I am in tears...

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Postby pitsnok » November 23rd, 2010, 12:04 am

furever_pit wrote:
I personally could not put this kind of dog on anyone else's shoulders. If I did I would have to know the person very well and I would have to know that they knew dogs. Even though the agreement would have to be that the dog can came back to me at any time and under no circumstance is it to go anywhere else. Honestly, even then I'm not sure I would give the dog to them.



This is the problem.

I feel exactly the same way. Although I don't necessarily consider him an 'aggressive dog' because this is the only instance of him doing anything of the sort, but I also know that it could certainly happen again in the future, and could be worse.

The thing is, we can't keep him. There's just no way. When we brought them in we planned to neuter, vaccinate, teach them some manners, and then find homes for them. Financially it's hard enough with Degan and Harlow, and it just would be irresponsible of us to keep another. (Things have kind of gone down hill since we took Boss and Ollie in. The boyfriend is self-employed and business has just been sucking lately...bad.) I also don't feel like it's fair to any of the dogs to permanently keep the schedule we're running right now. Because of having to crate and rotate I don't feel like any of them are truly getting the time out that they deserve. If our schedule wasn't so hectic it would be a different story. We can certainly handle the rotating. I just don't think it's fair to them for this to be a permanent routine.

I'm definitely going to start getting more active with trying to place Ollie. It has sort of been on pause since all of this has been going on. Plus I had that one family that expressed interest, but ended up getting a Boston instead. Hopefully finding him a home will help with my spirits and everything.

I'm just getting so discouraged. :shake:
~Brittany, Degan and Harlow's mom


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Postby mnp13 » November 23rd, 2010, 12:39 am

pitsnok wrote:Thanks for all the support and advice, guys. I feel like we are already making improvements.
The idea of NILIF is easy for me, I just want to get myself entirely prepared for everything I'll be withholding before starting, and doing it wrong.


that's the thing, you're not witholding anything - he has to earn everything, but depending on your limits, everything can be earned. I wouldn't advise furniture time at this point, but my point is, he gets nothing absolutely nothing without putting some work into it. Even if it's just sitting and waiting for a count of three.

As for rehoming, well, Erin fixed a puppy and I would guess that's taken care of. However, he's an adult and I personally don't think that's a safe bet. Dogs have "default behaviors" and under stress they come out. I do think they can be managed and for a young dog, (for all intensive purposes) erased; but he's not a puppy. It's like when you're training obedience, if you train something wrong and then re-train and fix it, that first version often pops up as soon as you or your dog is stressed (like in a trial.)

Even though the agreement would have to be that the dog can came back to me at any time and under no circumstance is it to go anywhere else

I agree with this, except for if he gets returned you'll be in the same position again.
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Postby TheRedQueen » November 23rd, 2010, 9:45 am

mnp13 wrote:
As for rehoming, well, Erin fixed a puppy and I would guess that's taken care of. However, he's an adult and I personally don't think that's a safe bet. Dogs have "default behaviors" and under stress they come out. I do think they can be managed and for a young dog, (for all intensive purposes) erased; but he's not a puppy. It's like when you're training obedience, if you train something wrong and then re-train and fix it, that first version often pops up as soon as you or your dog is stressed (like in a trial.)

Even though the agreement would have to be that the dog can came back to me at any time and under no circumstance is it to go anywhere else

I agree with this, except for if he gets returned you'll be in the same position again.


Right, Gibbs was a puppy...therefore easier to "fix" issues of biting/growling...

However...I've lost touch with the adopters...and I worry EVERY day about my Gibblet...I worry that he did something and they dumped him at the shelter or something. He was supposed to come back to me if they didn't want him. Honestly they could have just moved away and he's fine...but I don't know, and I worry. I've learned my lesson about adopting out iffy dogs...which is why I come down on the euthanasia side of the fence more now...I'm sorry to say.
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » December 2nd, 2010, 8:02 am

Any updates?
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Postby pitsnok » December 2nd, 2010, 11:07 pm

Well, no bites or anything even remotely close to one since 'the incident'. Since we have really re-taken control he seems a lot more at ease. He doesn't really protest his crate anymore... but still does need to be 'helped' in (treats, praise, etc.) because he will usually just sit right outside the door. (Waiting for a treat of course.) But we have gotten less dependent on treating, and just praising him seems to be helping. Anytime he is quiet in his crate for an extended-ish amount of time we get SUPER EXCITED!!! and usually treat him then. I feel like that will be a better way to really have him crate trained...rather than him just getting a treat for going in. NILIF is kind of hard with both Boss and Ollie, so I'm really just focusing on Boss being the one who has to work. And I am training boyfriend too... because he kind of sucks at being consistent. (why is the big tough man the one who is being such a softie?!) But he seems to be improving though.

The semester is coming to an end. Next week is really my last week of class since 'finals' don't really consist of much for me... so I'm hoping once I am spending less time in the studio I will be able to really focus on Boss, and finding Ollie a home.

I will be honest though, the thought of "even if he gets 'better' will he ever be adoptable?" is still always at the back of my mind.
~Brittany, Degan and Harlow's mom


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Postby mnp13 » December 2nd, 2010, 11:27 pm

pitsnok wrote:But we have gotten less dependent on treating, and just praising him seems to be helping. Anytime he is quiet in his crate for an extended-ish amount of time we get SUPER EXCITED!!! and usually treat him then. I feel like that will be a better way to really have him crate trained...rather than him just getting a treat for going in.


AH! No!!!

It hasn't even been two weeks, don't wean the treats away yet. If he is waiting until he sees a treat to go in, then at least he is getting it. In my opinion it is far too soon to wean out the treats. When he's going in happily and then spinning around to wait for the treat... continue that for a few weeks and then phase them out.

Yes, phasing out the treats is a goal and then he will "really" be crate trained, but don't rush it. Help him to really like it.

I would also not get excited once he's in there, unless you are waiting next to it for that time. On that one, I'm speaking from dealing with Ruby's crate issues - I did that and it seemed to make things more difficult for her. Once she's in there, I want her quiet and calm. She's ignored until she comes out, and then that's not a big deal either. The big deal is going in... everything else, who cares.

Do you feed him in there? That's a great way to make them run to the crate and tap dance. When I say "dinner time" to Ruby, she bounces off my chest (literally) then runs to her crate so fast that she slams into the back of it trying to spin around.

pitsnok wrote:I will be honest though, the thought of "even if he gets 'better' will he ever be adoptable?" is still always at the back of my mind.

My opinion? If he gets better, and you phase out the treats completely and then have z-e-r-o issues for 6 months; then maybe to a home that is experienced with "problem dogs" and is fully aware of what you've dealt with with him, and the rigors of NILIF full time, and understand the odds of a relapse are not low. Frankly, in all reality, the odds of finding that home are about nill... because in my experience every home that "wants" a problem dog has one (or two or three.)
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Postby Malli » December 2nd, 2010, 11:39 pm

on the crate thing, yeah, why not? I mean, I don't object to a little sweetening of the deal for something the dog doesn't necessarily like. He is still "working" for it, or thats how I see it...
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Postby amalie79 » December 2nd, 2010, 11:55 pm

If I walk into the room with the crate or even go near the cookie jar or have a kong in my hand, Robin makes a mad dash for the crate, sits and waits for her treat inside. I feel bad NOT treating her! lol And I figure, she spends enough time in there that the least I can do is continue to pair it with a whole lot of awesome (she doesn't get one every single time she goes in there to beg for snacks!). I finally feel comfortable not treating her at all if the cookie jar is empty, but after 10 months, I still give her a treat most of the time. :| No skin off my back.
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Postby furever_pit » December 3rd, 2010, 12:22 am

I agree that you are taking away the food incentive too early. You want him to really really love his crate before you start backing off otherwise you might see a replay of the previous behavior. One of the common training mistakes is to back off of the reward before the dog is ready.

Have you tried those crate games that someone else posted the link to?

I'd feed him in the crate too. All my dogs eat in the crates, and only in the crates. They all make mad
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Postby pitsnok » December 3rd, 2010, 4:20 am

Okay thanks for the input. We will definitely treat more. We haven't altogether stopped treating him, but have just not been doing it every time he goes in. But I hadn't even thought of how little time has passed so we will definitely wait for that.

We don't feed in their crates. I had a great dane puppy a few years ago with my ex boyfriend... we fed him in his crate and he was REALLY guardy with his food, even at 4 months old. I guess that sort of deterred me from ever feeling comfortable doing that. But then again now that I am much more knowledgeable I realize he probably just had resource guarding issues that had nothing to do with his crate. I suppose maybe we will try that and see how it goes. It would really work perfectly because they go into their crates twice a day. And we could just feed them at those times. But do you guys just put them in to eat, and then take them back out to potty? Because all of our dogs have to poop immediately after eating...haha. Maybe I should get a food puzzle for him to have in their with him at all times? Then maybe the poop urge would be less severe?


On Thanksgiving, my mom's fiance made comment...half joking ish... about Boss coming to live with them. One of their four dogs passed away last week and now that they have an open spot I think he is wanting to fill it. Also he and my mom absolutely fell in love with Boss.
All of his dogs have always been rescues. He has actually picked up injured dogs from the side of the road, and paid for all vet care before seeking out owners. One of the dogs that they have named Blackie, (who I think is a chow or border collie mix or something) was a feral stray at his mom's house like ten years ago. After years of feeding her hot dogs he eventually got her to trust him. She had issues in the beginning with resource guarding but now she is an absolutely wonderful dog. She loves to be with people and has a really even temperament. I would definitely trust them with the behavior issues Boss has, and to take great care of him... but there are just a few things that I think would make it next-to-impossible.

For one, none of their dogs are crated. They all mind their own business... usually stay in separate rooms of the house, so it works for them, but ... well, I don't need to explain the problems with that! Another thing is that they have a doggie door. Again, it works for them... but my worry is dogs being stolen. (Granted, I don't know how many people would honestly feel okay with jumping a fence with four dogs to take one of them, but still, I'm sure it happens.)
Like I said, Blackie is at least ten or so...they also have George, the almost 17 year old chihuahua, and Jack who is three or four year old cocker. They are all very calm...quite lazy to be honest. So in that respect Boss would fit in really well there.
I think if I could get them to understand the importance of crating with a dog like Boss, and if he happened to get along with the others I would consider letting him live there. That's obviously a lot of if's though...so I won't be getting my hopes up about that, but It's good to know there are possibilities, even if they are really really tiny possibilities.
~Brittany, Degan and Harlow's mom


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Postby pitbullmamaliz » December 3rd, 2010, 7:32 am

I agree with the others - feed Boss in his crate! That's the fastest way to make them love their crates. And regarding treating, Inara's been crate-trained for almost 5 years and she STILL gets a treat (just a tiny morsel) EVERY SINGLE TIME I put her in her crate. And I'll keep doing that because she runs quite happily to her crate and settles in immediately. That 10 calories or whatever a day is not going to stress me out. :)
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Postby TheRedQueen » December 3rd, 2010, 10:39 am

Yup mine don't get crated often (they usually get locked up in bedrooms), but they get a treat every time they go into a room for confinement, and The Wiener gets one everytime he goes in his crate...it's one thing that I don't mind.

Have you looked into Susan Garrett's Crate Games? That might give you some ideas.
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Postby amalie79 » December 3rd, 2010, 10:50 am

But do you guys just put them in to eat, and then take them back out to potty? Because all of our dogs have to poop immediately after eating...haha. Maybe I should get a food puzzle for him to have in their with him at all times? Then maybe the poop urge would be less severe?


Food puzzles are a great idea for general mental stimulation, etc, and I am positive the kong has been a great boost to making crate time fun time, but I wouldn't want him nibbling all day; it may make the pooping urge less severe, but it also makes it less predictable and oftentimes more frequent. A dog that eats on schedule, usually poops on schedule, at least in my experience, and especially when they get older, that schedule and the where and how and in what state they poop becomes all the more important to monitoring health.

Also, the more times he goes in and out of the crate in a day, I would think that's just that many more opportunities to put great associations with going in and it reinforces the notion that he's not in there forever. And if you're delivering his dinner in there, he probably won't resist. I don't like handling Robin to make her go in her crate, so we put it on a command, but that meant lots and lots of time sitting next to the crate and tossing treats in and pairing a command with her going in the door, asking her to sit once she got in, giving more treats, calling her out, wash, rinse, repeat. Having it on command has also let me use it for things like breaking her concentration when she sees a person/bike/cat/dog outside the window. I can ask her to go to her room, sit, and wait...and then release, without ever closing the crate door, and by then the intruder-thing is gone-- so going to her room makes the thing go away just as well as barking at it!! lol

And regarding treating, Inara's been crate-trained for almost 5 years and she STILL gets a treat (just a tiny morsel) EVERY SINGLE TIME I put her in her crate. And I'll keep doing that because she runs quite happily to her crate and settles in immediately. That 10 calories or whatever a day is not going to stress me out. :)


We just keep a treat jar on top of the crate, so it's right there handy, and she sees it and hopefully associates it even more strongly with her crate. All I have to do is LOOK at that cookie jar, and she zooms on in. :rolleyes2:
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Postby TheRedQueen » December 3rd, 2010, 11:31 am

The other option is to hand feed him his dinner...sit by the crate, and feed kibble to him as he goes in the crate. I like hand-feeding dogs with resource guarding issues...so they have nothing to guard, and you're building more of a bond...and you're training with each meal.
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Postby pitsnok » December 5th, 2010, 3:42 am

Okay! So last night we started feeding them in their crates. We started by hand feeding them. I would bring Boss out, and tell him to go in, and when he did he would get a hand full of food. I did that with about half of his food and then we put their bowls in because it was getting a little crazy. Ollie was sort of going nuts wanting to get out and run. He has self-control issues like Harlow... and just CAN'T STOP BEING EXCITED!!!!!

ANYWAY, when they went back in their crates later, we didn't even have to tell Boss to go in. He just went right in. And we went back to treating as well. I think he is a fast learner, and it really won't take much to conquer the crate issue. We also used to keep a blanket over the front, but now we have left it open and he stays much calmer. We are trying to figure out where we can put their crates so that he doesn't get worked up about Degan and Harlow being out. He gets mad if they are out, and aren't in bed with us. If they're up on our bed he doesn't care... but if they're on the floor he barks. So we are considering moving his and Ollie's crates into the living room. I think it will make it easier to feed them their, and also to work on his crate issues overall.

Ollie has a whole other set of problems that really aren't as much problems as they are annoyances. He just gets over excited, and I know from experience with Harlow that it takes much longer to calm that behavior. Otherwise things seem to be going well. I have a much more positive outlook on things now.

I was saying last night to Tanner that if I thought Boss and Degan could get along I would keep him in a heartbeat. He is just such a lover, and is truly a joy to have around. We haven't even ever tried to have them out together though... just as a precaution.

But seriously, thank you to all of you for all of your help. I don't know what I would do without this forum!
~Brittany, Degan and Harlow's mom


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Postby amalie79 » December 5th, 2010, 10:04 am

That is fantastic news! Treats sure do work wonders with some dogs and I know how awesome it feels when you finally make a breakthrough. :dance:

I wonder if Boss and Harlow might be able to get along fine with some time. Robin has had her "little arguments" with Simon and River, for what looked like nothing, but after a little closer inspection, it appeared that both the other dogs were getting in what she saw as her space. The fights sounded awful, and I'd never seen a terrier really GO after something, so I was pretty shaken. River just snarls and tries to walk away, but Robin keeps on keeping on. We still keep a close eye on everyone, especially if there's anything high value involved, and they're separated when we're gone, but I know that if someone told me I couldn't yell at my sister once in a while when we lived together, I'd have lost my mind. :wink:

And just a thought...since treats are a good motivator for him, you might try some "look at that" games with Boss while he's in his crate. Sit next to the crate while the others are out (with another person distracting them) and treat him for calmly looking at the others. The minute he sees them, treat (works great with a clicker if you're using a clicker-- you can mark the instant he sees them). Lots of great associations with him being in and the others being out.

Anyway-- great news!!
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Postby pitsnok » December 5th, 2010, 4:39 pm

He and Harlow get along great. It's actually really funny because he is always trying to snuggle with her or clean her face. I think the one incident with them was just an incident. He hasn't don't anything since then.
It's degan that I worry about with boss. Just because we haven't even tried.
~Brittany, Degan and Harlow's mom


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Postby pitsnok » December 16th, 2010, 11:57 pm

Well guys, Boss bit me again.

I took the boys out back with the jolly ball to burn off some energy. (I still can't get them to understand the spring pole). They also haven't gotten the concept of fetching down..so they tend to run to the toy, and then run back.
Anyway, I went to pick up the jolly ball from about two feet in front of Boss and he jumped up and grabbed my forearm. I understand he was guarding it, but I still thought it was strange. He backed up as I walked toward him... as though he was 'letting' me have the ball. This is what he has always done--given things to us with no effort on our part whatsoever.
His crating has gotten way better. He goes in and doesn't protest when we give him a treat. We have been feeding them in there and it seems to have helped a lot.

Now I'm just concerned about the toy guarding. I find it interesting that he doesn't guard his food, but does toys. I guess that comes from them (presumably) being free fed at their previous home.


:sad3:
~Brittany, Degan and Harlow's mom


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Postby amalie79 » December 17th, 2010, 12:24 am

Simon guards toys and other objects; Robin guards space from the other dogs and bones/high value items from us... and both of them would gladly let me put my face in their bowls if I wanted to. :| Dogs will guard whatever they think is being threatened. We do a lot of trading when we're working through guarding issues. Robin has improved a lot with trading/drop it training. And if I'm ever uneasy about one of the dogs' guarding issues, I just play with something that I don't ever have to take away like a Kong.

Maybe this is a stupid question, but was Boss definitely aggressive, or could he possibly have been playing? I know Robin is extremely mouthy and vocal, especially when she plays. It strikes me as interesting that he's bitten you twice without (presumably) doing any major damage...?
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Postby pitsnok » December 17th, 2010, 12:36 am

I feel like he was just playing. Although it did break the skin this time. Earlier in the evening he had jumped up on boyfriend and bit a hole in his hoodie... I think he just had energy to burn and got a little wild. Hence why we went to play with the jolly ball.
~Brittany, Degan and Harlow's mom


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