• Maria Livingston

    October 3, 2017 at 4:56 pm

    Thank you all so very very much for your feedback. I have started phase 1 obedience and add journals and videos as time allows. I have read all that is available on the site and youtube (which is a lot!!!). I have ordered a muzzle and will be training him on that. I have another dog who is dog aggressive who is muzzled often so I have experience with that.

    Absolutely Navy does not see humans as leaders. Navy is 5 years old; I’ve had him for a year. I do naturally assert leadership with my dogs but most of my dogs are good pets and have not required the strict hand in leadership that Navy requires; and also with Navy I am undoing 4 years of non leadership. Navy came to me because he bit a kennel worker (bruised calf) in a shelter and was going to be euthanized; a positive based trainer assured me he did not have aggression issues but was just kennel crazy (he had been there 4-5 months) and begged for him to be saved. The idea was to adopt him out as I need another dog like a hole in the head. However, it quickly became clear that Navy would not be easily adoptable because he had separation anxiety, severe allergies, bad hip dysplasia and valgus deformities. The first year I spent just getting him to get used to being confined in a room, being able to leave for extended periods of time, getting him to be more relaxed in a home setting, and sorting out his various medical issues.

    Navy is extremely demanding in his interactions; he literally “forces” himself on you to kiss your face (and this is a shower). I am now working with him to only do this when I allow it, and for him to be more gentle. He also has a tendency to bark at me when I do something he doesn’t like, like leaving his area. I am now taking the time to make him sit whenever he does this. I would be interested in feedback on whether that is the right action. When he barks at me like that, and I approach him to make him sit, he continues to bark and starts running around. I continue to block him and ask him to sit. We will go often through two rooms during this routine. I will make him sit for some time and then free him, and then leave again. Often he then barks at me again, and I do the same. I find that the third time when I leave he does not bark at me. Is this progress and should I continue doing what I’m doing, or is there another solution I should implement?

    With regard to meeting people, he is a bit unpredictable. He does well with women although he is too wild (jumping at them trying to kiss them). He is also fine with most men off property, but not with all. Because our town has strict “fierce” and “aggressive” dog ordinances I have stopped taking him into town for his own safety. In addition I live in the town where Best Friends Animal Society is located and you can only imagine the stares when you use a muzzle or starmark/prong collars. That I can ignore, mostly, but I do feel I need to build on his controllability before endeavoring town visits.

    The incident with my worker was that once when I was away longer than expected I asked my worker to let Navy out for lunch. He reported he could not enter the room because Navy attacked his boot vehemently. The incident occured when I invited my worker into my living room (which is where Navy lives). Navy had met this worker before in other areas of the property offleash, and although he wildly jumped at him, he quickly diverted his attention elsewhere. When my worker came in the house, Navy wildly jumped at him as he did before. My worker raised his arms in front of his chest and stood quietly. I attempted to grab Navy’s collar, and just at I did, Navy was up in a jump and bit my worker on the lower arm below his elbow. He did not break the skin but it was a large, painful bruise.

    When I was working Navy outside Friday with the two workers onsite he reacted very strongly to the worker he had bitten, but not to his brother. His brother is not on my property that often, Navy has never met him. But it was very interesting to see the difference. Both men love dogs and have a nice, calm demeanor. My guestimate is that Navy has often seen the one worker with the framing gun in front of the windows making noise and that he associates him with the noise. But that is just a thought.

    Navy does bark wildly at any man who comes around the property – it’s all been men so don’t have a reference point with women. But I think he is clearly territorial.

    My one concern is with my BF, who will be here again next week; in addition, I am due to go back to our house in California for the winter where I have to reintegrate 8 dogs which will need to be in 3 packs due to dog aggression. In addition, my BF is now not comfortable with Navy. So I think you can see the pressure I feel in that respect. My BF has a much softer hand with the dogs so I will not only have to train Navy to see me as a leader, but also to train my BF to act has a leader. Luckily I do have a foundation style trainer in my area who is willing to help. So I have two months to do as much work as I can.

    I have found that Navy will submit fairly easily although I find that in offleash situations around the house it takes me raising my voice which I hate to do. But it appears when I do that, he responds instantly. Mostly he appears to think it’s a game until I raise my voice. I must admit I find him very hard to read. I have worked with many breeds of dogs but never a purebred pitbull (at least I think he is) and maybe it’s just Navy in particular but often I have no a clue what he’s thinking.

    One question I have is more input on testing a dog out of phase 1 – how do you know a dog has a solid phase 1 base. Can you start phase 2 on phase 1 commands that are solid, or do you first complete all of phase 1 commands before moving onto phase 2.

    I hope this is helpful info, just tried to give at much as I have observed. Any and all thoughts greatly appreciated.