Ooh my little Oscar. Let me just start out by saying I love him. I do not regret adopting him. I will not stop socializing him. I love him.
That being said…he all of a sudden has an issue, and I have no idea where it came from or what to do about it! I have had him for about 5 months now, and have been socializing him since day one. He has been great with my fosters (Sassy, Chelsea, Wickett) & of course, with my forever dog, Princess Lucy. He has never shown aggression towards any of them, at any point. He in fact, has been wonderful and loving with all of them. Especially with Wickett, our current 12 week old foster puppy! Oscar just lays down, letting Wickett pounce and bite him, never getting angry or being too rough.
So, continuing on with the story…If you remember, shortly after I got Oscar, I took him to a big dog event. He was the perfect pittie that I hoped he would be. He wasn’t overly excited; he didn’t ever growl or even get anxious. He happily wagged his tail at every dog we passed, even the anxious stressed out ones that weren’t so friendly. Nothing negative or bad happened. We were able to sit and people/dog watch while my son played in the bounce houses. Oscar literally laid down, basking in the sun, watching MANY dogs go by, and didn’t seem to care one little bit.
Now, let’s fast forward to last weekend’s pack walk. It was a very large group, and a new park. Everyone was sitting in a large circle, dogs were excited…and Oscar went nutso! He was pulling, and whining, and barking. He aggressively went towards another dog that was very pleasantly saying hello. Ok, so I thought maybe it was just the new setting & over-excitement that made him act like that! He had NEVER done that before. Never. Seriously. Never. I have taken him to a couple of events, as well as plenty of walks at local parks. That along with the foster dogs that have come and gone, I had no reason to believe that this was going to be an ongoing issue. But, unfortunately, I was very wrong.
I took him to the Pittie Party yesterday…and the same issue was apparent. He was pulling like crazy, whining and barking to get to the dogs that were in eye sight. So, I walked him around the whole place, letting him sniff and get used to the surroundings, yet staying out of reach of any dogs. He seemed to calm down a bit, and I thought “Ok, maybe this will be fine.” Then we came across Lola & her sister Yage! We stopped to say hello, and Oscar started up all over again. So, I pulled him away, and we kept walking on. Again, he seemed to calm down again. So later after he was hot and tired, we came to Lola again. Lola’s mom suggested letting them say hello because Lola is SO friendly and won’t react. Lola, being as friendly as ever, basically just looked at Oscar….and he lunged at her face, while making a nasty growl sound. Ugh! Lola was a lovely little lady, and did absolutely nothing, and I was quick enough to yank Oscar back, so a bad experience did not occur.
This sadly, proved it is clear….Oscar has become 100% leash reactive to dogs. This worries me. And stresses me out, to say the least. I have had that dog before. The one that I could never take anywhere, for fear of running into an unleashed dog. I do not want to have THAT dog again. Especially when he is a pit bull. I want Oscar to be a positive pit bull in every way possible. I just am so baffled. I can’t understand why this change has happened. He has not had a single bad occurrence since he’s been with me. He hasn’t come in contact with any aggressive dogs, or had any negative instances on his leash. I walk him regularly, so it’s not like being out for walks or in new settings is a new thing to him. Where did this come from? And why? And what do I do now? I found myself almost in a state of depression yesterday. I was just so upset. Oscar is SO sweet, and such a lover. WHY is he acting like this??? Is it going to affect future fostering? Will he ever turn towards Lucy, or a person like that? (And I would ask all of these questions no matter what breed he was. My previous dog that had these issues was not a pit bull.)
I know that me being anxious or stressed only feeds into his issue, but I can’t help feeling that way, at least not when we are around strangers. The last thing I want is for anyone to get hurt. But we will continue working on it, to fix both of us. It’s just…so frustrating for something like this to come up out of the blue. However, I will research, and practice, and socialize him until this is fixed. I made a commitment to him when I rescued him, and that includes the promise to resolve any issues he may have. Hopefully resolution will come sooner than later, but I’m in, no matter how long it takes…