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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey, guys! My boyfriend and I didn't actually plan on welcoming a new puppy but couldn't say no when this cutie was offered to us! The man couldn't care for him anymore and offered him to us free of charge before advertising. We went to see him and he was so happy to see us! Wagging tail and lots of kisses! Very sweet but the poor thing is so skinny and has been kept on a chain since the man got him. He could definitely use some TLC that we are more than happy to give. We still have shopping to do so, he isn't ours yet and I don't have permission to post pictures. He is a 7 month old pit bull terrier and is cream/tan(?) and white. He has energy but its not overwhelming. He seems to have a great disposition and personality. He will be our first dog to own together but I've grown up around dogs, schnauzers in particular (giants and minis) and a lab. I've been doing lots of research but still have a few questions:

1.) I know this breed has a really bad reputation but I've been around a few and have never seen them as the monster society makes them out to be. Of course, bad temperaments usually come from bad handling, I believe. What should I expect with owning this breed for the first time?

2.) Should I feed puppy food (he's 7 months old) or adult food? I would also be interested in brand recommendations.

3.) Is there anyway I can make the transition from chain to house a little easier? Will it really matter?

4.) We plan on taking him out and about quite a bit and my boyfriend's brother has a male pit. He's super sweet and happy go lucky but should I worry about socializing two male pit bulls?

Thanks in advance!
 

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Sorry but why isn't he yours yet? And you don't have permission? Something seems suss about that.

I would first get him checked at a vet, if he has been chained up this whole time, I can only assume the pet has net had any shots or worming treatment.

A good Puppy food would be best, Im not familiar with the brands that you guys have over there (im in Australia).

Once you get him you wont be putting him on a chain just welcome him into your home, maybe close a few doors off for rooms you don't want puppy going into just yet, or get some baby gates.

Its about how you raise him, I would take it slow with him though he may have had things happen to him , he could have a fear of certain things, of which you wont know until he is with you.
 

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My concern is, if he has been chained up all this time, he has not been properly socialized with people or other dogs. I would definitely get set up with a trainer ASAP and work on socializing him. Good luck. Can't wait to see pics.
 

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1) Congrats on the new pup! I don't have any experience with the breed but they seem lovely. It would be a good idea to check your local laws to see if there is any breed specific legislation that may effect you.

2) I think the normal recommendation is puppy food until 12 months. I found canidae pure foundation really good for my pup and it was the best price I could find for a 5 star rated kibble.

3) if they've never been inside you might have to house train them, there is a great sticky post in the housetraining forum that might help. If you find a good positive based trainer they can also help you establish polite house behavior.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks, guys! We definitely plan on having him seen by the vet as soon as we get him. Current owner claims he has had shots but wasn't able to tell us when his last set was or which ones he got.

The man has two other dogs that were put up when we came. Hard to say whether he's been socialized or not. He seems very people friendly considering he came right up to us without any hesitation.

We will get him possibly this weekend. We just have to get essentials like food, bowls, a collar/leash and some toys. I can't wait to bring him home and get him out of that situation.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yes! Thanks so much! I've been looking for something like this.
 
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I think for a medium sized breed at 7 months it would be OK to feed adult food, but I'd double check that with your vet.

I feed Merrick's currently and really like it. They have both a wet food brand and a dry kibble brand, and also have a really good limited ingredient food for dogs with allergies. I used to feed Orijen when my dog was a puppy but found that she had really bad gas- I'm not sure if it had to do with the food, though I do think it did. I've also fed Taste of the Wild, which I like because it's a little cheaper. The only reason I switched off of TOTW is because they didn't have any limited ingredient foods without chicken, and my parents dog is allergic to chicken- we're living with them briefly and I didn't want to be feeding the dogs 2 different foods. If you can afford Merrick's it would be my top recommendation, if you're looking for a little bit of a cheaper food then I'd recommend Taste Of The Wild.

Also, I'd think about maybe doing some basic bloodwork (especially a heartworm test) if you have the money, because I wouldn't trust that the previous owner kept him in the best of health. That said, if he seems to be in a good health just from a physical exam I think it wouldn't be unreasonable to not want to drop the money on it.

No, Pits are not the monsters the world makes them out to be, but their are some breed characteristics that can make then a little difficult. I would say the things that can make them a little more of a handful are: high energy (especially when young), very physical/rough play style, oftentimes a fairly high prey drive (that make also apply to small dogs as well as actual "prey animals", and can be a problem with cats), and oftentimes a tendency towards reactivity towards things like skateboards, joggers, and- the kicker- other dogs. Also, expect people to nit pick your dog's flaws. People are not quick to forgive bully breed mixes for messing up.

ENERGY- like I said, they do tend to have pretty high energy levels when they're young, and they can be big pullers. Don't expect him to be the kind of dog that will fit seamlessly into a dog-less life. Expect to spend a good amount of time trying to tire him out. If you're already someone who likes to jog, that's a good way to tire him out. If not, I'd highly suggest looking into jorring sports- the sports where a dog pulls the person behind them. There's Canicross, which is essentially just jogging with a dog belted to you (if you don't already run but would like to start with him, I can personally attest to it being a little easier to start jogging w a dog pulling you versus running alongside- it builds momentum better), as well as bikejorring (dog pulls you attached to a bike), jorring on skates (dog pulls you on rollerskates), or with skateboards or scooters. He could also be trained to just run alongside a skateboard or bike or scooter, but it's more tiring if he's pulling you.

PLAY STYLE- be aware that they're very scrappy dogs. They're not good at tempering their play for smaller or more fragile dogs. I cannot emphasize enough how much this can suck, because even if your dog isn't aggressive, the way he wants to play with other dogs can scare other owners. This is the main reason I would suggest against dog parks with a bully breed, as I would with any other breed known for being a very rough player. Combine their mass with their lack of coordination and roughness as puppies and it's very easy for their to be accidental injuries which the other owner may or may not be understanding of. Also, they can get so over-excited so as to become predatory or aggressive.

PREY DRIVE- don't expect him to be OK with other animals. Not all will have high prey drive, but the vast majority I've met do. I've heard owners say that even when they have been raised successfully with a cat at home that they don't both, they will act predatory towards unfamiliar cats that aren't "theirs". Also, I touched on this a little bit already, but be weary about playing with small dogs. There is something referred to as "predatory drift"- it's exactly what is sounds like, play will suddenly drift into something less harmless- something about the play, oftentimes the darting movement of a small dog or a small dog yelping for some reason, will set off a predatory response. Play is only something that has started to be studied in dogs more recently, but think of it like this: all play behavior in dogs is actually hunting behavior. The adaptive benefit of play is that it allows young predators to practice hunting skills. I think this page does a good job of explaining it:
http://www.alldogsgym.com/behavior/articles/behavior/dog-play-behavior-and-qpredatory-driftq

ON DOG AGGRESSION:
Like I said, they aren't what the media makes them out to be- they're not monsters, they don't have locking jaws, they don't go around mauling and killing willy-nilly, but neither are they a dog I would recommend to someone whose #1 criteria for their dog be that it be OK with every dog it meets and be able to go to the dog park. IMHO, dog aggression is a reality of the breed. These are dogs that were originally developed as fighting dogs. They are a breed selected for durability, tendency to overlook physical discomfort and injury, a tenacity/to keep fighting no matter what, and to some extent natural aversion to other dogs. Most of these guys (short of those being bred by people that fight illegally) are no longer being bred for aversion to other dogs, but neither are most of them actively being bred for being more tolerant of other dogs. They are a wildly overbred group of dogs, usually being bred by Back Yard Breeders who have only the most minimal standards for determining whether or not the parents should be bred (if they have any at all), and more likely than not reactivity towards other dogs is going to come up at some point. Good socialization- both frequent and with dogs you know and trust- is going to go a long way, but do not be surprised if at the very least he displays dog selectivity (ie, doesn't act aggressively with every dog but also doesn't get along spectacularly with other dogs) as he gets older.

other thoughts:
They can be frustrating to teach Loose Leash Walking because 1) I've noticed some seem to actually enjoy pulling (compared to other dogs that just pull because they don't know any better and want to get to where they're going- this is another reason why I like them for jorring sports) and 2) they tend to be very bouncy, exhuberant pups that just want to play and run and rough house and can be sort of all over the place when they're excited. My dog is very similar in these regards (she's a Boston Terrier, which I believe is considered a bully breed and has a few ancestral breeds in common with Pits, namely the English White Terrier)- I found a mixture of "be a tree"/"penalty yards"/rewarding for being in the right position/a whole lot of verbal feedback to work well in getting her to not pull and walk at heel. Pretty much, I respond to pulling by either stopping and waiting until she moves back to where she supposed to be at my right heel to move again ("being a tree"- at the beginning I would just start moving whenever she stepped back towards me and looked at me) or I will stop and then step back a few paces in the opposite direction she is pulling ("penalty yards"). This teaches what you don't want. To teach what I do want, I give a lot of verbal feedback (using her marker word "nope" to tell her she's doing something she's not going to be rewarded for and to try something else so I can reward her, as well as keeping up a semi-constant stream of nonsense prattle). I can seem a little wacky, since I'm usually talking to her- it sounds something like: "good girl, that's where you're supposed to be- nope, not there- yes, good girl, good heel, very good!"

Also: they're very fun dogs to train! They are super food motivated and generally fairly biddable. AND- it's a GREAT way to tire them out! GET HIM THINKING! A few short training sessions spread through the day as well as asking for basic obedience commands (like sitting or laying down and staying/waiting for a certain amount of time) when he gets fed or during play is a good way to keep his brain as active as his body- and the more mentally active he is the less physical activity it will take to tire him out. Not to say it will replace walks or play, but it can mean 2 or 3 walks and an hour of playing a day versus feeling like you need to constantly physically engage him to drain his energy.

This is a force-free forum and as such no one here would ever suggest any kind of aversive training collar, but a lot of trainers will recommend them. Just from what I've noticed from seeing pits and pit mixes in training collars: they seem to be VERY ineffective with them. Pits tend to be completely unconcerned by physical discomfort. They will usually still pull in a slip collar or prong as if they're in a flat collar, and this can cause them harm. Most every dog will pull dangerously even with a slip collar, but prongs are the real worry, IMO. Most dogs will feel the prong tighten and react in some way, whether it be stopping the behavior or escalating it. IME, Pits will just ignore it and continue to pull. This is equally true of the ones that are pulling/lunging because they're super excited as it is of the ones who are doing it because they're aggressive. I would highly recommend a front-clip harness like either an Easy-Walk (which can be easy to get out of) or a Freedom Harness. I'd also recommend using either a caribeaner or rope slip collar to also attach the leash to a flat collar, in case they're able to get out of the harness.
 

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Moonstream pretty much covered it. Our girl is 5.5 years old now but has always been very playful and until about 3, had a seemingly endless supply of energy. We never could get her interested in fetch but she does like tug, and her favorite thing in the world is a good hike. I'm a huge fan of food puzzles, Kongs, and treat-dispensing toys. She loves to use her nose so we like to play Find It with her some of her food/treats. Oh, and she loves to chew. Big time. I am constantly picking up things for her to chew - Himalayan chews and antlers are always a hit.

Chrissy has been easy to train in the sense that she's very food motivated and eager to please but she definitely has a mind of her own. One thing I wish we had worked on sooner, is impulse control and 'go to place' as she was super excitable and jumpy as an adolescent. She's also used to pull on walks so 1) we invested in a harness with a front clip (we have the Ruffwear Front Range), and 2) worked a lot on our LLW walking. Like, a lot. She doesn't walk in a perfect heel but at least there is slack on the leash. Now, stopping to sniff around has become a treat for walking nicely. I definitely think some kind of joring activity, as Moonstream mentioned, could be very rewarding.

So far she's been okay with every dog and puppy we've met but dog aggression is a thing to watch out for, so I always use caution when introducing her to new dogs - especially small ones. She was fine around our former cat, our rabbit and our baby chicks but I have seen her kill a quail.

As for food, she has some allergies so we have her on grain-free. Before she scratched nonstop and had skin issues. She's currently on Acana; I also give her coconut oil and salmon oil daily, and she's never looked better.

Overall she's been an awesome dog: friendly and affectionate, stubborn (but easily persuaded with food :p), active, loyal. Nowadays she's happy to lay around but if you pick up her leash or harness, she's ready to go. I hope that helps a little bit.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks so much! The information was a great read! I actually am a regular jogger and planned on taking him for daily morning and evening jogs. I also read about dog packs that the dog wears like a harness or vest with a water bottle on each side and its supposed to give them more of a workout if you're short on time. We go to the lake on the weekends (SO enjoys fishing and I just tag along) and I figured this would be a great way for him to get out and socialize with new people. I'm not too worried about him getting along with every dog he meets but I am hoping that he gets along with SO's brother's dog, also a pit. We haven't talked about getting any more dogs but I can't say it won't happen somewhere along the road.

We're both really looking forward to being dog parents! I'm putting training treats on the shopping list for Monday! Can't wait to bring our boy home :D
 

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As far as food goes, I'd suggest Purina Pro Plan chicken and rice adult formula. I am familiar with a few people who are raising puppies on this and it's not too rich to where it upsets their tummies as much.
As for the hiking, I went ahead and found dead this on another forum
Limiting a pup to shorter hikes is definitely a good idea.

Although smaller dogs tend to mature more quickly, most sizes of dogs are not yet physically mature until at least 12 months of age. Large and giant breeds may be physically immature until 2 to 3 years of age. Generally, the larger the dog, the longer it takes them to mature. Labs are typically considered a large breed.

Until they are physically mature, there can be a lot of stuff going on orthopedically, even for an older pup. The growth plates probably aren't closed yet, the skeleton isn't quite done developing, and muscles haven't matured. Like human teenagers, they may be clumsy because proprioception can't quite keep up with their changing bodies.

These are the guidelines I try to follow when bringing along a young hiker dog. My experience and research lies with the giants, specifically livestock guardian dogs, which are among the smaller of the giant breeds.

0-6 mos.: no formal exercise. Lots of play, foundation for training. Avoid slippery floors (strains young joints) and jumping off things (too high impact).

6 mos. - 12 mos.: Light exercise, in the 1-5 mile/day range broken into twice daily walks, terrain ranging from easy to medium. The longer the mileage, the easier the terrain. Although some running may occur, regular trail running is to be avoided because it is too high impact.

1-2 yrs: light exercise, up to 10 miles broken into twice daily outings, again, higher mileage requiring easier overall terrain. Running with the dog at a working trot can occur, but no more than 1-2 miles at a time.

2-3 yrs: up to 15 miles over any terrain. May occur in one outing, reduce mileage for more difficult terrain. Running can begin regularly, no more than 2 miles/day.

3-4 yrs: up to 20 miles over any terrain. Running can be increased to no more than 5 miles every other day.

>5: Let the dog set limits - some dogs will happily do +30's, others are naturally couch potatoes.
Good luck with the new pup!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thank you! So, maybe just walks until his joints have matured, then I'll start gradually incorporating jogging.
 

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Great that you're already a runner! Pits can be WONDERFUL jogging companions! I cannot recommend Canicross enough, in this case. IME the hardest part of running with a dog is the pulling- especially when the dog seems to enjoy the feeling of pulling something behind him, like bully breeds seem to. It's so hard to teach LLW while running, and it isn't fun to have the dog darting all around the sidewalk (which IME young dogs are almost guaranteed to do), but Canicross really allows you to harness that energy in a way that helps the run be more fun vs makes it more taxing.

Personally, I'd wait a few more months in this case, though- since you're already in shape to run, you're probably not going to have less stamina than him, and it doesn't sound like he's been able to get much exercise/build much stamina. I started running with my pup at 7 months and felt ok with it partially because she's a smaller breed but mostly because I knew I wasn't going to even have enough stamina for it to effect her bones if they weren't done growing. I was really only able to run one or two blocks at a moderate jog before I needed a breathing break, so it was more like run 2/walk 2 for a mile or so. I wouldn't run with him before nine months, and definitely wouldn't run with him until he is looking like he's in good shape again (ie, no longer thing and with normal muscle mass for a male pit his age). To start with, long walks and easy (mostly flat) hiking trails on nature walks (and on leash, until he recall is reliable and you know he's 100% OK with other dogs) is a great way to build stamina ad get out energy so he won't drive you crazy.

Sounds like you'll be an ideal Pit parent! They really can be a great breed so long as you're willing to accept some breed quirks, public attitude, and a bouncy, energy-filled, clumsy puppy that won't mature until later than a lot of other breeds.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Well, we called the man to tell him that we were on the way to get Gryffin but he didn't answer. We called one more time but no answer so we sent him a text. Thirty minutes later, he texts us back saying the dog is missing. We know its been hard for him to let go of the dog despite the fact he can no longer afford him and my SO automatically jumped to the conclusion that he decided to keep Gryffin and didn't want to tell us. Considering its a little ironic that the dog goes missing the day we're supposed to get him, SO's conclusion doesn't seem far off.

The man called us around 6 that evening to tell us he's out looking for Gryffin. He continues to tell us that he's gotten away before but came back the next day. He even offered us a chocolate lab which is a little weird...

We're all sorts of confused and upset over the whole situation. What do you guys think?
 

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So sorry to hear that he didn't work out. Does sound like the owner got cold feet, which stinks b/c it sounds like he would have had a great life with you, rather than spending his life tied to a tree outside. Speaking of which, how does a dog who is tied to a tree go missing??????
 

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Well, we called the man to tell him that we were on the way to get Gryffin but he didn't answer. We called one more time but no answer so we sent him a text. Thirty minutes later, he texts us back saying the dog is missing. We know its been hard for him to let go of the dog despite the fact he can no longer afford him and my SO automatically jumped to the conclusion that he decided to keep Gryffin and didn't want to tell us. Considering its a little ironic that the dog goes missing the day we're supposed to get him, SO's conclusion doesn't seem far off.

The man called us around 6 that evening to tell us he's out looking for Gryffin. He continues to tell us that he's gotten away before but came back the next day. He even offered us a chocolate lab which is a little weird...

We're all sorts of confused and upset over the whole situation. What do you guys think?
How did you find this person? Were you paying any sort of fee to get the dog from him?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
How did you find this person? Were you paying any sort of fee to get the dog from him?
My SO works with him. He was giving him to us for free.
 
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