...With Heavy Heart *UPDATED*

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Postby hugapitbull » October 21st, 2009, 8:02 pm

So, where do I begin. We have come to the conclusion we must now admit Duke has a tendency to be human aggressive.

He has come so very far, he has the potential to be a good pet, good at weight pull, maybe even agility or flyball, but how much risk should we be willing to take? Everyone knows we have struggled as he learned to adapt to our environment. We worked and worked and thought the demons were
behind us.

Today Bob found a rough place on a dew claw and was trying to check it out. Duke growled. Bob scolded him and tried again. Again Duke growled. Bob scolded him and tried again. Duke growled and did a slight lunge. Bob smacked him on the muzzle. Duke jumped up, stood erect facing Bob and
snarled, teeth bared. He clearly was taking a stand. I held my breath, I thought Bob was in serious trouble.

We've had other incidences similar but nothing close to this severe. Once with Bob touching Duke's feet. Once with me trying to move Duke off my place in the bed. Once when touching him when he was asleep. Each time before he growled and threatened, was scolded and he apologized.

I've contacted our friend in Canada as she personally knows the breeder. She suggested I contact the breeder and I've sent the breeder a note and am waiting for a reply.

We simply cannot have this behavior continue. We cannot have us at risk, Trouble at risk, or friends, family, and neighbors at risk. We cannot in good faith put him up for adoption knowing he
has a tendency to be human aggressive.

With all our good intentions, we have failed. I am just sick.
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 Jenn » October 21st, 2009, 8:25 pm

:hug3:
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Postby smallstream » October 21st, 2009, 8:33 pm

I don't know all the details of this dog, or his life with you, but it certainly sounds like you're in a really, really tough spot. I don't have any advice, but I'm sorry to hear you're in it. :(
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » October 21st, 2009, 8:46 pm

Knock it off - you guys did NOT fail Duke. You saved him. You have given him a good life and shown him love. If his temperament is off it is NOT YOUR FAULT. Whatever you guys do, I support you. :hug3:
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Postby amazincc » October 21st, 2009, 8:53 pm

hugapitbull wrote:. Bob smacked him on the muzzle. Duke jumped up, stood erect facing Bob and snarled, teeth bared. He clearly was taking a stand. I held my breath, I thought Bob was in serious trouble.


What happened afterwards??? How did Bob handle it? How did you guys correct Duke for "taking a stand"?
I think there is a HUGE difference between an HA dog and a dog who clearly didn't appreciate getting a smack on the muzzle/being touched/woken up/moved off a favorite spot, and gave a somewhat dog-appropriate "warning" when he felt threatened/encroached upon? :?
I'm no behaviorist by any means, but having been owned by a truly fear-aggressive dog who would NOT hesitate to bite without any warning... Duke doesn't sound like that at all.
How is he at the vet? Has he done this w/anyone else?
It sounds to me like he has issues w/being touched/handled, and he is telling you to back off the only way he knows how... I also think smacking him on the muzzle was not a good idea, and Duke took offense and got ready to defend himself. If he wanted to bite Bob... he very easily could've done so.
Have you been able to contact a behaviorist to evaluate Duke?

I am sorry you guys are still struggling w/him... and, of course, if you are afraid and/or uncomfortable around him maybe you do need to look at other options. :sad2:
However... labeling him HA is surely a death sentence, and I would do everything in my power to have him evaluated by a competent, knowledgable behaviorist first.
Maybe he will do better in a different home... not all dogs click w/all people, and it has nothing what-so-ever to do w/the owners, so PLEASE don't take offense. It could just be a "personality" thing or Duke needing to be an only child, or whatever. :|

If I can help w/anything PM me. :hug3:
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Postby mnp13 » October 21st, 2009, 9:07 pm

FIRST, I am not dismissing your concerns. You must be comfortable with the dog that you have in your house.

That said, I also don't want to "read into" your post.

What you're describing, to me, sounds like a dog that has a lower threshold for "putting up with things." I'll use Riggs for an example - when we play fetch at the tennis court he doesn't even notice that he quicks 11 nails. If I was to use the nail cutter and quick one, he'd respond stronger than Duke has with you. The difference between the two is he's in drive for the first so doesn't care, the second, he's not.

In contrast, I have quicked Ruby more than once. She has let me finish clipping her nails, even on that same foot.

Is it the most ideal temperament in the world? No. Not for any dog, of any breed. Make no mistake, if Duke had wanted to send either of you to the hospital, you'd already be there.

There are many ways to manage behaviors like you are describing, you are not failures. You have to decide if he fits in with your household, and if he does, you adjust. If he does not, then you make the best decision for yourself and for him.

In the interim, I would like to address this:
Today Bob found a rough place on a dew claw and was trying to check it out. Duke growled. Bob scolded him and tried again. Again Duke growled. Bob scolded him and tried again. Duke growled and did a slight lunge. Bob smacked him on the muzzle. Duke jumped up, stood erect facing Bob and snarled, teeth bared. He clearly was taking a stand. I held my breath, I thought Bob was in serious trouble.

I am not excusing what Duke did.

Basically, something on his foot hurt, you attempted to touch it and he growled to warn you away. He got in verbal trouble for warning you. Growl again. Verbal correction again. So the third time he gave you a stronger warning. Then he got a physical correction for warning you. So the third time he was as absolutely clear as possible as he could be that he did not want you to touch his foot.

I don't excuse it, but I understand it.
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Postby mnp13 » October 21st, 2009, 9:10 pm

amazincc wrote:What happened afterwards??? How did Bob handle it? How did you guys correct Duke for "taking a stand"?
I think there is a HUGE difference between an HA dog and a dog who clearly didn't appreciate getting a smack on the muzzle/being touched/woken up/moved off a favorite spot, and gave a somewhat dog-appropriate "warning" when he felt threatened/encroached upon? :?
I'm no behaviorist by any means, but having been owned by a truly fear-aggressive dog who would NOT hesitate to bite without any warning... Duke doesn't sound like that at all.
How is he at the vet? Has he done this w/anyone else?
It sounds to me like he has issues w/being touched/handled, and he is telling you to back off the only way he knows how... I also think smacking him on the muzzle was not a good idea, and Duke took offense and got ready to defend himself. If he wanted to bite Bob... he very easily could've done so.

Good points.
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Postby hugapitbull » October 21st, 2009, 9:13 pm

Note from the breeder in it's entirety.
Shanna
I spoke with Sandra tonight about Duke. I was under the impression he was to live out his life at the kennel in Ohio. (this is what Angie had wanted) I was unaware she had passed away, and feel terrible about the whole situation. Duke has been back here before and trained and Angie took him back and said he was doing great. Right before I last heard from her, she told me about the kennel. I am sorry you have had to deal with his problems. I would kindly suggest he be put down. Angie had contemplated it herself, and to be honest I dont know why she didnt do it before she got bad off. She assured me he was fine and had no problems. He is a mix of amstaff and APBT...his litter was a complete accident occuring when my new husband accidently let his amstaff out with my rednose female. I hate it for everyone involved including Angie, Duke and you. Please keep me posted
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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

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Postby mnp13 » October 21st, 2009, 9:39 pm

... wow ...

She suggests that you put him down without even speaking to you directly?

and this:
He is a mix of amstaff and APBT

makes no sense at all to me.
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Postby hugapitbull » October 21st, 2009, 9:43 pm

amazincc wrote:
hugapitbull wrote:. Bob smacked him on the muzzle. Duke jumped up, stood erect facing Bob and snarled, teeth bared. He clearly was taking a stand. I held my breath, I thought Bob was in serious trouble.


What happened afterwards??? How did Bob handle it? How did you guys correct Duke for "taking a stand"?
I think there is a HUGE difference between an HA dog and a dog who clearly didn't appreciate getting a smack on the muzzle/being touched/woken up/moved off a favorite spot, and gave a somewhat dog-appropriate "warning" when he felt threatened/encroached upon? :?
I'm no behaviorist by any means, but having been owned by a truly fear-aggressive dog who would NOT hesitate to bite without any warning... Duke doesn't sound like that at all.
How is he at the vet? Has he done this w/anyone else?
It sounds to me like he has issues w/being touched/handled, and he is telling you to back off the only way he knows how... I also think smacking him on the muzzle was not a good idea, and Duke took offense and got ready to defend himself. If he wanted to bite Bob... he very easily could've done so.
Have you been able to contact a behaviorist to evaluate Duke?

I am sorry you guys are still struggling w/him... and, of course, if you are afraid and/or uncomfortable around him maybe you do need to look at other options. :sad2:
However... labeling him HA is surely a death sentence, and I would do everything in my power to have him evaluated by a competent, knowledgable behaviorist first.
Maybe he will do better in a different home... not all dogs click w/all people, and it has nothing what-so-ever to do w/the owners, so PLEASE don't take offense. It could just be a "personality" thing or Duke needing to be an only child, or whatever. :|

If I can help w/anything PM me. :hug3:


I'm going to attempt to answer as many of these questions as I can -
Bob says he tensed for an attack, but did nothing in response. At the point where Duke jumped up, I went to Trouble to keep her from trying to get in the middle of it all. I think there is merit to the point if he had wanted to bite he would have. This is no different than had he wanted to hurt the neighbor's dog when he went after it, he would have.

He has lunged and growled at one other person, a good friend of mine (ours). Bob had him on leash during the introduction, Duke allowed Maureen to pet him and then growled and lunged. I was not in the room at the time, that's all the info I have.

With the other minor incidences he was verbally corrected and he acknowledged his response was not acceptable and was apologetic for his actions.

He is not wonderful at the vet, he has to be muzzled if they need to restrain him for any reason. He will not allow his nails to be trimmed, I had to have him sedated to get his nails clipped. I did speak to them this afternoon and the girl I talked to admitted he is a handful for them. When I picked him up yesterday it was a tussle to get him under control. The tech commented that he was really upset when they took Trouble out. (I asked them to bring her out first because I knew she would not bolt out of the car).

We are in an area where reliable trainers/behaviorist aren't readily available. I had a recommendation for one 45 minutes from here and one in Houston.
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 hugapitbull » October 21st, 2009, 9:48 pm

mnp13 wrote:... wow ...

She suggests that you put him down without even speaking to you directly?

and this:
He is a mix of amstaff and APBT

makes no sense at all to me.


Not that I'm defending the breeder, but I spoke with Sandra for a long while this afternoon and I am sure Sandra relayed what all had taken place.
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

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Postby hugapitbull » October 21st, 2009, 9:59 pm

pitbullmamaliz wrote:Knock it off - you guys did NOT fail Duke. You saved him. You have given him a good life and shown him love. If his temperament is off it is NOT YOUR FAULT. Whatever you guys do, I support you. :hug3:


Thanks, Liz.
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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

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Postby madremissy » October 21st, 2009, 10:00 pm

:hug3: :hug3: :hug3:
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Postby plebayo » October 21st, 2009, 10:39 pm

I'm not sure what your options really are. To me it sounds like he knows how big he is and knows that earlier in life and now he has always been allowed to be in charge and when he doesn't want something to be done he doesn't do it.

I am from the club of, you let me touch it, poke it, squeeze it or we'll need to have a serious discussion. I DO NOT think manhandling him is a good idea, however I think a lot of NILIF training is in order. He should not be allowed on the bed or furniture. You should be teach him to accept a muzzle, you should be teaching him to accept restraint while being muzzled.

My friend has a pit named Reno who I have posted pics of before. He does not like being restrained and he is slightly nail phobic/I'm just bigger than you are. He couldn't be muzzled at the vet, by the vet, my friend always had to put it on and it was a struggle. My friend first taught him to accept a muzzle. She initially bought a huge muzzle so that she could feed him treats while he wore the muzzle, she put it on for a few minutes a couple of times a day, increasing the time it was on. Once he accepted the muzzle she practiced walking him with it, he loves to go for walks so he learned that he needed to wear it in order to leave. She practiced taking it on and taking it off. She then practiced having other people muzzle him. Then she worked on him accepting flat restraint [him laying on his side] without him peeing or freaking out. If he tried to jump up she just pinned him down and only released him once he was relaxed. Then she started practicing with the nail trimmers, she would make Reno stay down and her husband would touch his nails with the clippers. They did not stop until he relaxed, then he was free. Reno let me clip all of his nails a week ago, he only tried to pop up once, and this was a dog that would not only get terrified, he would then get pissed off and try to eat you.

I think Duke needs a lot of work but I think a lot of what you are dealing with is simply a bossy dog. To say he is human aggressive in my eyes is to say he just randomly attacks people. He is going after you when you try to do something he doesn't want you to do. It would take a lot of work, but I think he could be reformed.

From what you describe he's just been building up. He should have had a major come to jesus discussion when he growled at you on the bed, and another when he growled at you for "disturbing" him from sleep. I can understand nails or restraint, sometimes those things freak dogs out but it sounds like to me he's been testing the waters and the consequences were not bad enough for him to not want to try it again.

In any case I'm sorry you have to deal with this :hug3:
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Postby amazincc » October 21st, 2009, 10:54 pm

hugapitbull wrote:
He is not wonderful at the vet, he has to be muzzled if they need to restrain him for any reason. He will not allow his nails to be trimmed, I had to have him sedated to get his nails clipped. I did speak to them this afternoon and the girl I talked to admitted he is a handful for them. When I picked him up yesterday it was a tussle to get him under control. The tech commented that he was really upset when they took Trouble out. (I asked them to bring her out first because I knew she would not bolt out of the car).

Obviously vet visits make him anxious and/or fearful, but that - in and of itself - still doesn't warrant an HA label... I'm pretty sure we have quite a few dogs on the forum who need to be muzzled at the vet for one reason or another.

He has lunged and growled at one other person, a good friend of mine (ours). Bob had him on leash during the introduction, Duke allowed Maureen to pet him and then growled and lunged. I was not in the room at the time, that's all the info I have.

Again - he gave a warning (growl) first.

Duke has been back here before and trained and Angie took him back and said he was doing great. Right before I last heard from her, she told me about the kennel. I am sorry you have had to deal with his problems. I would kindly suggest he be put down. Angie had contemplated it herself, and to be honest I dont know why she didnt do it before she got bad off. She assured me he was fine and had no problems.

Uhm... what???? :? :confused:

Personally, I don't think Duke is a good fit for you guys. He certainly sounds like he has some issues that should be addressed by someone w/much more experience in fear aggression and anxiety. You also don't really know what he went through before he came to live w/you guys... his feet seem to be a major trigger, and there has to be a reason for that.
I really do sympathize w/you guys... but I don't think euthanasia is justified at this point.
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Postby airwalk » October 21st, 2009, 11:02 pm

Well I'm going to put this out and you guys can poke, but I understand exactly where Shanna is. For 10 years I managed a highly small animal aggressive dog (120 lb Mastiff mix). I loved him dearly, but that meant I couldn't miss...I couldn't get lazy...I couldn't misread a cue, because if i did something small was going to die.

While I did it every day until I lost him to cancer...I don't ever want to have to do that again and i won't make the choice to. If I end up with a dog that behavior pops up I will deal with it, but I won't choose to do it again.

It is very hard (Christine and Michelle you guys know this). It is a lifestyle - it governs what you can do, when you can do it, how you can do it and with whom you can do it. Whether he is HA (which maybe not) or just having lots of anxiety issues - either way this is a long process that may never be good, just managed.

It would be wonderful if a home that is able to handle him and is willing to handle him can be found...but i can tell you from personal experience of trying to place hundreds of dogs with "issues" every year...those homes exist but it's a bit like looking for a needle in the haystack and there is still a dog and his issues to be handled in the meantime.

Shanna if you and Bob are not comfortable with him, he will know it and respond accordingly. This will undoubtedly cause Trouble a lot of anxiety, at the least, and could cause her to respond in an attempt to protect which could be very troubling (pardon the use of the word). I know what it's like to have a disruptive dog in your house, remember Magic...I know how hard it is to train and manage dogs you love...let alone one you are not comfortable with and grow to not like very much. It is not a good place and nothing I would ever recommend to anyone.

Shanna, you and Bob know your house and your lifestye and what you are feeling. If you think you can work on it...wonderful...take all the advice you can get. If you don't feel you can handle it and you can't find that proverbial needle in a haystack...then do the right thing and euthanize.

There are far worse things in the world for a dog than humane euthanasia.
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Postby Marinepits » October 21st, 2009, 11:09 pm

Ditto to everything Diana said.
Never make someone a priority in your life when that someone treats you like an option.
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Postby amazincc » October 21st, 2009, 11:21 pm

airwalk wrote:Well I'm going to put this out and you guys can poke, but I understand exactly where Shanna is. For 10 years I managed a highly small animal aggressive dog (120 lb Mastiff mix). I loved him dearly, but that meant I couldn't miss...I couldn't get lazy...I couldn't misread a cue, because if i did something small was going to die.

While I did it every day until I lost him to cancer...I don't ever want to have to do that again and i won't make the choice to. If I end up with a dog that behavior pops up I will deal with it, but I won't choose to do it again.

It is very hard (Christine and Michelle you guys know this). It is a lifestyle - it governs what you can do, when you can do it, how you can do it and with whom you can do it. Whether he is HA (which maybe not) or just having lots of anxiety issues - either way this is a long process that may never be good, just managed.

It would be wonderful if a home that is able to handle him and is willing to handle him can be found...but i can tell you from personal experience of trying to place hundreds of dogs with "issues" every year...those homes exist but it's a bit like looking for a needle in the haystack and there is still a dog and his issues to be handled in the meantime.

Shanna if you and Bob are not comfortable with him, he will know it and respond accordingly. This will undoubtedly cause Trouble a lot of anxiety, at the least, and could cause her to respond in an attempt to protect which could be very troubling (pardon the use of the word). I know what it's like to have a disruptive dog in your house, remember Magic...I know how hard it is to train and manage dogs you love...let alone one you are not comfortable with and grow to not like very much. It is not a good place and nothing I would ever recommend to anyone.

Shanna, you and Bob know your house and your lifestye and what you are feeling. If you think you can work on it...wonderful...take all the advice you can get. If you don't feel you can handle it and you can't find that proverbial needle in a haystack...then do the right thing and euthanize.

There are far worse things in the world for a dog than humane euthanasia.


In theory I agree w/you, Diana... but, as you know, I'm a sucker for the "lemons". :oops: :|
Yes, being owned by Mick was hard and at times downright majorly frustrating and inconvenient. It took a huge commitment on my part to live w/him and manage him effectively, and he damned sure never made it very easy... but he was my heart dog, after all, and I would do it again in a heart beat. :heartbeat: :)
I do hope very much that Duke can be rehomed or worked with... I really do. :sad2:
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Postby madremissy » October 21st, 2009, 11:22 pm

I also agree with Diana. Very well said.
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Postby airwalk » October 22nd, 2009, 12:01 am

Christine, but that is the most important part...Mick was your heart dog...you did what you did because you loved him enormously. Just imagine if you hadn't loved him so enormously! I loved my Bear and I managed him because I loved him and was willing to give up vacations and trips and having friends with small animals.....but if i hadn't love him as much as I did....I wouldn't have done it for 10 years.

Shanna and Bob love Troubles that much...they would do whatever and have done whatever it takes...but Duke is new to their home and doesn't sound like he is making himself easy to love that much.
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