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!