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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I would appreciate some input: I have a female 16 month old red pit bull who the past couple of weeks, has begun growling, snapping and showing her teeth when I correct her or if she thinks I am going to take her bone away from her. I rescued her when she was 5 wks. old and until lately, has been very well behaved and showed no signs of aggression. During the bone incident, she actually tried to bite me. I made her get away from her bone and didn't allow her to come back to it until I told her to. This morning, she snarled and growled, showing her teeth, when I made her get on her blanket and off of my comfortor on the bed. (Yes, she sleeps with me). I made her get off of the bed and get into her kennel. It's just she and I, and she has always been very well behaved. She is leash trained, sits, stays, lays down, goes into her kennel when she's told, etc. I've worked with her since obtaining her, to try to instill in her that I am the head of the house...I'm concerned about this recent aggressive behavior and would appreciate some insight and/or comments.
 

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she is maturing and needs to be in CHECK. It sounds like she is confused about whos in charge. you rescued her and sometimes we think the worst is behind them so we treat them like something they are not. the best advice I ever got was that they are dogs. not your friend but your dog. you owe her nothing and she has to earn everything. the last thing you want to deal with is a pitbull who is willing to show this behavior
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Suggestions? I thought I was pretty good about being the dominant one...making her sit while I put her food in her bowl, sit at the door before I let her out, walking beside me when we walk, etc. But this new behavior has me puzzled. Do I need to walk her more? What do I need to do to put her in "check"?
 

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I think its the subtle things. sleeping in your bed, bones and toys laying around to give her something to do at her leizure. these things should be earned. she may expect them and get pissy if you try to take them away. we have a 180lb dog here and he gets nothing without my say so. I could never imagine him making his own decisions. Im hoping Lisa from perf knnls chimes in here, she fixed me up like magic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Then I'm guilty as charged! She has a basket of toys that she is able to pick and choose at her leisure along with bones. However, when she gets treats, she has to earn them...lay down, gives me her paw, sit, stay...she has to earn those most of the time. I do give her treats occasionally after she does something I tell her to like when I clean off her paws when coming in from outside if its wet out. But for the most part, she has full run of the house. She is out in the house while I'm at work but doesn't misbehave or get into anything...she's always been such a good dog. Had she bitten me the other day, I think I would have strangled her! I do NOT want her to become used to this bad behavior! From the time I got her, I said that due to her breed, she had to be especially well behaved and until lately, has been pretty good. She weighs 50 lbs and could do some damage if she had a mind to.
 

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I'd suggest doing some hand feeding with her and even holding the bone while she chews it and not actually letting it go.

You don't want her being aggressive with her food. So get it under control asap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I will try that...she's been good about that in the past which is why I'm so puzzled about this new behavior...she'll let me pick her bowl of food up while she's eating but its the new bone that she's become obsessive about...and the bed! Should I not allow her to sleep with me anymore?
 

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I have to go teach a class this morning and I am pressed for time but I will reply this afternoon. Obviously along the way she feels she is the dominate one and getting aggressive to back you off of what she wants. I will post more later ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks!! I will be looking forward to reading it. She has been really good to this point...but this morning...she curled her lips back, showed her teeth and growled...she even humped up her back at me. I didn't back down though and made her go to her kennel and told her to stay which she did until I came back later and told her to come out...I'm confused as to where this is coming from so quickly. I don't know if all this is for show or if she would really bite me...well, I guess she did the other day when she thought I was going to take her bone...she snapped at me, but like I said, I made her get away from her bone and wouldn't let her near it again until I told her it was ok...I dunno...HELP!! I really love her and need to nip this in the bud...
 

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The bone is a higher value item to her over her regular food thus the difference in behavior between the two things... on top of that she is starting to mature and test boundaries.
 

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first my discalimer..... yes she can and may try to bite you, if you are uncomfortable with anything I tell you find a trainer in your area that works with strong breeds. I can help you find a trainer if you need help. When working with dogs like this getting bit is a big possibility if you do not know what you're doing. DON"T GET BIT if you can help it. This does not mean your dog has a temperament issue just food aggression and dominance issue. This can be fixed just stay with it. I cannot know for sure if it is a dominance issue but that is what it sounds like. It could just be that your dog is trying new things to get what they want and once you put them in their place this will stop.

First things first, no sleeping in bed or laying on the couch with you. I normally have no problem letting dogs sleep on the bed or couch but if they have dominance issues then they need to sleep in a crate till it is fixed.

Next you need to keep her on leash while in the house with you so you can correct those behaviors. Get a cheap nylon leash, cut the handle off, and let her drag it around the house. Have her on some type of correction collar, do you use a prong or a slip? only have her out when you can watch her do not leave a prong or slip on if you cannot watch her. Now if she is sleeping and you need to move her, or anytime she growls jerk up on the leash and tell her "NO". She may come at you, if she does make sure you have the leash not too long or too short. If she comes at you jerk her up and her front feet should come off the ground and hold her away from your body so she cannot snap at you. Hold her there with feet off the ground (do not get angry or yell that will make it worse) till she calms down then let her front feet down. By this time she should be out of breath and if she is calm, praise her. You can use this correction any time she growls at you. If she has a bone and you need to take it away grab the leash and be ready to correct her. She needs to understand that she cannot win and will get corrected for that behavior. This may get a little worse before it gets better but with determination and consistency this can be fixed.

I have a client I am working with that is very similar to what is going on with your dog. I plan on getting video of me working with this dog and you can see some of these corrections and how they are preformed.

Again you need to correct it quickly and let her know she cannot get away with that. Having her on leash is safer for you and a better way to correct the dog. If you have questions about what I described pm me or even call me. My contact info is on my website.
Custom K9 Performance Dog Training
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I will do exactly what you said...I'm not really scared of her at all...this recent behavior has me more puzzled than afraid. I am leaning toward the testing boundaries and maturing. Her personality is too happy and loving to be an issue, I think. I have, I guess, made things easier for her than I should have I guess but no more. She will begin sleeping in her kennel until she can be corrected about her place on the bed without exhibiting teeth. I will go tomorrow and get the leash that she will stay on in the house until she can remember who's boss!! I can't thank you enough for the help and if things go south for whatever reason, I'll be contacting you again if that's ok...thanks again and I'll be in touch!!
 

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I think it is testing boundaries too and trying to get her way. Like I said it does not sound like a temperament problem just a pup trying to be be dominate and needs to be shown where they stand in the pack. Do not be surprised if she really puts up a fight and you must win all battles and the reason for the leash. Without the leash she can back you off and win a battle. Good luck and as soon as I hear back from you in the pm I will send you my recommendations. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hey!! I am proud to say that Gigi is already better. I have not allowed her to do much of anything without my permission. She hasn't gotten on the bed AT ALL until I tell her to which is great and when I make her go to her blanket, all I have to do is snap my fingers and point to it and she goes...progress. As for the bone, I held it and let her chew on it without my letting go of it and she was ok with that. I will maintain our current regimen and not let up at all but will still get the prong collar/leash to insure she has the whole "alpha female" thing in check!! I was a bit surprized that she gave up the bed on her own with no fussing but am grateful that its dominance rather than aggression issues.
 
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