Congrats on adopting a dog!

Welcome to Forums Pit Bull Talk Training Food issues Congrats on adopting a dog!


Congrats on adopting a dog! I am so happy to hear of someone adopting! There are so many pitties in shelters that are homeless.

It sounds like what you have on your hands is an overexuberent dog. He is only 1 year old, and still acts like a puppy. That is normal for a lot of dogs. It isn’t a food issue at all. He is just a dog with excess energy that he needs to get rid off. It also sounds like he was never taught any manners. That is pretty typical also.

He may know basic behaviors, but you need to teach him so much more. You may want to look into the “Nothing in Life is Free” method. Basically, your dog has to “work” for everything. He needs to sit and do other behaviors prior to eating his food. He just can’t rush the food dish. He has to “ask” for permission for a treat by doing a trick or obedience move. Dogs that are given tasks to do and rules and boundaries are going to be much more well-behaved then dogs who are just given everything they want. Kind of like children.

He needs a lot of exercise than just a stroll around the block a day. APBTs are mid to high energy level dogs. He needs a few brisk walks/runs a day, playing ball or frisbee, or even running on a treadmill. As the old saying goes, a tired dog is a good dog. A dog that is physically and mentally worn out is going to be less of a problem. Being at a rescue, he probably didn’t get the exercise that he needed and he is taking it out in your house. You need to work him out! Hide treats or his kibble through out the house and ask him to “find it”. Get a treat ball for him to eat out of. The possibilities are endless on what you can do.

If your dog is truly hungry, it might be easier to discourage what he is doing if he had more to eat. Feed your dog several small meals a day, or two larger meals (breakfast and dinner). DO NOT ALLOW FREE FEEDING! Also, if he is being fed a poor quality food, he isn’t getting the nutrition that he needs and is looking for it in other places, hence the trash and the counter. Speak with your veterinarian about a high-fiber, low-calorie diet that will help your dog feel full. You can also add green beans, canned pumpkin (not the spiced kind), and some cooked meat to help supplement his diet. Again, if he isn’t being fed a high quality diet, he will suffer medically too.

Sticking him in his kennel for punishment is NOT a good idea. The crate is to be a positive place for him to go. A sancutary. By using it as a punishment tool, you will create another bad situation on your hands. Leave the crate for when you leave, feeding treats, etc. Do not use it as a punishment.

To keep him from stealing the other dog’s food, please feed them in separate areas, or at different times. Do not allow free-feeding. By allowing him access to the other dog’s food, that could cause the other dog to resource guard againist his food and then you will have yet another serious issue on your hands—dog fights.

You want to make sure that you pick up ALL food products from anywhere that the dog can reach. This could be a big adjustment for you if you are used to having food out on tables, the counters, etc. The only way you can keep a dog from doing something you don’t want him to do is to not give him the opportunity to do it. Once he realizes that there is never anything within his reach, he will eventaully give up. He may check every now and then, but it won’t be like it used to be. You just have to REALLY be diligent at keeping EVERYTHING picked up. Use trash cans with lids that dogs can’t open, or keep the can in a closed cupboard. Place wastebaskets up high so that your dog can’t reach them. If your dog has learned to open cupboard doors, install child-proof latches. Close doors or use baby gates to keep your dog out of certain areas. Eventually, you will be able to relax later on once he gets a routine and is used to the way you do things.

The first step in teaching your dog that it’s unacceptable for him to get onto the counter and into the trash is to always react immediately when you see him jump on counters, nose around cupboard doors or nudge at the trash can. Clap your hands loudly and say “Off!” in a firm tone of voice, or a sound such as “EH EH”. Then take your dog by the collar and remove him from the area. Do not do this if you suspect your dog might bite you when you grab him by the collar! Some dogs are not used to being grabbed by the collar and will let you know when you try. Once he is off the counter, praise him and walk away.

Some dogs learn that it’s only safe to surf the counters and get into the trash if people aren’t around. If this is what your dog does, you can dissuade him from getting into off-limit areas by using “environmental punishers.” Environmental punishers work by punishing your dog directly, without you present. For instance, if your dog jumps from the floor onto the kitchen counter, you can balance some lightweight cookie sheets on the edge of the counter. When he jumps up, he’ll land on the sheets. They’ll move and possibly topple over while your startled dog leaps back onto the floor. He shouldn’t be harmed by this experience, but it’s unlikely he’ll risk jumping onto the counter again.

Give all this a try for awhile and see what you come up with. Keep in mind that he is still new in your household, and he is learning things. For some dogs, this is their way of testing you and seeing what he can get away with. It is best to start reigning him in now before it gets worse.

Good luck!