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Biting, chewing, taking over the house

Welcome to Pitbulls.org Forums Pit Bull Talk Training Biting, chewing, taking over the house

Viewing 5 posts - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
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  • #14585
    Maria Y

    We recently took in a 6 month old pit yellow lab mix Marley from a shelter. We didn’t know she was pit but I should have known something was up when they gave her to us and personally delivered her to us 30 miles away. (long story short) we were told by friends of friends that there was a 6 month old yellow lab mix that was going to be put down because no one was adopting her because she was too energetic. We had put down our beloved dog 6 months earlier so the kids and my husband were getting antsy for a new dog. So we agreed to take this dog, sight unseen and the first thing I saw when I looked at her was Oh crap, this dog has pit bull in her. They didn’t tell me that on the phone but maybe the name they gave her “Marley” should have tipped me off. But I do believe that there are no bad dogs. Just bad owners who make bad dogs so we agreed to take her in.

    I don’t know much about characteristics of different dog breeds but I have always had some sort of Lab mix dog so I figured I’d be OK since she was part lab. I didn’t realize how much of the pit would actually take over in her day-to-day life. I definitely wasn’t prepared for the pit bull characteristics. Everything that she does that is bad when I bring it up to her trainer I am told she does because she is Pit. Here are a few problems I am having.

    1. She thinks she rules the house. She pushes us with her nose. Especially my 14 yr old daugther and I. She seems to be a little better with my husband and 12 yr old son. I have also noticed when we have visitors she is more aggressive toward girls that boys. Yesterday she grabbed a 11 yr old girl’s ponytail and pulled out some of her hair. She was playing and not trying to hurt, but hurt her nonetheless.
    2. Everytime someone tries to walk away from her she bites their heels/shoes or hands.
    3. When I take her outside to go to the bathroom and she wants to play she bites me and jumps up on me. If I put my hands in my pockets that means playtime. If I try to ignore her and turn my back on her she jumps and has now ruined 2 of my hoodies from biting them and ripping holes in them. If I try to walk away, my feet get it.
    4. She chews everything and has ruined one of my couches with her scratching it.
    5. She jumps on everything from the sofa to the stove. We can’t keep her from putting her two front paws on the kitchen counter and looking for things to take. We have now started locking her in her kennel when we eat because she would knock the kids over and steal their food. Or if you turn away from your plate for one split second she would jump up and take your food and run with it.
    6. When I specifically tell her NO or stare at her if I am mad, she bends forward and growls at me. I was told this was playing but it’s not much fun for me and I want her to know that when I say NO I mean NO and not bite me etc…
    7. Let’s not forget her inability to get along with the cats. I know this is normal and it is going to take time but I can’t keep my (4) cats locked upstairs forever. They have started to come down and jump the gate and then the dog chases them and has even caught the littlest once.

    I think I have covered all of the things that are driving me crazy. I would love to hear from whoever has an idea on how to solve any of these problems. It has got so bad for me (especially with her aggressive toward me) that I am ready to get rid of her to whoever would take her. The family doesn’t feel this way but since I am the one that takes care of her AND takes the most abuse from her I figure I have that right. We use a spiked collar for training and recently bought a static/shock collar to try to get her to behave around the house. We ran the batteries dead in a week if that means anything (we mostly use the static which is a shrilling high pitched beep and gets her attention).

    Don’t get me wrong. I am a huge animal lover. I have always lived with some sort of dog or cat my whole life (I’m in my 40’s) but I just don’t think I can take 10+ years of this if this is how a pit is. If someone can tell me that these are puppy characteristics then that might be a little easier to deal with.

    I look forward to hearing your advice.


    First of all, please do not down breeds. Whether she is a pit or a Saint Bernard has absolutly NOTHING to do with her behavior. With that way of thinking, everything that she is doing going to look so much worse if you feel it is because she may or may not have any pit in her. She is a dog. A young dog. Simple as that. You have a 6 month old PUPPY on your hands that was NOT taught any manners or socialization. It is as simple as that. Some puppies are more outgoing than others. Whoever had her before you completley ignored how to raise a puppy. Lab puppies can be VERY high strung and energetic. What may seem like aggression to you is probably just an incredibly bored dog who has WAY too much energy and needs to burn it off! She also needs to be taught rules and boundaries, which apparently have never been done.

    If you feel that there are no bad dogs, then why are you so concerned if she has pit in her? If that is her picture as your avatar, I see only yellow lab. More like a field lab versus a conformation lab, hence the larger head. But I do not see any pit. Shouldn’t matter anyway if you believe that there are no bad dogs.

    For someone who says that they are a huge animal lover, using a shock collar on a 6 MONTH OLD PUPPY is incredibly irrepsonisble and dangerous! Those collars aren’t meant to be used for the reasons that you have described. If by hurting your dog is your way of teaching her what is and isn’t acceptable, then you may not need to have a dog. Prong collars and shock collars can make things SOOOOO much worse, and is leaning on a form of pyhiscal abuse! No puppy should wear collars like that. The dog will associate you with pain. That is not the desired response that you need…trust me. I have it seen it many times before in my classes. What you need is to take her to a puppy class and learn how to properly train her and not train her by fear and pain. Being that she has lab in her, she also needs a job to do, even at this young of an age.

    It also sounds like she was never taught bite inhibition. She was probably taken away from her mother too soon, and was never taught what is right and what is wrong, nor did her previous owners. Now it is up to you to do so. Biting, mouthing, and chewing are normal behaviors for puppies. Dogs don’t have hands so they investigate objects and their environment with their mouths. To a curious puppy, everything about this big world is brand new and exciting and is awesome to put in her mouth.

    Playing is also a normal learning behavior for puppies, especially play-fighting. Play-fighting with littermates, other animals, and YOU develops reflexes, coordination and physical skill. It also helps them develop social skills and teaches them how to interact positively within their canine society, their “pack.” And it’s great fun for them. Sometimes their fighting and “attacks” on us appear frighteningly fierce but to them, it’s just a game. We give them attention by yelling at them, which is the wrong thing to do. If we don’t want them to do something, there are better ways to teach them.

    Here is something that I wrote in a previous thread:

    To teach the puppy appropriate play behavior, hard biting should elicit a painful shriek or a loud noise from the human, like a rapt “eh eh”. Just like it does with the pup’s siblings or mom, this sends the message to the pup that this behavior is unacceptable. Stop interacting with the puppy. Get up, cross your arms, and walk away, ignoring the puppy for a few. Puppies and older dogs hate to be ignored. Sometimes the worse thing that you can do to a dog (in his mind) is to ignore him when he is just trying to get your attention or play. By walking away or even just crossing your arms and turning your back to him, you have removed the “rewards” (you and the playing), and you are teaching bite inhibition. Gradually decrease the pressure of the bite you permit and add a cue before yelping to teach a signal to the dog. Ignoring the dog is kind of like a time out for humans.

    Another way is once there is biting, keep your hands very quiet and still and then redirect the puppy to other appropriate objects. Sometimes shrieking, then ignoring, and then handing the dog something appropriate to chew on is the way to go. Always have something available to transfer to her mouth. It may seem like you are rewarding, but if you do it correctly and with good timing, you are not rewarding.

    Other biting, such as on pants leg or shoes, can be handled by distractions such as throwing a toy or a simple clap. Remember to NOT engage the dog verbally. Just talking to the dog by saying “no” reinforces the negative behavior. You just paid attention to the dog by opening your mouth to yell at it, so you are reinforcing the behavior. Reinforce only the positive behavior.

    As for the cats, that is something that you should have known would happen by bringing a 6 month old puppy into the house. You need to introduce them SLOWLY and not all at once. You may have to keep the cats oenned up unless you can learn to introduce them properly. This is where a good trainer could help also.

    Crate the cats and allow the dog to sniff around the crate. As you are doing this, each time the dog reacts positively (by not growling, lunging, etc.), reward the dog with a really high-value treat (chicken, steak, liver, tripe, etc.). After some time of doing this day after day for a few weels, move the cat to a room where there is more free movement and allow the dog to watch and sniff, keeping the dog on a short, tight leash. Having a baby gate up in a room and monitoring the cats on one side and the dog on the other is a great way to do it also. But you have to monitor what the dog and cats do!

    Introducing a cat to a breed of dog that already has a high prey drive takes time, treats, a lot of praise, and a lot of patience. This is NOT something that you can RUSH. Many dogs will never take to cats, or take to them at first, and then treat them as prey later on. Please research it more before you allow them to meet nose to nose. Always supervise them when they are together, and never leave them alone together. Many people have dogs and cats that coexist and many have grown up together, but problems still can occur. Many don’t ever get along. Just be prepared. 🙂 Cats do things that entice dogs to chase and go into hunter –> prey mode. You have to be watching them all the time!

    In a nutshell, what you need is to take your dog to sebveral puppy classes, work on obedience at home, and not hurt your dog anymore with senseless “training” tools. You need to exercise your puppy as much as you can. Walks, runs, playing ball, whatever you can do to wear her out. A good dog is a tired dog.

    go ask alice

    First off i would like to say this is why people shouldnt just get a dog because your other one passed away, especially from a shelter, if you want to get a dog from a shelter, you should go there, look at all the dogs and find one that fits your family, dont get a dog because you feel bad for it, because sometimes that can be the worst thing for it.

    Even if the dog does have pitbull in it that has NOTHING to do with the way it is acting, obviously you need to teach her some manners, if she was about to be put down then you should have expected some quirks, not some perfect already trained dog to replace yours. I really do respect that you saved this dog but it seems like its gonna end up in the same place it started if you dont correct these things.

    I would also suggest taking her to obedience classes and LOTS of exercise. If my dog hasnt been taken out for a 2 hour walk then she can definatly be a handful.

    Shock collars are not the answer to your problem i can promise you that, its just going to make you and your dog alot more annoyed then neccisary. Plus shes just a puppy, all shes looking for is routines, rules and boundaries.

    I would suggest contacting a professional asap and getting this sorted out, they would be able to help more then the internet would.

    I wish you and your pup the best of luck.


    i have two pitbulls that are 1 year old, a male and a female. the male is alot bigger than the female and he doesnt like when she goes near the food bowl and is getting mean about it and trying to hurt her. they love each other when they arent around the food. what do i do?



    Unfortunately this is an innate behavior that some dogs have and most likely will always have. The male is trying to insert his dominance in their little pack.  It may become better once your female realizes and accepts his dominance but you cannot rely on that happening, as you can never if or when it will actually happen that way.  Its better to fix it before one or both dogs, or even you, gets hurt.  We went through the same thing when we rescued our 2nd female.  She was a stray and was very food aggressive.  She attacked our 1st female on more than one occasion over food. Some tips that helped us: we never give them food out of the same bowl (it took us many months to feel comfortable given them water out of the same bowl), we feed them on separate sides of the room (in an extreme case, I suggest even feeding them in completely separate rooms), in the beginning we would always be in the room with them while they were eating, and we consulted a trainer about it. We also began feeding our 1st female, the less dominant one, first to show patience to our 2nd one, to upset the dominance roles and to show that I ultimately decide who gets fed first and when you get fed.  Who eats first is a big role and dominance influencer in doggie world. BUT…I am not a professional and even though we all love our pits we got to remember that they are pit bulls, a very strong breed that is not to be taken lightly.  I strongly suggest that you talk to or meet with a trainer, especially where it seems this aggressive behavior is relatively new. They may be able to give you better guidance and tips on controlling the situation or even reversing your male’s aggressive behavior.  But in the meantime, I hope my tips help you out.  They did do wonders for us, although our 2nd female is still aggressive with some food and treats.

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