I am the proud owner of Samson, who is an approximately 4-year-old Pitbull and Lab mix. Although he is half lab, most people who see him automatically think he is a Pitbull and comment on how "Pitbull" he looks. Kind of reminds me of a pitbull with a more slender body (his head looks big for his body, haha
) Works in my favor living near a questionable area. Guys usually don't bug me when I'm walking him (I am a 26-year-old female). I hate the negative stereotypes about Bully breeds, but at the same time, appreciate that the dog looks intimidating enough for people to leave me alone. For example, the other day, I was walking him and stopped for a rest in a patch of grass. This guy walked right up to me (seemed mentally unstable and/or on drugs) and as soon as he saw Samson, he was like, "Oh! Oh! I'm sorry! I'm sorry!" and quickly walked away. Samson did not even make an advance (I have not trained him to be hostile). The guy was just scared by how he looked.
Samson is adopted from the animal shelter and was staying at a Pitbull rescue when we got him. Unfortunately, he had been sent back twice before getting into our hands. The main reason for this is because he has SEVERE food allergies to wheat, corn, rice, possibly potato, beef, chicken, and more. I've got him on NutriSource Grain Free and he seems to do OK, although suffers from hot spots and has dry skin. He may also have a grass allergy that could worsen these symptoms. When he suffers from bad outbreaks (such as when someone at the park throws food onto the ground and he lunges at it before I can stop him) I have to put the "cone of shame" on him to prevent him from scratching himself into something resembling ground beef.
I have been working with him on leash training. When I first got him, he pulled very badly. I used the method where one turns around and also used rewards. It didn't take him long to learn.
He is also extremely intelligent when it comes to inventing his own games. One of his favorite games is fetch with a ball, but he also figured out how to roll the ball down hills toward me rather than bringing it to me. He also does it on slides at playground.
I take him to a park to throw his ball, and he is extremely focused on his ball and completely ignores other dogs and children. In fact, another dog walked up to him the other day to check him out, but because I had his ball in my hand, he acted like the dog wasn't there. The only "bone" to pick is that if he sees another ball being thrown or kicked, he may go after it. He tried to get some little girls' softball (I apologized profusely and luckily the parents were gracious) and also took some dudes' football, which they found funny, but I was so embarrassed.
He also has problems with getting bored and running off if he can get the chance. The other day I was letting him out to go potty, and I got distracted for a second and he ran off. I found him a block away going into neighbors' yards and COMPLETELY ignoring me.
He also is TERRIBLE with crate training. I feed the dog in his crate every day and he goes in there with little problem, but he leaves his rear end out so you can't shut the door. We went on a camping trip this last weekend and needed him to go into his crate. Normally we can get him to eat food in it and then shove his back end in there if we have
to. I know this isn't the way, and it's only for emergencies. Well, he knew we were going somewhere and wouldn't even get near the crate. He tried running away when I called him. Unfortunately we had to leave him in our basement for a day with plenty of water, food, and an entire mattress to sleep on. He did fine, but I feel like a bad dog owner nevertheless. I don't know why my husband wouldn't let me have him uncrated in the car (with a leash), but he was being extremely firm on not letting the dog be in the car without a crate. Guess he was paranoid about some scratches, even though I had lined the entire back area with blankets.
Anyway, so I have come here for some help with training this extremely intelligent, independent dog. I love him as if he is my child and will do anything to make our relationship better. I have him well-trained in some areas, and in other areas I am completely at a loss.
By the way, I also have another dog, a full-bred chihuahua, long-haired, apple-head. Very much like the Taco Bell dog. This is my first time on a dog forum, but I help moderate an automotive forum and belong to a Nissan Leaf forum as well, since I just got one. I'd been afraid to join because people are so opinionated about dogs, and I am scared I will be raked over the coals. In fact, I once told a coworker that our chihuahua loves his crate, and he lectured me on how terrible I was for putting him in a cage, etc. Thus, I have been very honest with my situation and I hope people will be willing to help and non-judgmental. TIA!