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Old 01-17-2020, 09:10 AM   #1 (permalink)
 

jaedolo is an unknown quantity at this point
Girlfriend rescued a pit, he is a wonderful dog but....

His name is Soldier, he is a very stout intimidating dog to most everyone that doesn't know him. Come to find out he is just like every other pit I've ever had, a 100+ pound wannabe lap dog but with some caveats. My girlfriend works front desk at a local motel and she befriended a woman and her daughter living there and that's how we came to know Soldier. Now the fact we ended up with him was rather surprising to me as my girlfriend was knocked down and bitten by a pitbull while at her job (literally behind the front desk). She was incredibly scared of pitbulls but somehow Soldier stole her heart. He was very cautious towards me and I was also in kind. It took maybe 3-5 days to see that his cautious and sometimes almost menacing looks were because he was SEVERELY abused. He lacked any training whatsoever but all in all he was a very calm very loving dog. He genuinely seemed to appreciate being out of his former situation. Apparently he lived in a hotel room with the mother and daughter and also with a 3 year old autistic son. So from what I was lead to believe the son used to use him(Soldier) as a personal jungle gym. Now I know some dogs can put up with alot but I guess one day the young boy went a little too far and Soldier growled at him and hence he is now our not very little lap dog. So now to the issues we are starting to have. For the first week or so he seemed happy but cautious and didn't really show any signs of abuse. That changed pretty abruptly one evening. My girlfriend and I were in bed, performing our duties, and Soldier started to come up on the bed. This prompted me to kind of push him off the bed before he was fully on it and he jumped at the same time so ultimately he converged with my hand and let out a little whimper and went to his kennel. Afterwards I felt extremely bad and went and laid down in front of his kennel and tried to calm him etc. Things seemed alright after until I yelled to my GF from another room and he hit the ground like I was going to beat him endlessly. It honestly caught me off guard. I hadn't seen him cower once and now he looked like a scared dog that had known nothing but his owners wrath. I do everything I can to improve his bond with me, I played with him outside multiple times a day, I give him affection and praise when earned. Things seemed alright until another instance of severe cowering. We were going to take a ride in the truck and I went to go to attach the leash to his harness and he hit the ground again. I had the leash kind of dangling in my hands and I believe he thought it may have been something else. This reaction lead me to believe that he was abused with a belt. So now he is extremely scared of me when I so much as raise my voice slightly. It's kind of hard to watch because he is such a good boy and I don't understand why anyone would harm him for any reason and the fact he is that scared of me upsets me. The dynamic also started to shift as he started becoming more obsessive and possesive toward my girlfriend. She is 110 pounds soaking wet and he is almost that weight and pure muscle. He often goes up onto his hind legs and puts his paws on her shoulders and is almost as tall as her. Normally I frown on this type of behavior but she likes it and doesn't like when I make him stop. He now is literally attached to her at the hip. I don't really mind it except when I can clearly see him getting too excited and he could easily bowl her over, even if he is just playing. He also has been starting to exert some psuedo dominant behaviors towards me. This generally happens either outside (which I understand it's play time) and right before my girlfriend leaves for work. She will give me a hug and kiss and he will seem a little nervous and possibly frantic and occasionally bolt for the door. As soon as she leaves he becomes very mopey and essentially sleeps the whole entire time. He is generally very obedient with me but my GF becomes the X factor. So anyway sorry for the long winded post. I'm hoping someone may be able to identify this type of behavior and hopefully educate me as to how to make him feel comfortable with me but also be able to set boundaries for him with her.

Any guidance would be greatly appreciated. Thanks and sorry again for the long winded rant.



TL;DR
rescued pitbull
Good for awhile
Now skittish(at times) and cowers at any perceived danger or anger or aggression (male)
Has become very obsessive and possesive of my GF (female)
Looking for methods to give him confidence and help him feel secure and safe while also being able to maintain discipline and set boundaries.


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Old 01-17-2020, 05:35 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Welcome to the forum jaedolo. Great looking dog and thanks for the pictures. You are asking for opinions and here is mine. It is your girlfriend that needs training. The dog is picking up on her vibes and acting accordingly. All your bonding, spending time with the dog or training will be wasted if she doesn't do some research and change her behavior with him. The dog is being protective with her because he has been made to feel like he has to. That insecurity can lead to serious physical and emotional damage. Not a good situation and the only solution is for her to change her relationship with the dog.
Hopefully, others will chime in here with their opinions too.

Joe
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Old 01-17-2020, 07:32 PM   #3 (permalink)
 

pittyitts is an unknown quantity at this point
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaedolo View Post
His name is Soldier, he is a very stout intimidating dog to most everyone that doesn't know him. Come to find out he is just like every other pit I've ever had, a 100+ pound wannabe lap dog but with some caveats. My girlfriend works front desk at a local motel and she befriended a woman and her daughter living there and that's how we came to know Soldier. Now the fact we ended up with him was rather surprising to me as my girlfriend was knocked down and bitten by a pitbull while at her job (literally behind the front desk). She was incredibly scared of pitbulls but somehow Soldier stole her heart. He was very cautious towards me and I was also in kind. It took maybe 3-5 days to see that his cautious and sometimes almost menacing looks were because he was SEVERELY abused. He lacked any training whatsoever but all in all he was a very calm very loving dog. He genuinely seemed to appreciate being out of his former situation. Apparently he lived in a hotel room with the mother and daughter and also with a 3 year old autistic son. So from what I was lead to believe the son used to use him(Soldier) as a personal jungle gym. Now I know some dogs can put up with alot but I guess one day the young boy went a little too far and Soldier growled at him and hence he is now our not very little lap dog. So now to the issues we are starting to have. For the first week or so he seemed happy but cautious and didn't really show any signs of abuse. That changed pretty abruptly one evening. My girlfriend and I were in bed, performing our duties, and Soldier started to come up on the bed. This prompted me to kind of push him off the bed before he was fully on it and he jumped at the same time so ultimately he converged with my hand and let out a little whimper and went to his kennel. Afterwards I felt extremely bad and went and laid down in front of his kennel and tried to calm him etc. Things seemed alright after until I yelled to my GF from another room and he hit the ground like I was going to beat him endlessly. It honestly caught me off guard. I hadn't seen him cower once and now he looked like a scared dog that had known nothing but his owners wrath. I do everything I can to improve his bond with me, I played with him outside multiple times a day, I give him affection and praise when earned. Things seemed alright until another instance of severe cowering. We were going to take a ride in the truck and I went to go to attach the leash to his harness and he hit the ground again. I had the leash kind of dangling in my hands and I believe he thought it may have been something else. This reaction lead me to believe that he was abused with a belt. So now he is extremely scared of me when I so much as raise my voice slightly. It's kind of hard to watch because he is such a good boy and I don't understand why anyone would harm him for any reason and the fact he is that scared of me upsets me. The dynamic also started to shift as he started becoming more obsessive and possesive toward my girlfriend. She is 110 pounds soaking wet and he is almost that weight and pure muscle. He often goes up onto his hind legs and puts his paws on her shoulders and is almost as tall as her. Normally I frown on this type of behavior but she likes it and doesn't like when I make him stop. He now is literally attached to her at the hip. I don't really mind it except when I can clearly see him getting too excited and he could easily bowl her over, even if he is just playing. He also has been starting to exert some psuedo dominant behaviors towards me. This generally happens either outside (which I understand it's play time) and right before my girlfriend leaves for work. She will give me a hug and kiss and he will seem a little nervous and possibly frantic and occasionally bolt for the door. As soon as she leaves he becomes very mopey and essentially sleeps the whole entire time. He is generally very obedient with me but my GF becomes the X factor. So anyway sorry for the long winded post. I'm hoping someone may be able to identify this type of behavior and hopefully educate me as to how to make him feel comfortable with me but also be able to set boundaries for him with her.

Any guidance would be greatly appreciated. Thanks and sorry again for the long winded rant.



TL;DR
rescued pitbull
Good for awhile
Now skittish(at times) and cowers at any perceived danger or anger or aggression (male)
Has become very obsessive and possesive of my GF (female)
Looking for methods to give him confidence and help him feel secure and safe while also being able to maintain discipline and set boundaries.


Sent from my LM-V450 using Tapatalk
Welcome to the forum jaedolo, I'm gonna agree with jttar on this one. I'm no expert and this is only an opinion, but I agree. You both gotta be on The same page so to say. He's protecting because he thinks she wants/needs it. Dogs learn a lot by movement looks and tone of voice. She should express the same as you do, while you're in the room altogether. Then he should see he's not the dominant /protector he thinks he has to be. Hope this helps. Keep us updated.

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Old 01-17-2020, 08:05 PM   #4 (permalink)
 

jaedolo is an unknown quantity at this point
Yeah unfortunately she is completely at odds with everything I do. If I apply any discipline I get an attitude that I shouldn't be treating the dog that way and he did nothing wrong etc. etc.(my discipline is making him lay down until he is in a calm state) I believe because she sees him cower so severely she feels bad as I feel bad too but the boundaries have to be set. Even something as simple as making him wait patiently and calmly at the door instead of barreling outside (which he has put her on her butt twice now) gets undermined. He definitely obeys and generally is pretty good. It's just with her he gets into that different mind space. As seen in the pictures the last 2 is that kind of "frantic" look he generally has when around her but the calm demeanor that I require before he comes in (in the first picture) also thank you for the input, it is greatly appreciated. Do you think perhaps me trying to build more trust with him to prevent him cowering as he does might also allow him to relax around my GF. I've been very patient and understanding with him but he just cannot handle an even slightly raised voice or walking up to him just a bit too fast. I've had pitbulls before but I'm also no expert. I've done well before, and hoping I can get this under control as well.

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Old 01-17-2020, 09:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
 

pittyitts is an unknown quantity at this point
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaedolo View Post
Yeah unfortunately she is completely at odds with everything I do. If I apply any discipline I get an attitude that I shouldn't be treating the dog that way and he did nothing wrong etc. etc.(my discipline is making him lay down until he is in a calm state) I believe because she sees him cower so severely she feels bad as I feel bad too but the boundaries have to be set. Even something as simple as making him wait patiently and calmly at the door instead of barreling outside (which he has put her on her butt twice now) gets undermined. He definitely obeys and generally is pretty good. It's just with her he gets into that different mind space. As seen in the pictures the last 2 is that kind of "frantic" look he generally has when around her but the calm demeanor that I require before he comes in (in the first picture) also thank you for the input, it is greatly appreciated. Do you think perhaps me trying to build more trust with him to prevent him cowering as he does might also allow him to relax around my GF. I've been very patient and understanding with him but he just cannot handle an even slightly raised voice or walking up to him just a bit too fast. I've had pitbulls before but I'm also no expert. I've done well before, and hoping I can get this under control as well.

Sent from my LM-V450 using Tapatalk
Sounds as if you are doing everything right. Dogs actually need the discipline.if nobody takes control they'll be glad to. Maybe have your girl read or watch a video or maybe even some episodes of Caesar Milan. He seems to know what he's doing. Again, good luck.

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Old 02-10-2020, 05:09 AM   #6 (permalink)
 

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Soldier sounds like a fearful dog. If you try to use Cesar Millan's method on a fearful dog, you could compound the problems he has. I'm not a dog trainer, but, I have experience with dogs who were abused. For me, what works best is to gain their trust. The easiest way to do this is through basic training.

With my dogs, I spend about 5-10 minutes every evening doing simple training: sit, down, shake, stay, come, etc. The first week or two, give him a small training treat after every command that he obeys.

After awhile, you can start to reduce the frequency of treats, but, still use those treats. I would suggest doing this when immediately after your girlfriend leaves for work. It will create a better bond between you and Soldier if she is not present. But, let her know what you are doing and why you are doing.

If Soldier is initially reluctant to do training with you after she leaves, start out feeding him the training treats for a couple days without requiring any action from him. Give him one every minute or two, and limit the treats to no more than 10. When he starts expecting the treats, then you can start the training. Be patient, don't get upset if he doesn't immediately respond to commands. As Soldier is not a puppy, it may take him time to get the hang of the various commands. Around January 1st I adopted two pit mixes (they are both about 5 years old). It took me about 4-5 weeks to get one of the two dogs to do "down." But, now, he gets the command and does it eagerly to get that treat.

Don't force him to do anything (like pushing his butt down to make him sit). Use the treats to get the right behavior. The page linked to below has videos and good tips on how to do that:

https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/tr...asic-commands/

I had a chihuahua that had clearly been abused. He would squeal in pain if I tried to scratch him behind the ears, and, he reacted to a belt in my hand (I was getting dressed) similar to how Soldier reacted to the leash in your hand. He eventually came to trust me, and looked forward to me scratching him behind the ears. It took a while, but, I also did make it clear when he something wrong. I would shut him up in my spare bathroom for 1/2 hour to an hour. Usually once or twice and the unwanted behavior stopped. I didn't need to hit him, or physically intimidate him to get the message across.

You and your girlfriend need to get on the same page as to what behavior is allowed, and, agree on punishments when he disobeys. Putting him in his crate, and covering it with a towel or blanket may work as a punishment. It sounds like he craves human companionship and depriving him of that when he misbehaves will go a long way toward curing him of bad behavior.

I've used positive reinforcement methods to train all of my dogs (all the dogs I've had as an adult have been rescues who were at least 3 years old when I got them). The first dog I had, I didn't start doing the daily training until I'd had her for about 6 months. But, after several months of doing the daily training, I noticed she responded to my commands much more quickly when we were away from the house.
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Old 02-24-2020, 12:15 AM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Great post Jeff, thanks for taking the time.

Joe
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Old 02-27-2020, 11:54 PM   #8 (permalink)
 

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I think jttar and jlbaker are completely on point. Soldier may be developing resource guarding behavior towards the GF which has less to do with dominance and mostly to do with "MINE". Fear aggression and resource guarding are likely to get a dog in bad trouble one day and someone hurt. Putting too much aversive pressure (as in Cesar method) is ill-advised with a fearful dog.

Here would be my short list of recommendations:
1. you do ALL the feeding for a very long time
2. the GF needs to learn something about dogs; she's likely to be the one hurt and the dog could be dead as a result. Maybe that will get the point through to her.
3. listen to podcast on "The Mystery of the Box" episode 4 of the Canine Paradigm: Episode 4: Mysteries of the box - The Canine Paradigm follow the links to their FB page and videos clips demonstrating the use of box feeding to build confidence and trust. I have a cowardly nerd (she's very intelligent) but environmentally worried about everything and this helped. Except for convincing her that hula hoops aren't evil, LOL. You can play it as a feeding game. Originally was used for scent article training but found it has a multitude of side benefits.
4. Find a club, trainer, or dog school and go: start training. To the AKC short list I'd add "Settle" (On/Off switch), door manners (sit and wait to be released through the door or out of the car), and "Place" (or go to your bed/crate/kennel... ).

Once you start training and Soldier becomes part of your team you may not want to stop. It's fun and build a tight knit bond. Most importantly, the GF needs to do the same as you when handling. No wrestling or paws up on her. THAT sets a dangerous precedent. Then put him on a diet--he's a tub, albeit a cute one. I'd look to do weight pull with him. Good hard exercise also takes off the edge.
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Old 03-05-2020, 12:01 AM   #9 (permalink)
 
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I love the ReelDog mentioned The Box on Canine Paradigm but be very very careful in using it. It is a great strategy for building confidence but done poorly is a seriously easy way to reinforcr some resource guarding and food aggression issues. Trust me, I started it off a bit wrong and Pat Stuart messaged me directly and set me straight about how I was messing up. So make sure you fully understand what to do, and more importantly, what not to do in implementing the strategy. I use some confidence building work from Next Level Dogs, Canine Paradigm, and Absolute Dogs Training Academy. They are all 3 great resources. Absolute Dogs is an online subscription and the downside is you have to be on it for a while to really have your resource bank build up (new content added very Wednesday). If you do the Canine Paradigm route I recommend listening but also briefly paying for the Patreon to get more details or contacting Pat for a skype session directly. Next Level Dogs - Jay does skype sessions as well. I did 6 sessions with him and he is a really solid coach of people.
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