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Puppy Power

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by downndirty, Jun 7, 2010.

  1. downndirty

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    We now have a so-cute-it's-irritating pit bull puppy. Two problems: we've never had one, so we don't know how to train him and I'm allergic so the little pisser is making me itchy. I mean, quite literally, I've never had a dog (due to the allergy) so we are starting from scratch here.

    Focus: Dog training/new puppy knowledge. What are the do's and don't's?
     
  2. kuhjäger

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    Don't forget you occasionally have to mount him to show dominance.
     
  3. Nick

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    The best advice I can give is to make sure you socialize him/her with other people and dogs as early as possible, especially since pit-bulls are generally known for being an aggressive breed. My neighbor NEVER walks his dogs or brings them over to "sniff butts" with mine. They fucking bark ALL the time. And when she does have them outside, they jump and snarl and generally act like dickheads. It doesn't bother me as much, because I have always had dogs and understand when they are playing vs. when they are not, but not everybody feels comfortable around dogs.

    One of my dogs is very large (175 lb St. Bernard). We've taught him not to bark, not to jump, and not to bite. He's the sweetest dog in the world, but still, a dog that size can seem pretty imposing, especially to little kids and people who don't like dogs. He knows how to act around children. He's very gentle and almost never shows his teeth. He puts his head down when he approaches people, so they know that he just wants some love. Part of that is in the nature of the breed, but most of it is because he's been well socialized. We've taken him to the park religiously since we got him as a puppy, so he knows how to play and how to act around other people and dogs. Don't be the asshole who keeps his dog couped up all week. Why get a dog if you're going to do that?
     
  4. bmc415

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    Keep in mind that some of the cute stuff he's doing right now can turn into bad habits later. If you're not going to want a 75 lb pit bull on your couch, then don't let him up there as a puppy either. As far as discipline goes, pits tend to respond far better to positive reinforcement rather than negative. They're really bright dogs with long memories, and if they start to associate you with spankings rather than with treats, you won't be able to control them. Pits are great dogs if you're willing to put in the time to train them, good luck.
     
  5. Kubla Kahn

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    The whole paragraph is the truth, particularly the last line if you have a pit. My pit isn't aggressive or mean towards other dogs but I never socialized her very well and she gets way to hyper and over excited at the site of other dogs. For four years or so my roommate also had a pit and they used to rough house like bigger dogs tend to do. This really isn't the behavior you want to promote with this type of dog. I had to stop taking her to dog parks because she'd rough house with fucking terriers and other rat dogs that would submit and yelp like crazy leading to many a arguments with other dog owners.

    My best advice would to be steer the dog clear of rough house playing and socialize it with an emphasis on being completely calm around other dogs. Teaching it games like fetch are much better at keeping the dog tired and passive than rough housing is. Just running the energy out of the dog is really the best thing.
     
  6. Luke 217

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    I'd start out by not hanging out with Michael Vick. Secondly,,,, don't give him a people's name. I hate that. Give him a name like Titanium Knuckles, or Flying Elbow Hammer. Thirdly. Never slather your genitals in chunky peanut butter. Always use creamy peanut butter. It teaches them to lick it off rather than them trying to "chomp" it off when they are searching for that elusive peanut that was hiding somewhere in your foreskin.

    The more you know.
     
  7. Chellie

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  8. Roxanne

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    First rule of having a dog: A tired dog is a good dog.

    Seriously, the majority of "behavioral problems" dogs have stem from them not getting enough exercise. Pit bulls are an active, headstrong breed, so the only way to get them to do what you want is to make sure they are always tired. This means at least two walks a day, as well as concentrated play time. Each walk can range from 10 minutes to an hour or more, but make sure you are walking with them. You can't just expect to dump them in the dog park and that is their 'exercise.' Dogs need to roam every morning and smell/see new things or they get bored and destructive.

    Secondly, enroll him in an obedience class. Trust me when I say they are worth the $100 or whatever they are. Not only does it train your dog, it trains you for how to treat your dog. They are invaluable ways to socialize and learn, and your trainer gets to know your dog so he or she can identify if any behavior problems are cropping up.

    Third, if you have a pit, get ready for a lot of sanctimonious assholes telling you about what a terrible person you are. It's all fun and games when he's a puppy, but the minute he hits 30lbs, people will be giving you advice on how you ought to put him down because he's a menace, that pit bulls are born killers, that one time they saw one rape a baby etc. There is a hell of a lot of pit bull bigotry within the dog-owning community, mostly because people are stupid and only listen to the nightly news. This all goes double if he's a black pit. I suggest you read up on the bigotry that confronts the breed so you can train yours to be the opposite.

    Since it is your first dog, I will agree with everyone else who posted that you should make sure your dog stays mellow when playing with others. Pits won't want to do that, but that's where you come in. If you take him to a dog park, ignore the shit out of anyone who says, "Oh that's just how dogs play." Yes, it is, but the woman with the panicked poodle who tries to snap at your pit isn't going to accept that when he tries to wrestle her precious.
     
  9. E. Tuffmen

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  10. Roxanne

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    Don't do the above. Cesar's method is outdated and not really respected by most dog behavioralists. Also, it makes it pretty hard to consider your dog a friend and pet when you're so busy being his 'alpha.'

    If you're going to take advice from a TV trainer, look up the girl who does the show "It's Me or the Dog."
     
  11. toddus

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    Agreed for the ubiquitous names like Max or Molly but I find it all sorts awesome when they are given overly generic names. I friend of mine called his dog Dave which was funny to hear him shout 'Dave just fuck off'. I have always thought it would be good to call a dog Frank.
     
  12. titopsu

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    My wife and I have two pit mixes that we rescued from different local shelters. We've learned about the "breed" (most dogs that are referred to as "pit bulls" aren't really true American Pit Bull Terriers -- APBTs and Staffordshire Terriers are actually small to medium-sized, slim, athletic dogs, not the fat, bulky dogs with big head that a lot of people picture).

    Pit Bulls aren't really that different from other dogs with respect to interaction with humans. If anything, they should be less aggressive towards humans than most other breeds. Unfortunately, Pit Bull-type dogs have become the "cool" or "tough" dog to own, which has led to over-breeding and to ownership by less-than-responsible dog owners. You should expose your dog to lots and lots of other people of all ages, and teach it to interact appropriately (don't let people pet it while it is jumping up and excited, etc.). Assuming your dog is a good representative of the breed, it will be much more likely to injure someone by knocking them down trying to lick their face than by biting them. One thing to look out for is people who approach your dog nervously because it is a Pit Bull. This can create nervousness in the dog, and could potentially lead to a growl or even a bite (this is the case with all dogs -- my sister is afraid of dogs and has been bit several times by different types of dogs). My wife works with kids, and has taken both of our dogs to activities with tons of little kids running around. If anything, they have learned to be more gentle and calm around kids. Just like with any other dog, you should never leave your dog unsupervised with children.

    Some Pit Bull-type dogs are animal-aggressive. Our dogs have turned out okay. We have two cats, and neither of our dogs will mess with them, but I would still never leave them unsupervised (we crate the dogs when we aren't home). You won't really know for sure whether your dog has aggressive tendencies until it is 3 or 4 years old, and even then you should never assume that it is safe to leave your dog unsupervised with other dogs or animals. All dogs fight given the right set of circumstances, Pit Bulls are just better at it. As a Pit Bull owner, you need to set your dog up for success and minimize the chances for failure. There are several ways that you can minimize the possibility that your dog will be aggressive toward other animals.

    First, have your dog spayed or neutered. I can't over-emphasize the importance of this. My completely unscientific guess is that your dog is 90% less likely to be aggressive towards other animals (or people) if it is spayed or neutered. Every time my wife and I have witnessed a scuffle between dogs (at the dog park or wherever), it has involved an intact male or female dog.

    Second, take your dog to puppy classes, and then to a good basic obedience class. Keep taking obedience classes every once in awhile, just to brush up. It's a great opportunity to teach you dog to focus on you when there is a lot of distraction from other dogs and people. Similarly, never miss an opportunity to expose your dog to new things/situations. Our dog trainer is having a sheep/duck-herding day this summer, and we are thinking about taking our male to give herding a try (probably not with the ducks). We took both of our dogs a parade last week to expose them to lots of people, loud drums, and horses walking down the street.

    Third, be careful when introducing your dog to other dogs. Face-to-face leash introductions can be stressful and can create problems. A great way to introduce your dog to other dogs is by taking a walk with the new dog and it's owner. Eventually, if you are consistent, your dog should learn to remain calm when it sees other dogs.

    Fourth, you should understand that, even if your dog is spayed or neutered, he or she is more likely to be aggressive with dogs of the same sex.

    Fifth, be wary of dog parks. They can be great fun and great exercise, but they are also generally filled with terribly-behaved dogs. Dog fights can and do occur, and if your dog is involved it will be blamed whether or not it was his or her fault. My wife and I have had mixed success at dog parks. Neither of our dogs have ever had problems with other dogs, but our male almost go into a fight with two large Dobermans (both of whom still had their balls, by the way). The two Dobermans kept following him around and humping him, and then when he tried to lay down in the shade for some rest, they circled him and stood over him to show dominance. I'm not sure where the owners of the Doberman's were, but we were supervising our dog and when we saw what was about to happen we got our dog out of there.

    Sixth, give your dog lots of structured exercise. Letting your dog run around like crazy in a fenced yard doesn't count as "structured exercise." It might tire it out, but it isn't going to help with its behavior. You need to take your dog on long walks or runs, EVERY DAY. And when you walk, make your dog walk beside or slightly behind you. Don't let it just do whatever it wants.

    Last, don't let your dog get away with bad behavior in the house. You need to be the boss at all times. We stopped letting our dogs on the furniture or in bed, and that has helped tremendously. We occasionally let them on our laps, but only when we invite them. Teach your dog to sit and wait calmly for its meal (feed it AFTER you have your meal, and don't feed it from the table or your dog will be a pain in the ass -- people don't understand why our dogs don't beg -- It's because we have NEVER fed them from the table). We make our dogs sit together on a rug in kitchen while we fill their bowls and put them on the floor. Then, we release them one at a time (making them look at our faces before we say "take it"). Never let your dog lead you out of the house or back into the house. Make it sit calmly while you open the door, and then have it follow you calmly through the door. Don't tolerate growling or barking at things out the window. Some people excuse that behavior because they want a guard dog. Pit Bulls weren't bred to be guard dogs and you shouldn't pretend that yours is. Any dog will protect its owner in a pinch, but you shouldn't accept guarding behavior from your Pit Bull. You don't want it growling at guests, the mail man, utility workers, etc.

    Use positive reinforcement to train your dog. Get a book about it and read it. We try to train positively, but have also had success with training collars. A good quality metal choke collar (small, smooth links) can work great for most dogs to provide correction and control of your dog(don't leave a choke collar on all of the time--only when on walks or training), but some dogs do better with a prong collar or electric collar, if used properly. Don't let anyone tell you that a prong collar or e-collar is inhumane. They don't know what they're talking about. Used property, they will not harm your dog (mentally or physically). Your dog should have a least some basic training before you use a training collar. Ideally, you'll hardly ever have to actually provide physical correction. I use a prong collar on runs with our female dog, and she runs calmly beside me and needs very little correction, if any. Whenever I try it on a choke or regular collar, she pulls and chokes herself (she's young and bull-headed and can heel on a walk, but not as well on a run). Our male has been trained on a Sport Dog collar. We have it set at a very low level (it just feels like a little tickle on my arm) and that's all he needs. Usually, the beep is enough to get his attention. We really never even have to use the "shock" anymore. Make sure you "every day" collar is one with a buckle (like a belt) rather than one with a plastic snap. We learned quickly that pit bull-type dogs can break those plastic snaps like they aren't even there.

    Crate-train your dog. In my opinion, you should crate the dog when you aren't home, but there are a lot of people who will disagree with me. In any event, there will always be situations where you will want your dog to be comfortable in a crate (travel, overnight vet stays, etc.). Don't act all excited when you put it in the crate or when you get it out of the crate (I make it a point not to talk to or pet the dogs when I put them away or take them out -- I just say "nighty-night" and they run into their respective crates and sit while I give them a treat and shut the door). One of our dogs had a little bit of separation anxiety and would shred stuff in his crate, but with some consistency that has largely gone away.

    Spend a little extra on good food without a lot of fillers. Its poop will be easier to clean up in the yard (it will be smaller and more solid), and you'll save money on vet bills as it gets older. Rule of thumb: if you can buy it at Wal-Mart, don't buy it. Do some research about what you are feeding your dog.

    Your dog might tear through traditional chew toys like they are nothing. Our male can eat a thick rawhide strip in 2 minutes, a bully strip in 5 minutes, and regular size rawhide bone in under an hour, so we stopped using them (they aren't really good for dogs in large quantities). We've had success with the large black Kong, but keep an eye on it and replace it with a new one when the rubber starts to break down. Put a little peanut butter and treat in it. We've also had success with the Nylabone Double Action Chew ("Souper" size -- they tear through the recommended size too quickly). Don't give it natural bones. For some dogs they are okay, but Pit Bull-type dogs can bite off large, sharp, chunks, which could lead to problems in the stomach or intestines (could be fatal, but at a minimum a very large surgery bill).

    I personally think it is okay to let your dog rough-house with dogs, as long as it is supervised and with a known dog (dog parks are a terrible place for rough play -- even if you have a great dog, chances are there will be other dogs that aren't as well-behaved). As long as the other dog doesn't have a history of dog aggression, these play sessions may help teach your puppy appropriate dog behavior. I know our older male quickly taught our younger female what was and was not appropriate during these play sessions (he would let her know when her "play fighting" became too rough or when her bite was just a little too hard -- sometimes you couldn't even see or hear anything, but all of the sudden the younger female would just freeze and submit, showing that she got the picture -- other times the older dog would just let out a quick growl and put his mouth over her nose and she would drop on her back and freeze). Sometimes this "play fighting" will look like and sound like a fight, especially if you've never seen two dogs fight, but there is a big difference. You'll get to know your dog and its behavior over time. Usually dogs playing with each other will take turns submitting, there will be a lot of "biting" but they won't latch on for more than a second or two. If it seems to be escalating, or if it looks like one of the dogs is losing interest but the other dog isn't letting up, step in and say "enough" and divert their attention to something else, and then make sure they're relaxed before you let them play again. The key to this is having enough control over your dog to make it stop when you want it to stop just by giving the verbal command. Again, you need to be the boss. We don't let our dogs play fight much anymore, simply because having two strong dogs romping around the house and knocking into us and furniture isn't really safe, but every once in awhile we still let the older male initiate a play session, which we'll let go on for a few minutes. As a new dog owner, you might want to have someone with more experienced to help supervise play sessions.

    Personally, I like Cesar Milan. My wife and I have started to get his DVD's from Netflix. There may be some things that people disagree with, but his greater points about "exercise, discipline, affection," "rules, boundaries and limitations," and being a "calm assertive leader" are good points. I also watch "It's Me or the Dog" and have read several training books. I'm by no means an expert on dog psychiatry or dog obedience/training, but I think you should take the time to educate yourself on a variety of training methods and find what works in your situation (what your dog responds to -- for instance, our younger dog did terrible with clicker training so we moved on from it). What works for one dog might not work as well for another dog, and what works for one owner might not work for another.

    Anyway, I'm going to stop because this is getting long. Basically, just put the time and effort into properly training and socializing your dog, and you'll find that Pit Bulls make a great pet. I've had and have been around a variety of types of dogs, but the two pit-mixes that we have now are definitely my all-time favorites. Plus, if you have a good dog, you'll get a lot of satisfaction taking your dog in public and showing everyone that the stereotypes about Pit Bulls are really inaccurate.

    Also, check out badrap.org for some good info and examples of responsible dog ownership. Also, Google "Wallace the Pit Bull" for some cool videos of a rescued Pit Bull who became a championship Frisbee dog.

    Enjoy your dog!
     
  13. JC62

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    - absolutely spot on! I have had and trained many dogs - his advise is solid.
     
  14. Suit Jacket

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    Just in general pupply/dog exercise- anyone have any advice on running with your dog?

    I am going to wait till the end of summer so he will be a full year old and will start when it gets cooler out (I do not think my puppy likes the heat very much). But any advice now can hopefully make it go smoother later.

    As for generic puppy advice - I am a big fan of socializing them with other dogs. When my puppy went through his biting phase, a couple trips to the dog park did more to stop it then me "yelping" and disengaging did. The other dogs can teach them bite control real quick.
     
  15. jrussellmikkelsen

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    What's wrong with Cesar Milan? I love that guy. He's fantastic! I'd say it's pretty hard being your dog's owner and care-taker when you're so busy being his friend.

    Now, I'll agree with you that if you're looking to learn how to raise and train and puppy (which this thread is about) then Cesar Millan should not be the first place you look for advice. But that is because Cesar does not train dogs, he REHABS them. He takes problem dogs, unsafe dogs and unhappy dogs and makes them happy and safe.

    I am curious where other dog behaviorists disagree with him as I haven't encountered any other behaviorists that seem to be as knowledgeable or as effective as him. But I haven't done extensive research on the subject either. If you do have an answer, it'd be best to go to PM's as I'm getting a bit off-topic already.
     
  16. LukesBoxHero

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    I've been apart of training two family dogs in the past ten years (both Old English Sheepdogs - I'm in the Pet Thread). I don't care what anyone says, a slap to the nose will stop any bullshit and the dog quickly learns whose in-charge too.

    My biggest thing with dogs is the ones who fucking jump on you when you walk in the door. I can handle the mad rush to the door and a little barking, but we never, ever, let our dogs jump on us or the others otherwise they get the slap. My friends paretns just got two dogs about six months ago (shelter - nothing against those but they are harder to train) and they constantly jump on them. I pushed one of them away one night when the parents weren't there and my friend was all "dude, never hit a dog - we don't hit them blah blah blah." Well, maybe thats why there jumping on everyone, because you try to use some stupid clicker thing. He now acknowledges his parents are poor dog trainers.

    Other than that, I have two basic rules. 1) As long as its physically possible, the dog gets walked once every day by one person in the house (Dad usually takes him at lunch up the street (gotta love a dead end) and Mom or Me at night). He's dead tired after a 10 minute walk. 2) Do not reward basic behavior with food. Shake, roll over, and sit is different than "Good boy sparky you came inside when I called, heres some cheese. I have another buddy who can't get his dog inside without food. Pathetic.
     
  17. shegirl

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    It's never a bad breed of dog, it's a bad owner. I've lived with and/or owned Pitts, Rotties, Dobies, Shephards and Akitas. The label society has chosen to slap on something so broad as to the breed being the signal of a bad dog is ridiculous. Any dog can be a good one, just as any one can be a bad one if they are given enough, pardon the pun, leash.

    People make it so hard, when really it's not. You love and reward them when they are good and scold them when they are not. My method was always the rolled up magazine because the sound alone scares them.

    Walking on a leash was always the hardest for some reason. With my current I've bought the harness type collar/leashes because I have more control.

    I try really hard to never give them people food because not only is it not all good for them, they don't beg. They never get pig ears or rawhide, I've heard horror stories. You can look it up on Goggle. They get marrow bones from the butcher that I boil at home. They only get "kibble" no mushy food, it promotes good (ok well better) breath and tooth health.

    Most of all enjoy the time with your pooch. Having had to put one down with no warning because of some health issue that was never diagnosed was terrible.

    Dogs really do rule.

    But then again what do I know, my bigbutted shephard basically ate my matress one day. It made me cry, until she licked my nose. Damn dogs.
     
  18. JoshP

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    2 words that will serve you very well. KENNEL TRAIN! You will thank me the rest of your pups life. It just makes having a dog so much easier. No piss in the house, no chewed up shit, and when they are older they will know they have a "house".

    I don’t know about your pit, but my roommate’s has the WORST separation anxiety. I have never owned a pit so i don’t know if that is something you might have to deal with.

    Make sure to give it exercise but not run the shit out of it on the asphalt, let it run around the yard and at the park. As far as hard surfaces go, just a 15 min walk 2x a day when they are pups (not a tiny pup, but 4 months old) and 2x 30 min walk when they are adults. It will save you having a dog with hip problems, and most importantly it will save your pal from agony.
     
  19. hawkeyenick

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    I've dealt with many different types of dogs, I have a border collie mix, my parents have in their house right now a cocker spaniel, Australian Cattle Dog, Yorkie, and Great Dane, and my aunt had 2 pits (until they passed in recent years). Every one of these dogs has been a good dog, and each has their own unique challenges based upon their personalities. My experience has taught me a few things:

    The retractable leashes are more useful for whipping yourself than controlling a dog. Seriously, those fucking things should be destroyed. A 6 foot leash is plenty for every dog, and the it gives the owner the amount of control they should have over their dog. I hate seeing people coming toward my dog and I when their dog is on one of those retractable leashes because invariably that dog is walking the owner and will act like an asshole towards my dog. People walk by me all the time and comment how amazed they are that my dog will just sit there and at most sniff in their direction. That shouldn't be amazing, that should be standard behavior.

    A dog thrives on routine. Even though I'm currently a student and my schedule changes every 3 months, I have my dog on a schedule, and she knows when its time to go out, time to eat, and time to sleep. She likes her routine, and she gets annoyed if the routine is deviated from. When a dog is on a routine, that dog behaves much better. My parents have finally learned this lesson, but for years they would just do things seemingly at random (as far as getting the dogs outside, feeding times, etc.) and the dogs acted out, but now they behave much better and calmer.

    I agree with all the posts about breeds. There are breeds predisposed to behaviors that fit in better in certain houses, but there are no bad breeds of dogs (though there is some argument that Chows are potentially in that neighborhood, I would still blame owners before the dogs). My aunts pits were the sweetest things ever, the only danger they posed was death by licking your face too much. They were gentle with children, and they loved to play without being rough. But the dogs were trained properly, and weren't allowed to do whatever they felt like. They stayed off the furniture, and they were taught not to pull on the leash while on a walk. These behaviors were reinforced so they associated positive results with behaving. As others have said, positive reinforcement works better than negative in most instances.

    Another thing to remember, having a dog can mean a loss of freedom for you. It takes a willingness to sacrifice days where you might be gone from 10am - 3am on a drinking binge. That should not be taken lightly because if you do, your dog will act out and destroy things, and you're going to resent the animal. But if you are willing to accept that sacrifice, its totally worth it to come home to an animal that loves you unconditionally and thinks that their world is complete because you're in it.
     
  20. hoju

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    As long as your dog isn't flat faced, a Gentle Leader works great. I've had a Weimaraner and currently have a German Shorthaired Pointer and the Gentle Leader stops any pulling they do.