Meet Tiny!

In March of this year, a man was found shot to death in his home in West Philadelphia. When the police entered the house, they found what appeared to be a pitbull breeding operation. A female pitbull, protecting her puppies, lunged at one of the officers. He shot and killed her. Her litter of puppies, along with 2 male dogs and 4 female dogs were taken to the PSPCA. The 2 males were evaluated and it was determined that the big one (my boy) was most likely used for breeding because of his size. It was possible that he had been used in fights as well. Both males were treated for bite wounds and after further evaluation from a behaviorist, they were deemed adoptable. This is when I got my first look at Tiny. When I saw his picture on the PSPCA’s website, it was love at first sight! He has this massive head with a big Pie Face. He looks a little goofy though because he has no ears. We set up a meet and greet with our girls, Ginger (our 5 year old Bullmastiff) and Reese (our 1 year old Plott Hound). Everything went smoothly so we adopted him. All of the dogs were getting along great, but one day, Tiny attacked Ginger out of the blue. My husband, Dave, said Tiny had to go. I was crushed. How could he mess up his chance for a loving home? Luckily, Dave said we could foster him until a good home was found…we would just have to keep the dogs separated. Meanwhile, Tiny wiggled his way back into my heart. He’s just such a gentle giant around people. He and Reese, who is a ball of energy but very submissive, get along great. About 6 weeks later, I got an email from a lady who was interested in adopting Tiny. I was so sad and hoped that her adoption application wouldn’t go through, but it turned out that she was the perfect candidate. She owned her home, was there all day and had experience with pitbulls. My only concern was that she had a 6 month old baby. When she and her husband came to meet him, they instantly fell in love with him. The deal was sealed when Tiny gave their infant son a sniff and then laid down on the floor at his feet. So they took him home and I cried the rest of the weekend. But 3 days later, we got the call to come get him. He was too powerful on the leash, he barked non-stop and he was a little too interested in the baby. I knew when I realized he was coming home, I would never be able to say goodbye to him again so I had to find a training program that was the right fit. Everything that I researched brought me to Leerburg Kennels. Their method is based on the fact that dogs are pack animals and they depend on a strong pack leader (owner/trainer) to give them guidance and direction. The more I read, I KNEW this is how I wanted to train Tiny. Not only to be the great dog I know he already is, but to be the perfect PET…a loyal companion for our family. This blog is meant to hold me accountable for his training by making it public.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


So much has happened in the last week.  Tiny has become a pro at DOWN in the back yard.  We’ve taken the command to the next step and we use it on our walks around the neighborhood.  He does fairly well with it; however he is still easily distracted by squirrels.  That boy LOVES him some squirrels.  HAHA!  As part of his training though, it’s important that he’s able to overcome his urge to chase them.  Instead of trying to have him ignore it, I just make him sit until the squirrel (or any other distraction) goes away or he is relaxed enough to proceed on our walk.  It works about 50% of the time.  Tiny seems comfortable with wearing his muzzle around the neighborhood too.  He is a still able to bark, yawn and most importantly pant.  He even figured out how to drink water while wearing it.  Some people just stare at him, but when approached by someone who is curious, I have him sit while I answer their questions.  The most frequent question is “Is he friendly?”  Yes he is.  “Why does he need the muzzle?”  He wears it for his protection.  There are a lot of dogs that run loose in our neighborhood and the muzzle takes Tiny out of the equation if one of them ends up coming home with a bite wound from an unknown dog.  Usually, the last question is “Can I pet him?”  Of course!  That’s what he’s been patiently waiting for while I’ve been answering your questions J
Memorial Day weekend was a milestone for our pack.  For the first time since Tiny went after Ginger back in March, they were all together.  Again, Tiny wore his muzzle with no signs of discomfort.  Reese and Ginger thought it was a little strange at first, but they soon got over it and they were hanging out in the back yard together all day Saturday and Sunday.  Monday was the first day that Tiny was allowed to hang out in the house without being in his crate.  As his pack leader, I still didn’t let him have the freedom of roaming around wherever he wanted to go.  He was tethered to me with a 6 ft. leash, but he didn’t seem to mind.  He was calm and in return Ginger and especially Reese were calm around him.  They were all so comfortable around each other, that they took a snooze right in the middle of the living room floor. 
We are seeing the positive effects of this method of training.  Some people have said, “It’s not fair.  You’re not treating him and the girls equally.”  My response is that he doesn’t seem to mind.  While my dogs may have different places in the pecking order, the bottom line is that they are all loved the same. 



  1. I love what you are doing with him! You are making him the best dog possible and keeping everyone safe. I think you will eventually be able to treat them all 100% equally but for now keeping them safe and healthy is number one! Best of luck and congrats on all the work you have done with him, its paying off!

  2. @Rocky...Thank you :) He has a long way to go but he's totally worth it! I'm hoping to start the same program with my Plott Hound, Reese, later this summer.