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My husband and I recently adopted (for the first time) a 3 year old Pit Terrier mix from our local shelter. (Pepper)
(The shelter says 3, she acts more like she is 1-1.5 years)

When we met her she was sweet, loving and calm around us as far as her energy.
Fast forward to her first week and she is still loving and sweet, but her energy is through the roof!
So far we are chalking up her behavior to the fact that she is in a new environment and everything is new to her.

We also have a 12 year old APB. (Jetta) Sweet as ever and loves her family. Had her since she was a puppy.

Here are some of the issues that we are trying to tackle:

Pepper is constantly licking and sniffing Jetta's back end, especially after she goes to the bathroom.

When Pepper tries to initiate a play time with Jetta, usually by going into a 'play' pose or messing with Jetta's ears, and when she is rejected, she runs around the place like crazy. A zoomie if you will.
After this moment is done she wants to run, jump, and mouth/gnaw on anything that comes her way.

Also, Pepper seems to be trying to dominate Jetta. Either that or her way of learning other dogs is weird and standoff-ish.

Both ladies are fixed.

Pepper also has a hard time learning her name, but understands the command 'Sit'.

Another thing that she does which kind of concerns me is when we go outside, I put her leash on her and she takes the leash in her mouth and 'carries' it with her as we go to her potty place. (I have a hold of the other end)
Once she is where she needs to be, she lets it go.

We do take both dogs to the small running area at our apartments and stay there until they are both worn out.

All around, she is a great dog, just a little bit of a higher energy than expected.

Any training tips to help calm her and help better train a new shelter dog would be helpful.
 

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Congratulations on the new dog! Thank you for adopting! (it makes a huge difference to people who work with shelter dogs to hear about people giving them homes!)


I've worked with lots of Pittie dogs at the shelter. All so sweet, but also almost always super energetic (labs too!).
I'm not a behavior expert, but I can offer some suggestions.

- Sniffing, licking the back end after using the bathroom is how dogs see what is up with another dog. They can tell using their Jacobson's organ what another dog's "status" is and if they are in heat (which usually doesn't happen with fixed dogs, but dogs don't know that). There isn't much you can do about it but try to distract them. Maybe ask Pepper to sit for a treat.


- Some dogs, when they have energy build up, will get a little crazy about play. Our lab mix, who we adopted, will try to get other dogs to play and when she hasn't had a play session in the backyard or a long walk, she will start running around, hitting other dogs with her paws, barking at them, and trying to get them angry at her so they will chase her (which is thrilling for her, as she gets the attention she wants). Usually we have to calm her down at the time by taking her collar and just giving her a moment to catch her breath and relax, but the best solution is a good long walk, jog or bike ride (where she runs beside a bike). She also loves to play fetch (sometimes for a long time!)


- When we first got Coral (the lab mix), when she got too excited, she would jump and mouth our arms, bite at our clothes, etc. We had to teach her to be calm, sit, or focus her energy on something else. It took like a year maybe for her to stop the jumping and biting in most situations. She still gets excited if you run.


- Female dogs have interesting dynamics. All our dogs get along for the most part, but any serious fights in the past (young dogs are more likely to get in serious arguments) were between our female dogs. They just seem more serious about finding out who is the boss. It gets better with time, but sometimes, if the dog seems in an especially "annoying" mood (following another dog around, trying to put their paws on them, etc) they just need some time separate. Maybe walk Pepper by herself or let Jetta into another room where she can just rest (our senior dogs like going in different bedrooms to get a break from the energetic, young dogs).



- Just keep practicing the name. If she came in as a stray to the shelter they likely didn't know her real name and she has to relearn what she is called. Use her name when calling for dinner, treats, walk time; dogs learn new names fairly quickly once they get that it is being used specifically for them. You can also try teaching "come" and "treat" to get her attention.


- A lot of dogs at the shelter where I volunteer like to carry their leash. Maybe they just get excited, but I've found it more common in dogs that had possibly hurt their necks pulling a lot and that is a way to stop the collar from pulling on their neck. Some dogs get really excited about it and bite at and pull on the leash, if she is just taking it and holding it then it shouldn't be a problem. If you want to train her out of it you can try teaching her to carry a toy or to "drop" the leash for a treat.

Hope this helps! Best of luck!
 
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