Dog-Aggressive Pup Needs Special Home

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Barked: Sat Dec 3, '11 12:38pm PST 
My wife and I are in need of assistance concerning our dog Riley. Riley is, as best as we can tell, a 4 year old female Pit Bull Mix. We are a military family who just recently moved to the West Point, NY area from Clarksville, TN. While we were stationed in TN, a neighbor who was also a military family had gotten Riley as a puppy. After the husband deployed, the wife began neglecting Riley. She would be left chained up outside, night and day with no food or water, laying in her own filth in the 100+ degree temperature of summer. My wife intervened and brought Riley into our home, with the intention of finding her a new home that would take care of her. Sadly, any place we contacted to help us find Riley a home said they couldn't help us because of her breed, or if we brought her in they would put her down. So Riley stayed with us and our 7 year old male Alaskan Husky, 5 year old female Lab/Brittany mix, and 3 cats.

Initially things were fine except we began to notice that Riley would become aggressive toward other dogs, and have a few minor altercations with the neighbors’ dogs. We have made numerous efforts to socialize her, but as time has gone on, her aggressive nature toward other dogs has gotten worse. Most troubling however is that Riley has become aggressive with our Lab Mix, who is also a female. The altercations between them started off small but have grown in intensity and severity, with our Lab recently having to spend several days in a vet hospital. In another development, Riley just recently, started going to the bathroom in the house, which is an issue we have never had with her before. We took her to the vet to make sure she did not have any medical conditions that could be causing this sudden behavior, and thankfully, Riley received a clean bill of health.

In all other aspects Riley is a wonderful dog. She is extremely loving and easy going with my wife and I, she absolutely loves kids, and she is in love with our cats and will often help them clean. It is only with other dogs that she becomes aggressive. We love Riley very much, but are beginning to feel that we are in over our heads and that our situation is not ideal or fair for Riley or our other dogs. Any advice and assistance you can provide would be greatly appreciated. I can provide more information and pictures of Riley if you think you can help us.
Mr. Pibbs- *CGC*

Snuggle up!
Barked: Sat Dec 3, '11 12:54pm PST 
I am so sorry for your dilemma. Mr. Pibbs is also dog aggressive but not to bad with our own pack. He will occassionally pick at the other male but we quickly interevene and never leave him unattended.

Being retired military, I understand the stress of moves and we have had issues with some of our pets in the past (urination, destructive behavior, etc.). Perhaps this move was more stressful for her than you realized and has triggered some behaviors.

If you can afford it, you may want to contact a behaviorist for an assessment. The sooner, the better.

Short of that, the only thing I can think of to suggest is to walk Riley more or play some tiring games (ball, frisbee, swimming). That should cut down on her stress level and walks should help her feel more comfortable in her new environment. I would also not let ANY negative behavior slide. If she reacts to the lab, make sure you correct her right away.

I wish you the best of luck and am sorry to hear your going through this.