Monday, September 19, 2011


Thank you Leetah & Lloyd for sharing your story! Your commitment to Maggie is an inspiration to everyone. And thank you to all Pit n' Proud supporters for making this story possible -- hopefully one of many more to come!

"Hello, our names are Leetah and Lloyd and we own a beautiful female American Pit Bull Terrier named Maggie. She is 3-years-old as of right now.
We got Maggie when she was 5-months-old from a friend. She was a hyper, lovable puppy who got along with everything. She didn't know the word stranger and she didn't know that the world wasn't all rainbows and happiness.
When she was around 9-months-old we got her a friend who was a little younger than her but around the same size. We asked his owner if he had any special needs and she told us no. We found out a little while later he had food aggression and attacked our baby girl. This was the first time Maggie learned that not all dogs were friendly. She did not kill him and he wasn't hurt to badly so we called the woman back and told her that she needed to get him to a vet and the next time she tried to give him away to tell the new owners of his food aggression.
She was attacked by 3 more dogs and that was when everything changed. She became fear aggressive around dogs (except Chihuahuas) and we will admit that we did not help by not taking her out and resocializing her. It grew to the point that she was afraid of noises and would bark and growl at anything.
These were not her only problems. She would pull constantly while walking and after a year or two my wrist was really feeling this and so I stopped walking her because it hurt to much. Once our neighbor moved away Maggie also had no more children to socialize with and so she never truly understood the difference between rough and gentle play or the different things that children will do and how to react to them.
Since we didn't go out much and we did not know how to handle our reactive dog we became reclusive and she became more of a burden then a beloved pet and family member. Once we came to Tucson it got harder since we couldn't afford her to have her own yard like in Oklahoma, which took care of her need to run and jump, and we had children all over the place making noises and running by like crazy. We were not only afraid for them but we were also afraid for the quality of living for our dog.
While looking for a safe place to relinquish our dog we came across Pit n' Proud and was told that they could help us put Maggie in behavior modification classes that would handle the fear and would teach all of us to be more confident. We were ecstatic and accepted.
The first Wednesday we will admit we were skeptical since we didn't believe that Maggie would be able to get over the fear or that we would either. Boy were we proven wrong!

Seize the Leash is where we went, and after almost being late because we stink at directions, we were welcomed and our eyes opened. Maggie is a new dog because of Pit n' Proud and Seize the Leash. She is so much calmer and confident. The barking has dropped by 95%, she doesn't lunge at dogs anymore, and the children where we live have all met and become friends with Maggie. The leash pulling we are still working on but now my wrist doesn't hurt since we learned how to hold the leash and she isn't dragging me but instead just applying some pressure telling us to walk faster. Still gotta find that medium speed we can all agree on.

Maggie is like a new dog! You can see the shine of life and wonder back in her brown eyes and she is excited about everything. We go to parks now, we take walks, we enjoy life again with our beloved family member. Thank you Rachel, Jamie and Deena for giving us the gifts you have!"

7/13/11 Maggie was in a funk today, didn't want to do much at training today. But like a good girl that likes to learn she did wonderful in the Crate Game and handled the arrival of a new dog wonderfully. Woot for progress!

Targeting is getting better with Maggie. She now touches the hand that doesn't hold the treat in varying degrees from pushing with her nose to barely touching with the nose or tongue. YAY!

7/19/11 Been working with Maggie on the Touch Game. Today we made awesome progress! I wasn't thinking clearly and told Maggie to touch my palm but didn't realize she was across the room on her bed. I was surprised when she got up and pushed her nose into my palm. My goal is to get her ready for the Touch Stick and this was a big step forwards.

7/22/11 Took Maggie to chase the lizards today. Tried some recall...yah, those lizards were very persuasive about not listening. She listened a few times, especially if she went to far out. I would tell her "Maggie, C'mere" and she would come back within the vicinity and then once again patrol for the little critters. (No lizards were harmed in the making of this post)

7/23/11 I am so glad for the Out command. Maggie got happy and hyper and she slid something across the floor. When it made noise she grabbed it started snacking but I had no idea what it was. Worried about what she was eating I rushed over there and said "Maggie Out" and she immediately sat it down and looked at me. It was just her bone but I am glad to know if it was something dangerous she would spit it out on command.

7/24/11 Maggie has a playdate! Her first playdate! I'm so excited!!

7/30/11 Took Maggie to Reid Park where we had the funniest mishap. She was thirsty and tried to take a drink from the duck pond and, misjudging the distance from ground to water, went head first into the water. At first we flipped out but after a few seconds all 3 of us realized she could touch the bottom and she just looked pitiful in the water. After getting soaked from pulling her out we went and watched ducks on a bench.

8/9/11 Maggie is learning to sit and wait for me to give her a signal before going outside and eating her food. Woot!

8/14/11WOOHOO! Fed Maggie and all I had to do was stand there with the cup of food and she sat and waited for me to move back and give her the go ahead before she ate it. YAH! *Does victory dance*

8/21/11 Maggie is doing amazing with the command Wait. She sits and waits for us to tell her to eat and I have been able to go fully outside and look away for a few seconds before letting her come outside. WOOHOO!! She's my booger, and she is making progress on her training. I know one thing she really needs: more outside play time. We need to get her into agility or just find a private place to throw random things for her to chase.

8/25/11 Maggie can stya put and wait for 5-6 seconds including when she is hyper and really wants something. As a treat for waiting so long when hyper we played catch which she is doing great at. And my aim is improving, now I just miss her mouth instead of throwing it down her throat lol

9/2/11 For fun I have been teaching Maggie to show her belly on cue and after I read this I stopped being excited and such and calmly said "Show me you belly" with the hand cue and she did it. So I tried to do it very calmly and smoothly just the cue. She did it five times in a row before she snorted at me and laid down. Can't wait to see how she responds to softer cues tomorrow during the walk!!

9/13/11 Maggie was amazing tonight. Took her to a friend's place, they have a pit bull type dog as well. He is the gentlest dog in the world and Maggie has only been outside with him there once before. They were five feet apart and she didn't bark, growl, lunge or anything bad. They whined at each other, wagged their tails, and she did a pitter patter dance. After that she ignored him and just enjoyed the night. It was amazing!!! I have a feeling they are going to be good friends.

9/14/11 Took Maggie back to the friend's house. This time Maggie and Rocky sat only a few feet away from each other. Rocky of course wanted to sniff Maggie but i am not ready for that yet. We are going to let them do some butt sniffing this weekend, the way Jamie showed us how to do with Roxie from class. I am so proud of Maggie. She also saw her first camp fire and she was such a good girl, enjoyed it and a stick.

9/17/11 SUCCESS!!!! Maggie has made a friend with Rocky!! She met him, got a butt sniff in, sniffed his face, and then she wanted to play! She even rolled onto her back for him to play. I am thinking it helps she is in heat so she wants contact with a dog (no babies though, luckily she isn't that interested in that...just lots of play and jumping). We are going to go out today and hope for the same response. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

9/18/11 Went back to see Rocky, he wasn't on his leash and he came pitter pattering up to Maggie and she was so happy to see him they started playing. They rolled around, jumped around and it was so cute when Maggie laid down and he put his paw on her head. She lay there and wagged her tail. They both had a blast, dirt and dust was going everywhere. Can't wait for tomorrow!!

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