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Hello, I'm new to the forums and new to being a dog owner.

We adopted our pittbull mix in June.

He's just over a year old. We got him from a girl on Craigslist who snatched him up from a shelter because the shelters around here tend to put bully breeds on the kill lists super fast. I want to preface this by saying that he's a really good dog. He's well trained and for the most part has been a good boy. We met with him twice before deciding to welcome him into our family; we thought it would be a good fit with our two sons. He got a lot of play time, runs around the backyard, and we walk him twice a day.

One of his issues is that he does not do other dogs. We're not sure of his past, but he gets hyper aggressive around other dogs. We thought it wouldn't be a big deal, as we didn't have any plans for getting another dog, but are finding his aggressiveness a bit burdensome. When we travel, we can't take him to dog parks so he gets antsy not being able to have any off leash time. Most of the time when we go for walks, he's absolutely fine, but at least a few times a week we have an incident of him trying to get away to go after another dog, particularly if the dogs are barking at us from their yards. For some reason, leashed dogs don't rile him up as much.

Another issue is that he's attached himself to my husband and literally nobody else. There are two sides to this coin:

-My husband feels overwhelmed because the forty pound dog is right under his feet, in his lap, and requesting his constant attention from the moment he steps through the door until he leaves again.

-On the flip side, I find myself resenting him because I'm the one home all day with him, taking care of him, cleaning up after him, walking him, going through most of the effort for him to ignore me. He spends most of the day asleep on the couch waiting for my husband to come home when he's got three people here eager and willing to interact and play with him. The kids have become disenchanted with him because he won't really play with them anymore.

We feel a bit trapped. I feel like the dog is depressed, but we don't know what to do about it if he won't interact with anyone but the one person who is away for 10-12 hours a day. I feel like he might be happier in a different home set up, but I can't be sure and that point is moot anyway. I don't feel like we could find him a new home or if that is even the answer anyway, uprooting him yet again. Taking him to a shelter is beyond out of the question because he definitely doesn't deserve to die just because he doesn't quite fit with our family. As each week goes by, we all (dog included) seem to get more and more embittered with the situation.

I'm not sure if I'm looking for advice, commiseration, or maybe just someone to tell me that it'll work out eventually. At this point, we really regret adopting him. I stumbled onto these forums and thought that if anyone could help, it'd be you all.
 

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Good on you for giving the dog a home and a second chance.

One of his issues is that he does not do other dogs. We're not sure of his past, but he gets hyper aggressive around other dogs.
That's called not being socialized properly. It's not your fault, but something you will have to work on - as a team, a family.

-My husband feels overwhelmed because the forty pound dog is right under his feet, in his lap, and requesting his constant attention from the moment he steps through the door until he leaves again.
How does your husband interact with the dog overall? When he walks in the door and greets the dog? More importantly, how does the dog interact with others when he's on your husbands lap - when you sit near your husband? Or kids come around?

-On the flip side, I find myself resenting him because I'm the one home all day with him, taking care of him, cleaning up after him, walking him, going through most of the effort for him to ignore me. He spends most of the day asleep on the couch waiting for my husband to come home when he's got three people here eager and willing to interact and play with him. The kids have become disenchanted with him because he won't really play with them anymore.
Need to understand the relationship between your husband and dog to figure this one out.

I find the best way to deal with these "single owner dogs" is to do activities that include the dog as a family or a team. Husband needs to back down a bit and let the rest of the family do alot of interaction.
 

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This is a prime situation for a dog behaviorist. You might be able to get some referrals here tho a good one. Most of the problem which sounds easy to take care of is a modification of at home behavior. If he is taught to sit and stay, just for instance, he won't glom onto one person all the time.

He is beautiful, and as far as being a great family member 'he has good bones', meaning that he already has a lot of positive attributes.

Please invest in his, and your, future by getting some professional advice from a behaviorist.
 

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Given that he's a pit bull mix he may never come to want to really socialize with other dogs, and he will probably always be slightly dog aggressive, it's simply the way some pit bulls and their mixes are. If you look up American Pit Bull Terrier, and their breed description, you'll see that dog aggression is not a fault in the breed. Some of them, no matter how well socialized they were as a puppy and how friendly they were towards strange dogs as a puppy, will begin to show dog aggression as they hit maturity.

All of that does not mean you cannot work with your boy to lessen his reaction towards other dogs and lessen his aggression towards them. He can be taught to not see other dogs as a threat, but he may never want to actually interact with them. Check out this sight Care for Reactive Dogs for instructions on how to work with him.

I'd not take him to dog parks, ever, there's to high of a risk of him deciding another dog is a threat. Try having play dates with dogs he does get along with and for trips out of town invest in a long line and look for empty parks and such to let him roam around in on the long line. You can also either make, or buy, a flirt pole and use that to exercise him. Basically a flirt pole is a stuffed dog toy tied to the end of a rope, and the rope is attached to the pole. You move the toy around and have the dog try and catch it.

Some dogs just tend to attach their self to one person. You might be able to help your boy look to you and the rest of your family more by taking him fun place, get him involved in some sort of dog sport, pits bulls excel at all types, teach him tricks, etc. It might also help to have your husband not give in to his pestering. When the dog pesters him for his attention he needs to either ignore him, or get up and leave, only interact with the dog when he's quiet and not being a pest.
 

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As already said, some dogs certainly attach themselves to only one family member. Now having said that, in the almost seven years we have had Samantha, at first she was hopelessly attached to me and ignored my wife. Then one day she suddenly paid more attention to my wife, and after a period of time practically ignored me. She has played favorites back and forth, but now seems equally attached to both of us. We did nothing, certainly nothing intentional, she just vacillated back and forth on her own. My advice, don't become too fixated on how things are now, it may and probably will change. Keep paying attention to him, and encourage your kids to play with him and reward with treats. The advice to involve a behaviorist is good advice, just be sure the one you select has a known track record and is really good at what he or she does. What I can tell you from experience, is whatever you invest in him, the likelihood of it being returned 10 times over is very high. Dogs are incredible additions to families, and once assimilated into your life style and routines, they become a wonderful and rewarding part of your family and life.
 

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As frustrating as all of your problems are, the solutions are all super-achievable through training. It sounds like your dog is a bit dog-aggressive and leash-reactive, which are super common problems. Many trainers will be able to help you with this.

For exercise, it's very common for dogs to not "do" dog parks. I'd venture to say that dogs pretty much learn to cope with or are socialized to be comfortable in dog parks. There is nothing innately comfortable (to a dog) about being let into an enclosure only to have 10-15 total strangers swarm you and start sniffing you in very invasive areas! You pretty much just have to find other solutions for exercise: fetch in a big empty field, hiking, biking, jogging, high-energy play in the backyard or dog sports like agility, dock diving, rally obedience or flyball.

Lastly, it should be fairly easy to nurture a bond with an extra person for this dog. Just do lots of fun activities involving treats with him. Join an obedience class or try out some agility. You can even just work through some obedience at home-- there are many great clicker training channels on YouTube, such as Kikopup and Zak George. Or just pick up a book like Kyra Sundance's 101 Dog Tricks.
 
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