8 Week old Pitbull puppy aggressive issues
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Thread: 8 Week old Pitbull puppy aggressive issues

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    8 Week old Pitbull puppy aggressive issues

    Hello All!

    So I had rescued an 8 week old pup around 5 weeks old. She is now 8 weeks and health. Lived through parvo and everything.

    Anyway she has a few behavior issues. I know puppies play bit so its not that. When she eats, she gets scared and shakes. When I first started feeding her she would growl if I touch her. Now shes fine with being touched and having my hand in the bowl. She still shakes and brings her tail in. She also eats as fast as she can, even with eating 4-5 times a day. I put a link to a youtube video of her eating. I had feed her some kibble first before I give her the whole bowl to show her dominance and not to be aggressive.

    Another issue is with being picked you every now and then. She either growls to get people away, or if you pick her up she goes in to defense mode and shows teeth while trying her hardest to bite who ever is holding her. If you let her go she runs away, which is just my wife. The only way that seems to work for me is to pick her up from her scruff and growl and say no. She then stops and I put her down, then she runs to her crate. Shes starting to stop when I make eye contact and "shh" her. When it gets really bad I pin her on her side and growl till she stops and say no. She then sits there and doesnt move. I then walk away and she follows me till I stop, and stops and looks at me like as if we were walking.

    Im hope that after she gets her other sets of shots, and we start going on walks, she will calm down. She is good on the leash inside so far.

    Any ideas or suggestions on her aggression, or getting her to calm down with food?

    And please, please dont try and bash me about taking her in at 5 weeks, It was either that, or she died. All the other pups that BYB had died, along with the mom. Shes very people friendly and loves the neighbors 2 year old German Shepard. She will only have good interactions with people and dogs as long as I can help it.

    Also I will try and get a video of her acting aggressive, its kinda hard since Its really at random times.

    Thanks!


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    Re: 8 Week old Pitbull puppy aggressive issues

    Quote Originally Posted by bluefizz87 View Post
    Hello All!

    So I had rescued an 8 week old pup around 5 weeks old. She is now 8 weeks and health. Lived through parvo and everything.

    Anyway she has a few behavior issues. I know puppies play bit so its not that. When she eats, she gets scared and shakes. When I first started feeding her she would growl if I touch her. Now shes fine with being touched and having my hand in the bowl. She still shakes and brings her tail in. She also eats as fast as she can, even with eating 4-5 times a day. I put a link to a youtube video of her eating. I had feed her some kibble first before I give her the whole bowl to show her dominance and not to be aggressive.
    You don't need to show her dominance, your not a dog that needs to compete with pecking order and she knows that.
    Another issue is with being picked you every now and then. She either growls to get people away, or if you pick her up she goes in to defense mode and shows teeth while trying her hardest to bite who ever is holding her. If you let her go she runs away, which is just my wife. The only way that seems to work for me is to pick her up from her scruff and growl and say no. She then stops and I put her down, then she runs to her crate. Shes starting to stop when I make eye contact and "shh" her. When it gets really bad I pin her on her side and growl till she stops and say no. She then sits there and doesnt move. I then walk away and she follows me till I stop, and stops and looks at me like as if we were walking.
    First, why are you growling at your dog? Do you think she is stupid enough to actually think your a dog and understand the weird sound your making? Second, pinning her and growling at her is bullying and there is no reason for it. It is a TERRIBLE idea, Never Ever punish growling, this will extinguish the warning before the bite and you will end up with a biter that doesn't warn you first. She probably stops because she is shutting down and fears what you will do next, to her you are being an unpredictable human that causes pain and fear.
    Im hope that after she gets her other sets of shots, and we start going on walks, she will calm down. She is good on the leash inside so far.

    Any ideas or suggestions on her aggression, or getting her to calm down with food?
    Why do you need to mess with her with food? She warning you which is fantastic because shes not reverting straight to biting yet, which she will if you keep punishing the growling.
    And please, please dont try and bash me about taking her in at 5 weeks, It was either that, or she died. All the other pups that BYB had died, along with the mom. Shes very people friendly and loves the neighbors 2 year old German Shepard. She will only have good interactions with people and dogs as long as I can help it.

    Also I will try and get a video of her acting aggressive, its kinda hard since Its really at random times.

    Thanks!
    My thoughts in bold.

    As for the video, I saw nothing bad out of that puppy. He didn't like it when you pulled his tail, which I understand, I wouldn't like it if you pulled my tail either.
    I don't agree with your corrections while you were hand feeding him. You didn't tell him he couldn't have the food and he is an extremely young puppy. You cant expect total self control out of an 8 week old puppy. Yet you corrected him when he did what came natural and went after the food (in a totally non-aggressive way btw)
    He looked great while eating even though you pestered him like crazy the entire time which I feel is unnessesary. Would you like it if someone irritated you the entire time you were eating and pulled you away from your food?
    Bottom line, your method of getting her stop stop bad behaviors is all wrong and the result is just you being an unpredictable human bully.
    Last edited by KodiBarracuda; 06-23-2012 at 10:21 PM.

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    Senior Member zeronightfarm's Avatar
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    Re: 8 Week old Pitbull puppy aggressive issues

    I didn't read the whole thing, but I'll tell you what I saw as far as the video.

    1. Stop waving food in her face, Thats just taunting, not training, and it could have a lot to do with why she is shaking. She might think that at any moment you are going to pullthat food away from her.

    2. Only correct her ONCE with only ONE correction. You are using 3 or 4 corrections for one minor things. If you use to meny to often, she will just tune you out. Pssh, AH, No, Hey, and any thing else you used is also confusing to her. Choose one and stick to it.

    Does she have a crate? It might be a good idea to give her a "safe place" where only good things happen, like food (in privet) toys, chews, that kind of thing.
    Dogs are like potato chips, you can't have just one!

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    Re: 8 Week old Pitbull puppy aggressive issues

    I think you are a good guy, and you did a good thing saving that pup's life. I also think, and I'm saying this as gently as I know how (because I do think you're awesome and doing the best you know), that you're not necessarily doing the right things, here.

    She's scared of being picked up. Growls, gets defensive, tries to bite so she can run.

    Maybe, in light of her being afraid, picking her up by the scruff and growling at her isn't convincing her that there's nothing to be afraid of?

    She's not aggressive. She's scared. She's a baby. Treat her like a scared baby for a while, let her gain some confidence and stop being afraid and the behaviour will improve dramatically.

    (Also, seconding the above poster. Never punish a growl. You want her to warn you that she may bite. Without that you get a dog who bites without warning and that's so, so, dangerous.)

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    Re: 8 Week old Pitbull puppy aggressive issues

    Quote Originally Posted by CptJack View Post
    I think you are a good guy, and you did a good thing saving that pup's life. I also think, and I'm saying this as gently as I know how (because I do think you're awesome and doing the best you know), that you're not necessarily doing the right things, here.

    She's scared of being picked up. Growls, gets defensive, tries to bite so she can run.

    Maybe, in light of her being afraid, picking her up by the scruff and growling at her isn't convincing her that there's nothing to be afraid of?

    She's not aggressive. She's scared. She's a baby. Treat her like a scared baby for a while, let her gain some confidence and stop being afraid and the behaviour will improve dramatically.

    (Also, seconding the above poster. Never punish a growl. You want her to warn you that she may bite. Without that you get a dog who bites without warning and that's so, so, dangerous.)
    Thanks CptJack.

    I dont punish for growling, I know that its a warning. I punish for the violent outburst. (Notice the cut on my hand in the video, thats from her, when i called her to me, praised her for coming, and tried to pick her up.) I know shes scared of getting picked up, and its not as often now, we hold her and give her treats when we pick her up and shes nice about it. When i grab her scruff its the only way of gaining control of her head so she cant bit me.

    As for the other post, shes a pit bull. Yeah growling is fine as a warning, but I cant have her getting aggressive and attacking after. My younger bother got bit in the face when he went near a dogs food. She growled then snapped. Now if that happens to any kid in my family I would feel horrible. Playing with the dogs food while shes eating and she is calm is good. She has been attacking over food from day one. The first time I couldnt go near her food. Yeah I can control it now, but when shes 2, Im not having that and no one should with any dog.

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    Re: 8 Week old Pitbull puppy aggressive issues

    And as far as the "dont show dominance" thing, showing dominance has made it to when I get in her face when she bites or gets violent and I look her in the eye and say no she becomes submissive and calm. No shaking or crying and she goes on with what she is doing. She doesnt cry, run away, or bring in her tail. I just picked her up to bring her in this room and she did it again. I turned her, looked her in the eye and said no. She then stopped, licked me and I put her down and she started to play. If im sitting on the grown she gets up from lying down and goes to my lap and lays down. I think a scared dog would run and hide from the evil human, dont you? If I let her get away with her violet attacks now, it will be harder to get control of it later. My wife backs off when she growls at her and cant touch her for a few hours with out her snapping at her. She doesnt liten to her, she doesnt stay, sit or recall for her. She pulls and bits on the leash when she tries to get her used to it. She doesnt do any of that with me. All of that is different if you have a 60-80 pound pit who already is stereo as an evil killing dog. Hints why my mother-in-laws 1+ yr old beagle and multipo pull on the leash, bark at everyone, only sit if you have food, cant heal, chew on everything, and fight over food. No one cares because of there breed. And people that think otherwise please dont comment on this forum because you dont know how to raise a pitbull.

    Saying dont show dominance is like saying let them do what ever they want. I dont know if you've ever had a pitbull, (She is my 3rd) but they are very stubborn and hard headed. I posted this thread for advice, not ridicule comments.
    Last edited by bluefizz87; 06-23-2012 at 11:05 PM.

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    Re: 8 Week old Pitbull puppy aggressive issues

    I think what you are seeing as far as 'submissive and calm' is more likely a shut down puppy, not all dogs run away when they are scared some just shut down. Just because she is a pit doesnt mean she needs to be man handled with you grabbing her scruff and pinning her. Alpha and dominance theory have been debunked and in thus are no longer legitimate theories to train under.
    Wouldnt you rather have the dog behave because she knows good things come when she does rather than behave because she fears you?
    There was no ridicule in my post. If you think there was it was because you read it that way because that wasnt the way it was intended and i appologize for the misunderstanding. I gave you advice, stop bullying the dog, this is a public forum, if you dont like my advice then dont take it. Simple enough.

    FWIW I thougt i came across much nicer than many other members would have been had they read your post and read all of the alpha talk.
    Last edited by KodiBarracuda; 06-23-2012 at 11:12 PM.

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    Re: 8 Week old Pitbull puppy aggressive issues

    Quote Originally Posted by bluefizz87 View Post
    I punish for the violent outburst.
    It is not a violent outburst, it is panic. She is afraid. Scratch that, she is terrified. Change her emotions, and her behavior will change.

    www.fearfuldogs.com is a great resource.

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    Re: 8 Week old Pitbull puppy aggressive issues

    Quote Originally Posted by sassafras View Post
    she is terrified. Change her emotions, and her behavior will change..
    This. She's had a rough start in life and she is scared. Puppies aren't aggressive. Give her some security and confidence, and she'll be a good dog. I promise. Even my 6ish week old, 2 pound, fluffy mutt puppy has panicked and lost her little mind and gone growl/bite/snarl/struggle. Only once, but it's. Fear behaviour. Fight, flight, or freeze, you know?
    Last edited by CptJack; 06-23-2012 at 11:18 PM.

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    Re: 8 Week old Pitbull puppy aggressive issues

    Quote Originally Posted by bluefizz87 View Post
    And as far as the "dont show dominance" thing, showing dominance has made it to when I get in her face when she bites or gets violent and I look her in the eye and say no she becomes submissive and calm. No shaking or crying and she goes on with what she is doing. She doesnt cry, run away, or bring in her tail.
    If i was more talented on this tablet i would quote your first post where you said she does infact shake and cower and tuck her tail when you handle her.

    You did say: The only way that seems to work for me is to pick her up from her scruff and growl and say no. She then stops and I put her down, then she runs to her crate.

    So she does run away and this does sound like a scared dog to me.
    Last edited by KodiBarracuda; 06-23-2012 at 11:19 PM.

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    Re: 8 Week old Pitbull puppy aggressive issues

    Quote Originally Posted by KodiBarracuda View Post
    I think what you are seeing as far as 'submissive and calm' is more likely a shut down puppy, not all dogs run away when they are scared some just shut down. Just because she is a pit doesnt mean she needs to be man handled with you grabbing her scruff and pinning her. Alpha and dominance theory have been debunked and in thus are no longer legitimate theories to train under.
    Wouldnt you rather have the dog behave because she knows good things come when she does rather than behave because she fears you?
    There was no ridicule in my post. If you think there was it was because you read it that way because that wasnt the way it was intended and i appologize for the misunderstanding. I gave you advice, stop bullying the dog, this is a public forum, if you dont like my advice then dont take it. Simple enough.

    FWIW I thougt i came across much nicer than many other members would have been had they read your post and read all of the alpha talk.
    Thanks you for apologizing.

    With my last puppy I rescued he would snap with out growling at anyone that would touch him. I did what I said I do to her when she gets violet the first time he did it to me. He never did it again to anyone or any dog. He was re homed with a family with a little dog and 4 year old just fine.
    The other one was very food aggressive. I did what I do to her and made her wait and be calm before I gave it to him. He later was able to drink out of the same bowl with other dog and would eat right next to him. They never ate eachothers food and I could play with both of there foods while they ate.
    They never showed any aggression to anyone, even when they got attacked. They weren't afraid of me, they just knew where the line was.

    My question is why does she shake when eating? Even if I just put the bowl down and step back, she is still scared. And how can I help her get over that?

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    Re: 8 Week old Pitbull puppy aggressive issues

    In my opinion there are a couple little things you can do that will really help. First of all, I really don't think you need to touch her (or try to take away her food) well she eats a meal. I just don't see a reason. Dogs are more likely to develop agression if they feel threatened, and she probably feels like you just might take away her food.

    My second point is that you should remember that she is tiny, and compared to her, you are HUGE. Try to be very gentle when you pet her, you never want her to feel like you might accidentally hurt her. Also, remember that since you got her when she was very young, (I don't blame you) she has not had as much time to build confidence given to her by her mother.

    Also, I don't see very many reasons why you would need to correct a puppy her age. Limit your corrections to when they are absolutely needed and correct only once. Use obedience as the primary way to show your dominance rather than physical power (example, command before eating, going through the door or getting a toy.)

    I agree with some of the other people that growling can be very important, but I see why you are not comfortable with it. Try finding something she LOVES to do (some sort of toy or game) then going into a space that you can quickly leave, but that your dog cannot leave. Start playing the game and having fun, but if she growls or nips, say something like "Don't" or "Wrong" firmly but with no anger and then quickly leave the space for 30 seconds. Return happily and then continue playing until you get that undesirable behavior again.

    I hope some of this stuff helps.

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    Re: 8 Week old Pitbull puppy aggressive issues

    Quote Originally Posted by KodiBarracuda View Post
    If i was more talented on this tablet i would quote your first post where you said she does infact shake and cower and tuck her tail when you handle her.

    You did say: The only way that seems to work for me is to pick her up from her scruff and growl and say no. She then stops and I put her down, then she runs to her crate.

    So she does run away and this does sound like a scared dog to me.
    She ran the first time, which I knew would happen. She knows now that shes not getting hurt when I do it and stays calm and only goes to her crate to sleep. After that she doesnt. She cowered and tucks in her tail when she eats.

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    Re: 8 Week old Pitbull puppy aggressive issues

    Quote Originally Posted by bluefizz87 View Post
    Thanks you for apologizing.

    With my last puppy I rescued he would snap with out growling at anyone that would touch him. I did what I said I do to her when she gets violet the first time he did it to me. He never did it again to anyone or any dog. He was re homed with a family with a little dog and 4 year old just fine.
    The other one was very food aggressive. I did what I do to her and made her wait and be calm before I gave it to him. He later was able to drink out of the same bowl with other dog and would eat right next to him. They never ate eachothers food and I could play with both of there foods while they ate.
    They never showed any aggression to anyone, even when they got attacked. They weren't afraid of me, they just knew where the line was.

    My question is why does she shake when eating? Even if I just put the bowl down and step back, she is still scared. And how can I help her get over that?

    There are two possibilities here.

    One is that she's too hungry/you aren't feeding her as much as she needs. So when she gets to the food she's really desperate and her blood sugar is a bit wonky. The other is that she's just plain afraid of eating in the open/insecure in general and eating with anyone around scares her/she's insecure about it, either because of her history (those other puppies died from SOMETHING, right?). My suggestions would be two fold: Add a feeding, somewhere, if at all possible, and feed her in her crate for a little bit. Make the crate the place of warmth, safety, and good things. It'll help her confidence overall, too.

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    Re: 8 Week old Pitbull puppy aggressive issues

    Quote Originally Posted by ˚Alta˚ View Post
    In my opinion there are a couple little things you can do that will really help. First of all, I really don't think you need to touch her (or try to take away her food) well she eats a meal. I just don't see a reason. Dogs are more likely to develop agression if they feel threatened, and she probably feels like you just might take away her food.

    My second point is that you should remember that she is tiny, and compared to her, you are HUGE. Try to be very gentle when you pet her, you never want her to feel like you might accidentally hurt her. Also, remember that since you got her when she was very young, (I don't blame you) she has not had as much time to build confidence given to her by her mother.

    Also, I don't see very many reasons why you would need to correct a puppy her age. Limit your corrections to when they are absolutely needed and correct only once. Use obedience as the primary way to show your dominance rather than physical power (example, command before eating, going through the door or getting a toy.)

    I agree with some of the other people that growling can be very important, but I see why you are not comfortable with it. Try finding something she LOVES to do (some sort of toy or game) then going into a space that you can quickly leave, but that your dog cannot leave. Start playing the game and having fun, but if she growls or nips, say something like "Don't" or "Wrong" firmly but with no anger and then quickly leave the space for 30 seconds. Return happily and then continue playing until you get that undesirable behavior again.

    I hope some of this stuff helps.
    Your post is the most helpful so far, Thanks!

    She gets commands before eating, and sits at all the door frames, and brings toys back really good. She sits when I tell her to and when she follows me shes on my side and sits when I stop and looks up at me. Shes a great dog and is very smart.

    We have a pen gate that is up when the hallway starts and we do the no, leave and come back and play when she gets out of hand. I understand shes scared, but its a little hard when shes sitting in your lap or in front of the couch and you try to pick her up. Like if she in your lap and you want to get up, and you go to put her on the floor and she goes crazy, what should I do? I cant just stand up and let her fall 3 feet to the floor and get hurt. If I try to use my arms she grabs on to me. So grabbing the scruff to control her head so I can get up doesnt seem to bad you know.

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    Re: 8 Week old Pitbull puppy aggressive issues

    Quote Originally Posted by CptJack View Post
    There are two possibilities here.

    One is that she's too hungry/you aren't feeding her as much as she needs. So when she gets to the food she's really desperate and her blood sugar is a bit wonky. The other is that she's just plain afraid of eating in the open/insecure in general and eating with anyone around scares her/she's insecure about it, either because of her history (those other puppies died from SOMETHING, right?). My suggestions would be two fold: Add a feeding, somewhere, if at all possible, and feed her in her crate for a little bit. Make the crate the place of warmth, safety, and good things. It'll help her confidence overall, too.
    I first thought about it being the amount of food she eats. I feed her 1 cup of food 4 times a day. I used to feed her less 5 times a day mashed up when I first got her and slowly got her to it being complete dry. I dont want to feed her more then that to risk any health problems.

    Im going to start to feed her in her crate like you suggested. She sees that as her safe house and loves it. Once I see her tail start to come up and be calmer Ill start to move it closer to the end of the crate then out.

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    Re: 8 Week old Pitbull puppy aggressive issues

    Quote Originally Posted by KodiBarracuda View Post
    FWIW I thougt i came across much nicer than many other members would have been had they read your post and read all of the alpha talk.
    Everyone has there own way of what they think works. I will never talk bad about how anyone trains there dogs. Every dog is different, so whatever works for you, good for you. I know what has worked for me, even if it is the alpha dog theory. If something else works for someone else, then im happy for them.

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    Re: 8 Week old Pitbull puppy aggressive issues

    Quote Originally Posted by bluefizz87 View Post
    Every dog is different, so whatever works for you, good for you. I know what has worked for me, even if it is the alpha dog theory.
    Thing is ... it's NOT working for you at present, and that's why you're here asking for solutions to your problems.

    Reading Pat Miller's book "The Power of Positive Dog Training" will likely help to shift your perspective on training theories, in a good way. It's a great book, and I believe you'll find it very helpful.

    You seem sensitive to people's comments, so I'll just say that my advice is meant to be respectful of -- although different from -- your own opinion, ... and I'll leave it at that.

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    Re: 8 Week old Pitbull puppy aggressive issues

    Quote Originally Posted by bluefizz87 View Post
    I dont know if you've ever had a pitbull, (She is my 3rd) but they are very stubborn and hard headed. I posted this thread for advice, not ridicule comments.
    I currently own 2 pit bulls and have owned two others until they passed. I have fostered several more. My experience is that they are not stubborn at all and are, in fact, very sensitive. Perhaps a different approach would yield a different experience. Mine have all been pretty "soft" dogs who do better with reward-based training. I leave them alone while they eat, except sometimes I drop good things into their bowls while they are eating so they like being approached. I believe that many people accidently create a food/resource aggressive dog by over-training and over-proofing around high value items. I believe in letting a dog eat in peace. Approaching the bowl to add a hot dog slice or cheese is very different than petting and playing with the food.

    I think a pup who has survived parvo and was removed from its litter at 5 weeks and is now only 8 weeks old is going to need to gentle desensitization to flourish and become the dog it was meant to be. I think kindness and patience will serve you best in resolving these issues.

    I know that you mentioned to everyone that you have your own techniques and all, but you did post on a training forum for advice, so you are likely to receive some feedback that involves trying something different than what you are doing now.

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    Senior Member hast's Avatar
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    Re: 8 Week old Pitbull puppy aggressive issues

    Quote Originally Posted by petpeeve View Post
    Thing is ... it's NOT working for you at present, and that's why you're here asking for solutions to your problems.

    Reading Pat Miller's book "The Power of Positive Dog Training" will likely help to shift your perspective on training theories, in a good way. It's a great book, and I believe you'll find it very helpful.

    You seem sensitive to people's comments, so I'll just say that my advice is meant to be respectful of -- although different from -- your own opinion, ... and I'll leave it at that.
    Ditto to this ... If we didn't change and evolve with time, teachers would still disciplin students by hitting them with a ruler, we've found new better ways ... it's the same in dog training.

    I didn't see trainingjunkies post when I posted ... but PLEASE read it, and then read it again ... and try to take her/his advice at heart.
    "Mandy" Drybrucke's Amanda RN, GO, CDX, LP1, BH, CD, TD, HT, CGC
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