Rehabbing a Fighting Dog Redux

by Thea
(Prescott, Az)

Hi Gale,

I just want to thank you for getting back to me as fast as you did. I'm the one that wrote to you about the older female that had originally been bred for fighting & she was found roaming the streets. I had told you I had taken her in which was about 3-4 yrs ago & that she is very sweet alone w/me & other people & even walking. (That article can be found here.)

I failed to mention something very important. This is my friend's dog. She is desperately needing to re-home her as she is moving out of state. I have had this dog with me for a week in the past. She was great w/the neighbor kids & all, but the fact that she cannot be in direct contact w/other dogs scares me.

I would love to take her in, as I had to put my dog down 3 wks ago & I so want another companion that snuggles the way she does. But I go down to Phoenix from Prescott quite often & everyone has dogs.

I thought maybe at those times I could put a muzzle on her, but that just seems so cruel. I thought of crating her, but then I don't know how aggressive she'd be in that either.

I guess what I'm looking for is your opinion as to whether I should adopt her. I really don't know her age, but I'm guessing 6-8 yr. I have no idea at what age they started this poor innocent dog at fighting, but I know her current owner has had her for 3-4 yr now.

And another problem I have is that when I need to go out of state or whatever, I would have no one to watch her. But I do so want to take her in, it's just I'm in such a dilemma as far as taking her w/me to stay over night at one's home, as everyone has dogs. And
I will have to go down again the end of the month for 3-4 days.

Any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated. Another thing is, I'm retired & would be w/her 24/7 for the most part. I was hoping with time, I could maybe reintroduce her to dogs again, if it's at all possible. Thanks so much Gale & kudos for you & this wonderful site.

Gale's Reply

Hi Thea:

Here's how I see it. You simply can't know in advance whether this dog will be capable of adjusting to the lifestyle that you're accustomed to. And so, the real question becomes, if she can't, what are you going to do?

Are you willing to alter your lifestyle to meet her needs if it comes to that? Or will you be looking to re-home her yourself at that point? And, if so, what if you can't find a responsible person to take her?

There's no right or wrong answer here. What's important is that you be honest with yourself. I believe you might be able to re-condition her responses to some extent via the counter conditioning program I mentioned in the first article. But, there's no guarantee.

Another thing to perhaps consider is what other options does your friend have for re-homing this dog? After all, it's not like people are lining up to adopt senior pit bulls that are dog aggressive. You may be this dog's best chance at survival and that may impact your willingness to at least give it a try.

It's by no means an easy decision. But, it is one only you can make. Only you know whether you are up to the challenge of attempting to rehabilitate her around other dogs. And, only you can decide whether you're prepared to make the tough choices you'll be faced with if it doesn't work out.

Best wishes to you in your deliberations. Feel free to post back and let us know how things turn out. And, thanks for the kudos. They're always appreciated.

Comments for Rehabbing a Fighting Dog Redux

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Jan 03, 2012
by: Anonymous

We muzzle our dog whenever needed I promise its no big deal.. Our dog does good with his.. He actually helps by putting his face in the muzzle.. Don't worry if it happens, I it happens!

Jan 03, 2012
Boarding is an option
by: Anonymous

I've worked at a boarding kennel for a number of years and we handle dog-aggressive dogs regularly and that is not a problem for us to work with, so check at veterinary clinics/kennels in your area to see if that's an option when you travel. I wish you the best of luck!

Jan 04, 2012
by: donna

Just to let you know my pit buddah who is very sweet & loving is a total cuddle bug has the same issue. He does not like other dogs at all. i walk him pretty much every day it is a struggle sometimes because we have a lot of other people walking there dogs to. I use a harness with him but no muzzle. He did have a little training & has gotten better. I really think trainning would help you & if you really wanted to give her a home you may need to change your life style but they are so worth it. good luck!!

Jan 04, 2012
The Pit & the Muzzle
by: Thea

Thank you all for your advice. I will be getting this pit bull (Jazzie) next month. I decided to change my life style. She is a snuggle bug & this is what around me when I'm here the majority of the time. I believe she will be worth it! Thank you!

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