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Ask Jane Lefler Your Own Question
Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 18805
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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More than a year ago, we rescued a 3 yo male neutered pit ,

Customer Question

More than a year ago, we rescued a 3 yo male neutered pit bull, Huck, who we believe was used as a junk yard dog. He is very strong willed and has bitten several people including my husband, Peter, who he loves dearly. He lives at our industrial/ commercial property. His enclosure is large and airy - he has a covered patio as well as his house. He spends the day time in the office which is adjacent to his enclosure. He is walked and/or played with 4-6 times a day including a walk in the middle of the night.
There is a definite pattern to the aggression. It always happens when my husband is talking to people in his office. We think that there may be a personality trigger - he does not like high energy people or quirky people. He goes after a visitor and when my husband restrains him, he bites my husband. The bites are not insignificant. The dog is very attached to Peter and two of the trainers we have hired feel the dog is too attached and Peter is too lenient.
We have been trying to work with Huck constantly and have been very happy with his progress. He has seemed much improved, paying little or no attention to people that normally concern him. Today, a new person was talking to Peter in the parking lot when Huck started the bad stare. Peter admonished him and when Peter kept him from going after the visitor, he turned on Peter, inflicting two bites which were serious.
We really love this dog and believe he can be saved. He is the sweetest guy 98% of the time. He is very intelligent and despite the terrible behavior, only wants love. We are very concerned about the liability. We run a business with a lot of people coming and going. Any help will be so appreciated.
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 5 months ago.
Hi JaCustomer, My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today. Thanks for all the great information. It is helpful. You are on the right track with training but it needs tweaking. Your husband has to be the boss. Only the boss is supposed to reprimand and the dog could be reprimanding your husband for trying to stop him from attacking or defending his territory against people he feels are a threat. People that meet his stare or stare into his eyes or ones that show fear would be prime canidates for him to find "fault" with. Additionally, it might be redirected aggression. This happens when a dog is prevented from showing aggression at an object so they turn it back on the closest object (your husband). If your husband is grabbing him to stop the attack, the sudden grab is enough to trigger a bite. The first thing that should be done is to check huck for a medical condition. Conditions causing pain or hypothyroidism can cause sudden aggression. If a medical condition is not to blame, then more training is necessary. Training is going to be an ongoing issue and it has to be your husband doing the training. Trainers are great but it is the actual training several times every day that make the dog submissive to the owner. A submissive dog does not reprimand and bite the owner. Each time a dog obeys a command even if it is for a treat, they become a little more submissive until they no longer feel like they are the boss. At that point, there should no longer be any bites. The following site is helpful in helping owners train their dog. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions. Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below. I'd also recommend a basket style muzzle for him to wear when out of the pen. They are designed so dogs can breath normally and even eat and drink in most cases. Once he is adjusted to it, it will be simple to put on before people come and remove it once no one else should be there. Here is a site that talks about how to train them to wear the muzzle. It has to be your husband doing the training so the dog learns to see him as the boss and lets your husband decide who is allowed and who isn't. He can also keep a short lead on the dog at all time. See one here: The lead will allow your husband to control him without putting hands physically on the dog. Another option might be a teather with swivel ends in the office area that limit his range of movement. Another would be an indoor invisible fence system. See one here: Your husband would just need to be sure the visitors are not inside the fence area. These are pretty effective at keeping dogs in a specific area. I hope this information is helpful to you. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have . If you do find this helpful, please take this opportunity to rate my answer positively so I am compensated for my time.

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