Am I the right owner to make my dog happy?!
My name is Margaret and I have an American Staffordshire Terrier named Daisy. She will be 3 this July. I really hope you can reply to this email because I have a question that I'm having a hard time getting answered.
I was wondering if I am the wrong owner for my dog based on my personality. I feel that even if I get properly trained that she will always be able to tell when I'm masking my emotions (sad, upset, or nervous when walking her on the leash).
She is a wonderful dog who I love with all my heart but she has 2 behavioral issues that scare me and if I ever let go of the leash (I never have but she is really strong) and then ran off and bit another dog I know she would get put down because of her breed.
She is leash aggressive and when I try to redirect her to get her away from the other dogs she has recently snipped at me. She never drew blood. This was about the 6th time this had happened so I got scared and she is actually back in upstate NY now.
Daisy moved with me down to Philadelphia in May. (I've owned her for about 2 years, rescued her when she was 1). And she adapted very well I thought except for the pulling on the leash which then turned into dog aggression. She just recently went back to NY on January 9th.
I tried a dog trainer over the summer and that didn't seem to benefit her or I. I know there are "doggie boot camps" that are quite pricey and I'm willing to do that, but do you think it will help or is Daisy just not the right dog for me??
My sister who has 3 dogs is a Ceasar follower and thinks that our personalities will never match (although she's a great companion and cuddler). She needs an Alpha in her life. I want to make sure she is happy because she does like other dogs.
At home now in NY she is best friends with our old chocolate lab and in Philly she got along well with my sister's 3 dogs. (Sometimes she got rough though).
Ok, I'm so sorry, I am just rambling here!! Please write back whenever you can. I really want to do what is best for Daisy even if that means surrendering her(which will kill me). But, I just want her to be happy. Thanks!
I really don't think your personality is the problem here. You don't say what type of training or trainer you worked with or for how long. But, suffice it to say that not all trainers/training programs are created equal. It's worth giving it another shot with a different trainer and/or training method.
If by "doggie boot camp" you're referring to a situation in which you send Daisy off to be trained at a boarding facility, I don't recommend this. YOU are the one who needs instruction.
You need to find a trainer who will work with you and build up your confidence in YOUR ability to train Daisy--not someone who merely wants to show off how well THEY can train Daisy. Your confidence has been shaken by Daisy's leash aggression. But I believe with the right trainer or behaviorist, you'll be able to turn this around for both you and Daisy (as well as the nipping/rough play behavior you mentioned).
Before you sign up with another trainer though, I highly recommend that you do some research regarding different types of trainers and training methods so that you can choose one that really does suit your personality.
Trying to follow a training method that you're not comfortable with and ultimately won't use is pointless. The Association of Pet Dog Trainers website has links to several articles that can help you in your search for the right trainer for you and Daisy.
In short, I don't believe you need to surrender Daisy. I think you just need a really good trainer and a willingness to stretch yourself a bit.
Good luck. Please let us know how things are going.
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