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Old 01-21-2016, 07:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
 

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Dog aggression questions

I have a young pit mix who is very sweet who is about 1 year old. Based upon guidance he is not allowed around the other dogs unless supervised.

I made the mistake of fostering a 2 yo female pit mix. She attacked both of my other dogs and I ended up with 1000$ in vet bills in less than four days, so returned her to the shelter. She would seem perfectly friendly with the other dogs, then at the slightest growl, she would latch onto their face and not let go for five minutes at a time. She showed no signs of human aggression. I dont blame her, as she was a good dog towards humans but not in a multi-dog household.

I am considering re-homing the young pit mix as I dont want to face this situation again in two years when he matures.

Questions:

1. Is there a guess as to what percentage of pits do develop dog aggression?
2. Are there red flags as to it developing so that I dont end up with him latched onto one of the other dogs?
3. Can he be trained to release his grip? I ask as the scariest part of the female was that once she gripped the other dog, she would not release them, even as they screamed.
4. Can pits be better trained with respect to bite inhibition? My understanding was that other dogs respond to the squealing of another dog as surrender, but she didnt seem to respond that way at all....


Much thanks for your advice.
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Old 01-21-2016, 08:19 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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1. Nope. No way to tell. But I can tell you that it's not all of them. And some can just be selectively DA.
2. Learning your dogs body language will help you determine if/when she is planning to lash out.
3&4. You can train a bulldog to focus on you before things escalate, but once it's started you're S.O.L. There is a tool called a break stick aka parting stick that can be used to remove a bull breed from whatever it's biting.

My recommendation is, if you are not prepared to keep your bulldog separate from your other dogs when unsupervised, or crate and rotate IF he becomes DA, then it would be in your best interest to rehome him with someone who is familiar with bull breeds.
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Old 01-21-2016, 10:26 PM   #3 (permalink)
 

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Originally Posted by EckoMac View Post
1. Nope. No way to tell. But I can tell you that it's not all of them. And some can just be selectively DA.
2. Learning your dogs body language will help you determine if/when she is planning to lash out.
3&4. You can train a bulldog to focus on you before things escalate, but once it's started you're S.O.L. There is a tool called a break stick aka parting stick that can be used to remove a bull breed from whatever it's biting.

My recommendation is, if you are not prepared to keep your bulldog separate from your other dogs when unsupervised, or crate and rotate IF he becomes DA, then it would be in your best interest to rehome him with someone who is familiar with bull breeds.
With respect to the breakstick, what struck me when dealing with the female dog was that even if I had one or more breaksticks, the incidents occurred in very different places. Once she latched on, she seemed very inclined to twist and keep grabbing more, so I didnt feel I could step away for an instant which would have been required to go find a breakstick. How does one do this practically? Have one in every room or carry it with you at all times?

We are starting obedience with a trainer who specializes in dog aggression rehabilitation today (taking the place of the female who I had originally signed up).

Are their particular types of training activities we can do, so that if he does begin to show signs of frustration, I can reorient him on me before he actually escalates? The female's response was almost instant-she seemed to have no time between perceiving the other dog's response and becoming aggressive.

My son loves the dog, as do I, but it was heartbreaking to see the two older dogs emerge covered in stitches and drainage tubes last night.
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Old 01-22-2016, 02:58 AM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Dog aggression can't be "rehabilitated" or trained out. You might be able to train your dog to ignore other dogs, but the DA will always be there. You'll just have to be careful. Don't leave him alone with other dogs, don't walk him offleash, don't take him to dog parks, etc

And definitely invest in a breakstick. Keep it with you as much as possible. It is the most effective and most humane way to get a bulldog to release.
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Old 01-22-2016, 03:53 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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OK. This particular dog is no longer in your household correct?
We are just discussing the possible future DA of a dog you currently own?
DA is not for sure going to happen. And it may be a lot more mild then the dog you had. You don't have a game bred dog. It's a mutt, bull breed mix.
DA is not something that can be trained out. If you encounter a dog trainer that says they can train it out, don't waste your money. Focus and redirect are different then "training it out".
Learn your dogs body language, never leave it unsupervised with another animal. Carry a breakstick on your person when any interaction with another animal may happen.
Learn your dogs body language.
It's not about being afraid. It's about being aware and prepared.
Seek out a trainer who specializes in bull breeds. Advise them that you are aware of your dogs potential DA and that you want to work on focus commands, release commands, and redirection tactics.
If your dog isn't already crate trained. Start working on that. IF he does become DA and you have to implement the crate and rotate method, it'll be a lot easier if he is already crate trained.
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Old 01-22-2016, 08:07 PM   #6 (permalink)
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by EckoMac View Post
OK. This particular dog is no longer in your household correct?
We are just discussing the possible future DA of a dog you currently own?
DA is not for sure going to happen. And it may be a lot more mild then the dog you had. You don't have a game bred dog. It's a mutt, bull breed mix.
DA is not something that can be trained out. If you encounter a dog trainer that says they can train it out, don't waste your money. Focus and redirect are different then "training it out".
Learn your dogs body language, never leave it unsupervised with another animal. Carry a breakstick on your person when any interaction with another animal may happen.
Learn your dogs body language.
It's not about being afraid. It's about being aware and prepared.
Seek out a trainer who specializes in bull breeds. Advise them that you are aware of your dogs potential DA and that you want to work on focus commands, release commands, and redirection tactics.
If your dog isn't already crate trained. Start working on that. IF he does become DA and you have to implement the crate and rotate method, it'll be a lot easier if he is already crate trained.

Correct-the female dog who showed DA was returned to the shelter. All dogs are crate trained and I had been using the crate/rotate approach with the female pit and the other female after the first and second fight. (the second fight occurred about ten minutes after the first. The female pit climbed a five foot fence to get back to the other female.) I had been only allowing the female around the two males with supervision and crating at other times. Trying to manage a crate/rotate system with four dogs wasnt logistically possible, so I had to return her to the shelter.

We went to the trainer last night for the first time with Luke, my male pit mix as part of a basic obedience class. Like you said, she said that some dogs can never be trusted with other dogs, even with extensive training. She said you can make a lot of headway via teaching the dog to focus on you at all times and observing his body language. She is very well respected in our area for dealing with difficult cases of dog aggression, but she said it take a lot of intense training and work to see improvement.

Ill get a couple of breaksticks, just in case, as what I had to do to her was not very nice to get her to let go.

In spite of the grand in vet bills and two of my dogs looking like "frakenpuppies", I dont blame her at all, I blame myself-she was a damned fine dog. However like my dog, she is a pit/hound mix of some sort, so not even a pure bred dog.

I attached her pics, and then the pics of the damage as well, and then a pic of my poor guy with his tennis ball. He is a ridiculously silly puppy right now and the trainer said he didnt seem like the type to develop DA, but you cant tell.
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Old 01-22-2016, 09:24 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Sounds like you found a decent trainer.
She is a gorgeous dog. She'll find a single pet home in no time.
I'm sorry your pups had to go through that. It's not an easy experience. I have fostered a few DA dogs. Poor Ecko got tagged once. It's the worst when your own dog gets it. I was prepared and handled things quick enough to avoid any vet visits. None of the DA fosters were long term. So crate and rotate wasn't difficult.
You're boy looks like a sweet little goofball.
Stick with the trainer for awhile. I've no doubt things will work out fine for you. You seem to have a good handle on things. Your willingness to seek out assistance leads me to believe that you will do an amazing job with keeping him out of trouble.
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Old 02-04-2016, 11:12 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by happy puppy View Post
I have a young pit mix who is very sweet who is about 1 year old. Based upon guidance he is not allowed around the other dogs unless supervised.

I made the mistake of fostering a 2 yo female pit mix. She attacked both of my other dogs and I ended up with 1000$ in vet bills in less than four days, so returned her to the shelter. She would seem perfectly friendly with the other dogs, then at the slightest growl, she would latch onto their face and not let go for five minutes at a time. She showed no signs of human aggression. I dont blame her, as she was a good dog towards humans but not in a multi-dog household.

I am considering re-homing the young pit mix as I dont want to face this situation again in two years when he matures.

Questions:

1. Is there a guess as to what percentage of pits do develop dog aggression?
2. Are there red flags as to it developing so that I dont end up with him latched onto one of the other dogs?
3. Can he be trained to release his grip? I ask as the scariest part of the female was that once she gripped the other dog, she would not release them, even as they screamed.
4. Can pits be better trained with respect to bite inhibition? My understanding was that other dogs respond to the squealing of another dog as surrender, but she didnt seem to respond that way at all....


Much thanks for your advice.
If you don't want to deal with dog aggression, then either have only one dog, or get another breed.

American (pit) Bull Terriers (Notice the word "pit"? It was created as a fighting breed) will not stop until the other dog is incapacitated or dead, or the owner knows how to use a break stick to separate in a second or two.

Oh, and when another dog screams in pain, it excites the dogs to bite harder.

No, they cannot be trained to release.
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Old 02-05-2016, 12:51 AM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Side note: in the place of break sticks you can go to your local home repair store (Menards, Lowes, Home Depot etc.) And buy a pack of tent stakes for a very reasonable price. Leave one in every room and stick one in your pocket when going on walks.

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Old 01-26-2017, 08:04 PM   #10 (permalink)
 

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Unhappy Pit Bull Dog Agression

My pit bull/sharpei mix female was living contentedly with 40 other dogs when we adopted her from a rescue foundation. We tested her by walking her with our pit mix, and she largely ignored him. We put them together in a large fenced area, and she completely ignored him. We took her home, and she ignored him. She's totally people friendly; she would allow a robber to come in a take everything. Then one day, quite unexpectedly, she became dog aggressive toward any dog who doesn't live in this house. She snarls like a demented rhino and starts flapping on her leash like a tarpon on a fishing line, and she's very strong. She simply snapped her leash, chased a small dog a quarter mile down the road, attacked him almost killing him and costing us $2.000 in vet bills. I don't know why she suddenly decided to kill other dogs, but it means she's housebound because I can't handle her when she goes into the kill zone. Our boy pit mix is 17 years old now and has never attacked another dog, so it's a new experience for us. If anyone has found a trainer who can teach her to ignore other dogs, please post.
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Old 01-27-2017, 12:38 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by happy puppy View Post
I have a young pit mix who is very sweet who is about 1 year old. Based upon guidance he is not allowed around the other dogs unless supervised.

I made the mistake of fostering a 2 yo female pit mix. She attacked both of my other dogs and I ended up with 1000$ in vet bills in less than four days, so returned her to the shelter. She would seem perfectly friendly with the other dogs, then at the slightest growl, she would latch onto their face and not let go for five minutes at a time. She showed no signs of human aggression. I dont blame her, as she was a good dog towards humans but not in a multi-dog household.

I am considering re-homing the young pit mix as I dont want to face this situation again in two years when he matures.

Questions:

1. Is there a guess as to what percentage of pits do develop dog aggression?
2. Are there red flags as to it developing so that I dont end up with him latched onto one of the other dogs?
3. Can he be trained to release his grip? I ask as the scariest part of the female was that once she gripped the other dog, she would not release them, even as they screamed.
4. Can pits be better trained with respect to bite inhibition? My understanding was that other dogs respond to the squealing of another dog as surrender, but she didnt seem to respond that way at all....


Much thanks for your advice.
Seems everyone pretty much covered things for you and kudos to you for being willing and taking the steps to work with your pup! Lots of good advice here! EckoMac covered pretty much everything I was going to say (she's always got such great advice!)...the only thing I have to add is with #4 I think you're thinking more of puppy bite inhibition, which is entirely different than DA. Pups learn a lot with their mouths and teaching bite inhibition to puppies is teaching them what's ok and what's not ok and when they bite too hard. Young puppies will respond to squealing of other dogs, usually their littermates or mom, or people (the best way to teach bite inhibition is to squeal in a high pitched voice and walk away) but that refers to young pups, not older puppies or dogs. This is more commonly the puppy playing too rough, not being aggressive such as what happened in your case.

Good luck and keep us posted with any progress you make!

~Jess
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Old 01-27-2017, 04:53 PM   #12 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharon Noble View Post
My pit bull/sharpei mix female was living contentedly with 40 other dogs when we adopted her from a rescue foundation. We tested her by walking her with our pit mix, and she largely ignored him. We put them together in a large fenced area, and she completely ignored him. We took her home, and she ignored him. She's totally people friendly; she would allow a robber to come in a take everything. Then one day, quite unexpectedly, she became dog aggressive toward any dog who doesn't live in this house. She snarls like a demented rhino and starts flapping on her leash like a tarpon on a fishing line, and she's very strong. She simply snapped her leash, chased a small dog a quarter mile down the road, attacked him almost killing him and costing us $2.000 in vet bills. I don't know why she suddenly decided to kill other dogs, but it means she's housebound because I can't handle her when she goes into the kill zone. Our boy pit mix is 17 years old now and has never attacked another dog, so it's a new experience for us. If anyone has found a trainer who can teach her to ignore other dogs, please post.


Your best bet would be to call around your area and ask questions. Find someone you are comfortable with who will help you to teach your dog to "leave it" and "focus". Get a break stick. And go from there. DA can't be trained out, but it can be managed.
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