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Old 03-26-2012, 05:51 PM
j0equ1nn j0equ1nn is offline
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Question Fostering rescued pit bull with mysterious past

Hi, I'm new here, I did read through the general stuff before posting but I am eager to ask questions in case anybody can help. I'm going to describe my situation, and if you know what you're talkin about I'd love to hear your thoughts. Thanks in advance.

Some folks who work next door to my fiancee found this young male pit bull roaming around by the East River in Manhattan (not a very comfortable place). He was not neutered, not chipped, couldn't be more than about a year old, and was wearing a collar with a tag on it that said he was 11 years old - obviously from another dog. They named him Sam and took him to a vet where he stayed for a week. There he was neutered, got all his shots, and the vet agreed about his age. They said he was healthy, but diagnosed him as food-aggressive and dog-aggressive. My avatar is a picture of him.

The folks who found him already have animals all over the place, including FOUR dogs, all male, and couldn't keep him. Sam loved 3 of the other dogs but hated 1 of them, and the 3 dogs Sam liked did not reciprocate, so Sam had to stay in the bathroom most of the time. They began urgently looking for a home. That's when we stepped in and said in the meantime he can stay with us, though we can't keep him permanently. At least he'll be happier, not in a bathroom, and we live next to a really sweet park.

A little about me. I raised a guide-dog puppy for guiding eyes for the blind when I was a teenager, and learned the basics of dog training. Have been around dogs a lot, including pittbulls, but never had one permanently. My parents took in a very hostile 100 pound lab/shepherd mix a ways back who was going to be put down if he didn't stop biting people and other dogs, and by the time I was done with him he was a bundle of love with just a few minor issues. I'm also a huge guy, I'm 6'7", 260 pounds, so it's a little easier for me to deal with a strong temperamental doggy, for instance if he's going crazy on a leash.

So they brought Sam over. He had on a prong collar and it looked like the girl could barely control him even with that. The next day I switched him to a harness and he responds to it much better. He is very affectionate, likes to lie down and cuddle with us. But here is where he is weird:

-When eating or when a toy/bone is in, or even near, his mouth, he sometimes growls seriously if someone touches or approaches him. He does not do it all the time, and has peacefully let me take things from him without a sound if the time is right. I have been giving him space when he growls, but easing him into the idea that I can take/touch his things. Strangest instance was when I had my hand on his back, he picked up a toy, growled, I left my hand there, he snapped at me but not in a way that could have succeeded, then instantly became submissive and pressed the top of his head into my lap.
-He is VERY reluctant to take things from my hand. Even a piece of steak, he will move his jaw slowly and very timidly and won't take it until I convince him it's okay. He then will sometimes not eat it, but become protective about it as in last bullet. However has NO problem with looking you straight in the eye.
-He is cat-like about his food. He doesn't care for dog treats usually. He'll leave his dry food alone for hours, sometimes come back and eat it later, sometimes not. Most successful has been mixing a poached egg in with dry food.
-He does not mark territory when peeing. He seems to not know he's supposed to be peeing on walks. First night he was going in the house. I just let him know I didn't like this and that seemed plenty. He wants me to be happy with him. After that, no problem going outside. But he goes all at once in one spot, and pees like a female, ducked very low and submissive. Heavy praise and offering of (occasionally accepted) treats has been helping.
-He has had diarrhea the past 2 days, despite very controlled diet. Even gave him some Imodium with little effect. Potty stuff seems to make him nervous.
-He is almost too good about not chewing anything up. Everything about his personality is puppy-like - the curiosity and excitability. But he wouldn't dream of messing with any of my stuff. Sometimes he gets more comfortable and playful and might take a shoe, but if I just very mildly say no and replace it with a bone, he is completely done with the shoe.

So my question is, what do you think his history is? Who do you think had him for the first <1 year of his life, and left him out by the river with another dog's collar? I am entertaining the idea that he was being trained by some loser to fight, and was abandoned for not being aggressive enough. I can imagine that someone was holding meat near his mouth, and punishing him if he went for it, which seems like something one might do if they're teaching dogs to be aggressive but don't want to get bitten. It seems he has seen very strict discipline before and my guess is it just scares him so much he probably pees himself. I find he responds to positive reinforcement ten times better than any sort of aversive training. Saying "no" to him works amazingly well for his age, and when you praise good behavior he is so happy to have pleased you.

I had a prospective home for him that looked really good, but the guy was really apprehensive about the growling and mild territoriality, mostly because it's a bit unpredictable, and the dog would be alone a lot with his mom who's in her 60s. I really want to find Sam a nice home. Meantime he's getting very attached to me, and I must admit the feeling's mutual. After the possible taker left last night, Sam was nervous and so was I. I sat down next to him on the bed apprehensively, and he just let out this helpless little whimper and plopped his head on my lap to be pet. I may just have to make some adjustments in my life and let him stay..... but anyway, anyone got a clue about my theory? Any experienced advice on how to make the dog more trusting especially with new people? Any alternate takes on what he might have been through?

Thanks for reading this whole thing!
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Old 03-26-2012, 07:28 PM
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Maxy24 Maxy24 is offline
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I wouldn't say he was fought, a lot of people assume that with pit bulls who have less than ideal temperaments but unless there is a bunch of scarring or something I wouldn't assume that. My guess is he was hit for bad behavior, including his guarding behavior. That may be why after snapping he became submissive, he thought you were about to hit him for what he had done.

If I were you I wouldn't push him to the point where he becomes aggressive. It may work eventually (when he realizes you're not taking it from him) however it could cause him to try harder to make you leave him alone and he could bite you which wouldn't be good for either of you. I would perhaps walk up to him while he has a toy/chew and drop a treat for him, then walk away (don't walk close enough for him to growl, be slightly further than that). When he is comfortable with that walk up and hand him the treat, when he's fine with that walk up, pet him and give him the treat. Work up slowly until you can walk up, take the object, give a treat, and return the object without him becoming nervous. This could take many months so it might be something you need to pass along to the new owner. If you think he'd bite you then get a trainer. Make a real effort to NEVER take anything from him until he is comfortable with this. If you need to get something from him try to be creative in getting it without him noticing. With my dog I'd run around the house with a toy like a nutcase so he'd leave his to chase after me and I'd eventually toss the toy I had and while he was getting it I'd pick up whatever he had so he wouldn't see me doing it. Then I'd continue playing with him with the toy I threw. Or I'd toss a handful of treats on the floor and as he was eating them I'd go get the thing he had. Then I'd ask him to do a few of his known commands and reward him for that in hopes that it would help him forget about what he was doing before. I'd never let on that I wanted or noticed what he had or was upset about what he had or else he'd want to hold onto it.

Teaching the dog a drop it command and a retrieve with neutral objects (objects he doesn't want to guard) will also help to make him comfortable with giving you things he has. Teaching my dog to retrieve was super helpful with his guarding issues (though they were very mild). If I ever see him with something I can just ask him to bring it and he does, with a wagging tail.

Being nervous about taking food could be for many reasons. Perhaps in his old home he stole food from people's hands (maybe kids) and got in trouble for it. Or maybe it's just connected to his food guarding, he is just super nervous about the food being involved at all. He wants it but he is also guarding it while it's in your hand (stiff and slow movements are something you'd see from a guarding dog or a very nervous dog). He may be too nervous about you being near the food to eat it.

Not sure about not liking his food, are you sure you're not over feeding him? My dog didn't seem interested in his meals...until we cut back on how much he got, now he LOVES meal time.

Not all dogs mark when they pee. My male marks and pees squatting, marking is usually just marking. When he actually has to go he squats. It's possible the dog was punished for marking in the past but he might just not have gotten the message that he was supposed to lift his leg, it happens.

I would bet you're right about some very strict discipline, perhaps an abusive owner in his past. I would just give him some time to trust you and realize you are not going to hurt him, even when he messes up. Try to be as positive as possible, train him some basic obedience without any punishment and he'll start to learn you are safe.

Thanks you for all you are doing for him, it really makes me happy to see someone who cares and is willing to help a dog in need, even if he has some issues and might be hard to rehome. I hope you can help him and find an owner for him that is as awesome as you are!
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Old 03-26-2012, 08:41 PM
crazedACD crazedACD is offline
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Originally Posted by j0equ1nn View Post
-When eating or when a toy/bone is in, or even near, his mouth, he sometimes growls seriously if someone touches or approaches him. He does not do it all the time, and has peacefully let me take things from him without a sound if the time is right. I have been giving him space when he growls, but easing him into the idea that I can take/touch his things. Strangest instance was when I had my hand on his back, he picked up a toy, growled, I left my hand there, he snapped at me but not in a way that could have succeeded, then instantly became submissive and pressed the top of his head into my lap.
I think you should do a bit of 'trading up' work with him. If he has something he doesn't want to give up, find something of higher value and offer it in return for the other item, as maxy describes. I do think best-case scenario is that you find a very good professional to help you with him. I wouldn't put him in a position to 'fail'...he obviously has learned that if he wants something, he growls or snaps to keep it. Honestly you are rewarding the behavior if you back off, but are at serious risk of being bit if you do not. I would definitely avoid that situation, only give him things when you can control it by trading. Hand feeding can help with this as well.

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Originally Posted by j0equ1nn View Post
-He is VERY reluctant to take things from my hand. Even a piece of steak, he will move his jaw slowly and very timidly and won't take it until I convince him it's okay. He then will sometimes not eat it, but become protective about it as in last bullet. However has NO problem with looking you straight in the eye.
-He is cat-like about his food. He doesn't care for dog treats usually. He'll leave his dry food alone for hours, sometimes come back and eat it later, sometimes not. Most successful has been mixing a poached egg in with dry food.
With this type of dog, I would definitely make sure food is coming from and controlled by YOU. He really needs a hard lesson in how and when he will eat, he is controlling it right now. Set down the food you would like him to eat (not spruced up) down in the morning for 10, 15 minutes tops. Remove him from the area and put his food away if it isn't eaten. Do the same thing in the afternoon. And forever after. He will learn within the week, he eats it or loses it. Yes, a lot of dogs will go on a hunger strike for a day or two...maybe three or four. I would definitely make him work for it, and any treats, with basic obedience. This method will also have him more interested in rewards (treats) for training.

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Originally Posted by j0equ1nn View Post
-He has had diarrhea the past 2 days, despite very controlled diet. Even gave him some Imodium with little effect. Potty stuff seems to make him nervous.
Likely, it is from stress/nerves. If it continues or seems extreme I would definitely check on it, especially since he stayed at the vet's for a week.

I would also seriously advise he not go to a home with children. If it is possible to keep him, I think it would be ideal, since you do seem sincere about helping him and learning about his issues . I can't really comment on what he's been through, he might just have been raised with no boundaries.
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Old 03-27-2012, 07:09 PM
Teal Teal is offline
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Originally Posted by j0equ1nn View Post
-When eating or when a toy/bone is in, or even near, his mouth, he sometimes growls seriously if someone touches or approaches him. He does not do it all the time, and has peacefully let me take things from him without a sound if the time is right. I have been giving him space when he growls, but easing him into the idea that I can take/touch his things. Strangest instance was when I had my hand on his back, he picked up a toy, growled, I left my hand there, he snapped at me but not in a way that could have succeeded, then instantly became submissive and pressed the top of his head into my lap.

You will receive varying opinions on how to deal with this. I, personally, am far too pushy with dogs who guard things from me and don't usually recommend my methods for other people to follow. But, one method you can try is trading off objects. Also, hand feed him his kibble so he understands you aren't wanting to steal it from him. Slowly work up to putting some in the bowl and petting him while he eats it. Same with treats/toys - don't leave them lying around where he can get them whenever he wants. Give him a treat/toy and praise him. After awhile, offer him a bit of food or edible treat and take the treat/toy away. He need to learn that YOU own everything. Dogs who were strays are used to guarding whatever they get.. he should learn pretty quickly that he is safe and food is plentiful and doesn't need to be guarded.

-He is VERY reluctant to take things from my hand. Even a piece of steak, he will move his jaw slowly and very timidly and won't take it until I convince him it's okay. He then will sometimes not eat it, but become protective about it as in last bullet. However has NO problem with looking you straight in the eye.

Eye contact is not always a challenge. Again, he just isn't use to food being plentiful/being offered and is wary.

-He is cat-like about his food. He doesn't care for dog treats usually. He'll leave his dry food alone for hours, sometimes come back and eat it later, sometimes not. Most successful has been mixing a poached egg in with dry food.

The stress of being in a new environment is probably affecting his appetite. Like I said previously, hand feed him. You can mix it with something for now, since I don't think he's being picky about the food.

-He does not mark territory when peeing. He seems to not know he's supposed to be peeing on walks. First night he was going in the house. I just let him know I didn't like this and that seemed plenty. He wants me to be happy with him. After that, no problem going outside. But he goes all at once in one spot, and pees like a female, ducked very low and submissive. Heavy praise and offering of (occasionally accepted) treats has been helping.

He is still a puppy, as far as bull breeds go. It is no surprise he isn't marking and still squats. Now that he is neutered, that is unlikely to change. Be happy about that! lol

-He has had diarrhea the past 2 days, despite very controlled diet. Even gave him some Imodium with little effect. Potty stuff seems to make him nervous.

Add some pumpkin to his food to firm up his stools. He is stressed and that can cause diarrhea.

-He is almost too good about not chewing anything up. Everything about his personality is puppy-like - the curiosity and excitability. But he wouldn't dream of messing with any of my stuff. Sometimes he gets more comfortable and playful and might take a shoe, but if I just very mildly say no and replace it with a bone, he is completely done with the shoe.

Some dogs are just like that. It might last, and it might not once he settles in.

So my question is, what do you think his history is? Who do you think had him for the first <1 year of his life, and left him out by the river with another dog's collar? There is no way to know his history. The only thing you can do now is ensure he gets a good future. I am entertaining the idea that he was being trained by some loser to fight, and was abandoned for not being aggressive enough. I can imagine that someone was holding meat near his mouth, and punishing him if he went for it, which seems like something one might do if they're teaching dogs to be aggressive but don't want to get bitten. That's all bollocks. Bull breeds do not need to be trained to be dog aggressive, and dogs are fought A LOT less than people think. There is nothing about this dog's behaviour that even hints at this lifestyle. Even scars are not a giveaway, because strays get into fights with other strays. It seems he has seen very strict discipline before and my guess is it just scares him so much he probably pees himself. I find he responds to positive reinforcement ten times better than any sort of aversive training. Saying "no" to him works amazingly well for his age, and when you praise good behavior he is so happy to have pleased you.

I had a prospective home for him that looked really good, but the guy was really apprehensive about the growling and mild territoriality, mostly because it's a bit unpredictable, and the dog would be alone a lot with his mom who's in her 60s. I really want to find Sam a nice home. Meantime he's getting very attached to me, and I must admit the feeling's mutual. After the possible taker left last night, Sam was nervous and so was I. I sat down next to him on the bed apprehensively, and he just let out this helpless little whimper and plopped his head on my lap to be pet. I may just have to make some adjustments in my life and let him stay..... but anyway, anyone got a clue about my theory? Any experienced advice on how to make the dog more trusting especially with new people? I would recommend a few weeks of "adjusting" time... Don't throw too many new things at him at once, including meeting new people. Bull breeds should NOT be shy or fearful, and he doesn't come around after a few weeks of good care I would not consider him a stable dog. But, that's me and I'm incredibly strict on temperament. Any alternate takes on what he might have been through?

Thanks for reading this whole thing!


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Old 03-28-2012, 12:48 AM
j0equ1nn j0equ1nn is offline
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First of all, thanks so much for the advice.

For one thing I may have over-stated his growling behavior. It only took about a day for him to be comfortable with trading toys or even giving something up to me. But when he does growl it sounds serious, and he's more likely to do it with people he doesn't know. I'm hoping as he gets used to the good life this will fade off.

I know people are often too quick to assume pit bulls are fighting dogs, I've been arguing against that stigma for a long time. But I did read recently that when people are breeding fight dogs they usually keep only one dog from each litter, and abandon the rest somewhere where they can't sniff their way home.. like by a river. I agree entirely that he doesn't seem like he ever fought. But I was wondering if he failed to make the cut before he even got up to that point. I don't know what the usual practice is for training fight dogs but I'm sure they don't start fighting on day 1, I have no idea when they do. He does have some small scars that my fiancee was attributing to that but I was telling her the same thing, that it's more likely from some squirrel he killed or some bushes or something - they are really minor. But some other things seemed to point to the possibility of him being a fighting dog reject. Either way it doesn't make much of a difference at this point, and a behavioral analysis seems good enough.

Teal, you said he is still a puppy for a bull breed. I was wondering, how old do pits usually get before they are full-grown? The more I get to know this dog the more of a puppy he seems like, to the point where I wouldn't be surprised if he got bigger. By the way he obliged to be picked up while I got on a scale last night and he's 60 pounds, very muscular, a tiny bit skinny. I've known pits to be a pretty wide range of sizes though.

Everyone seems to agree about the diarrhea, and makes sense. His poop today was much closer to normal - problem seems to be going away.

The advice about controlling feedings makes a lot of sense. I'm going to try the suggestions. I especially like the idea of meal times having a window of opportunity.

Now here are a couple new developments.

-I had to go to school today and leave him alone for a long time for the first time. It was almost 9 hours. I just put everything especially hazardous in one room and locked the room, giving him free reign to the rest of the apartment, with one designated Sam spot with his toys and blanket. I got home and, apart for the dog being here, you would not have even known a dog had been here. For all I can tell he might have slept the entire time. It was amazing. I'm definitely not complaining, but WEIRD for a puppy don't you think?

-As soon as I got home he was so excited he started peeing, as I expected. He stopped as soon as I let him know we were going out. Yet did not pee for an hour. I took him to the park and played with him with a broken soccer ball we found. (Discovered he can jump crazy high but can't land - falls right on his side and tumbles - definitely would lose in a fight haha.) When he eventually peed - again all at once in the squatting position - I praised him heavily. He was doing that nervous tail tucked but wagging thing. I got down and told him good boy and the rest, scratching him until he realized he hadn't done something bad and in fact I was happy with him. Now, my parents' dog used to do that squatting and peeing all at once when he really had to go, and marking otherwise. This dog has never marked a spot, and will hold his pee for a long time, even cry about it on the walk. The only thing that seems reliable is to walk up and down the same area until he gets bored and realized he's supposed to pee, but that doesn't always work either.

-So next issue is, when I was praising him for peeing, he got really excited, eventually so excited he was biting A LOT. Definitely wasn't trying to hurt me, but way too comfortable with the play biting. I really didn't want to scold him after peeing outside like a good boy, but the biting and flailing escalated until it got a little scarey. I did like they do in Guiding Eyes: hold the snout closed, make him look at you, say "No Bite." He got the message, and then it was like nothing ever happened. Wasn't submissive, wasn't biting, just "That was fun!" When he got home he kept testing me with the biting and I kept correcting it, but it's the only thing he doesn't get in one shot, and seems to do it more as he gets comfortable. I'm thinking I need to go get him some better toys - things more suited for one with such a giant muscular jaw. Gonna do that tomorrow, any suggestions on what toys? I'm also going to get a retractable leash so he can run a bit. Late at night nobody is in the park, and he has been very responsive to me anyway so I think that will be fine, he really seems to need more exercise.

-He cooperated for a bath tonight. He was filthy as hell. The other dogs I helped with hated me when I tried to wash them. This one seems to really trust me, though wants my attention CONSTANTLY. By the way he was not happy at all about the hair dryer, which didn't surprise me, so I ended up with some wet dog on my bed ... no big deal.

I have to apologize my account is a bit disorganized this time. I'm working on a PhD full time plus teaching while I'm doing this and I am TIRED. But yall seem to know what you're talking about and seem to really care, so I thought I'd keep you posted. Again, any ideas or thoughts are welcome, and again THANKS!!!
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Old 04-01-2012, 07:10 PM
j0equ1nn j0equ1nn is offline
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Hi, I want to thank the people who responded for their advice. I've been trying your suggestions and the dog responded to them quite quickly. In particular, controlling the food seems to have worked wonders on his protectiveness of food and toys. He now plays fetch and gives toys to me to throw.

One outstanding issue is the peeing. So I'm posting again mainly about this. I am aware that not all male dogs lift their legs to pee, and that dogs sometimes pee all at once when they have to go badly. This dog's behavior is stranger than that. Even after not going out for 10 hours (when I have to go to work & school), I come home and walk him and it will take sometimes an hour for him to pee. He will be crying seemingly because he has to go so badly, but seems to not know he's supposed to, or perhaps it is causing him pain? When he does go it is NEVER in a territory-marking way, it is a flood, all at once, and I praise him heavily. He responds with timid tucked tail wagging, but gets very excited when he sees I am proud of him. He also still goes in the house sometimes with no warning. If I stop him and take him out, we will NOT go, ever. Any ideas? I'm mainly worried about if it could be a medical issue that he can't control and if I should bring him to a vet. I've seen dogs with submissive peeing problems and it reminds me of that but I'm wondering if there's something more physical.

As for his past, I am aware that people often are too quick to assume rescued pitbulls are ex-fighting-dogs. I have battled that stereotype myself with people. And I do NOT think that this dog has fought other dogs. But I am curious why you are so quick to rule out that he may have been headed in that direction. I'm sure fighting dogs are not fought on the first day, I don't know when that starts in the "training" but this dog is still a puppy. And he is very submissive, so perhaps he did not make the cut. I have read that breeders of fighting dogs only keep 1 dog out of every litter, and usually abandon the rest by a river where they can't smell their way home. Also this dog was not neutered, not chipped, had a phoney collar on, and is incredibly well trained and sensitive to stern-ness. He can be left alone for 10 hours and will not touch a single thing other than his toys. If I even raise my voice at him he get so guilty it's unbearable. He also looks like a pure-bred pit bull. Not that it matters all that much, but to me it's still a possibility that he was bred by one of those people. Just because people often assume that erroneously doesn't mean it never happens! What makes you so convinced?
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Old 04-01-2012, 08:12 PM
JessLough JessLough is offline
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Wait... did they just not even bother trying to find an owner because the tag said the dog was 11 years old?

...They could have just been using the tag from a previous dog until they get an ID tag for him.. I don't think it's even legal to just not try and contact the owner because "the tag is wrong". It wasn't necessarily a phony collar, and it's silly to assume he had a horrible home where he was training to be fought. At least he HAD a collar rather than was roaming with no way to contact owners.

Oh, and not neutered at 1 years old is not a big deal... many people wait until 2 or older...
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Old 04-01-2012, 08:52 PM
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The peeing thing sounds like a possible urinary tract infection or even some sort of stones issue. That's all I can really comment on.
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Old 04-01-2012, 09:16 PM
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I'm glad things are improving! I would definately have a vet visit to check for a UTI or something along those lines, if it hurts to go it would make sense for him to be having the problems you described. It's also possible he's not used to peeing in front of someone or was frequently punished for peeing in the wrong place and is afraid to go in front of people, in which case it will just take time for him to realize you are safe. But I would definately go to the vet.

Quote:
Just because people often assume that erroneously doesn't mean it never happens! What makes you so convinced?
I just see nothing to suggest he was owner by a dog fighter and intended for fighting. Unfortunately there are plenty of people out there who hit or beat their dogs to teach them manners. He may have been owned by someone who didn't have the money for neutering and microchips, or didn't want to spend it on their dog, especially if he was found in a very poor area. Or maybe they were just waiting until he was older to have him neutered, who knows. The collar might have just been something they had around from a previous dog, they didn't feel like buying or couldn't afford a new one. I found a dog once with a rabies tag and when I called the vet and gave the number they said it was registered to a black cat, who knows. I feel like if they were fighters dumping a dog they would have kept the collar or at least removed tags, at least if they might lead back to them. The fact that he is so well behaved in the house and uses toys and not your furniture suggests he lived inside, which to me is more of a sign he was a pet.

There is no way to know of course, I just don't see anything to suggest he was anything other than a poorly treated pet.
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Old 04-02-2012, 12:46 AM
j0equ1nn j0equ1nn is offline
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Okay yeah that does make sense (about his history). I guess everyone's imagination was just running away with them. He is certainly used to living inside and adjusted too quickly to a domestic situation for that sort of history, now that you mention it. Thanks for taking the time to explain, I guess this time I was the ignorant pitbull stereotyper

JessLough: That question about his tag never even occurred to me. I personally never saw the tag they were talking about. He was taken straight to the vet when he was found, stayed there a week, then stayed with the folks who found him for a week, then when he came here he just had on his new rabies tag from the vet. I suppose I assumed anything so obvious would have occurred to at least one person involved in that process, but then again you can't really assume stuff like that.

When everyone was going on about him not being chipped or neutered I actually said the same thing: not everyone can afford a freakin microchip, and not everyone even neuters at all. But everyone seemed convinced he was abandoned, and I wasn't there for that part so I took their word for it. Where he was found was NOT a poor area, or even a long walk from one, it was in Manhattan. I am going to speak with the person who found him again and see if they ever tried to contact the previous owner. I'll keep you posted about it.

But okay, let's say the previous owner is looking for him? Most people here seem to agree this dog wasn't treated right in the past. He does seem firmly disciplined but he does not seem abused to me. He had some bad habbits but they went away pretty quickly once I realized how well Sam responds to positive reinforcement. It gets sort of sticky ethically.. I had a friend whose dog was "rescued" by some people just because she left his leash tied to a pole while she went into a store, and she never saw her again, basically because she had on a heavy metal t-shirt. That was definitely wrong. But if "Sam"s prior owners had him so scared he was guarding his bones and afraid to pee, well maybe they don't deserve him. On the other hand maybe he does have a UTI, and maybe his behavior is just from the short time as a stray.....

I'm also looking into a vet visit about possible UTI. I'm going to talk to the finder about that too, and see if the vet she took him to had checked for anything like that. Thanks again everyone for your advice, I will definitely keep you posted about what happens with Sam. He won't go to a shelter no matter what. I'd find a way to keep him myself before I let that happen.
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