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So, on March 17th, I rescued a Pitt/Shepherd mix puppy. From what I know, he was found in an abandoned house, at 5 weeks, with a fractured rib. He was taken in, and care of by a foster family, and I adopted him at 12 weeks. He was about 30 lbs when I got him. I brought him home with my moms dogs, (they are smaller) not thinking too much about having issues, and things seemed to be fine for awhile... Until he got to be around 5 and a half months. He began picking fights with my moms mini doberman mix. He never has actually hurt him, and hers has not hurt Hetfield, they just fight. I took both of them to a behavioral training session (together) and she suggested I keep him leashed in the house, and try to redirect his attention from my moms dog with treats. So, I took them home, things seemed fine... But I forgot, and took his leash off. When I did remember, I put it back on, and Hetfield went crazy, thinking he was going somewhere. This was a mistake.. He sat down on the floor.. and I sat next to him.. Just petting him.. when for no reason, he lunged at my face. Didn't hurt me, just scared me a bit. I decided that he may have just been stressed, and frustrated, and took it out on me, as I was right there. He's never done this before, and he hasn't done this since.

My other issue, was this "treat" thing. My moms female, got a bit jealous, and tried to take his treat. He attacked her, and gave her a small puncture wound. My mom was terrified, and took him back to the shelter, without telling me... I'm in the process of moving out, and I plan on taking him back as soon as I get moved in, which should be next week. But my question is, what can I do to get him socialized with other dogs? He does just fine with people, but he's only been around smaller dogs, and seems to have a bit of an issue with food.

Oh, and I'd appreciate it, if I didn't get a lot of people bad-mouthing his breed. I personally have had dogs killed by pitts, and do not blame them, for being raised to kill.



Here's a pic of my baby.

iPhone-Kalina 043.jpg
 

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I think the best thing for you to do would be to hire a behaviorist. You seem to have done that before, and things got better. Well, do it again, and be consistent. It will take time. But a behaviorist is really the best way to go
 

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You had numerous dogs killed by numerous pit bulls?! Wow, your neighbors musta been scumbags. Mine are raised to be perfect. Screw a behaviourist, do group obedience classes and stay consistant.
 

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You had numerous dogs killed by numerous pit bulls?! Wow, your neighbors musta been scumbags. Mine are raised to be perfect. Screw a behaviourist, do group obedience classes and stay consistant.
I'm sorry but...
I highly doubt your dogs are perfect. And, it's not all "how you raise them."


Op, part of the problem could be that he was removed from his family at 5 weeks. Pups need not leave their mothers/litters until about 8 weeks. In those final few weeks, they learn a lot of crucial things about how to behave around other dogs.
This is not a bash on the breed, but pits are known to have issues with other dogs in general. Not all are the same, but many are. Shepherds, are highly prone to same sex aggression.

I agree with Dabs. Go find a behaviorist (or the same one) who uses positive techniques and follow through with the training this time, consistently.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Because I'm moving into a new house, I can't afford anymore behavior sessions. I want to be able to have other dogs, without worrying if he will attack or not. I'm nervous to even take him to group sessions either. He's not mean, and I know he plays really rough. I wanted to adopt another Pitt mix from the same shelter, who is a female, and a couple years older than Hetfield, to help socialize him. I was going to let them both "meet" at the shelter in the play field to make sure things go okay. I'm just nervous because them being both pitt mixes, if they started fighting, they wouldn't stop.

As far as having dogs killed by Pitts.... When I was about 11, I had 3 schnauzer mix puppies. I lived somewhat out in the country, and the guy across the street had 5 Pitts. He was feeding them gunpowder, and training them to kill for unknown purposes. One night while I was at Girl Scouts, they apparently "got out" and ripped the throat out of all 3 of my puppies, and then continued to attack my Grandpa... Who did shoot it... Not to kill though.

But my real issue here is that I can't afford behavioral sessions, and I want him to be well socialized with other dogs, so that I can eventually adopt this other Pitt.
 

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I think the best thing for you to do would be to hire a behaviorist. You seem to have done that before, and things got better. Well, do it again, and be consistent. It will take time. But a behaviorist is really the best way to go
Keep in mind that behaviorists are good at telling you "why" a dog does what he does, where as a trainer tells you how to "fix" what he does. The two are usually mutually exclusive and unless you need to understand the "why" it's better to get a good dog trainer.

Try this...

1. Get a pvc pipe and put peanut butter on each end. Tether one dog to a door handle or something similar and then feed both dogs from either end. That way they look at each other while they lick the peanut butter and associate seeing each other with a positive connection instead of a negative one.

2. Put one dog in the crate and put treats near the crate entrance (3-4 feet away) and have the other dog come eat the treats. He will associate seeing the other dog in the crate with treats, then repeat the process with one dog tethered and outside of the crate.

3. Have someone else help you buy walking the dogs past each other in different locations. Each time they successfully pass each other without growling/aggression etc give them a treat and praise them. Again this is a positive redirect that will help them associate each other with positive connection.

4. After doing the exercises various times for a week or so, try to let them play together on neutral grounds (open space is usually better) This will let them explore the area and play without any potential resource guarding and aggression and if the previous exercises are being done successfully will help curb the issues.

5. Monitor all treats/food. You can teach them to share but put them in separate places in the room if you're giving them a treat. If one gets up and tries to get anothers treat, redirect him back to his own treat and praise him when he does.

Rinse and repeat multiple times. Enroll in obedience classes and work on a "place" command so that if the dogs are offleash you can redirect them to a specific spot without worry of them ignoring you.
 

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First thing would be to make sure you can in fact re-adopt the dog from the shelter AND that your new apartment or housing situation will allow the dog.

Second, lots of dogs, unless trained otherwise (and sometimes even then) will fight over food or treats. Some resource guard against people too. Personally, I don't give high value (really yummy) treats or bones to dogs when another dog is present. they can have those treats in their crates or separate rooms. I always feed meals separately so neither dog feels rushed and no dog can run up and try to steal another dog's food. This also allows me to see if one dog isn't eating their food well, which can be a sign of illness (in a dog that normally eats heartily)
You can read about "Resource Guarding" to help understand when dogs guard their food against other dogs and/or people

Teaching very solid "Stay" and "Leave it" and "Drop it" to all dogs in a household can help

When you were sitting on the floor with him, could he have just been lunging towards your face to lick it or to headbutt you (in play)? I think almost all the pits I've dealt with have gone in fast for the face licking, one thought that greeting people by trying to nip their nose was appropriate (she quickly learned not to do that using force-free training)

When it comes to management techniques like leashes inside the house, you CANNOT just "forget" ; especially in the future if you have a second dog. If management techniques like leashes in the house, crating during mealtimes, removing toys and treats before the dogs are in the same room, etc are needed then they are 100% needed without failure on the part of the human. Some things can be trained out of a dog, some things cannot.

I wouldn't recommend adopting a second dog (of any breed) while your dog is still young and needs a lot of training. He needs all the normal training and needs some carefully supervised interaction with stable adult dogs (one dog at a time, proper introductions) to help determine his level of tolerance towards other dogs preferably with the assistance of a good trainer. My guess (from ONLY what you have written) is that if he was truly picking fights with the small dogs, there would have been some serious injuries. If you're nervous about having two bully breed dogs, then don't get two bully breed dogs.

All that said though, he's a young dog that isn't yet mature and his personality and dog tolerance could change in the next year or two. While mistreatment of a dog like your childhood neighbor was doing most certainly doesn't help anything, there are plenty of dogs that are treated great and trained great and still aren't going to be best buds with other dogs.
 

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I have news for you: you have a pit bull. Pit bulls are awesome dogs! Fantastic! Love 'em! But they were bred to fight dogs for at least 100 years. You don't need to train a pit bull to fight, it'll do that on its own. You cannot override 100 years of breeding with training.

Your dog doesn't like other dogs. That's okay. I had a GSD mix that wanted to kill every other dog he saw. We had a great 12 years together. Just us, though, no other dogs. No dog parks, no play dates, just us. He was happy and we were the best of friends. I did train him to ignore other dogs on walks, but that was it.

Please do not adopt another dog. You'll end up having to crate and rotate, or with a dead dog, or two. Just appreciate your dog for who he is and give him what he needs: your undivided attention and love.
 

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Mines dont even know what fighting is. I train and play constantly. Watch some videos on how to properly use a choker chain or prong collar. These are only to be used when training. Keep the mind occupied.
 

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Mines dont even know what fighting is. I train and play constantly. Watch some videos on how to properly use a choker chain or prong collar. These are only to be used when training. Keep the mind occupied.
Clearly, her dog does know what fighting is. So we're past that and into the reality of the situation. I've had a dog like this. It's not the end of the world, but you do have to live your life accordingly.
 

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Mines dont even know what fighting is. I train and play constantly. Watch some videos on how to properly use a choker chain or prong collar. These are only to be used when training. Keep the mind occupied.
Dog aggression is genetic for the most part. Training and exercise and keeping the mind occupied are all very good things but they cannot and will not stop a dog from being dog aggressive if that's simply how that dog is.
A choke collar, prong collar or any form of punishment based training CAN however raise the stakes and teach a dog to associate other dogs with pain. So a dog that might be selectively aggressive (like only around food or only towards a few dogs etc) or low level aggressive (not having much tolerance but not really starting anything either) may progress to a full-on dog aggression where he wants to kill every other dog he sees.

Not every pit bull is dog aggressive, they run the full spectrum of very dog friendly to dog tolerant to dog selective to very dog aggressive. Just like many other breeds. But an owner can "raise them to be perfect" as you say and still end up with a dog anywhere along that spectrum. The opposite can happen too; I've seen dogs that were untrained, abandoned, and abused and they still somehow ended up loving other dogs (and people too)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hetfield has never once had problems with my moms Pug. I've never owned a big dog, and things are all new here, especially with his breed mix being Staffie and Sheperd. As far as the "fighting 100 of years ago" they were also bred as nanny dogs, and I do believe that ANY dog, regardless of breed, can be agressive. As for Hetfield, he gets along with certain dogs, ignores others, and picks fights with some. Now, he didn't start this fighting until after his, excuse me, balls dropped, and his testosterone started flowing. The vet I take him too was booked up for awhile on neutering, so I couldn't get him neutered until just last week. He is still at the shelter, and yes, I am allowed to keep him at my new home, it does have a fenced in yard, and I am allowed to readopt with no new fee. I took him to the park just the other day, and since he's been neutered, he has calmed down quite a bit. He's usually extremely hyper, and tends to pull very hard on the leash, and we are now able to walk the same pace, with no pulling. There was another dog, a shepherd, that he walked near, sniffed, and continued walking. I'd like to keep him socialized with others, and every dog "meet and greet" will be supervised. I was just wondering if there is more I can do. He's a very people friendly dog, and yes, he does tend to face nip, but the time he jumped directly at my face, he did nip me in the nose.

As for injuries with the other dogs he's fought with, nothing more than small puncture wounds were developed. My behaviorist did say if he wanted to kill the other dogs, they would have been dead already.
 

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Pits were not bred as nanny dogs. No dog is a nanny and never has been. They were referred to as 'nanny dogs' because of their high tolerance for pain and ignorance. As fightings dogs, they were meant to show extreme aggression towards other dogs, but not towards people. A handler needed to be able to reach in the pit and drag them out without being mauled. Any dog that showed aggression or intolerance of humans was culled.

It's the cold fact of the matter that these dogs were named Pit Bulls for a reason, and that reason was to fight dogs in pits. Yes, they have been used for many other things, and are wonderful dogs, but that's the way it is. Many of them do still have a tendency towards dog aggression, the same way GSDs have a tendency towards same sex aggression.
 
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