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Hello everyone,

I have a 11 year old mountain feist (similar to a jack russell) and a 6 year old blue pit. I got both of them when they were about 6 weeks old. The pit gets along with the feist, probably because the feist was 5 when the pit was a puppy so he grew up with him. My brother has recently moved back from Oregon and is living with me now, and has brought his dog. He has a 9 month old german shepherd/timberwolf mix. My brothers dog and my feist get along fine, but my pit does not like the GS (german sherpherd). My pit has always shown aggression towards dogs his size and bigger. Puppies and small dogs he is fine with, but if the dog is of similar stature he does not play well. We have tried to slowly introduce them to each other. Right now they take turns having access to the house. If the pit is out and about, then we will keep the GS in my brothers room. If the GS is roaming, we keep the pit in my room. We take them on walks together every night so that my pit will start thinking that the GS is part of the pack. At first, if the GS got within 15 feet of us, my pit would bark, growl, and try to lunge after her. He has shown some progress though, now as long as we are walking side my side, they will get within about 5 feet of each other with no incidents. But if we stop walking to talk to a neighbor, he goes back to barking, growling, and trying to lunge. Whenever my pit lunges, I don't strike him or yell at him, I simply take him further away from her until he calms down, and then we continue our walk. Is there something that I can do differently to help my pit accept the new dog into the pack? Is there anything that I am doing wrong with our approach? We have been doing this for about 10 days now, and while there is some signs of progress, it isn't as much as we were hoping by now. I mainly wanted to hear from y'all to see if anyone has some suggestions about how to help the dogs get along. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
 

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They may never be able to be near one another. A bully and wolfdog? Yeah, neither are exactly dog social types. Keep up the good work and you may be able to have them dragging leashes loose in the house in a couple months so long as both of you are present. I wouldn't ever try controlling both on your own. Zero play or food and they have their own spots.

You are doing what I would, keep separate and prevent reactions. It took a couple months before I put the pen away and trusted Bucky to not bounce on Ginger and he means no harm so plan for at least that.
 

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We figured it would be an uphill battle. My girlfriend got a pit mix a couple months ago and brought her over when she was a puppy. My pit tried to dominate her some, standing over her barking and growling, but after a couple of days he warmed up to her and now they spend all day playing whenever she brings her over. I am hoping that if we continue walking them together he will start to warm up to the GS. After they can walk together without issues, the next goal is to let them play in the backyard together, and then finally see if they will be inside the house without any altercations. We have discussed hiring a trainer to come to the house to work with them, but can't convince ourselves to pay the $1,000 fee he wants for him to tell us the same stuff that we are learning from youtube videos and forums like this.
 

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Some dogs simply do not like other dogs. You can continue trying the very slow introduction method, but you must prepare for the possibility of them never getting along.

Also, if your brother's dog is truly a wolf dog, she's likely to get less social with other dogs with age. She's 9 months old now, a puppy. One day she may decide your pit's growling and lunging is too much and retaliate. Can you control a wolf dog that is likely to reach 100 lbs or more if that would happen?

Dogs can also tell "dog" from "dog shaped, but not dog". Undomesticated canines and domesticated canines do not typically get along....That may factor in to this.
 

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Would hiring a trainer be helpful at all? From what y'all are saying, and what everyone else has told me, they are an odd couple and getting them to be civil is going to take a lot of time and energy. There is a local trainer that will come to our house every 7-10 days and help train our dogs. He says that he will continue to come to our house until we reach the desired outcome. He charges $1,000 total for this service, regardless of how long it is going to take. Do you think he is going to be able to shed any more light on our situation that the we aren't going to be able to figure out on our own?
 

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Maybe. What training style does this trainer follow? He/She should be a positive, rewards based trainer. If they start talking about dominance theory, shock collars, and corrections I would run far away. That type of training is likely to make it worse.

Bottom line, though, you can't train a dog that does not like other dogs to like dogs. You can train coping mechanisms, you can train them to ignore each other (to a degree), and if you're really lucky maybe you can change how your pit feels about dogs bigger than him. But some dogs just don't get there. They just don't like other dogs or certain types of other dogs.

Personally, I would be wary of a trainer who says they will keep working with you until they reach the "desired outcome." Sometimes the desired outcome just isn't going to happen. These two dogs may never be safe together. They may never play in your backyard. I mean, they MIGHT, but I would be looking for a trainer who says to you, "Hey, I will do my best to help you reach your goals, but we may have to lower your expectations based on what the dogs are comfortable with." And also that something like this may take YEARS. Is this trainer going to keep coming to your house for months on end, possibly, for $1,000? I don't think so. I think this trainer may do whatever he/she wants to get results in a few weeks/months, and that may negatively impact your dogs.
 

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The behavior by the Pit is likely hard wired. These dogs were bred to fight other dogs. You can try, but I would not trust the Pit. I would keep the dogs separated and own a "break stick" in case the Pit ever gets hold of that shepherd.

When a dog is bred for a job and the hard wiring for that job kicks in, that job is more rewarding than any treat, any toy, anything. That is just the way it is. Be careful of THAT and realize THAT may be what is going on.

I own/buy purebred German Shepherds. Because I believe it is the "right thing to do" I considered taking in a foster to "give back" in the rescue business. Problem is that most of the dogs needing foster in my areas are Pits/Pit crosses. Many do not have the dog aggressive hard wiring. Many also DO have it and simply have never expressed it (due to age usually.. since most are young dogs). Others have it and express it.

I looked at all of this long and hard and decided I simply could not risk my dogs for a rescue that might kill one of them.

I know that there are Pits that have been "re-habbed" (the stories of the Michael Vick dogs are everywhere). Those dogs were exposed to hours of training so keep in mind that if you want to go that route with your Pit it is going to take time, dedication and $$$$ and may still fail the training. You as an owner may fail the training as well (experience counts in this as well as great dog handling skills are imperative).

I am not saying your dog cannot be trained. I am saying your dog cannot be trusted now. Make NO MISTAKES. Your Pit could kill this other dog (and be badly injured in the scrape). Even with all the training in the world your Pit may never be trustworthy with this other dog.
 

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*UPDATE*

After weeks of slowly familiarizing the Pit and GS with each other, taking them on walks, keeping them on leashes around the house so they can't get too close, taking turns keeping them in a crate in the living room and let the other roam around, we finally had a breakthrough today. While I was at work, my brother went to the restroom and left the door to his bedroom open. When he walked back by his bedroom, he caught this out of the corner of his eye...


pups.jpeg
 

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I do not like the body language being given off by that Pit in this photo. He is stiff looking, his head is down and the entire dog appears to be saying "get out of my space."

FWIW the GSD looks like pure GSD to me. Dark sable with penciling on the toes (so carries the Black color gene). No TW in that dog. Just Working Line GSD.
 

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going to side with 3GSD4IPO . i have two intact males, one was older when he came to us... he wasnt' raised to live in the same space as other dogs or adult males. I do keep them close but always separate spaces. one of the males is an escape artist and they do handle it very well, not looking for a fight. but i will never have them live in the same space full time every day normal living in the same space happens and some types of excitement happens and something innocent ends up being a trigger into a fight.

Continue with your training, it's great to have it when they accidently end up in the same space to be calm about it and you can move them back into their own spaces easily. don't take it as a sign they are ok with everything ... i would give it much more time before and even if i would consider the are safe together.
 
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