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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-11-2009, 09:48 AM Thread Starter
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Dogsitting two pitbulls. Advice please!

Hey everyone! In talking to a family friend's aunt, I landed a dog sitting job while I'm away at college. The dogs have separation anxiety when mom leaves and she has to crate them, so that they do not become destructive and anxious, so she wants me to come over and let them outside during the day at some point and spend some time there so they can get some of their energy out before she gets home. When I leave the house, I can leave them out of their crates because its only when she leaves that they get nervous. They both came from a rescue situation, one having been a bait dog, which explains why theyre so attached to her.

So this is my predicament. I went to meet them the other day, and they are good dogs but very rambunctious. They are pretty well disciplined and when she tells them to sit, they do, but they have a tendency to play rough with eachother, and while I know they arent hurting eachother, if they get too into it, I was trying to think of a way to get them to stop and calm down a little, especially if they get too rough with me. Im small so I cant just muscle them apart so to speak. I know that a distraction would be the best way to stop them, but I was considering ways to do it. What do you guys think? They are 45 and 65 pound pit bulls. Thanks for any advice!
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-11-2009, 10:46 AM
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maybe you could get some of their toys or a hand towel...dogs like to play tug of war...that might distract them!


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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-11-2009, 12:38 PM
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I've always owned pit bulls... so I know what you're dealing with haha. You could also try some sandwich meat. Like piggyslave said, Tug of war might work. I've used that strategy with my girls when they started getting out of hand.


I found some pics of it lol. See, they were getting crazy, so I gave them their rope and they stopped play fighting.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-11-2009, 02:38 PM
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Having a toy of some sort would help, as long as they are not resource guarders and will become possessive over a toy...if you are worried about them play fighting to rough and not being able to seperate them, ask their owner if you can use a squirt gun, or shake a pop can full of pennies to distract them to calm them down. That works for me when my 100 lb. GSD and 110lb Rottie get too rough
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-18-2009, 11:40 AM Thread Starter
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noise therapy is something I have heard of from dog training shows. using a loud noise to get their attention. do you think if theyre already excited it would just make them more wound up or would it help me regain control. I was thinking of trying a clicker. what do you think? any other advice will be appreciated.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-23-2009, 12:53 AM
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I'd say use a command that means "stop" to them. A command to get their attention focus. You can make them sit then. This will give them time to calm down. Dogs can play really rough it's just how many are.

Hope all goes well for you. Some can be very energetic. It is good to have them burn off energy like that, I'm glad you're up for the job.

I will say learn how to stop a fight solo. I'm a small person and I can't muscle my way if I have too (there is also adrenaline to consider). Don't panic and keep your cool. Never leave them alone unsupervised. Even if they have been playing nicely in the yard or whatever it may be it is a huge risk, especially with another person's dogs. Prevention is the best way to go. As well you could work on some with them, let them play, then you can get their attention and give them commands, even if they are not getting too wild you can still stop them intermittently so they are used to listening to verbal commands.

You might find this page on the Pit Bull rescue site helpful. There are other info pages on there too.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-24-2009, 09:41 AM Thread Starter
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thanks so much. I start next week and they were a lot calmer when I went for a visit the second time.

They are both rescue dogs and one even came from a background of being a bait dog previously. It amazes me how they could come back and be such good pets after such a bad previous experience with humans.

A friend who is in dog training reccomended something similar, combining the stop command with a fun game to train them to respond to it. She said I can get energetic and play with them then periodically say stop and just stop moving and wait until they catch on.

I'm really excited to take on this job. It will allow me to still have contact with a dog while I'm in college which is good for me since I'm a major animal person, and it helps out their owner too because then they dont have the pent up energy of being crated all day when she comes home from work. I'm sure i'll have some more questions and keep you guys updated on their progress.
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