Planning on adopting or fostering a dog- QUESTIONS

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Planning on adopting or fostering a dog- QUESTIONS

Postby Cruzer » Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:00 pm

I'm not sure if I should post this in training and behavior, as that is where I usually lurk but I want to make sure that if I do adopt this dog I do everything in my power to do it right, so we have a good head start.

My current situation... I have a 60 lb 8 month old male apbt who we have worked very hard to overcome some behavior issues and mild aggression in the form of tandtrums when being corrected. I have done extensive research on how to raise my dog properly and teach him obedience. We practice NILIF and I rarely use any form of punishment. I am all about positive reinforcement with the use of treats, pets and praise. When he does something naughty, I know I need to teach him what to do instead and try not to pay too much attention to it. I now have a well behaved dog who still needs work with meeting and greeting new people and other dogs in a more calm and polite way. He just loves everyone so much!

The dog I want to adopt: She is 1 1/2 years old, spayed and UTD on shots, comes from a loving but very busy home. She is the oldest of 4 dogs. Two dogs are tiny breeds and the other one is a large dog, bigger than her but only 6 months old. She is the only apbt. There are also 4 children in the home ranging in age from 3-15 years old and the owner is alone most of the day with dogs and children. The mother/owner also babysits several children during the day. The woman posted an ad on Craigs list that she was looking for an experienced pitbull owner to rehome her dog, however this dog has known problems. This is a similar ad to her original one that was flagged and removed.


Beautiful, BRINDLE, Girl

ROXY IS BEAUTIFUL....SHE IS A LOVER.

SHE NEEDS A HOME WITH ...

NO MORE THAN ONE OTHER DOG, SHE DOES GET ALONG WITH OTHER DOGS, SHE IS JUST VERY DOMINATING.

NO SMALL CHILDREN,

AND SOMEONE WHO HAS SUCESSFULLY OWNED AND RAISED A PITBULL.

IDEALLY A DOG WHISPERER OR DOG BEHAIVORALIST....I KNOW TO GOOD TO BE TRUE.

I WILL NOT GIVE HER TO JUST ANYONE...YOU HAVE TO BE A SPECIAL PERSON TO GET HER.

THERE ARE WAY TO MANY PITBULLS IN SHELTERS AND BEING KILLED BECAUSE OWNERS ARE ABUSING THEM BECAUSE THEY CANNOT CONTROL THEM.

TO OWN A PIT YOU HAVE TO BE CONSISTANT AND LOVING. THEY LISTEN AND OBEY BECAUSE THEY LOVE YOU, NOT BECAUSE YOU BEAT THEM INTO SUBMISSION! LET ME BE CLEAR, I HAVE OWNED AND RAISED OTHER PITS SUCESSFULLY IN THE PAST! THEY HAVE BEEN IN MY FAMILY FOREVER. ROXY IS JUST SHOWING SOME BEHAIVOR THAT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE WITH SMALL CHILDREN IN MY HOME AND I AM TRYING TO DO THE RIGHT THING FOR HER AND MY CHILDREN. I AM NOT BAILING ON MY RESPONSIBILITY OR JUST GIVING UP, BUT IF YOU HAVE EVER BEEN AROUND OR OWNED THESE DOGS, YOU KNOW THAT SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO MAKE HARD DECISIONS. I AM BEING RESPONSIBLE BY TRYING TO ASK FOR HELP IN FINDING HER A HOME OR OTHER MEANS OF CORRECTING THE SITUATION. ROXY IS NOT UNTRAINABLE OR DANGEROUS...SHE JUST MIGHT NEED A STRONGER HAND THAT HAS MORE TIME TO WORK WITH HER @ THIS POINT. I DO NOT WANT TO GIVE HER UP..SHE IS MY BABY, BUT I AM HAVING TROUBLE WITH HER TRYING TO DOMINATE MY CHILDREN AND BEING JEALOUS OF OUR OTHER SMALLER DOGS.

BECAUSE OF HER BREED I HAVE TO BE PREPARED FOR HER BEING AGGRESSIVE.

AS A MOTHER, I HAVE TO CONSIDER MY CHILDREN 1ST OF COURSE. THAT IS THE ONLY REASON I AM CONSIDERING FINDING HER A NEW HOME.

IF YOU ARE A PITBULL LOVER, HAVE CHILDREN OVER THE AGE OF 10, AND NO MORE THAN ONE OTHER DOG.....CONTACT ME AND WE CAN TALK.
SHE IS 1 AND 1/2 YRS OLD, SPAYED, UTD ON ALL SHOTS

I contacted the owner and said I wanted to help her in some way, that even if she decided to keep her I could help her find some sources for help. Unfortunately, the owner doesnt honestly have the time or money to do what it takes for Roxy.

I went and met Roxy today. She greeted me with a growl then jumped up and put her front paws on my shoulders and then just sniffed me. She gives very direct eye contact so I was sure to not look her straight in the eyes until I was there a while. I let the owner correct her and ask her to back away from me. Roxy has never had obedience classes nor has she been taught any other commands besides "Roxy Come", 'Sit", "No". She listens to her owner very well when asked to come. Roxy is very protective of her family and the smallest 1 lb puppy. Roxy has corrected the other two dogs many times, mostly the large puppy. Roxy seems to not show warning signs too much, right before she will snap at another dog. Roxy has also growled at the 3 year old boy living in the house. Because it is too hard to teach a 3 year old to stand up to a dog, this situation is headed for something worse.

While all these things are warning signs I honestly think I can do what is needed to help roxy. She needs someone to work with her in training, be a solid leader, appropriate play and good interactions with other dogs. Also Roxy does hold her tail really low almost all the time and sometimes between her legs. However, she has very dominating postures to humans and other dogs. To me, she kept jumping up and putting her paws on my shoulders. I told her down after being there a while and she complied. When I was on the floor, she basically rolled over on her back but wants to put some part of her body on you at all times. She leans on you, puts her paw up on your leg and loves to get right in your face and give very direct eye contact. She licked my face many times, but the owner was nervous she was going to bite me. Roxy has never bitten anyone "yet" but has put her mouth around someone a few times to correct them.

To sum it up I think Roxy has had 3 other dogs introduced into her home in the last 6 months or so, while she was the only one for around a year. She is trying to take charge of the entire household, the pack of dogs and the owners. The owners do not know how to correct her so do not.

1. She is a dominant female
2. She is not confident
3. She is low to medium energy
4. She is very protective of children, her owner and smallest puppy
5. Never has been taught basic obedience
6. Not required to work for her stay (NILIF)
7. Not been corrected or taught what she is expected to do

To me she seems 100% adoptable but not to just anyone. Where she is at right now is not a good thing. I would like to adopt her but if for some reason she continues to behave aggressively to my dog even with firm leadership I will foster her until we can find a home where she would be the only dog.

We had the dogs have a brief meeting. My pup is just so happy to see any dog and tries to play immediately. What I witnessed between the two of them, in neutral territory was that my dog kept dominating her with a paw over her back over and over. I verbally corrected him but he was just too happy to see her for him to mind me. Me and Cruz are still working on impulse control. She did not submit. While she may have stood still, she did not show any signs of submission but she never growled or snapped at him. We then moved the meeting on to the owners back yard... I could tell Roxys confidence was boosting as she then played back and forth with him with her tail wagging back and forth, not stuck inbetween her legs. my pup was playfully growling to get her to play. They both then displayed dominant postures but no fight. We then moved into the womans basement only because we were freezing, otherwise I would have never brought my dog in her house full of 6 kids at the time and now 5 dogs. Total CHAOS! My dog got spooked by the little ankle biter barking at him first off, then had to basically drag him downstairs cause so much was scaring him. I figured once we got down there everything would be alright... it was, until roxy came and i brought out the treats. 2-3 times Roxy corrected cruz and at that point Cruz shut down. I said it was time to go. Cruz showed submission to her in her house, but it was pretty scary for him.

While most of you would say I am crazy for taking this dog on, I really know she just needs the things that I have learned how to give a dog. I have worked through many issues with my dog already successfully and want to share that with another dog and give it a good life as well. Cruz needs a partner as well. I honestly enjoy the challenge and will do whatever it takes as far as researching how to help Roxy if obedience training alone does not do the trick. My dog is my life. I have the time and financial resources to help her within reason.

I have read the post on shut down and introducing a new dog to a resident dog and need to reread multiple dog households as before it did not apply to me.

My plans are to have
1. 1-3 more meetings between the dogs. any advice on how to do these in freezing weather?
2. keep them separate in crates for at least two weeks, but take them out to give attention to each separately.
3. When taking out Roxy always keep a lead on her in the house so that I do not have to correct. Is it ok though to teach her basic obedience with treat rewards? I really need her to understand commands before they are able to spend time together supervised. I worked with her today and taught her down, leave it (briefly) and touch commands, just for fun to see how fast she could learn...she is very bright and probably not stimulated enough in her environment currently) She loved my liver treats and loved me after I started working her for them! She was respecting me when I asked her down and off the couch and coming to me when I called her. I promise I would not use any punishment or corrections with her, besided redirection with the leash to toys etc.

Is there anything else I need to do? Is there anything that I can be more lax on? Im sorry this post is so long, but I wanted to tell the whole story! Thanks for any help or advice.
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Re: Planning on adopting or fostering a dog- QUESTIONS

Postby Amy Hendrickson » Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:05 pm

This is not a dog that I would recommend adding to your home.
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Re: Planning on adopting or fostering a dog- QUESTIONS

Postby Maryellen » Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:15 pm

no way no how should you bring that dog into your home.. no no no.. you are just asking for trouble.. there are a ton of HUGE RED FLAGS ... no no no.... if you want to adopt, bring home a STABLE dog that has NO issues ....
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Re: Planning on adopting or fostering a dog- QUESTIONS

Postby Cruzer » Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:36 pm

I understand there are huge red flags, but I know what they are and want to help this dog. I do not see her as being unsound. I see that her current living arrangements are unstable and too active for this very lower energy dog. If someone like me didnt take her, what do you think should be done with her? She cant go to a shelter as they would probably euthanize her if she showed any food aggression or dog aggression there, and then the new owner wouldnt be knowledgable enough to help her. The only options is pitbull rescue which more than likely wouldnt have any room. I have wanted to foster anyways and expect to deal with certain behavior issues. I want to at least give this dog a chance to see if a different environment would help her.
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Re: Planning on adopting or fostering a dog- QUESTIONS

Postby BabyReba » Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:40 pm

Cruzer, I'm going to put a link to this thread in the thread you opened on this topic in training, so people who see it will be directed here. Having two threads on the same topic is kinda confusing.
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Re: Planning on adopting or fostering a dog- QUESTIONS

Postby FransterDoo » Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:43 pm

I would suggest continuing to focus on the dog already in your home.

Dogs pull on out heart strings - all the time. But we all have to acknowledge when it's too much. Your current dog is still a work in progress and he deserves your undivided (dog) time and attention right now.
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Re: Planning on adopting or fostering a dog- QUESTIONS

Postby BabyReba » Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:54 pm

Cruzer, I just looked at some of the other threads you have begun recently regarding the dog you have now. Clearly, you are very dedicated to him and you're learning a lot by working with him. That said, I think you still need to spend some time really getting to know and understand dogs, dog training, and dog behavior before you take on a real issue dog. You posted recently about getting advice on mouthing, jumping on furniture, and other basic stuff--I think you should continue working on those issues with the dog you have.

He's young, you're still learning about him, and he's still learning about you. I think you'd do yourself and your dog a great disservice by taking in this new dog that clearly has some issues that probably could create problems for you and your dog if they turn out to be bigger than they appear on the surface.

There will always be a dog in need of your help, when you're ready to offer it. But sometimes saying "yes" when it's wiser to say no can do more harm than good.
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Re: Planning on adopting or fostering a dog- QUESTIONS

Postby Nickdawg » Wed Dec 16, 2009 10:03 pm

from the other thread-

I would not adopt the dog, no way - this is not the correct temperment for a pit bull towards people and is very concerning, never mind having to manage two dogs and possible dog aggression with each other.

Please just continue on with your dog who you have for certain worked very hard with but there is still aways to go with maturity as well as continued training - he needs your 100% focus.

good post babyreba.
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Re: Planning on adopting or fostering a dog- QUESTIONS

Postby ProudMommy77 » Wed Dec 16, 2009 10:06 pm

Maryellen wrote:no way no how should you bring that dog into your home.. no no no.. you are just asking for trouble.. there are a ton of HUGE RED FLAGS ... no no no.... if you want to adopt, bring home a STABLE dog that has NO issues ....


exactly to what everyone is saying. The thing is, you are still learning, and working with your current pup. While we will always continue to learn and grow, and develop our handling skills, this is not the right situation to try and hone them.
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Re: Planning on adopting or fostering a dog- QUESTIONS

Postby Stormi » Wed Dec 16, 2009 11:25 pm

As all before me have said - bad idea. You seem to be doing really really wonderful with your current pup and are more dedicated than many new dog owners out there who just fly by hearsay. You've put a lot of work into understanding your dog, and that is highly commendable. There will always be " that dog" that's in desperate need of a home. If we all caved everytime we came accross them, we'd be swarmed with dogs! Its so hard to walk away, but not doing so I would fear is setting yourself and your current dog up for big, big trouble. I've had to do the same before, and watch a dog I cared very much for be put down as a result of behavioral issues, but bringing him into my home would have been a nightmare and a trainwreck. Simply put, its great to lend a helping hand when you can, but in taking on such a huge task you really have to focus on the big picture. Being new to the breed, taking on a troubled dog seems like quite the handful and headache. You are still learning - maybe an alternative option would be to volunteer at a local shelter or rescue group. This way, you can help dogs in need, continue to learn and grow, and not be committing yourself to anything.
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Re: Planning on adopting or fostering a dog- QUESTIONS

Postby Cruzer » Wed Dec 16, 2009 11:59 pm

I see what you all are saying. But is there hope with this dog Roxy? Do you think there is any chance a pitbull rescue would take her in? I honestly think that she is not ever going to do well in a home that has small children. There is just so much commotion in this house to give her the proper training. I see potential in her.
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Re: Planning on adopting or fostering a dog- QUESTIONS

Postby Red » Thu Dec 17, 2009 12:01 am

Cruzer wrote:While most of you would say I am crazy for taking this dog on, I really know she just needs the things that I have learned how to give a dog. I have worked through many issues with my dog already successfully and want to share that with another dog and give it a good life as well.


Keep in mind that you seem to have experimented with different methods, some not so appropriated, that can get you in trouble very fast if you think to handle a dog with certain behavioral problems the same way. As a general guideline, without the necessary experience one should not attempt to work with such dogs alone. It is hardly not a "try and see what happens" type of situation and to determine the complexity of behaviors is not an easy task. Really basic questions have been asked in several posts and the answer to those questions and much more should be already in your knowledge to even think to work with a problem animal. While problem dogs make better handlers and can teach us so much they also often end up in the hands of people who realize they are incapable to deal with them, and let alone help them, when it is too late.

That said, none of us can say whether or not the dog is safe and worthy of a home, since home made "assessment" are often inaccurate and a dog without rules can look like a lot of trouble while all that is needed are appropriate guidelines and a different environment. Please consider to at least have an experienced person to take a look at the dog before you make up your mind.

She is a dominant female
2. She is not confident


It's one or the other.The average "dominant" dog (assuming one agrees to use such label) would be a rather confident animal.
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Re: Planning on adopting or fostering a dog- QUESTIONS

Postby Cruzer » Thu Dec 17, 2009 12:13 am

Yeah that troubles me too, she seems to lack confidence or has some fear (tail held low ) But then she has dominant postures (getting on people, correcting other dogs) So not sure where the low hanging tail comes in. A fearful dog I would think would flee and bark, but she gets in your face.
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Re: Planning on adopting or fostering a dog- QUESTIONS

Postby Misskiwi67 » Thu Dec 17, 2009 1:02 am

Please don't ruin all your hard work and the wonderful bond you have developed with your current dog by bringing another "project dog" into your home.

You are going to seriously jeopardize your time and commitment to your current dog by accepting this new dog. You've worked too hard with Cruz to do that to him. You might be a better home for Roxy than the home she's currently in, but you will be putting your relationship with Cruz at risk... is that really worth it???
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Re: Planning on adopting or fostering a dog- QUESTIONS

Postby gooeydog » Thu Dec 17, 2009 3:27 am

Cruzer wrote:I AM HAVING TROUBLE WITH HER TRYING TO DOMINATE MY CHILDREN AND BEING JEALOUS OF OUR OTHER SMALLER DOGS.

BECAUSE OF HER BREED I HAVE TO BE PREPARED FOR HER BEING AGGRESSIVE.


This is a huge red flag, and with you also having a son, it could be unsafe to bring this dog into your home. I sounds like her current owner is equating "dominance" with aggression, based on the rest of her description, so you will be bringing home a dog with potential human and dog aggression into a house with both another dog and a child.

I went and met Roxy today. She greeted me with a growl then jumped up and put her front paws on my shoulders and then just sniffed me. She gives very direct eye contact so I was sure to not look her straight in the eyes until I was there a while. I let the owner correct her and ask her to back away from me. Roxy has never had obedience classes nor has she been taught any other commands besides "Roxy Come", 'Sit", "No". She listens to her owner very well when asked to come. Roxy is very protective of her family and the smallest 1 lb puppy. Roxy has corrected the other two dogs many times, mostly the large puppy. Roxy seems to not show warning signs too much, right before she will snap at another dog. Roxy has also growled at the 3 year old boy living in the house. Because it is too hard to teach a 3 year old to stand up to a dog, this situation is headed for something worse.

Also Roxy does hold her tail really low almost all the time and sometimes between her legs. However, she has very dominating postures to humans and other dogs. To me, she kept jumping up and putting her paws on my shoulders. I told her down after being there a while and she complied. When I was on the floor, she basically rolled over on her back but wants to put some part of her body on you at all times. She leans on you, puts her paw up on your leg and loves to get right in your face and give very direct eye contact. She licked my face many times, but the owner was nervous she was going to bite me. Roxy has never bitten anyone "yet" but has put her mouth around someone a few times to correct them.

It sounds like she's quite nervy/fearful, and no doubt, that's not been helped by the chaos created by having multiple dogs/kids in a house with little to no training and rules. Eye contact is not necessarily a dominance behavior, it be also be an effort on a social, friendly dog's part to connect and seek feedback from a person (especially if encouraged/trained to do so), and can also occur in fearful dogs, some will avert their gaze to avoid conflict, but others will make eye contact, some even in a warning fashion. I would be curious as to whether someone trained/encouraged her to jump up and put her paws on shoulders as a greeting, as that's a pretty random behavior for a dog to exhibit upon meeting someone new. Snapping and growling are also warnings, she's telling the dog/kid to back off so she doesn't have to take the next step and bite... not that it's acceptable, but if she's been continually put in these situations and allowed/forced to deal with the dogs/kids herself (as in the case where parents don't bother to supervise and fail to stop their children from harassing the dog incessantly), that's the behavior she's going to default to in those situations, as it's probably worked in the past.

I wouldn't read too much into the leaning, paw being placed on you, etc, as these again can be behaviors due to a wide range of things, not necessarily dominance, same as rolling on her back and licking may or may not have been a submissive gesture, a lot of these things are situational, and mean little outside of context, so to speak. If she were truly the dominant dog, she wouldn't be issuing corrections to the other dogs (and kids... eek!) right and left, as she would be secure in her position, it's possible that she's had to adopt these behaviors due to the adult humans not doing their part to keep order in the house, rather than her actually seeking to be the dominant dog.

Given what you've described, I wouldn't call her 'protective', as many of the defensive behaviors she's shown are rooted in fear, and easily encouraged either by accident (owner coddling dog for being "scared", dog being put in situations where it can growl/snap to effectively ward off a perceived threat, etc), or on purpose by owners who want a "protective" dog and doesn't realize their dog is just afraid. In many of these cases, fearful dogs adopt an offensive defense tactic, where they attempt to scare off frightening things with impressive threat displays, all the while they're scared out of their mind and feeling anything but secure (picture two people arguing, one yelling threats from the safety of their front doorway, the other standing calmly on the sidewalk, speaking rationally in a normal tone... which seems more secure/confident to you?).

i understand that you are eager to help her, but it sounds as if she's not the most stable dog, and would need to be evaluated in person by a professional to determine exactly what makes her tick and how serious of an issue it is, then would likely require an experienced trainer if the issues are fixable. I don't like the idea that she's shown aggression to the children in the house, and that alone would be enough for me to pass her by (not that I'm looking for any sort of project, have enough of those already!), especially if i had kids of any sort in my home. As others have recommended, it is probably best to concentrate on making Cruz the best dog he can be, and these next few months are pretty important and trying times... he's entering in the fun adolescence stage :)
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