Doggie Troubles

Doggie Troubles

Meet Sky. He looks pretty sweet, huh?

Well, don’t let him fool you,  we are having major dog issues in our house.

Sky, is a pitbull, read: highly emotional, is acting out like an angry toddler, but he is almost 9 years old.

Peter came home today early, and upon arrival, he went straight to Penelope and gave her a kiss and hug, kissed me, petted Sky and then sat down with Penelope to read a book to her. Then as soon as we sat down to read the book, Sky went over to our bookcase, in another room, and proceeded to chew off part of it! We don’t have much nice furniture, and of course this bookcase is one of our nice, new pieces.

He has been a little mopey all year, since Penelope arrived, but now all of a sudden he is really acting out. He is also getting more aggressive when the door bell rings, to the point that the UPS man, one day, wouldn’t even come up the stairs he was so terrified. Which was actually kind of funny, the poor guy, kept stuttering… ” I can’t do it, ma’am, I just can’t do it!” To which, I replied, “You are a UPS Man, for crying out loud, you can do it!!” And he would take one step up my steps and then say again, while shaking his head, ” I can’t do it!” I had to coax him up every step!!

Sky also puts his paws on the table and her highchair to get food when we step away for a second. He has scratched up her highchair doing this. He also will do this on the kitchen counters now.

He chewed up one of her toys a couple of weeks ago. I had just brought it home and he went straight for it and before I could get it, he chewed the head off the poor, hand made, non-toxic stained, wooden horse!

I don’t know what to do! I am thinking of reading the book the Dog Whisperer. Has anyone read it?

For the most part, we still take really good care of Sky. He goes on two small walks a day, long walks on the weekend,  eats good, organic, canned food. I pet him and cuddle with him anytime I can, (it is less than pre-Penelope) but he is not neglected in the sligh
. The biggest thing is that he does not sleep in our bed anymore. With Penelope in the bed, I just got so worried about germs. He has been known to rub his butt on our sheets.

Who knows what is going on?! Help!

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  • Amy
    December 23, 2010 at 7:09 PM

    Exercise, exercise, exercise. Everyday! That is the suggestion that I have and that the dog whisperer will advise you to do with him. Not just out in the backyard to run around, but LONG disciplined walks and even runs if someone in your house is a runner. Is there a way you can incorporate Penelope into this exercising? That would be the best thing you could do for you, Sky, your husband, Penelope, and the UPS guy. Also, if you have left discipline by the wayside for awhile, you better start again. Old dogs are still looking for discipline from there owners. This should seriously start to fix your problems. Good Luck and I can't wait to hear how much happier Sky is in the future.

  • jdpatronis
    December 23, 2010 at 8:12 PM

    You need to let him know you are the alpha female in the family. Also, don't trust him alone with your baby for even a second! I agree exercise and obedience refreshers are in order. Is he crate trained? You should crate him and use that place as his anchor. Let him know that it is his safe place, like a den, not a prison. Take him out of there on a leash at frequent scheduled intervals to eat and get exercise and have family time. This routine will make him feel more secure and let him know that you are the boss. It will also prevent him from getting into mischief like ruining the furniture. As he gets used to the routine, you can start letting him stay out and/or off lead for longer periods of time. Put him in the crate whenever you are not home or are otherwise occupied so he doesn't have a chance to mess up. You could try starting him on dog agility training to get his mind on something fresh and new. Remember, he's not doing bad stuff or being aggressive to visitors because he is mad or jealous. Dogs don't think like that. He is just trying to figure out where he belongs in the new family hierarchy. Good luck!

  • The Highlands Mathis
    December 23, 2010 at 10:50 PM

    The tie-down has worked well for our family and teaching our 2 year old pittie to not come into the kitchen while we are eating/cooking. Check out the link below:

  • The Highlands Mathis
    December 23, 2010 at 10:53 PM

    More on tie downs from Pit bull rescue BADRAP out of the bay area:

  • Stephanie
    December 24, 2010 at 7:33 PM

    Thanks so much for the advice ladies!

    @Amy, he probably could use more exercise. It's difficult in the winter though. And I used be the one to take him on long walks, but it got harder when I was pregnant and impossible once Penelope arrived. He has never been leash trained, so he yanks me all over the place, so I can't hold a stroller and him by myself. And if I have her in a carrier, I am afraid she is going to pull a neck muscle when he pulls. I guess we need to start with square one and training him on a leach. I got to get that book!

    @Jessica…that is interesting, like a den instead of a prison. I never did the crate things, except when he was a tiny puppy and I had to leave the house, because I thought it was mean. I will have to look more into that. We have a laundry room that could work as his "den"

    @The Highlands Mathis…thanks so much for those links! what a great blog!

    I will keep you all posted on how it goes. 🙂

  • jdpatronis
    December 27, 2010 at 7:40 PM

    Crating is only mean if you use it as punishment. You want to make sure the crate is the right size for the size of your dog. It should be big enough for him to turn around in and stand up, but not big enough that he can use the bathroom on one side and sleep on the other. I like to cover it on three sides with a blanket or something so that it is more den-like. A bathroom or laundry room would be too big of a space to feel like a den to him. You could put the crate in there though. Think about wolves and other canines in the wild- they will dig a deep, dark hole just large enough to sleep in comfortably and to keep their babies safe. The key is never to make the dog feel like he is going in there as punishment. My dog is 6 years old and uses his crate every day. I don't even have to close the door when he is in there anymore. I know he feels safe in there because when something stresses him (like loud noises) he goes in on his own until he feels calm enough to come out. When we have company and he gets too excited, or if the delivery man scares him, I send him to the crate and sometimes close the door. This way he feels safe and he knows I am not expecting him to "protect the family." It sounds like your dog is just confused about his role in the family now that there is a new family member.

  • Hollie
    December 29, 2010 at 1:23 AM

    I have read the Dog Whisperer and actually find it an excellent classroom management guide for middle school, LOL. If you want to try to get Sky more comfortable and well-behaved on the leash, try the Gentle Leader. It creepy looking but COMPLETELY humane and harmless lead that goes over the face. My 80 lb hound dog gets really excited when he sees other dogs or small prey, and I can control him with the Gentle Leader with just a teeny tug. We are able to have much calmer walks because of it. Good luck with this!

  • Katie
    January 10, 2011 at 7:27 PM

    I second the gentle leader. I can't walk my dog without it!! He's so well-behaved on it too. It's like night and day.