I walked into the yard and could not believe my eyes. I saw a scrawny, hyperactive, black and white pit bull that looked like he had been in a few fights recently. This was the dog that had been causing all those fights? This was the dog that attacked another dog so bad that the vet was forced to put her down? I just could not believe it. This was my first meeting with Petey. Before I meet a new dog that I will work with, I only know their name, their breed, and the problem that the dog and I will work on. In this case, I knew that he was a pit bull named Petey who had major aggression problems.
It was time to learn his story. I found out that Petey was a family pet that had turned on them. They had bought a hyperactive pit bull and never learned how to handle it. When Petey turned on them they gave him up. When he came to the rescue, he moved into a foster home and the father became close to Petey. He would handle Petey the same way that his last family had. Petey was a problem waiting to happen. About a month after I started with the rescue, Petey attacked the alpha male of their pack three times in a single week. Petey’s next attack that week was on a five year old mutt that had cancer. Petey’s victim was not able to pull through the shock, forcing the vet to put her down. Petey had completely forgotten how to just be a dog.
I started working with Petey two weeks after the fatal attack. We walked and played together in a way that kept me in the alpha position. After the fist week, I doubted that this dog could be normal again. He did not make any progress that most dogs make in the first week, but we kept working. After months of work, Petey now can be around new people and some dogs.
Many people believe that once a pit bull goes bad, there is no return; however, I believe that pit bulls become aggressive because of their past and with help, they can become a normal dog. In Petey’s case, they were considering putting him down because of his nonstop fighting. They feared that one day, he would attack somebody, which would force them to put him down. Petey was only aggressive because of his past but after months of work, he is on his way to being a normal dog again. There is hope for many other pit bulls out there, if people can just believe that these dogs can turn around for the better and have the patience and determination it takes to work with them, it can be done. It all starts with the belief that they can do it.
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