Blu, an American Staffordshire/Pit Bull Terrier mix

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IloveBlu
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Blu, an American Staffordshire/Pit Bull Terrier mix

Postby IloveBlu » Tue Sep 08, 2009 3:07 pm

Hi everyone. Blu came to us on August 4th. He was scheduled to be euthanized at the overcrowded city shelter that same day. On the evening of August 3rd, we contacted a rescue organization to see if they had a dog for us. Neither of us have ever owned a dog before but we have two indoor cats. We had been searching on petfinder for quite some time. The woman told us she had been contacted about a dog who was set to be euthanized in the morning, but she didn't have a foster home available for him, no funds to put him in boarding, and so sadly there was nothing to be done for him. She forward us his picture and his pit bull smile melted out hearts. We took a chance and pulled him off the euth list and picked him up the next day, sight unseen.

Blu is truly a delightful dog. He is estimated to be four years old. He is sweet as pie and loves all humans. He is happiest snuggling with us on the couch but also loves going for his walks. Which brings me to our first issue: he is a puller. He pulls at other dogs, squirrels, leaves, whatever he wants to get to. We have tried every harness we could get our hands on, including the Gentle Leader, to no avail. We are currently using a martingale collar. Choke and prong collars have been recommended to us but we are not comfortable with them. As it is, he is gagging and choking with his regualr collar. Blu also has a large skin tag on the crease of his front leg, rendering it impossible to wear a traditional harness. We are currently working with a trainer on his leash manners and the trainer believes he was never properly exercised or socialized in his previous life. The trainer has instructed us to change directions when he pulls, sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't. He is very strong and difficult to redirect, especially for me. My boyfriend has an easier time.

Other issues we are having include cat introductions, dog encounters, and separation anxiety. We keep Blu on our finished, carpeted, air conditioned, spacious basement. We spend a lot of time down there with him. He had kennel cough when he first came and had to keep him separated from the cats. When he was better, we let him upstairs. He chased one of the cats, pinned him down, and kind of rolled him around the floor. Luckily, nobody was hurt but we brought Blu back downstairs, realizing we needed professional help with this. We haven't brough him back up as of yet, as the trainer feels he needs to learn his commands a little better first. The smell each other through the door and sometimes there is hissing, barking, or whining.

I look forward to meeting fellow pit bull owners and getting some advice along the way.

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Kingsgurl
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Re: Blu, an American Staffordshire/Pit Bull Terrier mix

Postby Kingsgurl » Tue Sep 08, 2009 11:00 pm

Hello and welcome! So, the 'rescue' you got Blu from really hadn't tested him, with cats, dogs or anything else? There is a great sticky in the training section about dogs and cats which may help you out. Some dogs are never safe with cats in even highly supervised settings, some will tolerate cats, some LOVE cats. Both of mine think the cats are OK, both will chase them if they run.
I would highly recommend an obedience class for the pulling issue. They are a lot of fun and help you bond, though there are also stickies in the training section about leash walking too. I use a puppy prong on my female, like a lot of training tools, if properly fitted and used, it is not cruel. I find letting a dog choke itself to be far crueler. Have you tried a Gentle Leader (head halter)? Some dogs respond very well to these.

Welcome to the board!

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suzi
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Re: Blu, an American Staffordshire/Pit Bull Terrier mix

Postby suzi » Tue Sep 08, 2009 11:24 pm

Welcome Aboard!

Strap in,,,,,and, get ready for some education.....

There are a good amount of members here that will give to you, a pile of solid advice/direction.

Obedience classes are an awesome start....Helps you bond with your new family member,,,teaches both of you! Make sure to do your homework, that the trainer you use,,,,uses positive training,,,,and very familiar with the Bully breed....

We LOVE pictures here...... :thumbsup:

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MikeInTacoma
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Re: Blu, an American Staffordshire/Pit Bull Terrier mix

Postby MikeInTacoma » Wed Sep 09, 2009 6:10 am

You've tried the front-clip control harness? There are a few different brands; two of my friends like these:
Image
If dog pulls ahead of you, when he gets to the end of the leash, it pulls him to the side so he's facing away from whatever he was interested in. My two friends say it works quite nicely. I don't know if your dog's skin flap would interfere though.

And I really like using a waist leash --
Image
Actually, mine is just a sturdy belt with the leash clipped on via a carabiner, but my GF has one similar to the picture. The advantages are numerous -- if you drop the leash, dog can't go far; dog can't wear out your arm; dog is pulling against your center of mass instead of gaining leverage by extending your arm; dog can't overbalance you; both hand are free for clicker and treat pouch; etc.... I highly recommend it.

I personally won't use prongs or choke chains any more; but I agree that a properly fitted prong, despite its medieval appearance, is probably more humane than letting a dog chronically strain against a flat collar. (One of our dogs kept choking himself on a flat collar, to the point that he developed a wheezing cough. It went away when I switched him to a harness.) And I agree that obedience training is a great idea!

But I'm getting ahead of myself. There's more on these topics, including the head harnesses, in the Equipment, Housing, Supplies and Accessories forum; and lots about walking, cats, etc. in Training and Behavior forum. :thumbsup:

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