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Thread: My friends Rescue pittie is attacking horses/ GREAT UPDATE

  1. #1
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    My friends Rescue pittie is attacking horses/ GREAT UPDATE

    I am posting this for one of my friends. They got Petey around Christmas. He is a pit from a shelter. I assume he is jealous of the attention the horses are getting. Does anyone have any thoughts? Thanks.

    We recently got two horses and Petey seems ok when we aren't around them and will even walk through the pasture without looking at them. But whenever we are working with the horses, he barks and goes to attack them. We have tried to desensitize him with getting him GRADUALLY closer on a leash, etc. He hasn't been listening to us and our verbal commands AT ALL and is really behaving badly.

    I don't know what we can do with him. Just when we think we've made progress, he attacks the horses again. Maybe it's a pit bull thing that can't be corrected. We have had the horses five days now.

    For example, this morning he was in the barn and the horses were in their stalls. They were eating and he left them alone. We praised him profusely and hoped that our problem was behind us. He was behaving well in the barn and leaving the horses alone.

    The moment the horses were in the corral eating their hay, he went at the them again - primarily at their muzzle.

    I don't know if the horses have to go or Petey has to go but we can't continue this way. He's either going to get killed by a kick or he is going to seriously injure the horses.

    Perhaps we could just make him an "indoor" dog and walk him. That would make him miserable though. I don't see any other way.

    We have a trainer coming out to work with him on Saturday.

    Any advice? Anyone been through this before?

    Thanks.
    Last edited by MoonandBean; 05-12-2009 at 09:56 AM.

  2. #2
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    My guess is that he is trying to protect you from the horses. Pit Bulls were once used in bull-baiting, and to bring down unruly cattle, and many game-bred Pit Bulls today hunt and catch wild pigs. It could definitely be a combination of confusion (because I'm sure he's never seen a horse before), drive, and the steadfast loyalty that the breed is known for. The fact that he doesn't go after them unless they're in motion or around you definitely supports the drive theory.

    I would absolutely keep him leashed around the horses. Attacking them is VERY bad, and VERY dangerous, for him and for the horses. Having a trainer come in is a great idea... assuming that the trainer is positive reinforcement only. Hurting or bullying him into accepting the horses could likely create a lot of other problems on top of the current one. It is possible that all he needs is some solid Obedience training (a rock-solid stay, recall, and "leave it" is important) and lots & lots of desensitizing and counter-conditioning.

    What do you mean by "inside" dog? If that means the dog isn't left alone outside unsupervised, yes, that's a very good idea. My dogs are "inside" dogs and they are nowhere near miserable. Dogs want to be with their people, so it's natural that he should be inside when you are, and out when you're out and he can be kept safe/leashed/supervised.



    <3 Erica, Fozz n' Gonz

  3. #3
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    Thanks so much! I will forward that to Petey's humans

  4. #4
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    I'm definatly not a pit expert, but there were a couple of pits near my home that were put down for attacking the livestock in the area, they would attack while no one was around and would go strickly for the neck (behaviour due to the owners). If Pete is going for the noses i would think hes protecting or just hasent understood yet that there are bigger aminals on the planet other than dogs. I would give it more time and with any dog keep all meetings supervized. As well i have 2 huskies, both are indoor dogs and they love it. If you leave them outside alone for more than 10 minutes they are wanting to come in just to be near us.

  5. #5
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    I would say that it is a pray drive. Like they have said, pits were used for bull baiting and they are now used to hunt pigs. It is in them to attack live stalk. My childhood dog was a pit mix and when we got riley, my horse she tried to attack him, thinking the back end was safer she got kicked and she rolled a few times. We were all afraid the he had broken her ribs, but she was fine. After that... she never went too close to another horse again. I would keep a leash on the pup when you are around the horses for now on so he doesn't get kicked because sooner or later it will happen or he could even get trampled. I'm not sure what kind of advise to give you other then that, lol. sorry. hopefully the trainer will be more help. Good luck! let us know how everything goes.

  6. #6
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    Thanks! I have passed on both of these responses to my Pittie friends family in Florida

  7. #7
    I haven't ever had a pit bull but I believe that he is probably trying to protect you! It probably wouldn't hurt to let him be an inside dog with long walks fun playing and being around the horses everyday. I have two Chihuahuas and one Doberman Pinscher inside and they love it!
    Good Luck to your friends!

  8. #8
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    Thanks George! I will make sure they see this

  9. #9
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    Update from Petey's mom...

    This is Petey's mommy. I wanted to give all of you an update on our problem with Petey attacking our new horses.

    We had our trainer, Germaine, out to see Petey. I'm telling you all, she is a miracle worker. A positive only trainer, she showed us how to keep Petey's focus on us while near the horses. We relieved Petey's stress about the horses by keeping him on a leash outside while the horses are in their paddocks. While Germaine was with us, Petey did go to nip one of the horses but Germaine felt that it was simply a confusion issue. She also told me that she could tell I was visibly tense because he had attacked the horses before and Petey was picking up on that. She explained that if our Petey were really aggressive, he would not be able to take his focus off the horses even on a leash. She noted that he never bared his teeth or growled threateningly.

    She compared it to how I would feel if someone set up a tent and started living in my backyard. I'd be a bit freaked out, too!!!!!! o_0

    It really made a lot of sense. We watched her work with Petey for about 10 minutes around the horses. He was utterly EXHAUSTED afterward, poor puppy! She kept his focus on her and demonstrated how we are to work with him.

    We've also brought him in during the day and at night, however - when the horses are safe in their stalls - he still gets his "free run time" in the evenings. He doesn't even bother them now.

    Yesterday, after a run with Daddy, Petey came into the barn on a leash. He turned his back on the horse I was grooming several times. I was astonished. He even lay down and rested after his run.

    WOW!

    Petey is doing much better and seems almost relieved that we've taken the control back. Now he doesn't have to figure out on his own how to deal with the horses.

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to all of you for your encouragement, support and advice. I sincerely appreciate you helping us humans over this bump in the road!

    Petey appreciates it too!

  10. #10
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    Yayyy!

    Your Petey update really brought a smile to my face. How wonderful. I'm so glad that you're already seeing results with him, and that you found a great trainer to help you and open your eyes to certain things that are easy to not see or dismiss. I'm also soooo happy that you decided to take a positive reinforcement approach to this! I'm sure Petey will be an all-around happier, more obedient dog and you will be happier owners because of the work you're putting in.

    Please keep us updated... and join & post some pictures of Petey? Pleeeaaaseee? He sounds like a very cool, sweet boy.



    <3 Erica, Fozz n' Gonz

  11. #11
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    Thanks BcKrazy! I have attached Petey's dogster page here: http://www.dogster.com/dogs/927542 and I will encourage his folks to join our wonderful PT family too Petey is doing great and if you scroll down his page to his diary, you'll see that he has even managed to take over the bed. way to go Petey!!

  12. #12
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    The latest post from Petey's mom....another dog wins over it's human

    I am very grateful for my Petey dog today.

    Due to the heavy work of keeping horses, my back has been hurting for about two months. I knew I couldn't keep them and found a wonderful rescue that gives riding lessons to handicapped children. I knew that Zip and Huey would be perfect for that job.

    They came to pick up the horses today.

    Petey somehow knew I was sad about the horses leaving and stuck like glue to me. He was very comforting - sitting on my foot, looking up at me like he understood and just being a good friend. How did I ever live without my Petey Dawg.... I have never been comforted by a dog before and I was deeply moved by his sensitivity.

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