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Frustrated with my 7 month old boys aggression

Discussion in 'Training & Behavior' started by mellosup, Jun 29, 2017.

  1. mellosup

    mellosup Puppy

    Hello, been a while since I've been active but here goes, I have had a pitbull male since he was, unfortunately, only 2 weeks old. From the moment I received him he was always nipping and mouthing aggressively. As time went on to about 3 months old I had then relieved him from these unwanted behaviors with the use of walks and toys. Again, I never noticed any lunging or barking whatsoever towards other dogs or humans. Then from out of the blue he begins barking at people and more aggressively towards dogs. More time goes by and it's on and off with a growl or a lung making walks during the day undesirable as I am only able to take him during early walks, and night walks. Obviously I take him throughout the day to take care of his business outside but to walk him within crowds is unsettling and embarrassing for me. What can I begin doing? How can I solve his issues. Note, with family members and "known" friends and peeps he's totally chill but otherwise, a stranger and their dog comes by he becomes the, " oh look it's that guy and his crazy dog killer". Thank you for your time.
  2. Madeleinemom

    Madeleinemom MS Bites, My Dog Doesn't Staff Member Super Moderator

    Moved from Introductions to Training & Behavior.
    This is a bit of a challenge, since the pup was taken away from littermates and Mom waay too early, and now juvenile fear periods may be adding their share of issues. But it is what it is - do you have the possibility to work with a qualified Behaviorist?
    Michele, mellosup and Capt. Roxy like this.
  3. Capt. Roxy

    Capt. Roxy Good Dog Premium Member

    How old is your pup now?

    Lunging/barking towards other dogs can be managed with some behavior modification training. I would stop taking him where there are large crowds. Learn his red zones, distance is key here but keep in mind he could grow up to be dog selective or dog aggressive so it may have to be a constant management thing with him. It's easy though so don't worry. I have a female who used to act just like your dog towards other dogs. She's okay for the most part now a days as long as I stay at a distance she is comfortable at but she is dog selective now so with some dogs it doesn't work. In scenarios like that, you have to catch them before they fixate because once they fixate it's too late... Commands/toys/treats all out the window.

    There's so much more to all this and I agree with Maddie's mom that it's best you see a reputable behaviorist especially if you think your dog may be aggressive towards humans.
    Nat Ursula and mellosup like this.
  4. Capt. Roxy

    Capt. Roxy Good Dog Premium Member

    Oh he's 7 months... sorry, got that from the title... Like DUH.... :D lol
    mellosup likes this.
  5. mellosup

    mellosup Puppy

    Thank you both for the responses. I am in the process of finding a reputable behaviorist who can help me manage this boy. Another detail I forgot to mention is just the other day we were on the same sidewalk forced to arch around a small dog and it's owner. Long story short the small dog came towards my boy and he jumped back in between my legs proving to me he might just be selective when convenient. Would you recommend using a muzzle designed for active dogs assuming the behaviorist minimizes the problem but I'm sure won't completely solve it. Also is it bad if while my dogs muzzled he interacts with other well tempered dogs through a gate or perhaps at a distance?
  6. Michele

    Michele Chi Super Dog Staff Member Super Moderator

    Last edited: Jun 29, 2017
  7. mellosup

    mellosup Puppy

    Michele likes this.
  8. Michele

    Michele Chi Super Dog Staff Member Super Moderator

    I am a bit concerned that she goes after humans. It could be a fear stage, I don't know.
    Capt. Roxy likes this.
  9. mellosup

    mellosup Puppy

    Well, for what I know, if I shake hands or greet someone with an upbeat atttitude he doesn't pull his stunts. But if it's at a distance with a stranger he'll keep guard and even 360 around me until I either find away to break his attention or kneel and call his name. I've noticed that if I am not consistent on redirecting his attention he goes all out with barks. But, recently he's been able to smell dogs from a distance and he starts tugging hard towards their direction. I mean, give it to me straight if you have to because I feel a muzzle is only doing so much. He's bold at a distance but bring a small dog and he's cowarding away between my legs but let it be a big dog or similar and he will literally lunge and bark leaving me confused.
  10. mellosup

    mellosup Puppy

    He also has a great play date who, from time to time will put him in his place, but even with that great experience of watching him transform into a friendly dog fades when we're back home and going out on neighborhood walks. Slowly but surely I'm becoming a burden in my surrounding dog community and it kills me to display my dog during the day leaving me only to excercise him early in the morning before work, during my lunch break, and inside my home with toys and commands then late at night when the night is still, we go for long calm walks. He's a great dog, very obedient, nice, but bring a dog he doesn't know and he switches roles.
  11. Capt. Roxy

    Capt. Roxy Good Dog Premium Member

    It sounds to me he may be fear aggressive? Or even a combination of over excitement leading into frustration. It's really hard to tell without being there. Minus the possible human aggression part, I think this is all really manageable with some work. When he lunges/barks what's the rest of his body language though? As far as humans go, since you said he is okay when you greet them in a friendly manner I say whenever you see a human say his safe word(s) (whatever they are or if he doesn't really have one something like "it's okay!! Good boy!!!!") or pretend to be saying hi to the human, whatever helps to calm him down in a really happy good dog voice.

    I don' t know your dog or the situation really... so can't say if he should wear a muzzle or not. Wearing the muzzle is a personal choice for you. If you can't handle your dog and you are truly worried then yes, I say use one. I was worried too and went back and forth on this many times. I even tried a well fitted prong collar, LOL... that was a fail. She pulled like no tomorrow on that thing! I just avoid high traffic times with my female. A lot of people here walk their dogs around 5-6ish so I go earlier or later. When it comes to working out I get up super early before anyone does to let her get her time in. We no longer hike during peak hours or on the weekends with her. Of course you can't completely avoid all dogs. There's always that 1 or 2 out at off times but it makes managing her so much easier. I used to worry about what others thought as well. And yea, you're going to meet people who think you're an idiot and your dog is a demon but who cares?? You pay just the same as everyone else. It's not like you're taking him to the dog park. You have every right to walk your dog too. Just take precautions and treat your dog as if he is DA until you can get help with a reputable behaviorist who knows this breed.

    I've gotta wan you though.... they may not truly know your dog either. So don't be disappointed if you spend hundreds and the end result is the same or only slightly better. I was told so many different things for my female and honestly it's a mixture of different things for her and simply that she IS dog selective. They swore she's not but I know my dog and i see every aspect of her so I treat her like she is dog selective because I refuse to be the idiot owner.

    Good luck! Keep us posted
  12. Kit

    Kit Good Dog

    We had one dog that was selective DA. For him, a good 'watch me' command worked great. When we met another dog on a walk, I'd put the dogs in a sit and tell him to 'watch me'. That worked great for Nick and I got a ton of compliments on how well behaved my dogs were.
    Now, when I walk our 4, the worst dog is Frankie, not because she is aggressive, but she gets SO excited seeing a dog barking in it's yard, thinking she might get to play with it. LOL I need to take her by herself to really work on a better behavior. Now, she lunges and whines on her leash.
    Rikki is a bit DA and fearful of people. Luckily, I have several friends with great dogs that I can work on her with. If a dog corrects her, she is fine with it. But an unknown dog, or one that backs down from her, she'll lunge at it.
    Does your dog have an activity? Agility has helped Rikki a LOT. It has boosted her confidence so much, as well as working her mind and body.
    You might want to look into something like that, where the dog not only exercises his body, but has to use him mind as well.
    Good luck!
  13. mellosup

    mellosup Puppy

    I really appreciate your response. It has really gotten me to walk him with more confidence and i am trying my safe look at me words making sure he focuses on me and knows his behavior is definitely unnecessary. Im not giving up and will continue new ways to settle his nerves with new folks
    Your words simply set me free. Now I walk with more confidence and try correcting with a tug and "no" when unwanted behavior arises. I have every right as anyone else to walk my dog and that simply brought joy back into my heart and has bonded me closer with my dog Having me more dedicated to eliminating every unwanted behavior one step at a time. The ride of raising a dog is a great one, but facing a misunderstood one is more rewarding than any other dog I've handled and that to me is priceless. Thank you again
    Capt. Roxy likes this.
  14. mellosup

    mellosup Puppy

    Thank you for your response, I did try calling his name when in a tough situation and for the most part he breaks the unwanted focus even if it's for a second it allows me enough time to correct and walk away. Will continue finding more ways to curve the issues and train both his mind and body like you've pointed out. Thanks man, simply applying and trying what works best each day is actually showing progress.
    Nat Ursula likes this.
  15. Derek1

    Derek1 Big Dog

    Glad to hear you excited about a little progress. Remember baby steps and small obtainable goals are very rewarding. It's a lot less frustrating for both of you to keep positive and celebrate achievements no matter how small.
  16. Michele

    Michele Chi Super Dog Staff Member Super Moderator

  17. pitbulldogs

    pitbulldogs GR CH ACE Staff Member Administrator Premium Member

    Good job on breaking his mind frame, once you see he has broke, even if only for a split second, take advantage of that split second. almost all training boils down to watching the dog, they can tell you all you need to know if you just pay close attention to them.
    Nat Ursula and Vicki like this.

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