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Old 08-22-2013, 05:19 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Dog has growled at people on walks, advice?

My pit bull Abilene has been with us for about two months. The majority of the time she has actually been an angel and has been great in and out of the house with strangers. However, around the 4-5 week mark she had two incidents where she growled at and lunged towards people on her walks. She never did this before or after this week. She spent the past month totally fine meeting all strangers. We are seeking a professional trainer's help for this but want to make sure we're on the right track!

The first time she did this she was with my younger sister, who really doesn't have a great idea of how to handle a dog. Abilene saw a woman waving her arms at her excitedly from across the street and growled and lunged. My sister got nervous and yelled at her and pulled the leash, which I don't think was the proper way to handle the situation. Abilene repeated this behavior with my dad when a jogger was coming directly at them on the sidewalk. She was corrected and let the jogger pass with no problem. She has NEVER shown any sign of this type of behavior with me. I always make her sit and let people pass, and give her treats when she sits and looks at me instead of joggers or bikers.

The trainer wants us to teach her "leave it". For example, when she is distracted by a jogger she is told "leave it" and she'll know to look away because she isn't going to be going over to that stimulus. We're starting by dropping a toy a yard or two away from her, telling her "leave it", and praising her when she looks away. The trainer also wants us to start with "look" so she will look at whoever she is walking with instead of whatever she interested in on the street. Does she have the right type of idea?

Last edited by Eeny; 08-22-2013 at 06:00 AM.
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Old 08-22-2013, 05:54 AM   #2 (permalink)
 
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The honeymoon stage is over with for Abilene. She is now showing her true colors and testing the water. She doesn't act that way with you because she considers you the Alpha of the pack. A child should never handle or be left alone with a bully breed or any breed IMO unless they are properly trained, they are too powerful. I am not sure why the trainer chose "leave it" as a target for people. I use that for items in which I do not want mine to have such as socks (which he loves). food items from others. (we taught him to turn his head and not accept food or items from anyone other then myself or husband, or items in the yard). We use the "watch me" command, your target word is "look". When people come by or cross our path similar to what you do. It's "sit", "watch me" treat. In time she should do this automatically. When you stop walking she should sit and watch you with out the verbal command. I recommend reading the book. The other end of the leash. It is very informative because Abilene may be reacting to the person walking her, thinking she has to protect them. Good luck.
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Old 08-22-2013, 05:59 AM   #3 (permalink)
 
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I agree that she was acting great for a first few weeks and then the "honeymoon period" seemed to be over. But she literally did these both in a week's span and then has spent the rest of the time (another month!) without growling once or anything. Very strange to me that the behavior would happen twice in a short period of time and then not happen again.

I have another dog at my mother's house who uses the "leave it" command for food as well, not sure why she wants it applied to people but I think we'll definitely continue with the "look" command because we already started and she picks things up pretty quickly. Thank you for the book recommendation and for your advice!
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Old 08-22-2013, 06:17 AM   #4 (permalink)
 
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I am far from being a pro. Other's will pop in with their advice and they have more experience then me. Some are trainers on here, and they will stop in with ideas. These are just the things that have worked for me. Some people are hard core, please do not take offense to certain comments, they are proud owners/breeders/trainers and only want the best for the breed. Take what works for you and let the rest go. Some may say my way is wrong but in the end, I do what is best for me and my boy. I have had a few hard knocks but we've learned and we get up and try again. It's all a part of the learning process. The bottom line is I refuse to set my dog up for failure at mine or another's hand.
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