Rescuing an Abused Pitbull

We rescued my pitbull from abusive owners and she's extremely skiddish and 'scaredy'. Today I was training her a bit and we were both having fun, she was very good. Afterward, she held the treat in her mouth and let out a few short low growls, like 3 seconds long and 5 seconds apart, and not just for fun, it was AT me, but her stance was straight but not rigid with her tail wagging, and her face relaxed. I remained calm but I was really scared because I'm a smaller person and I was home alone at the time, and the growl did not sound playful. Anyone know what this was? What should I do in this situation?

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Breanna from Las Vegas, NV

July 17, 20070 found this helpful

She is probably confused and needs time to figure out things. If she is abused badly you may need to put her down. Treats may have followed by a kick or something from the old owner. She may have thought you were going to take it away after giving it to her, even though she was happy for the treat. DON'T make it an issue, but keep a safe distance and clear way of escape incase she turns on you. Abused dogs tend to do turn on new owners, because they are uncertain of what to expect. Mine was rescued, and after nine months of being with me, decided to turn on me, because the confusion finally caught up with her. Mine was a Australian Shepperd/Blue Heeler mix. I loved her dearly, but I knew she would never fully trust anyone again, so I consulted the vet and we both agreed to have her put down. When I rescued her she was on death row at the Humane Society where I got her. They put down dogs with attitude problems, and she was so sweet looking I overlooked her disposition and decided it was the kennel she was in that put her in a bad mood, so I adopted her. We each live with our mistakes this one you have to learn for yourself. I hope you and your dog work out, but don't expect miracles.

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July 17, 20070 found this helpful

I might anger some pet owners by saying this, but it is possible that pitbull should be humanely euthanized. You have doubts as to your safety with this dog or you would not have posted. What happens if a visiting toddler tries to take a treat from the dog? What happens if it gets loose? There are many nice predictable dogs who need rescued. I own two rescued dogs, one for 9 yrs, and one for 5 years, and they have such stable temperaments I never have to worry. One of my dogs was kicked out of the house by a well-off family who decided they just didn't want her anymore. After I adopted her, I had to go out in the fenced yard with her so she could take care of her business. She was afraid she wouldn't ever be let back in again. But her insecurity never came out in growling, just a need for petting and reassurance. My other dog was a stray I adopted as an older puppy. His foster mom used to take him into schools to visit disabled children because he is so good-natured.

However, years ago I tried to rescue a puppy that had been neglected and despite a lot of good care and training it became unpredictable and aggressive as it grew up. A frightened insecure pit bull is a major health risk! If you ever watch the show Animal Rescue, they euthanize dogs that do not pass a non-aggression test rather than put them up for adoption. We give dogs affection, protection, food, and vet care, with the fair expectation that they will be gentle and loving companions. Do not settle for anything less.

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July 17, 20070 found this helpful

I believe you already KNOW the answer. She needs to be put down. You have a responsibility to protect yourself and others from harm. I applaud your efforts to save her but common sense should surely tell you that in all probability someone is going to be hurt by this dog in the near future! She also knows that you are afraid of her...so she is definitely not going to obey your commands........she KNOWS she's the alpha dog! You tried....but I think you need to put your kind efforts into a dog that will repay your love WITH love.

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July 17, 20070 found this helpful

I think everyone is overreacting. I have rescued many many animals...yes even pits. She IS probably a little anxious and confused because of her past, but with patience and love you can win her over. When she growls at you, firmly say stop that and get up and repeat yourself until she stops. If you are really afraid of her attacking you, you can always attempt to keep some detterent like pepper spray handy in case she does attack. I don't think she will though.

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July 17, 20070 found this helpful

I forgot to mention that I have a dog that does something similar and he does it because he wants THREE treats and is telling me I miscounted. haha

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July 18, 20070 found this helpful

You people are WAY nutty overreacting. I've had rescues all my life & this is typical for some dogs. The dog JUST came into the family & is supposed to KNOW exactly how to act instantly??? Especially since she was abused?? What's wrong with you people? Do you know anything about dogs? You're telling someone to have an animal KILLED because of a normal alpha issue? If one of your skinkids talked back to you would you have them killed? That's how ridiculous you sound. I agree with Corrie. If she gets a negative reaction she will adjust to who's alpha. And that reaction is to say a firm NO & immediately turn her back to her & walk away. After about 15 mins. go back to her a give her a treat for being a good dog, ie. not behaving badly for the 15 mins. Pepper spray is a horrible thing to mention. Why would you want to inflict pain on an animal. If necessary you can use plain water in a spray bottle but if you walk away & ignore her for a reasonable length of time that should work. She just needs to learn to play nicely. Simple.

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July 18, 20070 found this helpful

I agree, put the dog down, if some one other then you gets hurt you could get sued, I don;t trust pit bulls at all.I have a friend who went out for a walk like he always did, and 2 pit bulls attacked him,he had to have back surgery cause he fell backwards,also hurt his arm, thank God the dogs didn't do any harm other then scare him into fallen backwards, I watch animal planet and those rescue placee would put him down.

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July 18, 20070 found this helpful

Corrie- That's what I thought because it didn't seem angry at all and I have heard that some pits do a little laugh that is alike to a growl, but im not experienced with dogs so i put her outside anyway haha. We've had her for over a year with no problems so i don't quite think that puting her down is an option quite yet.

Thank you so much everyone for your feedback!

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July 18, 20070 found this helpful

I don't really want to get into this debate as pit bulls are now a banned breed in Australia.. there have been too many attacks on smaller dogs, cats, and people too. However, a friend who is a dog trainer told me that if your dog.. whatever breed.. becomes bossy, stand perfectly still and stare up at the sky as though totally bored with the performance, I have tried this with my cat who is a fiesty lady, and prone to nip at feet and ankles, and it worked with her.

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July 18, 20070 found this helpful

It seems to me she wants to play.

Sometimes you can tell this by the tail wagging.

She may have been abused by taking away her food.

Anyway, be vigilant and don't trust completely.

Dogs can sense fright.

Good Luck

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July 18, 20070 found this helpful

Are you people crazy! She has had the dog for a year without any problems. Why would you want to put the dog down. I rescued a dog and he is the only male, I have 2 females and he tries to be the alpha but I don't let him get away with it. Just give him time out. I've had him 6 years already and he still tries to get away with things but I wouldn't trade him for anything. Why would you people want to put a dog to sleep for just being a dog? What it would be like putting a child to sleep for being fresh. All the dog needs is love and understanding. Good for you for adopting him.

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July 18, 20070 found this helpful

I agree with the Guest Post. In the first place I've had Pit Bull dogs for 30 years and yes they can be mean, they can be vicious, they can hurt people, that's very true. BUT they can be very loving ,very protective, loving kids and babies and loyal. they are no different from other dogs except for the way they're raised.

they don't trust strangers and probably for a good reason. I was told years ago that if your dog doesn't trust someone there's a good reason, they sense thing we don't. this is true..a dog will sense your fear and act accordingly, growling, stiff neck tail down or straight out, but they also will wag the tail as in playing..get to know the dog and if you feel intimidated, play only for a few minutes and watch the dog to see his or her reaction..my Lab growls at me when he wants me to chase him around the yard. he loves it. the next time the dog growls, tell him in a mean voice to "knock it off -NOW" and leave him alone. don't EVER stare at a dog, it makes them very nervous. patience works wonders.

for all you people that would "put the dog down" maybe you should be put down when you have a bad day with a stranger. a lot of these poor animals have the rep because of drug dealers training. the dog has no choice of how he's raised. give them a break. check out the owners first. there in lies the problem..

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July 18, 20070 found this helpful

LOVE heals all wounds, give your dog time, and please give lots of love and praise !!! How would you feel in your dogs place ?? :-)

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July 19, 20070 found this helpful

i would not say right off to put the dog down. but lets face it pits have something in them that most other dogs do not. she could be thinking about her past abuse and just all of a sudden take it out on you. look at human beings. sometimes we live in abusive relationships and come out of them into a loving envirnment. then all of a sudden something cracks. some people become abusers themselves or God forbid murderers. why should we expect more or less from a dog. ???

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July 19, 20070 found this helpful

I agree that putting the dog down would be an enormous over-reaction. I am not particularly a fan of pits, but will say that one of the sweetest dogs I've ever met was a pitbull. Your dog's behavior sounds like food guarding/aggression. And I agree, don't look at her when she behaves like this- it is often perceived by the dog as a sign of aggression from you. Just work with the dog, be very careful, and if the behavior persists, certainly think of a professional trainer---do everything possible before considering euthanizing.

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July 19, 20070 found this helpful

It would seem to me that having a treat in her mouth was the problem. After training, give her the treat praise her alot and walk away. She earned the treat and may feel threaten if you are in her face.Do not give up on her. Pitbulls have this rep due to stupid humans. it is not her fault she was abused.

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July 19, 20070 found this helpful

Hello,

I didn't really read through each and every response and I will apologize in advance for that. But I think you should watch the "the Dog Whisperer" with Ceaser Millan. According to Ceasar dogs live inthe moment. So forget the abuse she suffered in past and learn how to be the alpha dog in your household. You don't have to be mean to your dog just firm. You cannot get aggressive with an already aggressive dog (doesnt matter what the breed) They read your body and tension. You have to remain firm, calm and in control. My hubby and I have learned a tremendous amount from this man. He is informative and he is amazing. He has had frightened to death people of their own dogs take charge and in very short period of time.

Well, engough on him. I wish you the best with your pooch!!

Laura

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July 20, 20070 found this helpful

Years ago, I had a boxer who didn't like me to get near her during meal time.

So give your dog some nice praise, and then throw that doggie treat away from you and let the dog snap it up mid air.

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July 20, 20070 found this helpful

She only growled....she did not nip, snap, or bite, so putting her down is quite an overreaction. As stated by others, throw the treat to her and walk away/ignore her.

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July 22, 20070 found this helpful

Right guys, this is all great advice. Should I include that I wasn't facing her when she growled at me. I was turned around looking in the refridgerator when she did the growl thing from behind me, which I am begining to believe was not even a real growl, because now that I watch her she does the same thing while we're playing in the yard and with my dad when he's rewarding her for rolling over and what not. I think I was just being paranoid cause I'm usually not home alone with big dogs and she didn't want to be done doing tricks or something. Thank you so much for all your advice, everyone!!

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July 25, 20070 found this helpful

I rescued an abused Pit a couple of years ago but he just seems to be vocal, when I come home he runs towards me a toy grumbling in his throat, if he thinks I should be in his line of view he barks, if he is disgusted like no tidbits, he will sigh deep in his throat, when he does misbehave which he does to explain to you that he's not happy, like oh you were gone along time now your home watch me in the garden, his feelings are hurt because I left, and again for being in time out, but I have learned that they are very sensitive, ignoring the dog and telling him well I use safe zone, as his sit in the corner time out, he knows what it is but has become less and less, they only want to please us and be loved

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November 24, 20070 found this helpful

We just found a pitbull mix and he had been badly abused. We kept him any way and we have 2 smaller breeds. He does fine with children and dogs we just maintain a stern voice never raise our hand to him he has already been abused. We don't want him to feel that will happen again. It's a little scary sometimes but I won't give up. It's not his fault what happened to him and I won't be the next human to give up on him.

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June 30, 20080 found this helpful

My dog, Rex, makes a low, grumbling noise when he wants to go out to the bathroom. He also makes that noise to get my attention when he is hungry, thirsty or wants to play. It was a little disconcerting when he first made this noise, because it sounds like a growl. He will put his head in my lap and make this noise several times until I figure out what he wants. If I continue to ignore him, he will bark a high pitched bark. Sometimes this throaty, deep, growl is just their way to communicate with us. If she is not food aggressive or toy aggressive then she is probably communicating with you. Keep up the training. It will pay off in the end.

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February 8, 20090 found this helpful

Don't worry at all about the growl. I just adopted an abused pit and have been involved with pit rescues since I was a child. They tend to do that as a way of communicating. She may be trying to say that she's anxious. They are very vocal and emotional dogs. Remember that she cannot help having a deep voice. The depth of the voice tends to freak people out but if it was a higher pitched tone and a smaller breed you wouldn't think twice. Just keep training her, she'll love you forever for adopting her!

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December 18, 20090 found this helpful

All according to, how old she is, putting her down is not needed, whoever posted this, does not know this breed. a small growl is hardly more than any other dog would do in a situation of challenge. However a pit will not decline a challenge from human or animal.

I own a male red nose for nine years, He went to puppy training with a reliable vet when he was a pup. He sometimes, growls if he has an article he wants and does not want to give back, and I said, what? and he lets go. You have to let the dog always know who is boss and, if its a treat, why are you trying to take it back? if you give a treat, dont try to pull food or treats out of the dogs mouth. However you need to get control, in case the dog ever gets a bone or dangerous item, and you need to be able to have him break and let go.

Whoever said, you should put this dog down, because she growled with a treat in her mouth, is a very stupid person and knows nothing.

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December 18, 20090 found this helpful

Have the dog evaluated by a professional trainer that deals with breeds such as pitulls.

My dog, growls low if im cooking at the stove, he knows each and everything I cook, he will low growl when he wants to go out, then back for me to open the door to let him back in.

by the dog growling when you try to take a treat back, shes saying, NO its mine, you gave it to me, why do you want it back?.

If you persist there is a chance she could snap at you.

This dog does not seem aggressive to what I am hearing, because if she were, the minute you would have tried to take the treat you would have been savagely mauled without notice.

I think you have a good little dog there, and she needs to know whos boss, thats all, and you might be spoiling her with to much love and not enough teaching at who is the boss.

also, it is important to make her sit, for everything, before eating, before treats, teach her SIT command this is very very important, as she will know she totally depends on you for her needs.

My male is a 85 lb rednose, and I wouldn't give him up for anything in the world, he is my friend, family and security guard.

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June 30, 20160 found this helpful

Beware I'm sorry I'm a animal lover & I love all my animals & I'm not sure but they say it how you rise them but I'm going to tell you I been rising bulldog for 25 years & always wanted a blue pit so my daughter get me one within a year in a half she started to fight with the other dogs & started to bite my husband I had to have her removed from our home

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