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Hey, I apologize in advance. This will probably be at least a few paragraphs as my situation is pretty complicated.

I am living in a foreign country for a few years. I don't have a social security number here, so I can't rent an apartment (so that they can check my credit rating). I could get around that by having a cosigner, but I have no family here, and I don't have any friends that I know quite that well to ask. However, a friend told me he had an apartment to rent me, and it was fully furnished (I didn't want to buy furniture for just one year). This is important so that you understand I'm kind of stuck in this situation.

The apartment is basically a small separate house situated in my friend's family's backyard. The problem is that they keep a dog in this backyard as well, and they don't really take care of it. They provide food and water, and he has space to run around, and that's the extent of their interaction with the dog. The dog is a five year-old non-neutered pit bull. The dog had a number of problems when I got here, all of which are better, but none of which are solved completely. He was/is slightly aggressive towards people, extremely aggressive towards dogs and other animals, very destructive of everything in the yard and once my kitchen when I didn't shut the door all the way. He barks almost every waking moment, and he is not safe to have around children. The owners also claimed he couldn't be walked because he was too strong and a danger to other dogs.

After about 3 months of watching them do nothing, and them brushing off my suggestions that they could do something about the dog, I decided to take control of the situation. I bought a leash and started walking him 4-5 times a week. I bought treats and taught him to sit and lay down, both of which he learned very quickly (although he will only do them if he knows I have treats).

The one thing that hasn't improved much is his barking, and I don't know what to do. I'm a student, and I basically have to accept that I can't study in my house from 6pm-11pm as he barks almost non-stop during this period (usually standing at the back door to his owner's house,. He won't bark in front of my door like he used to).

I tried going out and scolding him, but I have to run downstairs, go all the way across my house, open the door, and cross the yard to get to him. Usually when he hears me walking to the door he stops, so I think my scolding is doing more to confuse him than anything else.

I recently decided to try and house train him so that I could just let him come inside with me, and I could correct him more adequately, but I have a problem. My stairs are a steep-narrow-spiral staircase, and I could not get him to even try going up them. Honestly, I think he might get up, but then there's no way to get him down again.

I feel like if I knew why he was barking, I could fix it, but I have no idea. I suspect he's trying to lure the family out, but anything on that end isn't happening. I've even considered a shock collar (as much as I detest them), as it's the only way I see to deliver an immediate correction to his constant barking. I also considered an air horn (loud noises scare him) that I could blast every time he barks, but I don't know how that would work.

If you have any solutions to how to get him to stop barking, please let me know. I'm constantly looking for another place to live, but due to my situation, it's a little difficult. Or even if you have an idea of how I could get a dog up and down that staircase, I'm pretty sure I could just bring him in and the barking would stop.

Thanks in advance. I know this is long, but I wanted to make sure you understood as much as possible about the situation.
 

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It sounds like you're in a very, very sticky situation.

The dog is obviously uncared for, untrained, and needs a lot of TLC.

I highly doubt you want to take on all the responsibilities of a dog that isn't really yours, especially if you're only going to be there a year (unless you want/can take him with when you leave.) You would need to start regular training all the time. Try for positive training only, no harsh things. (yelling does't even work, just creates a more scared dog)

The dog is fearful of everything because it has never experienced anything.

Is there no other access to your house where you could get him in and out as you need to?

I can't offer any ways to really help barking sadly (it's an issue I am still battling with my dog Perkins).

You could consult the dog training areas, and first time dog owner sections though.

Good luck!
 

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I'd bring him in your apartment if you're so inclined. If he lives in a crappy situation, you can possibly make part of that situation a little better for him. If you can afford it, get him some toys, real bones, a Kong you can fill with some yummy stuff, to keep him occupied.
 

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I'd bring him in your apartment if you're so inclined. If he lives in a crappy situation, you can possibly make part of that situation a little better for him. If you can afford it, get him some toys, real bones, a Kong you can fill with some yummy stuff, to keep him occupied.
This. With him being inside with you he is less inclined to bark.
 

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I would definitely avoid ANY sort of "punishment" type training- no shock collars, no air horns etc.

Can you study outside and hang out around him in the evening? Pit bulls in general are very people oriented and hate being left outside or ignored. You don't always have to be actually interacting with him, but a lot of times just being around is enough to make him feel like part of the family.

Do you not have a downstairs section of your house? If not, you could try luring him up the stairs by place a treat on each stair. If he is comfortable with being handled, you could put a bath towel under his belly like a sling and hold him to make him feel secure walking up the steps. Don't try this if he isn't comfortable with that sort of action (something under his belly, being guided around etc).

Can you give him a walk or a game of fetch or something else to tire him out a bit in the evening so he might settle down a bit before you need to study?

If you bring him inside or are spending time outside with him, teach "Quiet" for the barking. Basically, every time he is quiet, say QUIET and give him a treat. Gradually expect longer quiet periods before he gets his treat. At first, only a couple seconds, then build up over a week or so to a minute or two and after a few weeks, QUIET should be at least 5-10 minutes and then a treat and he should NOT go right back to barking either but rather you give a treat, say good boy, and he should stay quiet and get another treat 10 or 15 minutes later with continuing quiet. Don't scold, if he is barking for attention any attention will do- even negative attention like yelling.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Hey guys, thanks a lot for your help.

I am already walking him, but I can't get home every day to walk him. He's a bit of a pain on walks, but he generally calms down within 10-15 minutes, and the rest of the walk is pretty peaceful until he sees another dog.

My apartment is a little weird. The ground floor is just a kitchen and a bathroom, then there is a tiny room with my staircase and a love seat. Upstairs is my bedroom/study and a deck. I spend most of my time upstairs, but I suppose I could study at my dining room table. He would still have to go out at night as he isn't house trained and would almost certainly urinate everywhere and destroy most of the downstairs.

I am convinced I could get him upstairs, but getting him down would be difficult and probably impossible unassisted. It is an extremely steep narrow staircase.

I already let him come into the kitchen when I'm cooking or cleaning dishes. I've taught him not to enter my apartment unless I invite him in (he'll stand in the doorway until I pat my leg and tell him "okay").

I can buy him a few toys. He has a bone that he's been chewing since I got here (and from the looks of it long before then). He also tends to rip bark/limbs off of trees and play with that. I've already bought a leash, collar, and treats for him, so a couple of toys isn't a big deal.

Playing fetch or anything like that probably won't work. He is extremely toy possessive, even if the toy was just shown to him. I have managed to teach him not to snap when I move his toys off of my front porch so that I can sweep, but he is obviously not pleased by it.

I think he's barking for attention from my landlord. The whole back of their house is glass, so he can see when they have people over or are cooking and eating dinner. They never respond to it, so you would think he would give up, but I'll keep working at it.

Thanks again.
 

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Like you said, he wants attention... and he sees an opportunity, so he probably won't stop barking until he gets some company. He also needs to chew on something, which may help calm him. As a temporary fix, you might toss him a large stuffed, frozen Kong... He'll probably start barking again when he's finished.

Would it be worth the effort... to teach him how to walk down the stairs?
 

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I think first you need to decide if you want to keeo this dog or not and go on with your training. Tis is what we refere to as a backyard dog. dogs are very social animals and don't like to be left alone in a back yard. What you are describing are all animal behaviors that happen when they don't have a benevolent leader. If you decide to keep this dog and take him when you leave invest your time if you train this dog and leave it wil go right back to it's original behavors which backyard dogs do. This is a very sad situation for the dog and surprised noned reported this or complained about the dog barking. I cpmmend you on taking this responsbility and trying this help this dog. You are on the right track on helping the dog but it will take a lifetime of commitment ro fully help the dog. There is no quick fix for all the behaviors you are seeing but time and commitment on umans part to install behavors and emotions we want to see. Hope this helps and if you decide to go forward stay onm forums great advise you will recoe here...
 
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