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DEXTER – PIT BULL? February 28, 2006

Posted by wmmbb in DOG BLOG -.

We got a new dog last week by adopting a stray dog. The law requires that all dogs be mirco-chipped with details of their owners and place of residence and so forth.

DexterPosted by Picasa

Yesterday we took him up to the Vet. Getting into a car is like experiencing a thunder storm for other dogs. This response does not happen by chance, it happens by experience. I do not understand this response. Our other dogs, by contrast, cannot wait to get into the car and go for a drive.

The Vet confirmed that he has not been micro-chipped and estimated his age to 9 months. While it is difficult to know what breed any dog might be, and although I am no expert looking through google I have concluded that there is a good chance he is Pit Bull Terrier, despite other judgments. Supposing this is true, it means that he would be classified as a dangerous dog, and require child-proof fencing.

The fact that he got out, as un-desexed dogs will do by chewing through his collar, is evidence of the utter irresponsibility of his former owner/s. Should my opinion be correct, Dexter is a breed predisposed to attack other dogs and not to back down, while at the same time requiring plenty of exercise.

Now we have inherited the problem without knowing what we were getting into. Based on my observations there is much to admire about his nature. He is a strong dog, an agile dog and an affectionate dog, but I have to observe his aggressiveness towards Sasha, one of other dogs. I perceive there is not backing down with Dexter.

Breeding dogs for desirable qualities is something that human beings are very good. It does not take long for the next generation to appear, and the selection process to be refined. It strikes me as an example of selection combined with intelligent design. Probably, more intelligent design and less evolutionary selection because there is not speciation involved.

My personal opinion is that there is not much cross with Dexter, or if there is, it does not make much difference. This means at least three things. We must establish dominance over his behavior to the smallest degree while providing partial reinforcement. We have to ensure that he is separated from the other dogs when we are away. And we have to ensure that he will not get out, which I have to say so far he has shown no disposition to do so, but we will assume that this will not always be the case.

Our decision to adopt Dexter was a happy event for his rescuer because she had three male dogs – at least Sasha is a female – and was not disposed to take him to the pound where my guess his fate would be pre-ordained. Kindness can sometimes come back to bite the person that provides it. Some people are simply hard hearted, so this dilemma is never a problem for them. Here we deal with human nature.

Not me, but another opinion is been expressed that we should take him to the pound, and have him euthanized. Having said that, I am not wholly convinced I am being wise. De-sexing is the first thing to do, and look at other measures such as controlled socialization with other dogs. Further measures may be required.

Regardless of what Dexter’s breed might be, we will have to act on the observations of his behavior.



1. wmmbb - February 28, 2007

Dexter before he had put on 27kg. We could see his ribs back then!

2. wmmbb - February 28, 2007

He is still anxious after getting into the car.

3. michael - March 14, 2007

hi there – we adopted a pit bull mix as well. you found dexter @ a good age, since he is trainable.

some words of advice (if i may):

lots of *positive* reinforcement. lots of treats, lots of high-pitched “good boy”s when he does something you like.

obedience classes. we took *four* with miss olive and it helped tremendously. this will give him focus and a job to do. they love it, and you’re happier since you know better what dexter’s reactions to things might be.

watch him with other dogs, especially when the dogs first meet. slow, careful introductions.

don’t bring dexter to a fenced-in dog park. it’s too much like a pit. instead, bring him to an open field, let him off leash, and let him chase after balls. buy one of those long plastic throwy things so you don’t throw your shoulder out and don’t have to pick up the dirt-and-spit encrusted tennis ball.

you’re right, he needs lots of exercise. once a twice a week minimum, hour-long, off-leash romps.

and: most of all: hang in there. i was ready to give olive up after a month or two, but now she’s been with us for 5 years and she is the light (and sunshine) of our lives.

good for you.


4. wmmbb - March 14, 2007

Thank you Michael. We are most appreciative of your comment and helpful advice.

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