New owner of rescued pittie - need help!

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Postby Rachel1201 » June 27th, 2011, 12:50 am

Hi! We are long term doggie owners, who have always had "bully" breeds - Boxers and shepards and a bulldogge ... I became involved with a FB site called Pet Pardons, and rescued a pittie from the euth list at the NY ACC. We have always been a multi-dog household, and I guess we were just lucky until now ... Although when our bulldogge first joined us there were some heated squabbles - for some reason he would go after our Boxer senior citizen, who was too old and arthritic to fight back - but anyway, these spats were mostly scary and loud, but no serious damage. So we were totally unprepared for the meltdown that has occurred since we brought Harley home. Before I go any further, let me say she is a sweetheart ... to us. She has showed no evidence of people aggression at all. But she is intermittentlydog- aggressive, and it is very unpredictable. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to some of the fights - they can happen in the blink of an eye, and while some we can attribute to a toy or food, some are just appear to be random and occur without any warning - no stare down, no warning growl. In the past week, my husband, myself and our adult son have been bitten breaking up a fight. I can't really say bitten, because we all had put our hands in her mouth to pry her jaw open - she did not lunge for us. But last night she and Belle, my little Boxer girl got into a horrible fight and now Belle has a drain in her neck. We can't go on like this ... yet we hate to give up on her, because we know what the likely outcome would be if we were to try and re-home her ... The sad part is ... she is so damn sweet in every other way. Constantly wags her tail and gives kisses to her people, crate trained, walks well on leash, good with kids ... We absolutely love her, but I could not live with myself if she killed one of my other babies. is there any hope at all for her? Any ideas? We are desperate. We live near Winchester , Va.
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Postby Tubular Toby » June 27th, 2011, 10:34 am

Hello, welcome to PBT. You definitely came to the right place.

As far as handling the situation right now- do not let the dogs be together. Crate and rotate. Whatever you do, do not rush them into being around each other again.

You might also want to read this thread (I'll post it below, it's the 2 week shut down) about getting a new dog and a really great way to let them get accustomed to your house without being overwhelmed. There are reasons why she is getting in fights, and I'd bet getting put into a house with dogs she doesn't know, she probably feels a bit more vulnerable. There is also the possibility that she is just dog aggressive, but if she's fine with some of the time, my humble opinion is that she is overwhelmed. I know how hard it can be when incidents happen in a matter of seconds. I'm dealing with something very similar with my boy and his new found human reactivity. Something the trainer that I worked with the other day showed me that made a lot of sense was all of the calming signals that Toby uses. Here is a thread relating to those. I wouldn't recommend having the dogs together again right now, but reading it may jog your memory and you may be able to remember some of these signs (or complete lack thereof!) and it will help you in any dog context anyway!

Calming Signals:
viewtopic.php?f=19&t=24118

2 Week Shut Down: (If you don't read anything else, READ THIS! =) )
viewtopic.php?f=19&t=29970
-Kristen
Owned by Totally Tubular Toby

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http://tubular-toby.blogspot.com/
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Postby Pit♥bull » June 27th, 2011, 10:46 am

Welcome to PBT :wave2:
So sorry to hear about Belle's injurys :(
There is a wealth if info here, good luck :)
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Postby Rachel1201 » June 27th, 2011, 11:58 am

Thank you for the advice - the 2 week shut down is something we couild try - although I am very discouraged as Harley went after our old Boxer today without any warning and tried to bite my husband when he stopped her. I am heartbroken ... I never thought I would be in a position where I was one of "those" people, who rescue a dog and then give up on it. But I have to be responsible for my other dogs too ... Belle came home with three drains in her neck, multiple sutures and staples. She is 6, we have had her since she was apup, and she has been my free spirit, with this amazing little saucy attitude. Now she is hiding in the bathroom ... I love Harley but ... I feel like I have caused great harm to Belle ... I am totally wrecked about this ....
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Postby hugapitbull » June 27th, 2011, 1:34 pm

Welcome! And I'm really sorry you are facing this problem.

I am not a trainer, but will share our experience when we introduced a new pittie into our house with our senior, tripawd, cancer survivor. We did exactly what Kristen suggested. Duke was crated for two weeks. We took him out and interacted with him, but never with Trouble around. She, being the existing dog, was given full run of the house. We introduced them after they were both accustomed to the other being in the house. Duke drug a leash for another week or so until we were comfortable they would neither try to harm the other. They became best buddies.

I will be the first to tell you this will not work for every instance. There are folks here who have resolved to be a crate and rotate family and manage very well. I have faith you will receive many great replies to this question.
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 pitbullmamaliz » June 27th, 2011, 2:43 pm

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I recommend that you post your situation in our training section now that you have access - a lot more people read that section. :)
"Remember - every time your dog gets somewhere on a tight leash *a fairy dies and it's all your fault.* Think of the fairies." http://www.positivepetzine.com"

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Postby Tubular Toby » June 27th, 2011, 6:49 pm

As recommended, I would definitely head on over to the training section. Lots of awesome, knowledgeable people here. I would also definitely keep Harley separated at ALL times so that you don't have to break up anymore dog fights.
-Kristen
Owned by Totally Tubular Toby

Buy the ticket, take the ride

http://tubular-toby.blogspot.com/
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Postby TheRedQueen » June 27th, 2011, 10:51 pm

Welcome to PBT!

There are lots of experienced people on the board, and a lot of info available for searching here on the board...you did come to the right place.

For now...calm down, take a deep breath and keep everyone separated.
"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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