Help with an abused pit bull/ boxer foster dog....

by Danielle
(Bel Air, Md)

We have a pit bull/boxer mix. He was brought in to our program as a surrender from a family that seemed to be very dysfunctional. We don't know a whole lot about him except that when his owners would fight with each other the husband would do bad things to him just to make his wife upset. He has been thrown out of windows etc.... We are experiencing some issues with him that we are not educated enough on how to handle since we are mainly a rescue that works with small dogs.

He is a dog that really wants to please and he loves to play with you and listens very well to commands as long as he likes you. He does seem to be dog selective and people selective but once he knows you he is such a sweet heart. We would really love to find someone to help him rather than to just euthanize him because we are not experienced with his breed. Can anyone help us?

Gale's Reply

Hi Danielle

I'm impressed that you're asking the question you have because a lot of people in your situation wouldn't even bother to ask.

One thing that the dogs seized from Michael Vick's dog fighting operation have shown us is that even dogs that have been horribly abused can often be rehabilitated. And from what you've said here, it sounds like your pibble/boxer is in much better shape than many of the Vick dogs were. So, at this point, I would be hopeful about his prospects.

There are several rescue groups that have emerged as being on the forefront of evaluating and working with abused pit bulls. The closest to you geographically is probably Recycled Love in Baltimore. The Animal Farm Foundation and Out of the Pits are both located in New York state. And Bad Rap is located in San Francisco. I would suggest getting in touch with some of these groups. If they can't take this dog themselves, they can at least give you the benefit of their guidance on the best way to proceed.

For more information on obedience training, visit our Pit Bull Training page.

For help with behavioral problems, check out our Dog Behavior Training page.

Comments for Help with an abused pit bull/ boxer foster dog....

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Nov 03, 2010
Abused pits
by: Alex D

Hi, the behaviour of this dog is actually quite common to abused dogs. They bond very strongly to their "family" (often, the first people who have ever been nice to them in their lives) to the point of becoming very overprotective. They can also have a very short fuse for other dogs' bad behaviour - they kind of go straight from 0 to 60, if you know what I mean.

Dogs from abuse backgrounds often have zero training. They want to fit in with you, but don't understand how. You would be amazed what training would do - not only does it make the dog safer around others (down, stay, leave it and heel are the key ones here), but the dog is often sooo happy for the structure provided. They know what you want! This makes such a massive difference to them. Seek out a trainer experienced with pits who uses ONLY POSITIVE reinforcement and begin a training regimen with the dog. And work with the dog every day, even if it's just 10 minutes in the AM and 10 minutes in the PM plus practice on heel, leave it, sit and stay during walks. (Get used to always having a pocket full of dog treats!)

Also remember to take the decision making process away from the dog if it's showing aggression to people or other dogs. As soon as they see the person or dog, tell them "leave it" and get your body between the dog and the trigger.

Make sure when passing by things that may be triggers (men, especially with hats or beards, tend to be triggers) the dog is heeling in close to you and you are between the dog and the trigger - here you are saying "it's OK, I don't need you, I am in control of this situation". The dog will be happy to let you take care of it... Teach the dog a proper heel with a slack lead - yanking a pit bull in on a tight lead sends a signal that you are worried about something, and can make the dog react more strongly.

Nov 03, 2011
Help please we feel sad!!!
by: Pat & Kel

My fiance and i just adopted a pit bull she is amazing but she was abused physically we are inquiring on what steps we should take to get her out of the "fear" rut. for example she messed in the house several times with no warning something she hadn't done yet so we were very stern on the "NO's". since then she hasn't eaten in almost two days and is also hiding under our bed and if she is not there she stays on her bed its like she is acting depressed. thank you for your time we look forward to hearing from you!! sincerely Pat & Kel

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Hi, my husband and I adopted a pitbull from the dog pound. He is 2yrs old. We ae having a problem with him peeing evey where. If he thinks he's in trouble o yell at him he pees. The kicker was last nite when my husband came home from work walked in the door and started talking to the dog, the dog peed. The dog got down on the ground with his ears back and just started to pee, like he was in trouble. please help.

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