Someone I know came to me and wanted advice.
Has two dogs, both are 9. One is a Male Chocolate Lab and the other is Female Pit Bull (PB). PB is "suddenly" attacking the Lab. Triggers are when the kids (teenagers) are sitting on the couch eating food or other times when family is together both indoors and out. PB warns with a growl and then attacks the Lab and has escalated to drawing blood. Dogs used to be "friends" and even were boarded at some kennel with both dogs sharing a kennel (not something I would do). Last time they went away the kennel refused the Lab because he had an open wound on his head.
Sooo.. the question was "can you fix this." I think he expected me to come to the house and strap an E Collar on the PB and fry the dog for it's behavior... and "fix" this quick and easy for him.
I told him the BEST thing he could do is crate or kennel the PB when they were eating and to separate the two dogs permanently. He indicated the behavior was "suddenly new" but the level of knowledge about dogs is such that I suspect this has been building for a Looooong time. In all fairness to the dog and the description I was given I recommended taking the dog to a vet and getting a complete work up and insure it is not low thyroid etc. etc.
Of course they do not want to spend the money at the Vet and all the vaccinations have been a Tractor Supply so they don't HAVE a regular vet. Initial exams are more $$ and then the blood test.. and they have the $$ but "all that for a dog??" is the attitude.
He wanted to know about muzzling the dog. I said he could try a basket muzzle but sometimes PB's are not easy to fit and a muzzle takes some training to get used to.
We discussed this AND separating the dogs and crating the PB when food is present.. and the response was "my kids will never keep these rules up.." and maybe just shutting the PB in a room (and the kids will forget her and not get her out).
Considering the attitude about effort and money finally I said well here are your choices.
1.) Separate the dogs. Permanently.
2.) Basket muzzle if they are together.
3.) Take to the vet and give a dose of Pink Juice and be done with it. This last one caused his jaw to drop.
I said I put #3 out there because it sounds like no one wants to work at this and train the dog or take the dog to a vet to insure it is not a physical issue. If the two dogs fight one of the people, maybe one of your kids, could get badly injured because they probably do not know how to wheel barrow a dog backward by hind feet and they do not know how to break up a dog fight involving a PB. The situation is escalating and one day the PB may very well kill the Lab.
He then went on to say the dog came from an abusive situation, afraid of men and so forth. I asked how he knew the dog was abused. He said they got the dog at a year old and it would submissive pee and ran away from men but no one said the dog was abused. I said while abuse might have happened it is unlikely and the dog was simply genetically wired to to be afraid and not confident. Men have a different presence than women.. usually they stand taller, have a deeper voice and a different presence and that was likely the issue.
This person wanted a magic bullet. I suspect the dog has been giving signals for a LOOONG time but they did not see them. He admitted to punishing the dog for growling. They do not want to spend $$. They do not want to make any effort (like separating the dogs) (I even offered a free outdoor 10X10X6 foot kennel to help them!). They wanted me to come fix the issue in a single visit OR (preferably) tell them how to fix it instantly OR loan them an E collar (NO NOT EVER WOULD I DO THIS).
This is NOT a dog that should be "punished!" Yet that was the owner's first "go to."
Meanwhile, someone who is a bit more savvy than the owner but knows the dog told me "that dog nearly bit me last year and it has been aggressive with the other dog for awhile..." (insert eye roll) (I suspected this).
I was polite to the dog owner but this, my friends, is WHY you are unlikely to hear of me working training Pet dogs.
It isn't the dogs. It is the owners....