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having trouble...aggression.


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i have not mentioned too much of roxy's behavioral problems on this board. i usually save them for another board i visit, strictly for pit bulls and such. but i feel i need honest opinions from this board now. here goes...

we brought roxy home in february. the breeder we bought her from was NOT a good breeder, but at the time we were concerned with removing her from the situation. i later found out that the situation was worse than we thought. the breeder is a dog fighter (he had about 5 dogs chained in his yard). we bought her at 3 months and it was the first time she was outside. now, i know i brought a problem dog on myself, but i honestly did not think that at 3 months she could have endured irreparable damage.

we noticed immediately that roxy had issues with men and especially children. she cannot be immediately approached by anyone. she has to approach first and then all is ok. she has snapped at two people, but did not try to bite. it was more like a warning to leave her alone. she has gotten increasingly better with men and adults in general, but her fear of children is much worse. today, a kid who she was previoiusly on good terms with, tried to approach her. when he was still about 5 feet away she started lunging, growling, and barking. it has gotten to the point that i have to walk her late at night (11pm usually), so that she doesn't go wild over something and scare people.

i am really looking toward euthanasia at this point. she is an amazing dog, except for these issues. she is extremely smart but despite working on it, her aggression has gotten worse. i don't know if i can put her or anyone else at risk. and i feel like because of her breed (apbt) there is added risk, due to her poor temperment.

any opinions would be appreciated.

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Has she been to dog training? If not just for the training it would be great to get her used to busy situations with other people and dogs around. Lily went through some serious dog aggression issues when I stopped taking her to obedience for a few months as she came into heat then I had to wait for the next session to begin. She would try to attack anything that came within a few metres of us. Since taking her back, desexing her and changing her diet, slowly she has gotten better to the point where she will now play with certain dogs even on the lead and those that she doesn't play with can get right up and sniff her etc and she will just ignore them. I know people aggression is different, but if you find a good club (which I was lucky enough to do) they will work through her problems, and if not fix them, at least you will know you have tried all you can.
Unfortunatly a dogs crucial socialisation stage is up to 16 weeks. Even if you madly rushed around socialising her as soon as you got her with everything you could, alot of her problems may have remaind imprinted in her brain. I suggest you report her breeders to authoritys so you can save other maybe less responsible people from the problems you are having, as well as saving the dogs that are already there.
Try buying her a halti collar, then she will not be able to rush at people and scare them.
Another thing I will STRONGLY recommend is that you switch her to a completely raw diet! People see varying degrees of temperement change in dogs with aggression problems after switching them completly to a BARF diet, I know I have seen a noticable change in Lily, she is a lot calmer now and less likely to attack other dogs. Some people have even had aggression problems completely dissapear after switching their dogs diet. That means a complete switch, even a cup of dry food every now and again may be enough to set her off again if the diet works.
As for the kids, perhaps if you could find one mature enough to work with you you could try getting Roxing in a sit position and reward her. Keep giving her treats to distract her attention while the child approaches and meets her. If she even looks like she is going to react badly to the child, stop treating her and walk away, don't let her try to stare down the child.
Another thing they reccomend is that on walks, as soon as you see something that would normally set her off, give her a treat, get her attention focused on you and keep treating her until the trigger has passed.
I suggest you sign up for yahoo mail, go to "yahoo groups" and do a search on a list called "canineaggression" - its a good one. Also, if you do decide to switch her to raw do a search on "rawdiet", even if you do not plan to switch her diet, go to that one anyway and just ask a few questions and I'm sure you will soon decide that changing her diet would be best not only to help with her issues, but for everything else as well.
Good luck, my thoughts are with you.

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Good suggestions Aurora.
Slow, gentle and pleasent desensitization would be good - start with the children far enough away that they don't bother Roxy.
A halti or GL is a great tool for focusing Roxy and controlling her head.
A good command to use would be the "watch me" command. Keeps the dog focused on you. Training classes are also a good suggestion - keeps the dog working, which helps most dogs temperment, develops confidence, which helps most dogs temperment AND allows you to work with your dog in a controlled environment with other dogs and adults. Work fanatically on obedience, let Roxy know that you expect her undivided attention and obedience and their are rewards for this. Make it fun for both of you.
You can socialize an older dog, it takes more work and is slower but it can be done, she may not ever love children but she can probably be socialized to the point where she will behave moderately well.
If you are concerned about safety: Ensure your fence, leash etc are all in good working order and secure. Insist you are the only one to take Roxy out of the house (or someone who your trust a while lot and is appraised of the situation.)

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Guest Anonymous

Everybody is probably going to be upset with me but... PUT HER DOWN. Her being people aggressive will only bring more problems. Training doesnt always correct a people aggressive problem and I dont understand why someone would take that chance with an APBT (or any breed). She can cause sooo much damage if she decides to really bite into someone. If she was showing these signs before she left the "breeders" yard, he, himself, should have culled her.

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Here is some suggested reading:
"The Culture Clash" by Jean Donaldson
"The Other End of the Leash" by Patricia McConell
"Calming Signals" by Turid Rugaas

Aroura has posted really good suggestions...the critical period is very important for a puppy and during this period up to sixteen weeks the pup learns all its social skills...after 16 weeks a dog has very poor abilities to develop or change its social skills...
before making any rash decisions I would definately consult an animal behaviorist and join a obedience class with a behaviorist who practices
Positive training & confidence building and will also teach [b]you[/b] how to handle these situations.
Don't use a shock collar or any painful or scary training techniques...this may cause more aggression...and if you use a shock collar the shock may be associated with the object your dog is aggressive towards.
I have notiticed that every once in awhile the dog is responding to how the person on the other end of the leash reacts...if you tense up when you see a situation you "feel" you dog will not act appropriately your dog will pick up on your agitated mood and act accordingly...and another thing I have noticed is how people react to your dog...they can sense fear from people or they react to the persons body language. ...they way children act and approach can also put a dog in a defensive mood....try to desensitize roxy as Dogpaddle suggested....also try to train roxy to lie down when meeting children to say hello....a dog can't do much laying down and a well-trained emergency "Down" can also save the day, even if your dog is in full stride. Many dogs will "down" even if they won't come...
tell children to look off to the side when approaching roxy..in doggy language this says "I am no threat to you, I would like to be your freind"
I would also make sure roxy is well exercised, a tired dog is a good dog! :wink: play plenty of games with roxy including fetch as this will provide appropriate outlets for her high energy.
I would also ensure I had a basket muzzle on roxy when you are out walking...having one on can put you more at ease which can some times reflect on how your dog will react to difficult situations....
Here is a web page to read about calming signals:
another article which has some information which applies to your situation..not all of this article will apply to you but read it any way... :wink:

Also, I am just wondering what kind of set up you have for roxy...alot of terriers have high prey drives...most terriers where orginally bred to hunt rats, as in the case of the APBT they were bred for dog fighting which also requires a prey drive....the part of the prey drive they have is the grab and kill part of the predatory sequence...prey drive doesnt just mean they will go after "prey" animals...when you throw a ball or stick and your dog chases it, you are triggering his natural predatory desire to chase things that move...the reason I ask what kind of set up you have is that the frustration of restraint on a chain or behind a fence combined with constant exposure to the trigger of rapidly moving prey objects can push a dog from predatory behavior to real aggression...both behaviors, of course, are dangerous...Look for ways to minimize his visual and physical access to "prey" in his own yard - a solid fence will prevent him from seeing things moving quickly by, and will prevent many potential prey animals (including small children) from entering easily...

Good luck and let us know what you decide to do...we are here to support you in what ever your decision may be :D

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thanks for the responses everyone. i just want to respond to a few things said here...

[color=darkred]Has she been to dog training?[/color]
no, she has not been to formal dog training classes. i work with her everyday on obedience though. however i know this is not the same as a class environment.

[color=darkred]I suggest you report her breeders to authoritys so you can save other maybe less responsible people from the problems you are having, as well as saving the dogs that are already there. [/color]
the aspca was already notified (by someone else) of the situation, but his dogs are in good condition so no action was taken.

[color=darkred]Don't use a shock collar or any painful or scary training techniques[/color]
i would never, of course!

[color=darkred] I am just wondering what kind of set up you have for roxy[/color]
roxy is entirely an inside dog. she rarely spends any time unsupervised outside, as our neighbor also has aggressive dogs. she gets walked on average for about an hour a day, plus indoor games.[/quote]

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O that is so sad that you are having these problems. I will echo the unpopular opinion and say it might be best if she were put down. That breed is known to be very people friendly so to find one that isn't is a major red flag. Her aggression to children is most scary as they are usually so good with kids. Remember that she is at a child's face level and we have all seen the headlines when a Pit Bull attacks a kid. You wouldn't want her to be become one more statistic that the BSL people will use.

Are you going to want to keep her from all kids for the next decade or more? I think the safest thing is to have her put to sleep. Giving training classes a try is a good idea if you want to try to work through it, but you will need to be oh so careful.

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[quote name='mydogroxy'][color=darkred]I suggest you report her breeders to authoritys so you can save other maybe less responsible people from the problems you are having, as well as saving the dogs that are already there. [/color]
the aspca was already notified (by someone else) of the situation, but his dogs are in good condition so no action was taken.[/quote]

[color=darkred][size=6]Grrrrrr!!!!!!![/size][/color] THAT MAKES ME SO ANGRY!!! :evil: If he fights his dogs what does it matter what sort of condition they are in? He is still adding to the unsightly deaths each day that dogs in the pit must face, oh, plus he's BREEDING more to add to the trade!!!! Maybe you could report him again? Don't give up because someone else tried and failed, if you know you are right you should fight it! The more people who make complaints about him the more likely something is going to be done about it.

As for putting her to sleep, definatly do all you can to make sure it can't be trained out of her before even contemplating putting her to sleep, otherwise you may never forgive yourself for it :cry:

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Guest Anonymous

Please!Please!Please! Put the dog down. This situation can only end up negatively, and chances are it will add to the bad press pit bulls get. Unless you can keep the dog confined and away from people at all times, put it to sleep. All the training in the world will not change how you yourself have seen the dog act, and that will always be in the back of your mind.

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[quote name='Hmmmm.']Everybody is probably going to be upset with me but... PUT HER DOWN. Her being people aggressive will only bring more problems. Training doesnt always correct a people aggressive problem and I dont understand why someone would take that chance with an APBT (or any breed). She can cause sooo much damage if she decides to really bite into someone. If she was showing these signs before she left the "breeders" yard, he, himself, should have culled her.[/quote]

Sorry but, generally speaking, I've got to agree with this post. :( A dog arressive dog is one thing but, a people aggressive dog is a whole different kettle of fish. I know of quite a few training centers that will help train and work through dog aggression problems but, I know of no class type settings that will do that with people aggression....the liability is just too high. Individual behaviorists will certainly work with a dog to try to correct the problem but, that's a very iffy thing with a person aggressive dog.

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I can also add that I have been and am in a similar position with my Keeshond, Kyra. Her breed is known to be very friendly, but she is not. I adopted her from a rescue when she was 6 months. She came from very bad breeding and was not socialized in the critical first 6 months of her life until I got her. I had her evaluated by 2 behaviorists - one said put her down as she would likely bite someone, the other saw nothing wrong with her. I was very confused as to how they could have such totally different opinions. I tried to socialize her by taking her with me to work, not a good idea. I had her tied to the door of the room I was working in and my back was to her as I was cleaning cages. I thought everything was okay because we were in an employees only area, but a kid wandered back and was trying to pet Kyra. I turned when I heard her growling to see this kid trying to pet her head while she is crouched down and growling. I intervened before anything happened but that was the last time she has left the house with me except to go to the vet. I've had her thyroid tested twice and had a complete physical and blood work up done on her to see if there was anything that was causing her behavior that could be corrected. Nothing came up, she's "normal".

She is still a very strange dog and I do not trust her at all so I do not take her out anymore like I used to try to do, it's not worth her biting someone. I do think that if she were stressed enough she would bite a kid. She doesn't act this badly around adults.

I cannot see myself spending the next 10-15 years dealing with her aggression issues and keeping her locked in the house. While I don't have kids and do not want any, there are plenty that live around me and that do enter my house. She always has to be put in her crate to avoid a bite.

She is almost 2 years old and I have been trying to help her for the past year and a half. I had her in obedience school where she did quite well, but her temperament is no better. With her I see some improvement followed by a huge setback.

I think I will end up euthanizing her because I do not feel her quality of life is the best and I cannot trust her to never bite. It's only a question of when I will take that syringe home from work and use it. She has some of the cutest little quirks and she CAN be a very sweet dog with me, that's what makes it so hard. She'll get all cuddly and then I can't bear the thought of ending her life, but then I see that strange look in her eye and her body posture and I know that I have to.

I would love to send her to a rescue (which I think one might actually take her as she has not actually bitten anyone yet), but how fair would that be to all the other Keeshonds that are homeless and do not have her level of problems and whose space she would be taking in a rescue for a long time. I do not think that is fair and would rather see her euthanized knowing that I tried all that I could. I have tried most everything I could find including an anxiety wrap that she is supposed to wear that would be calming, no effect.

I hope you find peace in your decision whatever you decide to do. You are not alone.

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Listen to your heart and be honest with yourself :(
We had a dog that came to ourclub,she had been locked ina cage since she was a pup for 6 years withg no contact with other dogs and barely any human contact either she was very emaciated etc etc
Anyway the outside world was terrifying to this dog there is no way that she could ever live a normal life,I don't know what happened to her in the end but I really hope she was pts as she would NEVER be able to adapt to normal life she was terrified ALL the time.
I hope you can make a decision and remember whatever desicion you make everyone on here will be supportive.
thoughts with you xxx

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[quote]I just want to say that if you do decide to Roxy down, it looks like you tried your best and tried to give her a better life.
You should be commended for your efforts and I am sorry it is not working out for Roxy [/quote]

I second that !!
Very well put Stacer :wink:

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first of all, i want to thank everyone for their opinions and comments. for now, we've decided to keep working with roxy and her issues. we've spoken to our vet who has spoken with a behaviorist she is friendly with, about roxy. with the limited information the vet was able to give her, the behaviorist says that it sounds like fear aggression as a result of abuse and NOT poor temperment as a result of poor breeding. we realize that euthanasia may very well be in roxy's future, but we are going to try to work with her for now. on monday we're going to the aspca to inquire about their programs (the have an entire behavior center there) and to meet a prospective new member of our family...i'll keep everyone posted.

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Guest Anonymous

Well, best wishes, my thoughts are with you. At least now if things don't turn out for the best you will know that you did everything that you could and didn't just give up on her.
Hope things go well for you.

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Guest Anonymous

I just read and i have to say i feel so sorry for that poor poor pitty the things she/he must have went through in that short amount of time.

ppl who fight dogs have no heart anyway so why would they treat a pup (exspeciallya future pit dog)with tender love and care?

Know for my ranting and raving


Thank god this pit is in good hands. cause it needs tlc to the upmost highest degree. I just want to say thanks for taking the time to try.
i did with my pit. when i got my pit he still had cut marks from a knife.
boney flea infested tick ridden and just in general poor condition. Now he look so so much better and thankfully i didn't have as hard a time getting him socialable. but to this day if u pull out a foldable and only a foldable knife and open it he tucks tail and runs. I tried to change his mind about knife by giving him a treat when a knife is brought out. but it did not and still does not work those knife wounds may have only been skin deep but he felt them in his poor little heart. I am just glad that the only person that treated him bad was the his owner cause know he nows all ppl aren't bad. But i still caution anyone who is around him not to pull out there knife cause he someday may try to attack someone if he thinks they meen him harm.

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[quote name='billy_g']those knife wounds may have only been skin deep but he felt them in his poor little heart.[/quote]
:cry: :cry: :cry:
Oh the poor boy :cry:
I can't imagine how the innocent dogs must be feeling when the people they look up to and worship do this sort of thing to them :cry:

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