This last week we had the opportunity to watch my friend’s dog. A sweet pit bull named (for the sake of protection, we’ll call him ‘Pittie’). He was a love, but there were some adjustments that needed to be made. He wasn’t used to our house rules, so we quickly did a bit of ‘house training’. No, not potty training, but actual HOUSE RULE training. He caught on, and we were patient with him.
However, first night was a little rough. Pittie was anxious and needed some time by himself before we could let him out of the kennel. Spray bottle, verbal corrections, or ignoring him didn’t really work. Ok, let’s put those training skills to work! Blanket over the crate? Check. Essential oils? Check. Did they help? YES! After putting some lavender on him, it only took him about 5 minutes to settle down in his crate and go back to sleep.
Still anxious the rest of the night and the next day however (he was lip licking, pacing, whining, eyes darting around). So, again, he was ignored until he calmed down. Finally found a spot on the comfy carpet that felt nice, and curled up quietly. Then and only then, he got attention. He’s a love! Kisses and snuggles! It just took some time to realize he’s not home, and things are a little different. After the first original day, he settled in, and was just completely wonderful!
Napoleon and Pittie had some things to figure out, however. Napoleon is still learning his doggie manners when he is around other dogs, and as I have said before: he is over-adrenalized. He kept getting in Pittie’s face. Luckily, Pittie is a good ‘teacher’, and Napoleon is learning what is acceptable and what is not. Pittie is very dominant, and Napoleon is not. So, after he realized Pittie was going to correct him on everything, he just submitted. This took about a day to work everything out.
Now, as for Pittie and the cats: Pittie was showing signs of over-interest in the cats on the first introduction. Cats were not so sure about this new dog. I wrapped Mia in a towel first, and then had Pittie sniff her in the towel. She eventually had enough, hissed, swiped, and then ran away. Pretty much same thing happened with Max. Whatever, that’s fine, they’ll come around, right? After that, Pittie was very fixated on my cats. So, we did small introductions throughout every day, with Pittie tethered to the banister, and had the cats eat about 6 feet away. Max ate, Mia didn’t. So, I put Mia behind a wall, so she still knew Pittie was there, but couldn’t see him. She ate. Each meal got a little closer. Pittie was put in the cat’s room so he could sniff everything, and the kitties were put in his crate to smell him. Every day, small introductions. Finally, on Monday, the cats were brave enough to approach Pittie.
The approach was fine, and even though they didn’t sniff, they walked away peacefully. However, we started to trust Pittie a little more, and when he was around the cats, we weren’t tethering him anymore. He seemed interested, but still able to respond to commands. But when we were far enough away, he started chasing them, and they ran up the blinds , basically near the ceiling. That was enough to scare both my husband, and my cats. That was it – no more introductions for kitties and Pittie. However, it was a comfort to know the kitties were fine eventually with a new dog, since we are planning on fostering. He was just way to adrenalized. So, kitties stayed upstairs, and the dogs stayed downstairs. No biggie.
Now, Napoleon and Pittie have been fine together for the most part. Until a bone was introduced. Well, Pittie found it. I got another bone for Napoleon, and set them up on either side of the room, just in case one had a fit or something. We have had Pittie for a few days at this point, and everything was going fine, so I just let them be. I was working on my computer, and I notice Pittie get up and walk over to Napoleon while he’s chewing on it. Napoleon gets up, and tries to walk away with the bone. Pittie didn’t like that. He air snapped and Napoleon. Normally, he would have just submitted and given Pittie the bone. I think at this point, he had had enough of the corrections from Pittie. Napoleon snapped back, and it turned into a fight. I broke it up fairly quickly, and the fight lasted about 3 seconds total. They were separated then so they could calm down-both were pretty adrenalized after that. Once they stopped licking themselves, and stopped panting, I checked them both out to make sure there wasn’t any damage. Pittie was fine, and Napoleon walked away with a cut in his ear. More blood, than actual damage. He’ll be fine. After they were both calmed down, and the adrenaline had subsided, I introduced them again. Napoleon submitted immediately. We went on a ‘pack walk’ later that evening, and no issues at all.
So, I was able to get some experience with a very dominant dog, introducing resident cats to a new dog, pit bull experience, and re-introducing some dogs after a dog fight. I wish the dog fight didn’t happen, but it was good to get some experience. Afterwards, Pittie realized what I say is law and we didn’t have any more problems after that.
Thinking about the fight, I think there were a few factors that contributed:
– Pittie being dominant
–Pittie being in a new environment, and possibly having some stress
-Napoleon having enough of Pittie’s dominance
-I wasn’t watching closely enough
Good experience overall for me. I’m so happy I was able to experience this, and I hope I’ll be able to doggie sit him again!
So you didn’t mind Pittie dominating Napoleon? This story was hilarious and all too familiar. I think it shows that a lot goes into dog sitting someone else’s dog. Great story.
No, actually Napoleon needs that! He has some issues, and having Pittie correct him when he needed it (he really does need this) really helped. Like, for example-Napoleon gets into other dogs’ faces all the time. This is a very ‘rude’, pushy thing to do, so having a dog correct him is a good thing. Mounting-this is something we have been working on for a LOONG time! Having a dog correct him on this instead of attack him is awesome. This didn’t happen because Pittie set the rules so quickly. Napoleon is the type of dog who needs a dog correction. There is only so much I can do…
Ahhhh I get it! Interesting . I can’t wait to hear about the subsequent lessons.
Love the honesty that you always share! They are both beautiful dogs and you are an awesome trainer!
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What a gorgeous pit bull! So glad I finally had a chance to read about your adventures in dog sitting. And so glad that, even though there was a disagreement over the bone, you were able to get in quickly and put an end to it. 🙂
Yes, it was over pretty quick, no nasty damage done
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