Sad Puppy

by Alicia

The owner of a somewhat timid, sad puppy says:

My pitbull puppy is being a cry baby and a wuss.

My pit bull puppy (terrier, dad and blue nose, mom. 3 months and some weeks)) is being a real wuss about things. He lets our kitten bully him, and my other puppy (shi-tzu mixed with chihuahua,7 months. Same size as him in height but not weight.) bully him. The pit cries/whines over everything.

I love him and will continue to love him, but I just don't understand why he acts this way. He has never had a bad experience.

My boyfriend bought him directly from the mother's owner. The only time he has ever been hit and tied up was when he ate from the litter box once, and ate all the kitten's food when I turned around.

If he pees inside the house other than the training pad (he knows what the pad is for). I just take him outside and leave him there for punishment. Nothing past that, but I am concerned, will he always be like this?

I hope he will protect me if any danger was to come. Are there any ways to make him tough now that he is a puppy without harming him or treating him bad.

I did my research online for dogs in general and No I don't baby him, only once in while when he deserves it or when I come back from school and he is happy to see me.

I find it weird how it's a pit bull out of all dogs to be acting like this because it's not even in their personality. Penny for your thoughts, any suggestions?

Gale's Reply:

Hi Alicia

In reading over your explanation, it seems to me that you have quite a few misconceptions about dogs in general and pit bulls in particular.

I don't know what you mean exactly when you say you don't baby him. But the fact is, at this age and stage, he IS a baby. Whether pit bull or some other breed, puppies are
puppies. It's not reasonable to expect a puppy to behave like a dog.

It's also a common misconception that all pit bulls are of a certain temperament. Breed characteristics may point to general tendencies. But, every dog is an individual. And in any case, it's too soon to know what your puppy's socially matured personality will be like.

I get the feeling too that there's a lot of inconsistency in the way you interact with him. For example, you say he's 'never had a bad experience'. (That's your POV, not his.)

At the same time you acknowledge that you have hit him at least once and you tie him out as punishment for peeing in the wrong place.

On the flip side, you say you don't baby him (whatever that means) EXCEPT on the occasions where you think it's warranted or he's happy to see you.

I'm pretty sure your puppy is thoroughly confused by now with this Jekyll/Hyde approach to puppy training. (Maybe that's why he's whining.)

On the whole, punishment isn't a particularly good teacher. And, it can damage your relationship with your dog.

Most dogs have some protective instincts towards their owners. But, the ones who will actually put themselves in harm's way without a second thought have a deep bond with their human. And, frankly from what you've described, that's not happening with you and your puppy.

Instead, you think he's a wuss. And, he probably thinks you're a little crazy--happy to see him on one occasion, tying him up outside as punishment the next.

My advice: stop punishing your puppy for making puppy mistakes. Get on board with a reward based training program like Canis Clicker Training that will show you how to cultivate confidence rather than uncertainty in your dog's character.

And, if you have access to Animal Planet on cable, I highly recommend watching Victoria Stillwell's program "It's Me or the Dog". It's entertaining AND educational.

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 Sad Puppy

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May 14, 2011
Sad Puppy
by: Leanna

OMG, u have a beautiful Puppy and should treat him well. At that age he is a baby and needs love and guidence. Treat him how u would like to be treated. Don't hit him and leave him outside. Dogs are not like Humans and don't understand whats right and wron. Teach him, they are so clever and at that age they want to learn. Victoria Stillwell is very good, check her out aswell as more Books. He's your friend so respect him and treat and love him in the right manner. Good Luck.

May 14, 2011
Oh wow...
by: PitPomDobeMom

Honestly? Not to be mean, but in my opinion dear, you don't need this puppy. You NEVER smack a puppy for any reason, you DON'T want a "mean" dog or a dog that "fights back" with other animals, and anyone that gets a dog because of the negative stereotype that it has does not need that dog. Period.
You should want a dog because you want to love your dog. Not because you want some stereotypically mean junk yard dog to guard your house that beats up on your smaller animals and will attack intruders (and let's not forget, makes you look "cool.") All of those terrible reasons are a part of why Pit Bulls (and other breeds) have such a BAD NAME. It's not the dogs, it's the bad people and their bad reasons for getting the dogs.
I have a Pomeranian and she bullies my Pit Bull around. I don't think my Pit Bull is a "wuss" at all. She is PATIENT and has a good TEMPERAMENT.
I also don't train my dogs to "protect" me. I know that if anything bad were to happen to me, my dogs would act in a proper manner because they LOVE me. If you're THAT concerned with protection then buy yourself a security system and a stun gun.
You need to educate yourself before you make a serious life commitment in adopting a dog (especially one with a reputation that owners are trying SO HARD to rebuild). I mean, you wouldn't buy a car or a house without researching first, would you?

May 14, 2011
by: Anonymous

In one breath you say you don't punish him and in the next you say you hit him, tie him up or put him outside for doing what puppies do. He's a BABY and needs to be treated that way. He can't learn if you don't teach him. Would you treat a child like that or teach them the correct way to behave? Maybe you should find him a new home with someone who WANTS a puppy and knows how to take care of it. On the constructive side, you should check out the puppy training classes they have at Petsmart. They're excellent. Good luck with whatever you decide to do. Actually, better luck to the puppy because he sure sounds like he needs it.

May 14, 2011
by: Anonymous

I have a 18 week old pit bull puppy that I have had since he was 6 weeks old he acts pretty much the same way and I love it :) I love how well tempered he is with the other dogs and my cat he loves to cuddle with me all the time and we are very close with the potty issue when chomper my puppy starts to pee in the house I simply pick him up take him outside and let him finish his business and now we have very few accidents in the house and to keep him out of the littler box we put a baby gate up so the cat can get in but the dogs can't

May 14, 2011
Hug Your Pit Bull
by: Anonymous

It made me sad to think about a poor puppy being punished. A puppy doesn't know what is expected of him or how to behave. It is our job, as the owner, to teach them. Pit Bulls are very sensitive and perceptive dogs. They learn quickly and can be the gentlest dogs ever. Training with love and calm guidance with be rewarded with their loyalty and eagerness to please you forever. Any breed trained with intimidation results in a fearful dog that could be unpredictable.

I went and hugged my pit girl after reading this.

May 14, 2011
To help with whining
by: Anonymous

My pitbull used to whine a lot initially, but it was due to being very anxious. He would whine and look at me for reassurance. If the situation shouldn't be scary for him, I would yawn or sigh to let him know that I was relaxed and that there was nothing to worry about. If my dog met new people or animals and butted up against my leg, I'd push him off to let him know there's nothing to be scared of. I wouldn't shove him into the animal, but I let him know there was no need to hide by me. When people would walk their dogs by the window and he would whine, I'd walk over, look, and then let him know that it wasn't a big deal by acting uninterested.

Acting upset towards the dog when he has this behavior actually makes the dog more anxious and more likely to whine. He knows he's upsetting you but doesn't really understand why.

If you have the patience, try to train your dog some tricks so you two can bond. You don't have to pay a dime, you can look up great trainers on youtube for free (kikopup is one of my favorites). Once you both have a good understanding of each other it will become much easier to communicate with your dog. The most important thing is that you don't get frustrated! It's very easy to do, so when you start to get frustrated take a break.

I hope this helps.

May 14, 2011
by: Li

I work at an animal shelter and I see people like you everyday. They don't think things through before they get a puppy and then dump it at the shelter like it's the animal's fault.

He's a puppy! You can't expect him to know everything already. It's your job to teach it to him, in a way that he can understand. You have thoroughly confused this poor pup. At this point, I'd recommend taking him to a puppy class at Petsmart or Petco, because I think you have the mental capacity to do your own training. I hope you don't have human children either, because I'm scared to see how they turn out.

You need to make the decision whether you have it in you to be a responsible pet owner. Because the way you're headed, your puppy is going to end up being just another backyard dog that goes crazy because of lack of training and socialization.

It is people like you that make it difficult for the rest of pittie owners to keep our dogs' reputations intact.

May 14, 2011
More comments
by: Gale

There are additional comments on The Proper Pit Bull Facebook Page.

May 14, 2011
by: Anonymous

What is wrong with you woman? This dog is a baby right now and should be treated as such. You need to get some books on how to train an's praise, praise, praise you frigging idiot. Shame on you for being such a cruel inhumane person. Frankly I think the animal should be taken away from you and given to someone who can love and nurture this little dog. A dog will defend you when it's old enough if you treat it with love and kindness otherwise it might just turn on YOU.

May 14, 2011
Are you serious?
by: Traci in Texas

... were you potty trained at three months old? Well, he probably won't be either.

You seem to have some really misguided ideas about how to interact with your puppy, and how to properly show him what you want and don't want...

Potty training has to be SUPERVISED and when he pees outside, you love on him and give him tasty treats. When he has an accident (because you were not attentive enough to realize he needed to go out) then you simply clean it up and IGNORE the accident. You are only pre-training him while you allow his bladder to get bigger and in-control more.

Dogs stop actions that don't get them attention and treats; dogs pursue actions that get the loved on and treats.

But that is DOGS, not puppies. You can start now, but your dog may not be successfully potty trained for MONTHS yet.

As for letting the little dog have her way - that is called SWEET, KIND, PATIENT, ETC. not "wuss." The other dog is older, and therefore the boss right now in your puppy's eyes.

And YOU cannot train a dog to protect you. You can own a "substantial dog" who loves and values you, who would try to help you if you were attacked - but that is not something YOU (as a mere owner) can make them do.

If you want a security dog, be prepared to shell out $20,000+ for an adult dog trained in security.
Check out this site, and see if maybe you selected a pet when you really meant to select a tool. You'll notice that they use/train Belgian Malinois and German Shepherds - not Pit Bulls. (Pits are too lovey-dovey to be Security Dogs.)

May 14, 2011
Owner needs to love more....
by: Anonymous

I just agree with all the feedback. This owner deserves the criticism. She should read all the feedback and learn from it. I'm behind everyone who offered the love for this little puppy.
The puppy shouldn't be tied up or HIT ever.
Just love the pitbull and the puppy will love you back 1000 times over. It takes time and patience and love!

May 18, 2011
You should not have a dog or any animal!
by: Michele W

First you never hit a dog or any animal. Second he is a puppy and by tieing him out side like that and leaving him there for it in my opinion is abuse! What do you want the puppy to act like? What because it is pit it needs to be mean?? You are part of the reason these dogs get bad names. You think hitting and abusing them will make them act right? All that does is teach it not to trust people and expect to be punished badly for wrong doing. I volunteer with humane officers so I know alot about how people are to be treating thier dogs and I really enjoy putting these low lifes away. You should not own a hampster it seems. A good owner knows about the animals they get. They educate themselves and know what to expect and what is just made up stuff. It is not easy by far to own a pet, even more multiple pets. Please either relly sit down and read everything you can about training dogs, ( and not the stupid dog whisperer who abuses the animals to make them listen) Ask your vet for books and if not get rid of all your animals and give them to some one who will love them truly.

May 28, 2011
A Wuss? I doubt it please read this
by: Tadd Merriam

HE'S A BABY, probably just wants attention. Ever seen a baby picked up & they stopped crying? The cat and other dog are doing what all animals do, showing seniority. Porky, our red nose has to have attention & be close gets excited or bummed every once in a while & whines a little, I wouldn't say she's a wuss. TRUE STORY last year a guy was breaking into houses beating girls at night, almost killed a girl 1 block away. He found out my 12 year old daughter's was the wrong window to come through. NO attack training her #1 was in danger because he was coming in & she acted. Cortni watched the whole thing & it scared the hell out of her, but she knows Porky is the most loving loyal dog & would die for her. You can't teach that it's instinct. Your PUP has more heart than you hopefully ever have to see. Play tug o war with him away from the others with a chew rope. When he's all wound up let the other dog in too & interact with both of them to show him it's ok to play. Get him around other animals too so he gets socialized(dog park). At the same time use positive reinforcement with treats & "good boys" to let him know he can play, but your the boss & when you say come here or stay & he does, he gets a treat because he's a "good boy". He'll get over the whining, he's a BABY. With twins there's the wild one & the mild one, you got lucky! He would die for you in a second to protect you once he knows you love him. Instead of punishing him for something he doesn't understand & leaving him out side, tied up, which is showing him 1-outside is bad, 2-when I get off this rope I wanna run, take him out every hour or so & when he pees outside he'll catch on... "YES, I pee outside, I get a treat, mom's happy!" It sounds crazy but a dog will pee on command when they get it. Keep treats in your pocket & no matter what it is leave it, stay, shake then "good boy, with a small treat tells him he did what you want, plus he'll pay attention better if he knows you have those treats in your pocket which will lead to not having to give one every time. Try small breed treats & give half at a time so he doesn't get full on treats, what goes in must come out. Stay away from corn,(main ingredient in most foods)that might be why he got in the litter box, not enough nutrients, and you WILL see the difference in shedding, shine, overall health. Don't hit him, it only leads him to being scared & defensive, he'll run hide, won't come etc., and could lead to growling & biting. Think about it, someone walks up and slaps you, you either run, or get aggressive, that's what a scared dog will do. Go to check Victoria out, watching her and others you can learn a lot. Use positive reinforcement to get serious results, not negative punishments when a simple "no, bad" works. Anything but harsh punishments or scaring him, Love him & build his confidence or find him someone that can :-)

Jun 01, 2011
pull up a bit
by: rukkus

settle down u lot. yeah its fucked, but the owner is ASKING FOR ADVICE. repeating each other doesn't help shit. seriously, maybe some of you need lessons on how to deal with humans.

Jun 02, 2011
I agree
by: Anonymous

As easy as it is to get mad at owners who aren't sure how to train their dogs, it's not a good idea to insult them either.

You don't want them to be turned away from the advice that could potentially help them and their pet. While some of this information seems like common sense, a lot of training is hard in the beginning because there's really no form of communication between you and your pet initially.

My advice would be to tell this person to do as much research on pits as possible. That's what I did. It helped me learn the facts about the breed.

It's easy to forget how much work it is when you haven't trained an animal before. I just started to help my neighbor who, quite frankly, lets their dog do whatever they want and it's very hard not to get angry!

Still, I'd rather bite my tongue and slowly help my neighbors train their dog instead of calling them morons and see nothing change.

Aug 19, 2012
Punishing a puppy !
by: Trudy

A puppy is a baby and should never be punished. You will ruin your puppies confidence in you as an owner if you cause fear. Fear leads to biting and nervous adult behaviour. He is not a wuss...he is a tiny little dog crying out for someone to protect and look after him and I'm afraid you are doing the exact opposite.
A dog will always protect an owner he loves and can't be beaten into them.

Sep 08, 2012
Sad puppy
by: Anonymous

You seem to have gotten pretty beat up on this site. What everyone is saying is true. Puppies learn from the owners and owner need to learn how to interact properly with their puppies so a strong bond will form. Take the positive advise given and ignore the angry folks.
I have a 5 month old pit bull and she is afraid of our shadows when walking in the evenings. This is just the newest thing she has seen. She has been afraid of other random things and has had confidence when I didn't expect it. She has grown out of those phases. EVERYTHING is new to puppies and they look to us as their adoptive parents to reassure them.
I am always looking up information on the Internet to try to be a better pit bull parent and if you are brave enough to be honest and ask questions you are on the right track!! There is a lot of great information on the Internet. Contact your humane society and find out if they have classes for pit bulls. They are not really teaching the dogs they are teaching owners and dogs together. Good Luck and I hope you have a wonderful life with your pit!

May 21, 2016
by: Anonymous

I love all animals esp. pit bulls. Grew up around them my whole life as a kid our dogs never bit anybody, nothing. A pit will turn into a "mean/ bad dog" if it's treated badly. You need to give your puppy to somebody that will LOVE and cherish it. Our pets are like our children, apart of our family, and our hearts. The more you hit it and put it outside for being bad. It won't know that I'm loved and it's ok. Have you never had a child? We were all kids ONCE in our life and made several mistakes. People like you give pits a bad name and they spend months or even worse get put to sleep because nobody wants to adopt them or give them a chance. You SUCK!

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