A Pit Bull Mix Demonstrates How Amazing the Breed Can Be

By: David Codr

Published Date: December 1, 2016


Buzby is a one-year-old, Pit Bull Corgi mix who lives near Creighton University in Omaha. His guardian set up a dog behavior training session with us after a few nipping incidents and his occasionally reactive behavior around skateboards and bicycles.

Buzby was pretty laid back when I arrived for the session. He was curious, but maintained a calm energy and showed respect for my personal space while giving me a good sniffing.

After exchanging pleasantries with his guardian, we sat down to discuss how I could help them.

The primary issue was Buzby nipping a few different people. I have a bunch of techniques and exercises that I use to help dogs with a nipping habit, but as the conversation continued, it didn’t sound like the typical nuisance nipping problems Im usually called in the solve.

As his guardian walked me through each nipping incident, it became clear that the nip was a response to being startled and not because the human tasted good, the dog didn’t know better or was trying to control and correct a human. If someone runs up to a dog in a way that could be interpreted as a threat or aggressive and startles them, a nip isnt all that unexpected. That scenario  was one of the situations I was told about.

I continued to probe and ask questions to determine if there was a fear or anxiety trigger for these nips, but the deeper we dug, the more logical and proper Buzby’s nips sounded. While we don’t want a dog to nip, in some situations it is warranted or appropriate. In Buzby’s case, he was simply reacting to something that caught him off guard or surprised him. None of the nips drew blood and were consistent in their intensity.

When a dog nips to correct, its usually done with the same intensity each time and that’s what Buzby’s guardian described to me for each incident. Based on what I learned from observing the dog and information from his guardian, I came to the conclusion that Buzby is in the top 3 most well behaved dogs I have worked with (out of around 2,000) and was not a nipping threat.

Im glad his guardian called me (a dog behaviorist) instead of a dog trainer. While there are some great dog trainers in Omaha, there are also a few who practice dominance theory which is all about punishing the dog for unwanted behaviors so it acts in a certain way due to fearing consequences.

This is why I abhor training tools that cause pain or discomfort like shock collars, pinch or prong collars, striking a dog, alpha rolls, etc. Buzby was anything but aggressive, but if someone were to try to use punitive measures, its entirely possible they could turn him aggressive.

Because he was so well mannered and behaved, I didnt have anywhere near the number of tips and suggestions most of my clients are in need of. One thing I did notice was that he was very motivated by attention and affection. This isnt at all uncommon for dogs, but does afford us an opportunity to help him develop a little discipline while simultaneously teaching him a behavior most people will interpret as polite. I explain in the video below.

By training the dog to sit to ask for attention, Buzby will seem much more appealing to new people he meets. Due to all the prejudice surrounding Pit Bulls these days, this behavior and display of good manners will help make him an outstanding breed ambassador.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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