Aggression -- Temperament or Learned Behaviour?

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Postby amazincc » August 22nd, 2007, 9:25 pm

*split from this topic: http://www.pitbulltalk.com/viewtopic.php?t=15239 Marinepits*



Okay... I know it's hard to diagnose a dog over the Internet, but what would you need to know specifically about Mick to give me an "educated guess" about his temperament/disposition vs. "learned" behavior?
As you know - I grapple w/his aggression towards strangers/unfamiliar situations A LOT, and I am trying to find some middle ground at least to modify his behavior...
I will tell you everything you think you might need to know... and I very much appreciate any and all help, Katrina... you're the best... :wink:
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Postby katiek0417 » August 22nd, 2007, 9:31 pm

On August 22 2007, 8:25 PM, amazincc wrote:


Okay... I know it's hard to diagnose a dog over the Internet, but what would you need to know specifically about Mick to give me an "educated guess" about his temperament/disposition vs. "learned" behavior?
As you know - I grapple w/his aggression towards strangers/unfamiliar situations A LOT, and I am trying to find some middle ground at least to modify his behavior...
I will tell you everything you think you might need to know... and I very much appreciate any and all help, Katrina... you're the best... :wink:


Okay, let me know the following: age now, age when you got him, was a a rescue? if so, do you know any of his history? What is his body language when he shows his aggression? For example, when he first showed aggression, what were the circumstances, what was his body language, etc... do you know anything about his parents?
"Rumor has it, compulsion is evil."

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Postby pitbullmamaliz » August 22nd, 2007, 10:28 pm

Can one of the mods break this into its own post? I think it could end up being a very informative post for others who may have aggressive dogs!

:)
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Postby amazincc » August 22nd, 2007, 10:36 pm

Mick was 4 months old when we found him under a neighbors back porch... he weighted 5 pounds, was infested w/worms, had bloody scabs, a ripped ear... was left to die there. He was used as a "bait dog" for his siblings, and was hung up on a tree limb for them to bite him before they (other pups) would be allowed to nurse/eat... Mick was the runt of the litter. Never really had human contact... I got this first-hand from his "owner".
I think his Mom was an ABPT mix, very friendly, but very thin and infested w/ear mites that covered most of her face when I met her... father was a supposed "fighting" dog (Pit Bull). The vet I took Mick to wanted to euthanize him on the spot, but I wouldn't let him.
He got attacked by two stray pits at the age of 6/7 months (he was leashed, they weren't... and it took me several minutes to separate them all), and a neighbor who came over to see if he was okay reached out to pet him while I was holding him... and he snarled and charged her, barely missing her hand. Hackles up, tail wagging.
He got attacked again when he was a little over a year old... ended up w/a lot of stitches on his head.
He bit (pinched... no blood drawn) a "friend" of ours whom he knew, but who appeared very threatening (being an a$$ and wanting to "show off" to his friends on how to "be the boss of a pit bull"...) a couple of months later.
Since then I have kept him away from other people other than my daughters. Any vet visits in his past were painful (obviously), and some vets did not handle him in a sensitive/non-threatening manner... understandably, but still very counter-productive.
He is now almost 6 years old... his body language goes from ears up/tail wagging to tail between legs/ears back... either lots of growling/barking snarling or none at all before he charges/lunges.
At the vet office he will try to sit on my lap and hide his face under my arm first, but if he feels cornered he will lunge, if snarling doesn't work. He will also silently lunge at people walking too close to us... no warning what-so-ever.
He has only growled seriously at me once... first day we had him, when I walked by his food bowl - I put him in the crate for a few minutes and let him watch me add more food, and we haven't had a problem since.
I can do anything to him... literally... and he will not get snarky w/me... ever. He did "redirect" once, on my daughter, at the vet office, about 3 years ago... but as soon as he realized it, he rolled on his back and peed.
At home he's very laid back, very eager to please, very friendly... outside very "defensive" and tense around people... I mostly take him for a long walk late at night for that very reason. He has great leash manners, is very obedient and isn't "looking for a fight", if you know what I mean - but he's not above stepping up to what he perceives as a challenge.
He does not react well to visitors. I usually crate him in another room.
The "silent" lunging is most likely my fault, since I "taught" him not to growl at people... thereby taking away his warning system, at least at home.
I'm not proud of that. :oops:

Right now he's muzzled when we go out in public or when people come to my house (people he knows), because he is very unpredictable around anyone other than my daughters.

Since I joined here, I got some major education as well as quite a few eye-openers... I know that I pretty much am responsible for at least 75% of his issues - but there are times when I see that he really wants to do my bidding, but doesn't seem able to... and he's very miserable when that happens... he gets extremely anxious, but it's almost as if he can't help but act the way he does.
He also follows me everywhere at home, constantly - I'd say at least 80% of the time, from room to room.
He has never attacked/hurt another pet, and will not retaliate if our border collie plays too rough...

His siblings are very aggressive as well and some are/were used to fight... (that's what I've been told anyway)... Mick definitely remembers his former "owner" - he tried to attack him several times when we happened to run into this guy on the street.

Sorry this post is so long... I wish you could meet Mick in person, because I would trust your judgment/evaluation. Most vets we've had recommended euthanasia after seeing how he behaves, but he's the most lovable/gentle guy w/me...
I should mention that I practice absolute safety at all times - I don't take any chances, ever. I do consider Mick a "dangerous" dog and have no illusions about him. He would/will bite a person/stranger, if given a chance... I'm pretty sure of it.
I am also committed to him and will let him live out his life w/me, no matter how he behaves... it would just be easier, if I could teach him better coping skills.
I have never had a dog w/those issues before, and was pretty much in the dark and clueless until I joined here...

Thanks for reading... :wink:
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Postby amazincc » August 22nd, 2007, 10:54 pm

On August 22 2007, 9:28 PM, pitbullmamaliz wrote:Can one of the mods break this into its own post? I think it could end up being a very informative post for others who may have aggressive dogs!

:)


Yes... PLEEEASE! :)
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Postby katiek0417 » August 23rd, 2007, 4:56 am

On August 22 2007, 9:36 PM, amazincc wrote:Mick was 4 months old when we found him under a neighbors back porch... he weighted 5 pounds, was infested w/worms, had bloody scabs, a ripped ear... was left to die there. He was used as a "bait dog" for his siblings, and was hung up on a tree limb for them to bite him before they (other pups) would be allowed to nurse/eat... Mick was the runt of the litter. Never really had human contact... I got this first-hand from his "owner".
I think his Mom was an ABPT mix, very friendly, but very thin and infested w/ear mites that covered most of her face when I met her... father was a supposed "fighting" dog (Pit Bull). The vet I took Mick to wanted to euthanize him on the spot, but I wouldn't let him.
He got attacked by two stray pits at the age of 6/7 months (he was leashed, they weren't... and it took me several minutes to separate them all), and a neighbor who came over to see if he was okay reached out to pet him while I was holding him... and he snarled and charged her, barely missing her hand. Hackles up, tail wagging.
He got attacked again when he was a little over a year old... ended up w/a lot of stitches on his head.
He bit (pinched... no blood drawn) a "friend" of ours whom he knew, but who appeared very threatening (being an a$$ and wanting to "show off" to his friends on how to "be the boss of a pit bull"...) a couple of months later.
Since then I have kept him away from other people other than my daughters. Any vet visits in his past were painful (obviously), and some vets did not handle him in a sensitive/non-threatening manner... understandably, but still very counter-productive.
He is now almost 6 years old... his body language goes from ears up/tail wagging to tail between legs/ears back... either lots of growling/barking snarling or none at all before he charges/lunges.
At the vet office he will try to sit on my lap and hide his face under my arm first, but if he feels cornered he will lunge, if snarling doesn't work. He will also silently lunge at people walking too close to us... no warning what-so-ever.
He has only growled seriously at me once... first day we had him, when I walked by his food bowl - I put him in the crate for a few minutes and let him watch me add more food, and we haven't had a problem since.
I can do anything to him... literally... and he will not get snarky w/me... ever. He did "redirect" once, on my daughter, at the vet office, about 3 years ago... but as soon as he realized it, he rolled on his back and peed.
At home he's very laid back, very eager to please, very friendly... outside very "defensive" and tense around people... I mostly take him for a long walk late at night for that very reason. He has great leash manners, is very obedient and isn't "looking for a fight", if you know what I mean - but he's not above stepping up to what he perceives as a challenge.
He does not react well to visitors. I usually crate him in another room.
The "silent" lunging is most likely my fault, since I "taught" him not to growl at people... thereby taking away his warning system, at least at home.
I'm not proud of that. :oops:

Right now he's muzzled when we go out in public or when people come to my house (people he knows), because he is very unpredictable around anyone other than my daughters.

Since I joined here, I got some major education as well as quite a few eye-openers... I know that I pretty much am responsible for at least 75% of his issues - but there are times when I see that he really wants to do my bidding, but doesn't seem able to... and he's very miserable when that happens... he gets extremely anxious, but it's almost as if he can't help but act the way he does.
He also follows me everywhere at home, constantly - I'd say at least 80% of the time, from room to room.
He has never attacked/hurt another pet, and will not retaliate if our border collie plays too rough...

His siblings are very aggressive as well and some are/were used to fight... (that's what I've been told anyway)... Mick definitely remembers his former "owner" - he tried to attack him several times when we happened to run into this guy on the street.

Sorry this post is so long... I wish you could meet Mick in person, because I would trust your judgment/evaluation. Most vets we've had recommended euthanasia after seeing how he behaves, but he's the most lovable/gentle guy w/me...
I should mention that I practice absolute safety at all times - I don't take any chances, ever. I do consider Mick a "dangerous" dog and have no illusions about him. He would/will bite a person/stranger, if given a chance... I'm pretty sure of it.
I am also committed to him and will let him live out his life w/me, no matter how he behaves... it would just be easier, if I could teach him better coping skills.
I have never had a dog w/those issues before, and was pretty much in the dark and clueless until I joined here...

Thanks for reading... :wink:


Okay, it's currently 4:55 am....but I've definitely got some thoughts...will post later when I'm a little more coherent!!!
"Rumor has it, compulsion is evil."

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Postby katiek0417 » August 23rd, 2007, 7:23 am

Christine,

Few more questions:

1. You say the mom was friendly? What about dad?
2. At what age was he first used as a bait dog?
3. You say his siblings are aggressive. Dog? Human? Both?
4. Is Mick dog aggressive?
5. Have you ever allowed Mick to be around experience dog people, with a muzzle, OFF leash? If so, what happened? What did he do? What were the surroundings like? Who were the people? (I seem to remember you saying something about him running up to your daughter's boyfriend all happy in a previous post, but I'm not sure if I'm mistaking Mick for another dog).

I've already got some ideas...but I want to get a little more information first...
"Rumor has it, compulsion is evil."

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Postby amazincc » August 23rd, 2007, 7:13 pm

1. I never met the Dad, but I "heard" that he was HA/DA and solely used for fighting...
2. From what I was told, he was used as a bait dog once all the pups opened their eyes... he was allowed to nurse/eat enough to stay alive, but nobody took any extra measurements to make sure he was taken care off.
3. The siblings are definitely DA, most were HA as well... the owners would not let anyone touch the pups, and punished them when they tried to interact w/"strangers", even if they just wagged their tails...
4. Mick will snarl/bark/hackle up at strange dogs, but after being properly introduced to my daughters puppy, he is fine w/her. Also w/our border collie.
Given the chance to attack/fight a male - I'd say he definitely would though.
5. He hasn't been around "experienced" dog people, no... he did greet my daughters boyfriend while he was muzzled and off-leash and outside in the boyfriends van, but acted aggressive towards him the next time he came to our house.
Mick was muzzled at the time, but jumped on the boyfriend (who was sitting on the couch) and got very pushy, also barked (head-butting and pushing his muzzle in boyfriends face) - the boyfriend got very nervous (understandably) and the situation started to escalate to Micks ears going back/hackles raised/growling - I removed Mick from the room for the remainder of the visit.

I've tried to find someone in my area who has pit bull experience, but the woman who did that sort of thing (evaluations and such) has moved her practice to Tampa...

I have noticed that Mick will "take advantage" of other peoples' fear-fullness/nervousness, if you will - if the situation appears to be wishy-washy he will step it up and try to intimidate... it doesn't work on me, of course, so there are no issues between us.
The thing that concerns me the most is the unpredictability... I've realized that a wagging tail does not mean that he is being friendly... actually quite the opposite, unless he's around me and my daughters.
He used to go into a full-blown frenzy when anything/anyone came w/in 15/20 feet of us outside, but he has gotten much, much better... I can now correct him (if needed) w/the slip collar and he will snap out of it quickly. He doesn't get "as crazy" when he wears his muzzle, which also worries me... I don't trust him to behave without it at all.
He also used to bark/snarl relentlessly, and try to dig through the doors of whatever room I confined him in at our house, when people used to come over - that has stopped.
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Postby katiek0417 » August 23rd, 2007, 9:38 pm

Okay...will respond tomorrow...just got home from training and still need to feed all 11 dogs...and shower
"Rumor has it, compulsion is evil."

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Postby amazincc » August 23rd, 2007, 9:43 pm

Thanks, Katrina... :)
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Postby katiek0417 » August 24th, 2007, 12:37 pm

Okay...now that I can sit down...

I had my ideas about Mick after you first wrote about how you got him, his puppyhood, etc...but I wanted to ask a few more questions just to be sure...

Obviously, I've never met Mick, or witnessed his behavior firsthand...so, this is just a guess based on what you have told me.

At home, with you, he is sweet, wanting to please, loyal. So, you know he is capable of that connection with humans. Yet, he does not show it towards other humans. So, the question then becomes: is this learned or temperament based?

Based on everything you have shared, I would say that this is much more a learned behavior. However, in this case, I'm not sure it's something that can be unlearned (he's an older dog, and much more set in his ways).

You say that Mom was friendly. You went on to say that the littermates were HA BECAUSE they were either unsocialized, or corrected for showing any interest in being friendly towards a human. This leads me to believe that genetics-wise, these pups, including Mick should have been social.

From the time Mick was 2 weeks old (approximately when a pup's eyes open for the first time) until the time you got him (4 months old), he only knew abuse from human hands. Severe abuse. The SOB who had him did the equivalent of torture to him. As Mick got older, and became more aware of his surroundings, and the torture that was inflicted on him, he probably started to fear the advancement of this human (if we can even call him that) towards him. As a puppy 2 - 16 weeks old, what can you do? He probably fell into a learned helplessness response (where he believed he had no control over his situation).

Then you got him, and showed him love, and that kindness could come from human hands. He bonded with you.

Fast forward two months. He is attacked by 2 pits. While he is on leash. Basic survival instinct (controlled by the hypothalamus, in the brain, by the way) is fight or flight. Being on leash, he didn't have the ability to flee. You got the dogs separated, and when a neighbor came to check, Mick STILL being on leash, his response was to fight. A wagging tail means nothing - it's HOW the tail wags (different wags mean different things). Hackles aren't necessarily a show of aggression, also...it's just a sign of being unsure about something.

From what you describe, most of his reactions are fear-based ones. I say that because you describe the tail between his legs or hiding under your arm at the vet's office first before being an A$$. Those are indicative of fear. Even when he goes after someone without warning it is likely out of fear: let me strike first before you hurt me.

Also, you say that he might go after someone for no reason or without warning. However, it's difficult to say that there is no reason when we can't read Mick's mind or see through his eyes. Even something so much as a glance right into his eyes could set him off...even if someone got a little nervous (but didn't show it outwardly) might be sending off a scent that Mick picks up on....

In addition, I think Mick has claimed your house as HIS. This isn't a bad thing. He's just guarding. By you doing more obedience with him, and giving him something to do BEFORE he gets into his frenzy, you have told him that he doesn't need to guard you - that you can make the decisions in the house. Nothing wrong with that.

You may never change this behavior. He's 6 years old. He's set in his ways. What you may do is control it better. And with more confidence, he may learn to control it better. When Greg first acquired Jue, he couldn't even have Jue out on the training field if there were other people out there. Jue would bite for no reason. The only difference: Jue never had any fear. He was confident. He just had hate. It has gotten to the point, where Jue can be around people, and not go off (unless, of course, you're our friend, Don Tapp). I think that's going to be what you should hope for. Jue has 3 people in this world that he loves: Greg, Me, and our friend Laura (who is ironically Don's wife). But it took time for Laura and I to become his friend. If you have someone specific who you want to become Mick's friend, then you will have to spend time getting it to happen. I think, at best, you should hope for a dog that gains confidence, and learns to ignore people around him.

You say that Mick has more confidence when he is carrying his backpack. Have you ever thought of any other stuff you might be able to do with him to increase his confidence. I understand the problem with being around other people, but you can do obedience alone. Also, have you considered tracking? It's something you and he can do on your own, but he might gain confidence every time he gets to the end of the track and gets his reward....
"Rumor has it, compulsion is evil."

Katrina
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Postby amazincc » August 24th, 2007, 1:36 pm

Wow, Katrina... your post made me all teary-eyed and sniffly... :oops:

It's the best assessment anyone has ever done, w/out having seen Mick in person. I think you absolutely nailed it... and I agree with you 100%. You have confirmed everything I already suspected.

I think w/out me Mick wouldn't be able to cope at all - we have a very, very strong bond and I am "his" human. I'm okay with that - and if he never gets any "better", I'm okay with that, too.
He has always trusted me not to harm him in any way, and I will never do anything to change that... if he is set in his ways now, so be it. We can work on coping skills and he might mellow out a bit w/age... but I don't foresee any significant changes in his behavior in the future. Whatever was done to him in puppy-hood really, really damaged him to the core... and since I had no idea what I was getting into, I imagine I wasn't a big help to him over the past five years... :(

We do a lot of "find it" in the house and outside in the field... he loves to look for stuff and retrieve it... is that what you mean by tracking? Is it something similar?
I interact w/Mick A LOT, every day... I make him "work" for everything, and he's eager to please me.

I have always gotten the impression that Mick is very deeply mistrustful of other people, especially when they are nervous around him... that sets him off more than anything else. I guess he can sense that I am okay to be with... I've never been afraid of him and he does respect me for it... I think...

So - even though the prognosis isn't the greatest... what else can we work on, on a daily basis? We already do NILIF, he gets lots of physical exercise, and we play mentally stimulating games every day - I would like to give tracking a shot, especially since it wouldn't involve other people/dogs.

Thank you so much for taking all this time to answer my questions and helping me help Mick... despite all his issues, he is so worth it... I really, really appreciate this more than you can imagine. :hug3:
Jue is a lucky guy to have ended up w/you guys... :)
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Postby katiek0417 » August 25th, 2007, 1:58 pm

Christine,

I have some documents here on tracking that i can send you via snail mail if you'd like...

Find it is very similar to tracking...but with tracking, you have ONE toy that you ALWAYS use as a reward...and it is ONLY used during tracking...no other time. Tracking is a little more methodical (straight lines, then adding in 90 degree turns, etc) with the nose to the ground (as opposed to air-scenting which is probably what he is using when you play "find it").

When he gets to the end, he gets his toy....all of tracking is done on leash, so you provide some control over how fast he goes (this keeps his nose to the ground)...

Eventually, you also "lay the track" then can wait several hours before you do it!!!

Laying the tracks are even something your daughters can do!!!

Send me your addy, and I'll send you some stuff (I deleted your addy from my inbox b/c it was filling up).
"Rumor has it, compulsion is evil."

Katrina
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Postby Jenny » September 18th, 2007, 9:21 pm

On August 22 2007, 9:28 PM, pitbullmamaliz wrote:Can one of the mods break this into its own post? I think it could end up being a very informative post for others who may have aggressive dogs!

:)


I'm very interested in the responses as well ..
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Postby katiek0417 » September 18th, 2007, 10:08 pm

On September 18 2007, 8:21 PM, Jenny wrote:
On August 22 2007, 9:28 PM, pitbullmamaliz wrote:Can one of the mods break this into its own post? I think it could end up being a very informative post for others who may have aggressive dogs!

:)


I'm very interested in the responses as well ..


See above :)
"Rumor has it, compulsion is evil."

Katrina
Sacha CGC - Dumb Lab
Nisha CGC, PDC, PSA TC, PSA 1 - Crazy Malinois
Drusilla SLUT- Pet
Nemo - Dual-Purpose Narcotics
Cy TC, PSA 1, PSA 2, 2009 PSA Level 3 National Champion
Axo - Psycho Puppy
Rocky - RIP My Baby Boy
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Postby amazincc » September 19th, 2007, 2:54 am

I don't know if you saw my other post, Katrina, but Mickey recently watched our neighbors little boy have some interactions w/me (even touch/hug me)... and did not go berserk. I have not sat next to/talked to "a stranger" in ... ever, I think... while Mick was close enough to see it.
The funny thing is - even though I moved Mickey behind the baby gate, I was not worried about him hurting the little boy. I wasn't nervous or anxious at all, just very matter-of-factly asked my dog to go inside and sit/stay. I expected him to obey w/out turning into Cujo - and he did.
I am thinking that my own body language is a HUGE indicator to Mickey as to how to react to unfamiliar people/situations... he "reads" me rather than "hears" me.
Since we have been doing strict NILIF at my house (everyone has to practice it w/Mick) I have noticed that verbal commands carry some weight around here now... the first time.
Mick has always "listened"/been obedient... just sometimes not as prompt as I would have liked... and that has been our biggest improvement so far. I stopped nagging, and the selective hearing episodes have just about disappeared... he's not partially deaf after all. :D

I have also discouraged any and all "protective" behavior as far as my own person is concerned... no more draping himself across/over me on the couch, no "leaning" when anyone walks by or sits next to me, no "rushing over" to place himself between me and anyone else, no taking my things off the table or the floor (he tends to carry my "stuff" around a lot so my daughters won't touch it, I guess... ??? :| ), and absolutely no "being in charge" of my own personal space... barging in the bathroom, for instance, to "check" on me, is not permitted anymore.
I know that sounds stupid, but - even though it never really bothered me -a lot of this behavior reminded me of an "over-protective/jealous boyfriend" type situation, and I think it creates a lot of anxiety/stress in a dog like Mick. (And, yes, my daughters have called him my boyfriend for years... :oops: )
He still follows me around for a good amount of time during the day, but he doesn't seem to be as compulsive and "driven" anymore. I guess I'm doing a pretty good job of "protecting" myself and can be trusted in a room w/out supervision now...

Wow - as I'm typing this, I realize that Mick has given himself this job and has performed it for the better part of six years... and we thought it was "cute"... :(

I guess the thing I failed to understand all this time is that my dog has been in a state of constant anxiety and worry for most of his life, and that - by not providing consistent structure and training (didn't want to hurt his feelings since he had a horrible start in life...) - we did this beautiful boy a terrible dis-service. I let him "run things" and it totally and completely overwhelms him...
I wasn't kidding when I said that I needed the training more than he did...

The other misconception I had was that real and serious training involves a lot of yelling, punishment, yanking on a prong collar, and "beating" a dog down (not literally!) to get a desired behavior... and I'm more of a learn-while-you-play-and have-fun kinda person. Mick would just die if I ever raised my voice/hand to him in anger or frustration. I am the one person he completely trusts to never, ever hurt him... so , while I had been very hesitant about "officially" training him... I have taught him a lot. I know it's semantics... but, still...


On a side note:
I have also decided to stop worrying about Mick giving pit bulls a bad rap... he is my Mickey first... and second, he is a dog who happens to be a pit bull. A difficult one, who needs to be leashed and muzzled in public... but one who is under control and poses no danger to the neighborhood.

The posts about Tyson made me very upset/sad - it sometimes seems to me that the "bigger picture" of what this breed faces tends to make us forget that the breed is made up of many, many individual dogs who are all deserving of humane (I use this term loosely, however... :cry: ) treatment, dignity, compassion, and a chance at a good life.
Yes, there is always "another" pit bull who needs rescuing... but if we only want the "perfect" ones... what does that say about our values/ethics and morals?

I am not sorry that I decided to share my life w/Mick - he is one of the best things to ever have happened to me. I don't sugar-coat our difficulties, and I don't make excuses, but I'll be damned if I let one more person put the responsibility to the whole entire breed on my one puppy's shoulders... and the next person to consider euthanasia to appease the neighbors... well... I might have to take a big chunk out of someones butt myself.

TysonsMom (sorry, I forgot your screen name... :oops: )... I hope-hope-hope that you reconsider Tysons fate! Three/four months ago I had no hopes for Mick what-so-ever, and euthanasia was suggested to me several times... but look at my boy now!
And Tyson sounds like he has far less issues and is already ahead of Mick by leaps and bounds.
I am actually cautiously optimistic for the first time in years, and while Mick will never kiss the vet (Funny, Liz! :wink: ) or live life like a "normal" dog - I am happy that we are making some progress.
Mick will always have to be supervised 100% of the time and I will never trust him completely around anyone other than myself - but I can deal w/that.
And you don't owe your neighbors shit, but you owe your dog and your daughter... and yourself... a chance... :sad2:
Read this thread (from the top), and follow Katrinas advise, if you can. Time, patience and hard work - I swear to you - it works!!! :hug3:


CRAP! I went off on a tangent tonight... sorry... :beatComp:
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Postby amazincc » September 19th, 2007, 3:02 am

Oh... and no-one on this forum has ever been anything but kind to us. :)
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Postby katiek0417 » September 19th, 2007, 5:24 am

Okay, I, obviously need to find Tyson's Mom's post!!!

Christine, I am SO proud of your accomplishments of Mick. Once you start to realize the behaviors he is performing that show that he is making the decisions, you can do something to change them!!! Dogs don't make very good decisions (as we all know), and they are much happier when we make the decisions. Yet, in the event we make no decision at all, they revert to what they are used to doing. Dogs are creatures of habit. It's actually funny, I can't tell you how many people think that "guarding" behavior is cute. It's mostly because they don't realize what it is. It's like when a dog puts it's paw on your foot. Most people think it's cute. IT'S NOT CUTE, IT'S DOMINANCE!!! Subtle behavior, but a very important one when it comes to an already dominant dog.

There are many people who criticize my outlook on dogs saying that their dogs are part of the family. Mine are, too. But I view my family as a pack, and keep my dogs where they belong: at the bottom. They get loved on, get to hang on the couch with us, get play time, but I (or Greg) makes the decisions.

There are certain times that I allow Jue to guard me. That is, after all, what he has been trained for. However, he has also been trained to wait for a command. I have caught him, when taking a walk with him, placing himself more in front of me when people come towards us. I give corrections, though, and let him know where he needs to be, because it's up to me. However, at the house, when Greg is out of town, I allow him to lay on me, follow me around, etc. The last time Greg was away, I was in the shower, and had Jue in the bathroom with me. When I got out, Jue was at the door growling. The rest of the dogs in the house were going off. I knew that I could have opened the door and tell him to "search;" however, instead, I walked through the house with him (there was nothing there).

You have worked very hard to get to where you are with Mick. And it actually sounds like he is much happier - and calmer, and has less anxiety.

The big thing that I always tell people is that you need to give your dog a job, even if it's something fun that you create. And obedience is a job. But mostly you need to find something that works for your dog.

So, be proud of yourself. You were pointed in the right direction, but then used what you learned to come up with something that worked for you and Mick.
"Rumor has it, compulsion is evil."

Katrina
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Nemo - Dual-Purpose Narcotics
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Postby amazincc » September 20th, 2007, 4:30 am

Thanks, Katrina...

I pm'd you the link about Tyson. Maybe you can help the owner and the dog, like you have done for me and Mick...

I agree w/you, btw, that the dogs are part of the family, but should not make decisions as an equal... by doing things different w/Mick now, I don't love him any less but I think I am finally doing what's better for him.

Oh, and the guarding/protective/dominant behavior is only not permitted when it's directed towards my daughters... but I have no doubt in my mind that Mick would shred someone to pieces if they seriously meant to harm me... :wink:

Having raised three kids on my own successfully, you'd think I could've "trained" one little pit bull and used common sense, huh?
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