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Friday, June 1, 2012

Raising a Bully

Pablo
I am attempting to raise a bully. Bully as in a bull-dog breed; one whose genetics stem from dog fighting roots, and before that, to bait bulls in Spain. I have learned so much since I adopted Pablo. As I stated before, I adopted an Old Boston Bull dog because I love the bulldog personality but not the health problems associated with the most popular breeds: British and French Bull dogs. I went for a rarer breed that is known to be very athletic, intelligent, healthy and loyal. The desire to want to kill other dogs was not something I counted on. This trait surfaced in Pablo early on (5 months) and it surprised me. He is good with Fernando although on occasion he will get all worked up and attack Fernando over food. When one adopts a breed that has a natural tendency towards dog-fighting, one has no choice but to dominate that dog into submission. Any dog trainer will agree that it is much easier to dominate a dog if you are big with a deep voice (if you are a male). For me, who is relatively slight for a human with a feminine voice and mannerisms, it takes everything I've got to dominate the beast named Pablo. I've learned that size matters. I would never adopt a dog breed that in the past was cultivated for aggressive genetic traits (guard dogs, fighting dogs) unless I was physically able to intervene and pull the dog off when and if it ever attacked. Having Pablo has taught me that although Pitt Bulls are similar to Pablo in temperament, their size is too big for me as a dog parent. I can barely handle Pablo who is going to max out at about 35 lbs.

I collapsed last night, on my bed, beyond exhausted, my mind unable to think clearly. Why? Well, as any modern parent will tell you, raising three children, having a partner and trying to establish a career is enough to exhaust anyone. But what is it that pushed me over the edge? As I lay in bed, feeling past any illusions of ever rising again, one word came to mind: DOG. Pablo has pushed me over. Every single day I have been giving every ounce of my soul to dominate that beast. Several times daily I must stop him from trying to kill the dog next door (if they happen to be in their yards at the same time). They fight through the chain linked fence like savage, crazed, murderous beasts. The other dog in huge (a husky cross). Pablo's face gets cut-up and bleeds from these fence fights. And if Pablo is not fighting, he is barking in the yard. That is when the odd, dreadful neighbor yells "shut that fucking dog up!" Inside the house, he is in the garbage or jumping up on kids non stop or occasionally attacking Fernando over food. I reprimand him constantly, making him sit and stay, putting him in his crate if he is particularly stubborn. On walks, if we pass another dog Pablo wants to kill it. I restrain him always and discipline him--make him sit, roll him onto his back if he is naughty, hold onto his collar for dear life. And the horrible thing is that Fernando encourages Pablo by also barking at every dog we pass. This gets Pablo frenzied. And when I prevent him from attacking, he's in such a heightened state, he decides to attack Fernando. Then, I have to haul his mouth from Fernando's neck and roll him over in submission, growling, shouting at him.

I am becoming so past being a giant, dominating alpha dog-woman. It's too hard to bully a bully all day. It is not my nature to yell, shout and bark orders non-stop. I don't have a deep voice and I always wear my voice out by the end of the day from trying to speak in a low, dominant voice to Pablo.

What will I do? Soldier on in any way I can think of. Today a dog day-school is getting the call. I'll try sending him to dog day care to see if it helps him learn to tolerate other dogs.  The day school also works with the dogs on obedience while they are there. Hope it helps. How can one beast turn a world inside out? Adopt a Pablo and find out. Fernando was also a crazy beast as a pup, but not crazy-aggressive with other dogs. It is that trait that tips the scales for me. And yet, I love the dog. He loves me so much, how can I not love him back? I feel he is very heavy cross to bare at this point in time but I cannot help but love him. Love is twisted.

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