Mikey is a Staffordshire Bull Terrier mixed with something else – it looks very much like Pit Bull. He had an uncertain start in life with several different homes in the first six months. He now lives with a young couple who have overcome a lot of difficulties as he was very hard to handle initially, and he is now settled, affectionate and obedient with them.
Unfortunately he is easily spooked by things, like someone suddenly appearing when they are out, and certain people that make him feel uneasy. He may bark or even lunge and grab with his mouth. Fortunately he hasn’t so far broken skin, but his young owners are naturally very worried.
Mikey is also getting increasingly unpredictable when approached by certain other dogs. He chased off a young dog recently in an aggressive manner. He also is obsessed with the balls they take on walks, and had quite a major fight with a dog he knows well – over a ball.
Mikey is jumpy and nervous. He does a lot of pacing, some tail chasing and lots of chewing bones and toys. He is restless. I gently put my finger on his back as he lay in front of me, and he sprang to his feet. He runs away from carrier bags and is worried by new things in new places.
Looking as he does, it’s important he has a good reputation. It is vital they never get complaints about him and that he never gets the opportunity to bite anyone. At present he goes with them outside their flat off lead which I think is a mistake. His young male owner teases him and plays games like so many young men do, that not only wind him up but also encourage use of his mouth and teeth which I also believe is a mistake. Many walks consist of constant ball play which may exhaust him physically but do nothing to relax him mentally. Balls have become an obsession. Running around after balls on a walk isn’t what a dog would do if left to his own devises. What is a dog walk, after all?
Mikey needs to be surrounded by calm. He needs his young owners to act like confident leaders when they are out and make the decisions that are wise in Mikey’s eyes. We have been working on exactly how to achieve this. He should then be less jumpy, more stable, and less reactive to dogs and people. It will take time.