I read in a local paper that Broward County residents were fighting, and fighting hard to pass a law to make problem dog breeds like pitbull and pitbull mixes illegal in Broward County, similar to what happened in Miami-Dade County.
This really disturbed me and it made me think as well. I have had so-called “problem dog breeds” such as pitbull or bully breed mixes almost my entire life. I understand the difference firsthand between a poodle and a pitbull, and the damage they can inflict when a fight happens.
I think the severity of the damage is the most important difference between the bully breeds and the countless other dog fights, human bites, and aggression that is encountered amongst dogs.
I have learned there are many ways to control behavior, even in “problem dog breeds”
Of course, we’ve all heard why dogs become aggressive and why not, so I won’t even get into that. I will, however, say that only recently, through my personal experience with my favorite friend and the love of my life “Buddy” the pitbull mix, I have learned that like all other breeds, there are MANY ways to control aggressive behavior.
Since I bring Buddy to work with me regularly, I get lots of compliments on how obedient he is, especially for a dog who had shown some pretty scary, and unpredictable behavior in the past.
His obedience came from desperation on my part, and I wasn’t even sure if he could be obedient or that his life could be a healthy and happy one. I was afraid and if any of you have witnessed a real bite from a dog, you know the fear I’m talking about.
Well, my Buddy had his obedience down pretty well now, and I knew he would stay in a down-stay for as long as I needed but his confidence, however, was fading. It took an outsider, a friend who has a very different method of training to tell me that Buddy was so subordinate of me, and sensed my nervousness so clearly, that he was afraid to DO ANYTHING! I learned that even for a “high drive trouble maker”, positive, and I mean POSITIVE reinforcement really works wonders!
Now I’ve got a dog that is obedient, but always looks to me for rewards, whether it is a treat or a “good boy!” and it’s making him a truly confident, respectable bull dog! (We have a lot more fun together too)!
The moral of my story is… If you feel that you have a problem with your dog, don’t let anyone tell you it’s hopeless. It’s rarely hopeless! But remember this; if you have a dog who is aggressive or a dog that has bitten even without breaking the skin, you need to get help and get it fast!
Our animal companions experience the same kind of emotional disturbances we do, they just can’t tell us what’s wrong. Often it is something easy and simple to diagnose, other cases take longer, but in my business, we come across a lot of dogs who have spent time in shelters or just bad situations, and in my time we’ve never known a dog we couldn’t help in some way.
Some problems cannot be cured entirely but modified to the point of being tolerable. It’s important that you help your pet if he/she is exhibiting symptoms such as a change in personality or toileting.
Having problems with dog training does not always indicate a learning problem, but could be a medical problem. Always be open to new methods of training because like my family … it could mean the life of your pet!
Looking for more training articles? Check out this article about preventing aggression…
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