Saturday, May 14, 2011

Of Pit Bulls and Grumble Grumble Grumble...

As many of you know, I started this blog to help relieve some of the stress that a certain pit bull has created in my life. I never fully realized how impatient I was until Skye came along- then it was clear as day.  However, today I seriously considered giving up on my quest to patience, once again due to Miss Skye.  So, this new level of stress warrants a new blog name.  Here are some thoughts...

Of Pit Bulls and Frustration

Of Pit Bulls and Generalized Anger

Of Pit Bulls and Insanity

Of Pit Bulls and Sudden Acts of Mild Violence

What do you think?  All of those seem to fit better than that eeeeevil word "patience;" at least today.  Today Skye decided that all our training and progress should go out the window.  She doesn't want to be the calm, manageable, sweet dog that I've seen more and more in the last few months.  She doesn't like that Skye.  I love that Skye.

Skye the angel.  I miss you.

Instead, Skye chose to regress to her former, annoyingly crazy self.  We went to the park, and walked the same trails we walk all the time.  I called for her to come check in with me, she ran in the other direction.  It happened again and again.  I called, she turned and ran off.  Finally I made the rational decision to put her on leash- no recall, no freedom. 

When Skye saw me reach for her collar, she pulled something that she hasn't done in almost a year.  She jumped away and started barking at me.  She zoomed around out of reach, barking and growling and taunting me in every way possible.  It's a good thing she was out of reach, because I would not have been able to stop myself from picking her up and throwing her into the next state if I caught her.

Suddenly, she was Satan's puppy all over again.


It took me weeks of training to teach Skye that the appearance of a leash is a good thing, and I've been extremely careful to never change that.  When I was fostering Skye, she played this game any time a leash, collar, or harness moved in her direction.  She still occasionally shows the behavior in our yard with the dreaded Easy-Walk Harness, but never out in the world. 

Luckily, I couldn't get my hands on her in those few moments when I was out of my head with rage.  I squeezed my hands into fists, counted to 10, and walked away.  I ignored Skye for about 5 minutes while I walked and rewarded Parker for staying close, and soon she was back looking for her share. 

About 10 minutes ago, Skye had another episode of crazy.  After spending an hour at the beach, she came home more wound up than she was when we left.  I grabbed a clicker and my treat bag to do some practice exercises to help her calm down, but Skye didn't want to play that game.  Instead, she chose to engage in the one game that is never tolerated in this house!  She started to bully Parker.

Big no-no pit bull.
Since Skye came home, I have made sure to always referee fair play between Parker and Skye.  While we all know that Parker is one tough little fluffer, he is still significantly smaller than Skye, and when Skye is being nutty she occasionally tries to knock him over and play too rough.  It didn't take her long to learn that this leads directly to jail; do not pass go, do not collect any treats.

So tonight she broke that rule; she bowled Parker over and started pouncing on him while he made it abundantly clear that he was not enjoying the game.  Since I was standing right there, I quickly reached for her with a sharp "uh-uh!"  to pull her away and put her in time out.  But PsychoSkye leaped backwards and turned to zoom away- crashing into the coffee table in the process.  My milk went flying and the glass smashed on the floor, and I once again saw red.  In fact, I screamed.  I just couldn't hold it in, and I had to refrain from all-out attacking my pit bull, so I yelled.  Not at Skye, who had gone upstairs after running into the table, just at the day in general.  I have to say, it made me feel better, for a little while.

All I can say is this had better be a fluke.  I've truly enjoyed Skye the past few months; she seemed to be growing up and getting past many of her more frustrating issues.  The training seemed to be paying off, daily life was easier... alas, it was not to be.  So, with my stress level slowly declining, all I can ask for are some good vibes.  If you got 'em, send 'em my way!

I want my Princess back!


  1. sending good vibes!!! I totally feel your pain, I've learned that Maisie's good behavior is really a "lull me into a false sense of security" phase, as she ALWAYS gives me reason to distrust her whenever I start to think maybe she is no longer the Demon Dog/Hound of Hades she once was. nope. that Maisie is still there, lurking under the surface just waiting to surprise me. it's a good thing she's so damn cute and snuggly. ;)

  2. Good vibes! Good vibes! I totally understand the frustration - we all have crazy days where it seems like everything we've taught them has flown out the window. Any dog owner out there who tells you differently is most likely lying.

    Crazy Skye pictures are ridiculously cute though.

  3. After 18 years of APBTs and now a Pit Bull/Boxer cross I understand your frustration, but don't give up; dogs are not disposable, and if one way of creating a partnership doesn't work, I'm sure you can find another one that will. I personally find the teachings and philosophies of Cesar Millan (The Dog Whisperer) to be quite helpful.


  4. First of all, thank you for becoming my 416th follower! I am so glad you found me and I am now following you!
    When we adopted Daisy (our coon hound) in 2009 we thought we made a mistake because she was slow to learn how to behave. It took a lot of repetition and a lot of patience to get her to be better behaved. I am sure you know this but I'll repeat it anyway --- dogs sense our emotions and will respond to each emotion so just try (as hard as it is to do so) to stay calm around your pit bull!
    By the way, I love the title of your blog and I think you shouldn't change it!

  5. Sending good vibes your way! Hmm....I wish I had some answers for you, but dogs can sure be weird sometimes. When Kirby gets a little crazy, I reign him in, with treats but we immediately go into some "tricks", all I am trying to do is change his focus. Does she know any tricks, even basic obedience? I would definitely leash her for awhile, just for her own safety, and help her to refocus on you.

    I do the watch command with Kirby. We may be out walking and I will tell him "watch" which is his cue to look at me and he gets a treat. I do this when he isnt' distracted too, just too reinforce it. It has come in handy plenty of times!

    Good luck, keep us posted how it is going.

    Kirby's mom

  6. Aw, your Skye is my Joy the Puppy! Only Joy is a wiry little thing, so your struggles are probably 100 fold! Hang in there - hope she is back to her angel self again.


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