Tiny practicing Downward and Upward Facing Dog ;)
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.
Monday, June 13, 2011
Monday, June 6, 2011
WHEW!!!!! Last week was a true challenge as far as making sure Tiny had ample time to be walked, exercised, and socialized with the girls. Not only did we have the normal day-to-day stuff, but we also had my stepson’s graduation followed by the graduation party the next day. We also have a close relative in the hospital and have been making daily trips to visit. Thank goodness we started reintroducing the pack to each other over the long Memorial Day weekend. It definitely made things easier. Other than being off schedule, it’s been business as usual. We continue to work on Tiny’s high prey drive. (damn squirrels!) The next command to be learned is “Watch me” in order to get him to focus more. I think I’m having more problems with this one than he is. The idea is to have him “sit” and as soon as he makes eye contact with me, I mark it by saying “yes” and then give him a treat. The problem is that his expressions KILL me! J I end up cracking up laughing, then he thinks I’m playing and the whole training session goes completely downhill. This is why I’m not a professional trainer. Good thing we’re not on a deadline.
Dave and Tiny’s relationship is getting stronger though we’ve established that Dave just doesn’t have it in him to be a pack leader. He’s much too lenient with his commands. They sound more like a drawn out question. “Sit?, Sit?, Sit?” At this point, Tiny usually looks at Dave sideways then they wrestle like pups! Haha!
I thought walking Tiny this morning would be a nightmare because of our crazy few days. He’s been exercised every day but hasn’t been out of the yard since Friday. Again, he amazed me at well he’s doing. He now walks extremely well on the leash. When there are no distractions, he is directly beside my left leg with a loose leash. The Easy Walker harness has helped with this, but eventually I would like to wean him off of it. That’s down the line though…for now we’ll continue to work on his commands and his focus. By this time next year, I am hoping that Tiny will have aced his Canine Good Citizen test and we’ll be working on having him certified as service dog for PTSD.
at 4:20 PM