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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, one of the main reasons I've joined this forum is to see if anyone has any ideas about my pitties fear of the 'outside'. I'll give you a bit of background first.

Chance has been with my bf since he was a pup, very well trained and socialized, used to go to day care, grew up around other rescue dogs (bf had a housemate who fostered). However he was always difficult to walk, a mega puller with no inclination to even remember you're there once you're outside.

When I moved in with bf, I moved from the UK to Canada so had no history with the dog (and he is my first dog), but I knew I wasn't standing for that sort of behaviours as it made him almost impossible to walk, and I felt strongly about him being walked more often. So I started training, and 9 months on we have made a huge amount of progress. I started out switching his harness for a gentle leader type collar (it was a canny collar) which was great, mainly because it gave me more control, and helped my confidence, but it was never something I wanted to use long term.

After a lot of trial and error, I found the best thing was a wide leather collar and short leash. Walking is now ok, not perfect, but we have periods of loose leash and we're still working on it.

However now that he is a little calmer in the leash, it is possible to see that the cause of the problem is fear. He often has his tail tucked right under his body, any time we stop he will start to shake, he will not greet anyone when he's out (and this is a guy who is a cuddle monster at home), and he will not take food or water while out.

Other than persevering and exposure, does anyone have any tips for dealing with fear of the outside, he wants to go for walks, and gets excited as soon as he hears me pick up the leash, so I can't understand the reaction once he is out. I'm sure that if we could get past the fear, he would be a much happier walker.

(Sorry for the huge post)
 

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So, one of the main reasons I've joined this forum is to see if anyone has any ideas about my pitties fear of the 'outside'. I'll give you a bit of background first.

Chance has been with my bf since he was a pup, very well trained and socialized, used to go to day care, grew up around other rescue dogs (bf had a housemate who fostered). However he was always difficult to walk, a mega puller with no inclination to even remember you're there once you're outside.

When I moved in with bf, I moved from the UK to Canada so had no history with the dog (and he is my first dog), but I knew I wasn't standing for that sort of behaviours as it made him almost impossible to walk, and I felt strongly about him being walked more often. So I started training, and 9 months on we have made a huge amount of progress. I started out switching his harness for a gentle leader type collar (it was a canny collar) which was great, mainly because it gave me more control, and helped my confidence, but it was never something I wanted to use long term.

After a lot of trial and error, I found the best thing was a wide leather collar and short leash. Walking is now ok, not perfect, but we have periods of loose leash and we're still working on it.

However now that he is a little calmer in the leash, it is possible to see that the cause of the problem is fear. He often has his tail tucked right under his body, any time we stop he will start to shake, he will not greet anyone when he's out (and this is a guy who is a cuddle monster at home), and he will not take food or water while out.

Other than persevering and exposure, does anyone have any tips for dealing with fear of the outside, he wants to go for walks, and gets excited as soon as he hears me pick up the leash, so I can't understand the reaction once he is out. I'm sure that if we could get past the fear, he would be a much happier walker.

(Sorry for the huge post)
Huge post is GREAT! You gave a lot of detail, which is helpful. :)
I actually don't have any advice, because I have never been through this particular problem... but I did want to say that it sounds like you are doing an AMAZING job with Chance! Keep it up!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks MamaTank, He's an absolute joy to work with if I'm honest, so eager to please, and my bf had done an amazing job with him before I got here, he just needed a mothers touch lol.

We had a great walk today, 3 hours hiking in the woods on a long leash, it really made me realise how far we've come, he came when called, heeled and stopped to wait for me any time he thought I'd got too far away, we also only had one squirrel chasing incident where it was tug of war over whether he was getting an early dinner lol. Just the fact that he has relaxed enough now to actually listen to the comands he knows so well at home is a huge leap for us.

I guess I'm just hoping for some refinement of how I am doing things that might help him come along quicker, most of what I have done so far has been based on my experience rehabilitating unsocialized pet rats, the approach seems to be transferable to a point, but I know I have so much to learn from other bull type owners.
 

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First off, huge kudos to you for taking the initiative and working with your dog. Congratulations on your improvement! Secondly, welcome to the forum. We have a wide range of owners on the board and some extremely experienced trainers for you to lean on.

I think, in regards to your question about his confidence issues, that you probably hit the nail on the head yourself about perseverance. By the sounds of it, your dog missed out on some exposure to "outside" early on and he is probably still getting used to it. More than likely, the more you take him out, the less fearful he'll be. Also, be confident yourself. The more confident you are the more confident and relaxed the dog will be.

Keep up the good work!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks aus_staffy, that's quite reassuring. You're right, he did miss out, with all respect to my other half (disclaimer, Chance is his baby and his life) he wasn't really ready to have a dog, especially to look after such a high energy breed on his own, but chance came into his home when his housemate fostered him, and the two recognised their soulmates in each other and couldn't be parted. It does mean though that Chance had to fit into his lifestyle more than was ideal, and this didn't include a lot of outside time.

I guess I just need to accept that I can't fix 5 years of being an 'indoor pitbull' in a few months. On the upside we are moving to a new place in a couple of weeks with half an acre of outside space. Hopefully that will give him the exposure he needs :)
 

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Yeah, even when you're working with the "blank canvas" of a puppy it can still take a while to get them used to walking on a leash and different sights, sounds, smells etc so with a 5 year old dog I'd say you're doing OK.

I understand what you're saying about your bf and that you don't mean any disrespect by it. He wouldn't be the first person to be unprepared to have a dog!
 

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Thanks MamaTank, He's an absolute joy to work with if I'm honest, so eager to please, and my bf had done an amazing job with him before I got here, he just needed a mothers touch lol.

We had a great walk today, 3 hours hiking in the woods on a long leash, it really made me realise how far we've come, he came when called, heeled and stopped to wait for me any time he thought I'd got too far away, we also only had one squirrel chasing incident where it was tug of war over whether he was getting an early dinner lol. Just the fact that he has relaxed enough now to actually listen to the comands he knows so well at home is a huge leap for us.

I guess I'm just hoping for some refinement of how I am doing things that might help him come along quicker, most of what I have done so far has been based on my experience rehabilitating unsocialized pet rats, the approach seems to be transferable to a point, but I know I have so much to learn from other bull type owners.
I adopted a rat that was left at a Petsmart when she was close to 3 years old one time. She wasn't used to a lot of handling and went kind of crazy when we first brought her home. We had to persevere and get bitten quite a few times, but it was a huge learning experience for us, and I never regretted it. In a lot of ways, it prepared me for my big evil cat. :D He was owned by a bachelor for his entire life, and when he came to us last year he was 8 years old. Now he's 9, and still the same big bad butt he has always been, lol. But he was never around dogs, and wasn't used to children. I pretty much used the same methods with him that we did with the rat... He didn't have to LIKE being handled, but he did have to put up with it. Luckily both of my dogs are great with everyone and everything (Except rabbits, squirrels, and lizards)...but I know where you're coming from. I came here to learn and to be a part of the Pit Bull community. :D I love this forum.
 
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