down I took him in the house. Later that evening he and Trouble were both snoozing. Trouble got choked and did a cough/gag and Duke thought she was after him. He jumped up in defense mode and Bob and I both jumped between them to separate them. Lots of noise and teeth showing, but no wounds on either of them. I took him out for a bit and then crated him. He cried and pitched a bitch fit but eventually went to sleep.

Next morning I let him out and all was well. Kept him on a leash for a few hours so I could grab him if necessary. No other incident with Trouble.

Yesterday I had the dogs out, the neighbor took their mini pincher out and put him on a tie out. Duke barked and tried to pull. I talked to him and got him reasonably calm. Took him in the house and couldn't get Trouble to come in. Bob was trying to get Troub in and I took Duke off his leash. Next thing we know he bolts out the door past Bob and heads straight for the neighbor's dog. I ran after him. There was growling and yelping but no blood, no broken skin. I pulled him off without him snapping at me and the neighbor's college age son was in the middle and no snapping at him.

Once I had him under control, I think any of the humans could have petted him. He was calm and totally non aggressive. He laid down and let me get his pinch collar on him.

I know the charging out the door could have and should have been avoided. I was completely responsible for what happened and was very lucky it wasn't much worse. So please, no lectures on that part. Feel free to comment on anything else.

I guess my main question would be is he exhibiting prey drive or dog aggression? He seems more interested in the chase than in harming the focus of his attention. And is there an effective way to temper either one?

This guy is more of a leaning curve than I anticipated. I know we are still really new at this and it will take lots of time. I know he has months of kennel living to overcome. I really think he is a great dog, he just requires you never, ever let your guard down. Does this type dog ever overcome that constant need for supervision?
Shanna & Spirit Trouble
We beat osteosarcoma - 27 months 20 days cancer free
'Spirit' Trouble departed for the Bridge 3/16/2011 a victim of aging
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Postby madremissy » July 13th, 2009, 12:08 pm

All I can say is that I learned that nothing is constant with my two. I guess because they are starting to mature and come into their own. Yes, they are good but as for how they react around other dogs I just don't know. So I don't let my guard down with them. Kinzyl suprised me how great she got along with the neigbors lab but hated the little JRT. She does good with Sammy and my moms dogs Tassy but they aren't as rude as that little JRT was. Then Gotty who used to be Mister "I will play with anybody" has become a little more bolder as he has matured. I don't know if bolder is the right word but I couldn't think of anything else. Instead of wanting to play and go crazy when he meets a new dog he is a little bit more catious. He just stands there and looks at them. He didn't used to care about the squirrels and the rabbits now he has shown interest. Kinzyl used to have a fit about anything that moved. Now she has made friends with the lizards and the frogs. Rabbits are still her number one nemsis but that is ok with me. She just lays on the porch and stares and whines at them.
Everyday is different so I just keep on my toes and don't put them in a position that might turn bad.
You can do it, I think you have come a long way already. :hug3:
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Postby Pit♥bull » July 13th, 2009, 12:26 pm

I'm doing a load of laundry this morning due to the incident :P
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Postby mnp13 » July 13th, 2009, 1:00 pm

hugapitbull wrote:Duke has been doing so great. We got him a lunge line and stake him out late each evening and let him play. Wears him out so there is no more crying in the crate. He's ready for bed when we tell him good night.

Tired dogs are good dogs!


Everything was looking up, I was getting ready to do a post and update everyone of this great progress. Then this weekend we have two Duke episodes. The first just out of the blue, the second was strictly our fault and could/should have been avoided.

Ah, the end of the honeymoon period... never a dull moment!

While Duke was on his lunge line Friday, there were some folks walking with their dogs. He went nuts trying to get to them. Of course he came to the end of the line and flipped himself in the air.

What did he do immediately after that?

When I got him calmed down I took him in the house. Later that evening he and Trouble were both snoozing. Trouble got choked and did a cough/gag and Duke thought she was after him. He jumped up in defense mode and Bob and I both jumped between them to separate them. Lots of noise and teeth showing, but no wounds on either of them. I took him out for a bit and then crated him. He cried and pitched a bitch fit but eventually went to sleep.

That sounds to me like a random occurance. He was startled and reacted. That whole "let sleeping dogs lie" thing.

Next morning I let him out and all was well. Kept him on a leash for a few hours so I could grab him if necessary. No other incident with Trouble.

good!

Bob was trying to get Troub in and I took Duke off his leash. Next thing we know he bolts out the door past Bob and heads straight for the neighbor's dog. I ran after him. There was growling and yelping but no blood, no broken skin. I pulled him off without him snapping at me and the neighbor's college age son was in the middle and no snapping at him.

Once I had him under control, I think any of the humans could have petted him. He was calm and totally non aggressive. He laid down and let me get his pinch collar on him.

I know the charging out the door could have and should have been avoided. I was completely responsible for what happened and was very lucky it wasn't much worse. So please, no lectures on that part. Feel free to comment on anything else.

I guess my main question would be is he exhibiting prey drive or dog aggression? He seems more interested in the chase than in harming the focus of his attention. And is there an effective way to temper either one?

In my opinion, it's probably prey drive. If he wanted the Min Pin dead it would have been dead or at least injured. He got out, that sucks, but don't beat yourself up about it. He didn't redirect on anyone, so he was clear headed, but just focused on the other dog. That said, it could be aggression, but just going by your description I don't "read it" as such.

This guy is more of a leaning curve than I anticipated. I know we are still really new at this and it will take lots of time. I know he has months of kennel living to overcome. I really think he is a great dog, he just requires you never, ever let your guard down. Does this type dog ever overcome that constant need for supervision?

Some do, some don't. It took me a long time to trust Riggs enough to not hover over him. As you really get to know him and he gets to know you, you'll figure out your comfort level. Have you thought about a basic obedience class or two? That can make a big step towards you trusting him and vice versa.
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Postby TheRedQueen » July 13th, 2009, 1:17 pm

Prey drive or DA...either way you're not going to "cure" the behavior...both, imho, will require some level of supervision/management throughout the lifetime. I would still be careful of letting them be together so much...if his first reaction is to fight (judging by the sleeping incident)...then I'd be extra careful with him around Miss Trouble.

I agree with Michelle that some classes or a private trainer are in order...this dog is a handful...and you guys need to learn how to manage his behavior from a professional. Nothing that can't be overcome and worked with...but I think you need outside help from someone who can SEE what's going in real life. The fact that you haven't gotten him out in the real world yet really tells me that training is in order...if these things are just happening around the house.
"I don't have any idea if my dogs respect me or not, but they're greedy and I have their stuff." -- Patty Ruzzo

"Dogs don't want to control people. They want to control their own lives." --John Bradshaw
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Postby hugapitbull » July 13th, 2009, 1:19 pm

Thanks for taking the time and addressing each issue as it's own. You confirmed what I was feeling, just needed to know someone with more experience than myself was thinking along the same lines.

What did he do when he got flipped in the air. Well, of course, he picked himself up like nothing had happened and continued to bark and lunge like a butt head. :rolleyes2:

I said exactly the same thing to Bob last night about him not hurting the mini pincher, had he intended to kill it, it would be dead. That doesn't make me any happier about what happened, but it brings a level of understanding to it.

We work on his obedience and tricks (he can speak & roll over) daily. His obedience is very good, except when he gets distracted. Do you think the obedience class would still be of benefit?
Shanna & Spirit Trouble
We beat osteosarcoma - 27 months 20 days cancer free
'Spirit' Trouble departed for the Bridge 3/16/2011 a victim of aging
Visit - http://k9cancer.org

Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain--and most fools do. ~Dale Carnegie
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Postby TheRedQueen » July 13th, 2009, 1:28 pm

hugapitbull wrote:We work on his obedience and tricks (he can speak & roll over) daily. His obedience is very good, except when he gets distracted. Do you think the obedience class would still be of benefit?


YES.

You'll hear every trainer talk about how it's about training the HUMANS, not the dogs (though they learn too of course)...class/private lessons are for teaching the owners how to deal with their dogs, how to train their dogs, etc.

Depending on how driven he is to go after other dogs...class may not be your best option. I'd call some trainers, explain the situation and see what they recommend. :)
"I don't have any idea if my dogs respect me or not, but they're greedy and I have their stuff." -- Patty Ruzzo

"Dogs don't want to control people. They want to control their own lives." --John Bradshaw
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Postby hugapitbull » July 13th, 2009, 1:33 pm

TheRedQueen wrote:Prey drive or DA...either way you're not going to "cure" the behavior...both, imho, will require some level of supervision/management throughout the lifetime. I would still be careful of letting them be together so much...if his first reaction is to fight (judging by the sleeping incident)...then I'd be extra careful with him around Miss Trouble.

I agree with Michelle that some classes or a private trainer are in order...this dog is a handful...and you guys need to learn how to manage his behavior from a professional. Nothing that can't be overcome and worked with...but I think you need outside help from someone who can SEE what's going in real life. The fact that you haven't gotten him out in the real world yet really tells me that training is in order...if these things are just happening around the house.


Thank, Erin. I so appreciate the extra insight. He is a handful. Trouble was misbehaved in public until about age 5, then she began to calm down enough to be respectful of people.

I think on some level we have been over cautious with him. Because he is so easily distracted, and because we do not know him well, we have limited him to the home environment. Maybe we've not been fair by not allowing other interaction.

Katrina was able to locate a trainer a reasonable distance from us. Maybe it's time for me to give them a call. It certainly couldn't hurt.
Shanna & Spirit Trouble
We beat osteosarcoma - 27 months 20 days cancer free
'Spirit' Trouble departed for the Bridge 3/16/2011 a victim of aging
Visit - http://k9cancer.org

Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain--and most fools do. ~Dale Carnegie
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Postby mnp13 » July 13th, 2009, 3:01 pm

hugapitbull wrote:What did he do when he got flipped in the air. Well, of course, he picked himself up like nothing had happened and continued to bark and lunge like a butt head. :rolleyes2:

That's a bummer. Sometimes it knocks some sense into them. Then again, it's a Pit Bull smacking their head into something... did you check the ground for a dent? :wink:

I love love love setting dogs up to deliver self corrections. In my opinion, one self correction is better than 5 corrections from anyone or anything. I've been known to recommend a supervised tie out with a training collar on (oh, wait, was that my outside voice?)

I said exactly the same thing to Bob last night about him not hurting the mini pincher, had he intended to kill it, it would be dead. That doesn't make me any happier about what happened, but it brings a level of understanding to it.

Riggs grabbed a Jack Russel a few years ago. The poor little thing was walking out the exit door and he whipped around and grabbed the back of her coat. She started screaming, I yelled at him to OUT and he let go and looked at me. Of course, I was horrified, put him in his crate and went to check on the other dog and owner. I gave her all my info, etc etc etc and she left. The next week I approached her to check on her and the dog and she said "I'm just glad he only grabbed her coat and not her. We were worried that she would be afraid of other dogs because of it, but she was perfectly fine this week." I looked her straight in the eye and responded "I'm glad she did fine this week. I am not excusing what he did, and I am very sorry that it happened and I take full responsibility for my mistake. However, he knew he only had her coat. If he wanted to kill her he would have killed her. He was being a jerk, but didn't really want to do anything more than be a jerk." She looked at me for a minute, and then agreed with me.

You are exactly right - it brings understanding to what happened. I think they do stuff like this just to see if they can make us faint.

We work on his obedience and tricks (he can speak & roll over) daily. His obedience is very good, except when he gets distracted. Do you think the obedience class would still be of benefit?

Definitely. He's good "except when he gets distracted" and classes are a very good way to introduce distractions in a controlled environment.
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Postby amazincc » July 13th, 2009, 3:44 pm

Do you guys practice NILIF w/Duke? Does he go on daily/regular walks?

Now that I have a fenced-in yard... I've started to become "lazy", and I can tell a difference in the boys' behavior (never Miss Daisy :D ). Sepp started to do a LOT of posturing/barking at the fence when anyone walked by, people and/or dogs. If I didn't know him as well as I do, he'd scare the bejeebus out of me, because he puts on a fierce show.
So... I am now taking everyone for a long walk again to get them re-aquainted w/the "outside" world, and to practice public manners. It's especially helpful w/Faust, since he gets scared of his own shadow at times and imitates a lot of what Sepp does. :rolleyes2:
You can do a lot of obedience on walks as well (sitting before crossing the street, doing a down to let people pass, etc.), and while that can become tedious it can also teach a dog some discipline and self-control.
I totally "get" Duke... he was kenneled for SOOO long that anything and everything outside is now very, very distracting and exciting, and needs to be explored and taken on. I think a strict routine is very important for a dog like him so he can learn what's expected of him, in terms of behavior towards other people/neighbors and such.
Is he food motivated at all??? I always carry a pocket full of treats w/me, and I can already see a huge difference in the boys... instead of acting like butt heads, they can now "ignore" or walk nicely past other people, and they will both look at me for a treat after a job well done.
Some dogs need more "owner involvement" than others, apparently.

Oh, and Daisy definitely turns into a snarky bitch when startled out of a sound sleep. lol
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Postby amazincc » July 13th, 2009, 4:11 pm

Oh, and the most important thing... baby steps and patience!!! The "distractions" that may seem minor to you guys may be a HUGE deal for Duke. :wink:
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