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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Eeek.. good point, I just need to find one that will work around my crazy hours. You don't think I can just do it myself at home? Do you think socialization around other people/places/dogs would help or hinder a shy bully? (We're talking about Nala here, 6 mos old.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well the only dogs she has ever met are mine, and the neighbors through the fence. She plays well with mine, doesn't pay much attention to the others... but she is shy with ME, shy with everyone. Don't get me wrong, she's happy to see me, wags her tail, comes running and wants to snuggle. But if I approach her, she runs the opposite way and hides.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Honestly? I usually don't do anything.. I'm usually running to find something to clean up the trail of pee she just left as she ran the other way. I've started to block her into the kitchen only so it's easier to clean up on tile than my poor carpet. I try to ignore her completely so she stops peeing. The only time she hears frustration in my voice is when I am running late for work and she's making me chase her down to put her in the basement for the night.

She will come to me... then back away again... then come a little closer... until she finally gets close enough that I can I grab her.

She is very food motivated, she will sit nicely for a treat. But she's so SPAZZ. She is constantly running around playing. (Like any puppy would.) But my other dogs were a little more focused. Much easier to train. (Heaven was, anyway.) She just isn't interested in training. She's so hard to figure out. Some days are better than others. She does much better when alone (away from Heaven and Koa). She's definitely a people lover, she wants constant attention and likes to give kisses. But she's so nervous.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Another problem that presents itself here... she won't walk on a leash. She completely resists it. I can't get her to walk with me, I just have to drag her a few feet till she starts to walk on her own, but then she starts all over and tries to get the collar off over her head, or just pulls backwards. (This is why she potties leash-free in the fenced-in yard.)

See, I never had these problems with H & K. They took to a leash right away... they enjoyed training time. They came to me without hesitation. (Well Koa's a little stubborn, but not scared.) I do agree that she could become a fear-biter, that's why I'm so determined to make some changes. At present, I do not allow her around my son. And she's only 6 mos old, she shows no sign of aggression. But when she's 50 pounds and gets startled by something, what's she gonna do then? She such a sweet little puppy right now... it's hard to predict how she will be as an adult. True temperament isn't shown until adulthood, right?

And really, she has had no socialization. The only time she's out in public is at the vet's office. I'm always reading in here that they don't NEED socialization, they only need you. I don't know... I just feel like such a huge failure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
One more thing.. I'm not sure if I can get to it tonight, but I am going to post some videos of Nala's behavior, so hopefully you guys can help me evaluate her problem and get a better idea of what she needs.

I have also mentioned to some other members, but have not written about here... that she is not doing well health-wise. She is so nervous that she wolfs down her food really fast (like in less than a minute), then she vomits because she practically swallows it all whole. She does eat the vomit (gross)... but yet she still seems to be losing weight. I feed her much more than she actually needs because her bones are showing, but she just isn't thriving.

Maybe she has worms again... I don't know. I just wish I knew what to do with this pup.
 

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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
Snoopy, I won't allow her near my son because 2 mos ago she growled and bit my hand. (Didn't really break the skin, but only because I moved my hand fast enough.) Granted I was taking a treat from her mouth that she stole from Heaven, and she was only 4 mos old at the time... but I haven't trusted her since. She has also gotten so exicted about food that she has bitten my hand when I'm feeding her. I am afraid that my son will be eating something, and she will go after his face when he puts food in his mouth. Even though she is a puppy, I won't risk my son's well-being. I realize I cannot keep her if this behavior continues, but I'm trying to see if maybe I overreacted, and maybe she can still be dealt with.

She has not shown any signs of aggression since then. (Just fear.) I have put my hand in her bowl while she's eating, and the only thing she did was squat and pee. Not a great response, but at least she didn't snap. She sounds so hopeless, but she is only 6 mos old. How old does a dog have to be before you know there's nothing more you can really do?
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Re: why ?

PeterC said:
Why build confidence? Why not just get a new dog with confidence in the first place and forget the stress and headaches. forget the nervy growls, the bolting off into the field. Forget the avoidance stance.

PS. bulldog that needs to build confidence..................hmmmmmmmmmm. Isn't that an oxymoron?
Well I get what you're saying, but I don't want a new dog... I rescued her from a bad situation, knowing she may come with issues, so I feel I owe it to her to give her a chance. I just haven't figured out if I have done enough, or is there more I can do... Can I not "fix" this one... should I give up, or try harder. That's what I'm trying to figure out. (Thank you all for helping me out too.) If she was an adult, there would be no question. But she's 6 mos old. How long do you work on this behavior before the dog shows its true colors? I just want to make sure I have done everything humanly possibly to give Nala the best life she deserves.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
Re: luvabull....

PeterC said:
WHY would you adopt a dog you KNOW may have issues? That is crazy.

The shy, skiddish ones NEED to be put down.

Would it not be MORE rewarding to get a stable dog that needs a home and adopt that one out so he can have a loving family? Which one is more productive?

If you have a big heart, then use it wisely. Am I wrong?
Peter, I'm just saying that anyone who rescues doesn't know for sure what they're getting in to. No one KNOWS when they adopt a puppy from a shelter. I wasn't looking for a prize-winner, or a working dog.. I was looking for a pet, and wanted to save one that had no home.

ETA: The rescue group also didn't know anything about Nala when they got her. They literally picked her up from Kentucky, transported her to Ohio, where I met them as soon as they arrived, and she went home with me. Even if they had known she would be shy, it's against their code of ethics to euth for that reason, being that they rescue mostly from high kill shelters. My contract states that I must consult a professional for all behavioral and training issues. And I will, if I have to. But it only takes common sense to see that she is not a stable puppy. Yet on the other had, she is just that -- a puppy. My question here is how do you know when you can't really help anymore.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
PeterC said:
I think only you can answer that.

For some, like me, it would be very little. For you, you will go far. I admire your tenacity.

My granddaddy said, " make sure all that love you give that dog is worth it."

Is it worth it?
You know, when she looks at me with those huge hazel eyes, and reaches up to kiss my face... I say yes, she is definitely worth it. But as Paula pointed out, we're not dealing with a shepard, she's a pit bull who will probably grow up to be quite powerful, and potentially dangerous. Can I put down the sweet little puppy who was just kissing my face? I can't, I just can't. I am not that strong. But I will try my best to see if she can improve to the point of being stable. When I have exhausted every effort to improve her confidence, I will have no choice. I can't pass along her problems to someone else. And I hope the day never comes that I have to make that decision. I just want to make it all better. :sad7:
 

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Discussion Starter · #46 ·
msvette2u said:
Well I can tell you if she was in my shelter that I'd not have sent her out, in all liklihood, to a rescue even. But I only have one question, you knew her background, that she might have problems, why did you wait until she was 6 mos. to start wondering about her behavior? If I'd been you and took on such a project dog, I'd have gotten into obedience or sought professional help much sooner than you are, if you even ARE consulting a specialist in dog behavior. And don't sit HERE wondering if you're doing the right thing or if you need to put her down or whatever, ask the PROFESSIONAL behaviorist. If you can't afford one or don't have the time, then do the right thing and do not foist her onto someone else, just have her put to sleep. If you're that afraid of her being around your kids then put her down.
I have been posting about this for MONTHS if you look back. I think a lot of people missed those threads because there was other controversial stuff going on in the forum, and my threads fell to the wayside. I stopped talking about it for a while, because we were making progress, and there was nothing new to report. As I said, I have been working with her, and she has improved in some issues, but not her shyness/nervousness. Well we're almost into November now, so 3 months ago, I started intensively working with her, after the hand nipping incident. Before that, I was just working on basics with her. She does well, but I think her urination thing has only gotten worse. This thread is about me asking "when is enough, enough?" I really thought I made that clear, because I feel very repetative at this point.

Let me clarify again that I didn't KNOW her background! I meant that when a person RESCUES a puppy from a shelter, they don't know anything about that dog. So, I didn't KNOW she had issues, but I knew ANY dog with an unknown background could come with issues. Do you see what I am saying now? Nala was 8 weeks old when she was dropped off at a rescue in Kentucky by a BYB who didn't want to deal with her anymore. He dropped off a whole litter, but then realized he could make some more money off them, so he jumped the fence and stole them back a few nights later. (This is what they speculate, anyway.) Nala and her sister were the lucky ones to escape because they were being spayed that night.

Someone transported her to Ohio, where I picked her up. She was emaciated and lethargic. Yes she was timid, but she was away from her mother for the first time, away from her littermates, and put in a new home with big dogs that she did not know. I expected her to be timid. Then she was very ill for a few weeks with a severe spay incision infection, and kennel cough.. so I babied her. She wasn't ready to be trained, she would only sleep. By the time she was healthy, I realized she was still very shy, but she listened well when training her the basics. Very food motivated. It was a short time after that she nipped my hand. I was furious, even though she was 4 mos old, I didn't think it was appropriate.

So I went back to basics. I posted that Nala thought she ranked over me, probably because I let her sleep on my chest, in my bed, and gave her special attention. So I started showing her that I was alpha, and stopped spoiling her, and started feeding the other dogs first, gave attention to the other dogs first, etc. Hand fed her when I could. I've been working with her for almost 3 mos now, as I said... and she has shown NO sign of food aggression, there has been no nipping or anything of the sort. She does well with commands, just a wee bit exuberant, difficult to focus. But my question that remained was, how to make her more confident.

Maybe in showing her that she ranked last on the totum pole, I just made her shyness worse. I don't know... so I was trying to find ways to make her more outgoing. I just wish you could see her in person. I think anyone that looked at her little face would say she deserves a chance. She is very gentle, loving, and affectionate (so long as food isn't around, then she is not so gentle, but not mean). I wanted her to be a therapy dog, but she never outgrew her fearfulness. I want to give her a chance, I am just not sure how long you allow a puppy to display fear before you have to make "that decision."

Sorry... this was a long post. I just want to make sure I am understood here. You guys are all giving great advice, thank you so much.

And Bill... thank you. :love2:
 

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Discussion Starter · #47 ·
TobysMum... my only question is... do you think Toby is a fear biter because he barks at other strange dogs? Maybe I misunderstood your post. My adult dogs hate other dogs, and will bark at them and carry on too. But that's because they're pit bulls, and they were bred to fight other dogs. That is no indication of fear. They are both very stable dogs, who just happen to dislike other dogs they see walking by.
 

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Discussion Starter · #56 ·
I haven't had time to work with her yet, this is a big part of the problem! I've been working and going to class. (Getting certified in trauma, which will be complete the 31st.) I just got home, I have to work again tonight when I wake up, and I will be away Fri & Sat night, then I have a photo shoot on Sunday for charity. Hopefully next week I can start the new methods, but I know Nala -- and she's not going for any leash methods right off the bat. She just tries to get the collar off over her head and freaks out. She will have to be re-introduced to the leash slowly. I don't want her to get so freaked out that she never goes near a leash again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #57 ·
Another thing that I have to keep in mind... when my dogs are awake, I am asleep. When they are asleep, I am awake. I work nightshift, so training time is limited to days off when I can switch my sleep cycle around. Depending on how many consecutive days I have off, this isn't always possible. I realize the dogs need more attention than what I can give them. In the past, my son and babysitter were always here in my absence. I've been all alone since September. So this has been a huge adjustment for all of us.
 

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Discussion Starter · #62 ·
Lisa said:
When they are asleep, I am awake.
So why not wake them up for the training lessons?
I wasn't writing to say that I COULDN'T, I was just saying it's something to keep in mind for people giving advice, because my schedule is NOT like a normal person's. I can't just up and go to PetsMart and expose Nala to new situations. I'm not about to go take a walk in the park after dark either. Training is fine at night, but not the socialization we spoke of about introducing her to new situations. I just want everyone to realize my schedule when they're giving advice, so it's something that works for me. Gotta keep your advice geared toward vampires. LOL

Also, some of you may be "dog people," meaning some of you train and work your dogs, some do it for a living -- it's a large part of your life. It's not for me. My dogs are very important and loved, but they rank lower in my priorities. I take care of my child first -- and I only see him on weekends now, so he is a huge focus in my free time. Any sleep I sacrifice is to meet HIS needs. Then I take care of my own needs. I will always place rest, recuperation and quiet time above training the dogs. I'm not sitting at a desk at work for 12 hours -- I'm on my feet taking care of sick, injured, bleeding, vomiting, pooping, crying, screaming, dying people. If I don't relax in my off time, I won't be much good for anything.

When I have taken care of myself, then I will take care of my dogs. My free time is very limited. I'm not saying I DON'T have time for training sessions, or that I won't, because I WILL! But again -- it's something to keep in mind when you're giving suggestions. I cannot over-extend myself to train a dog, I am too busy saving human lives and being a mom.

Do I think it's best that they were in a home where they could receive more attention? Absolutely. But about the same time I do that, I am viewed as some evil monster for giving up and not trying. I DO try to the best of my abilities... but the best of MY abilities, is just not the same as yours or someone else's. I will do all that I can for Nala. She is my baby, I rescued her, and she's my responsibility. I'm trying the hardest that I can with the circumstance I am given.
 

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Discussion Starter · #63 ·
msvette2u said:
but I know Nala -- and she's not going for any leash methods right off the bat
So who is in charge, her or you?? You're dooming her by this attitude. I would not give a rat's ass if my dog didn't "go for leash methods", they are A DOG and her life literally hangs in the balance from the sound of it. You need to take over and be in charge or this isn't going to work.
msvette, that in no way implies that Nala is in charge. This implies that she is afraid of the leash. And forcing her to wear it, is not beneficial to anyone. I don't know about you, but I think it's much easier to train a calm, content dog, than it is to train one that is fighting, kicking and trying to escape with every fiber of their being. Common sense here, not a battle of "who's in charge." I said I WILL re-introduce Nala to the leash, but it's going to take TIME before she is comfortable enough to just leisurely walk beside me with it on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #65 ·
Roxy said:
I really don't know what to say to what you wrote above, except I give up in wasting my time with you. I train my dogs as I owe it to them as a responsible owner, I need them to learn right from wrong.

Good luck or a miricle, because nothing will change.
Nikki, I said I DO train my dogs, and I WILL, as they are my responsibility. I'm just saying that I don't have as much free time as most people. Many of you have spouses or family members or at least friends that can help you. If you're married, you take for granted that you probably have someone to help with your housework so that frees up some time to train your dogs. I don't have that luxury. It's just me here. I work 36-52 hrs per week, I sleep, I am a mom, housekeeper, cook, maid, etc. You have to understand MY lifestyle in order to give suggestions that work around my schedule. I am not trying to be difficult here, I'm being realistic and honest. This is what I have to work with, and I'm sorry you feel that's a waste of your time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #67 ·
I wasn't saying YOU specifically, Nikki. I said "many of you" have spouses, significant others, family members, etc. I live alone. And that's great that you work 40 hrs/week and still find time to take care of your children and train your dogs. Unfortunately I am different. My time is very limited, and my job takes a lot out of me physically and emotionally. I hate to remind people since I try to be superwoman, but I do have a chronic illness that requires more rest than healthy people, and I work my ass off to keep up with the rest of the world. If you're able to do it, kudos to you. I'm very happy for you, I have a lot of respect for you, and I wish I had the energy you have. But again, this is the hand I am dealt, and I'm honestly trying the hardest I can. I love my dogs and can't imagine life without them. But no one else is paying my bills, unfortunately I can't take time off from work to train 3 pit bulls as much as I'd like. But I DO train them. Heaven is very obediant, so I must be doing something right. Koa is obediant, albeit stubborn. Nala is a ball of nerves, but I'm TRYING as hard as I can. I only ask that you gear your suggestions to things I can do at home in my spare time.
 
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