The Brindle Boy Challenge

I have been absent from blogging for the last three weeks, because I’ve been working vigorously on training my pit bull. I have watched almost all Cesar Millan’s episodes from the first four seasons and checked out all his books. I have taken my pooch on a number of vigorous hikes and worked very hard on disciplining him when required.

It’s been going well, but we have come across a stumbling block. In order to get him from home to the trail of choice, he needs to ride in the back of the truck (with canopy). Riding in the crew cab with me is not an option for two reasons: 1) He flails and panics as soon as I close the back door and before I get in my seat in the front. This results in him usually jumping up into the front and I can’t get him into the back seat without physical force. It’s exhausting and ruining my truck! 2) With the baby on the way, I will NOT under any circumstances have my dog in the back seat with my little person when he reacts the way he does now without the baby present. It’s just too risky!

So the canopy and truck box situation is this…
He is excited to leave the house without me saying anything. He KNOWS when its outside time. I try to keep him calm before exiting the front door. He sits and stays as I inch him a few feet at a time to the truck. Sometimes he gets out of hand and gallops to the back of the truck, circling the vehicle if the tailgate isn’t open. It’s at this point he becomes a poor listener. He doesn’t come when called… he’ll just circle the truck and put his pas on the bumper like, “How do I get in here if it’s closed?” Anyways, I try to bring him back to where I originally asked him to sit and stay, then I finally bring him to the back of the truck to sit and stay again… then I open the gate. I tell him to “Get in the truck” and he happily jumps up. He’ll even get walk in his cage with the door open back there. The problem is when I close the door to the cage or (if the cage isn’t in the truck) when I close the tailgate. Then he starts to bark (an insecure bark) and then he chews the tailgate (before I get the canopy flap down) or he’ll chew at his cage to the point where he has chipped and pulled out numerous teeth!!!

I have tried to follow Cesar’s advice to wait until he’s calm before closing the door, but he is triggered right away. I can’t figure it out. I have even tried treats and cheese to distract him to calm him down and associate the cage/truck as a positive thing. Nothing works! I also can’t wait there all f*ckin’ day for him to calm down… we have places to go and he doesn’t seem to calm down at all. I’ve waited three hours before… it was a tough day! Once we get going, he will whine and bark and bite/destroy the whole way to where ever we are going. But when we get there, I will open the tailgate and tell him to sit in the cage before I open the door and he will respond appropriately. Then the rest of our activity goes fairly well… it’s just GETTING THERE that’s the problem!

I need some help figuring this out!! I need and want him to be relaxed in the back of the truck, so I can continue taking him to fun hiking trails. But my husband has made it clear he wants me to stop because he’s lost so many teeth. He doesn’t seem to be in any pain.I have even asked people at the SPCA and pet stores about this dilemma and no one has a solution. Please help! Thanks!

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10 Responses to The Brindle Boy Challenge

  1. chandantaluja says:

    ossum to see u back…grt

  2. chandantaluja says:

    here is my post u must read it..if u want to go on for enlightment
    http://cheerfulchandan.wordpress.com/2012/10/07/if-you-have-to/

  3. Kudos to you for your efforts with a difficult situation. Perhaps a pit bull rescue group would have some good tips or resources to refer you to? Sources like this blog? http://hogpr.wordpress.com/

  4. Bren says:

    Hi there. I’m new to your blog so I don’t know the whole story, but is this cage or a crate in the back of your truck? Do you crate him inside your house? If not, he may be reacting to the crate/cage because he is scared. When I rescued my pit mix, they told me he was crate trained. I was against it but was willing to try. I video taped him while we went out for about 1/2 hour tops. The results of the video were terrifying to me. My boy tried eating his way out. IMO, he associated the crate as something bad. Old old is yours?

    • 16sedici16 says:

      Hey, the dog is 5 or 6 years old now and he has experience with a cage type crate. He is happy to go i it when camping all on his own when it’s “bed time”… he’ll take himself there and go to bed, we close the door before we turn in for the night which is usually a couple hours after. He shouldn’t have an issue with the crate itself, but the truck or tailgate or canopy or combination is having a huge affect on him. The truck is just over a year old – so its probably that… but I can’t figure out how to rehabilitate him into understanding that this is not a bad thing – that its taking him to fun places.

      • Bren says:

        That’s so sad. I would try him out in it slowly. Maybe just sit him in the truck in the crate, then the canopy to slowly get him used to it? Do you cover his crate inside?

  5. 16sedici16 says:

    I have tried the “slow” approach… he never calms down. I have recently tried to cover his crate and I think it helped, but it didn’t stop him from barking incessantly. When I put the front flap of the cage cover down he barks, but not as much… and I don’t hear him from inside while driving. However, I think that is because he is biting his cage instead or ripping up his blanket in little pieces.

    • Bren says:

      Once again, I feel so sad for the dog. He lacks obedience and may have some other “emotional” issues. I hate to see him hurting himself by trying to escape the cage. Milan is not the ultimate training guide and his techniques don’t work on all dogs. If you want to spend the time with him, I’d suggest an obedience class taught in person. This will also bond the dog with you and he will learn to respect and obey you. I hate to see this poor dog fail because so many of them do, due to lack of training and routine. Nothing against you but your fiance is at fault for not taking the time with him. At 5 or 6 years old, he’s still very trainable. Poor lil guy. Good luck in whatever you decide. However, if you are fearful for yourself or your baby on the way, please take the dog to a pitbull rescue where they can save him. 😦

  6. Rachel Ott says:

    I haven’t read all the comments so I don’t know if this has been suggested, but maybe in the interests of protecting his teeth you could put a muzzle on him for the duration of the car ride? He definitely won’t like it, but it may save him some teeth. Just a thought.

  7. Thanks for this post. You have hit on a VERY important issue in training and loving a dog.

    Dogs are individuals. The lack of understand this causes suffering. Some dogs don’t like to ride in cars, others hate being alone and are destructive, some hate the door bell…so no matter how hard or well you train, (I have learned with my rescue dog) accept and protect. Love with understanding. There are hundreds of ways to love and socialize your dog. If he hates riding in the back, get him a seatbelt for inside the cab. I have a post on “Buckle Up, Fideo” s

    My dog will not stop barking as loud as a fire alarm, when crated in a car. But Sydney happily rides in his seat belt.

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