Training & Consistency transforms an Aggressive Dog into a Sweet, Loving Dog

Michelle & Mona (Pitbull, Rescue/9), Troy, NY⁣

michelle and mona

We already had two rescue dogs, but I wanted to rescue a bully breed, knowing how disproportionately they’re represented in shelters due to misconceptions and stigma. We had to find the right fit... a dog who got along with two beagle mixes and three cats.⁣

Mona was a gamble. Her foster mom, Holly, who fostered Mona through @rottieempirerescue had other dogs, so Mona was dog-social. Holly kept Mona on-leash with visitors because she would growl and become protective. We later found out that prior to going into rescue, Mona had been adopted twice and returned to @mohawkhumane because she was "too protective” and she’d been considered not good with cats and kids, dog-selective and she disliked men. When Mona met our resident dogs at the adoption clinic, there was some growling, but mostly disinterest. We could work with that. We took the plunge and adopted her.⁣

The first few months were challenging. Mona was sensitive to strange noises: growling, barking and wandering around the house grumbling to herself. She growled and wouldn’t let the vet close on her first vet visit. Mona nipped my sister, but it was our fault. My sister came over to meet Mona and greeted our dogs excitedly, flinging out her arms. When she did this toward Mona, she was met with a growl and a snap. It was terrifying.

I worried that we wouldn’t be able to handle an "aggressive" dog. Thankfully, a dog trainer friend provided great techniques to help Mona feel more secure and confident. We had to stop allowing Mona to make decisions on her own. She spent a lot of time in her crate or tethered to me on a leash. We worked really hard with her for a few months, limiting her freedom. It sounds harsh, but it worked! Mona had to know she was safe and that it was our job to take care of her. She didn't need to take care of us.⁣

It's a testament to kindness and love from the shelter/rescue community that Mona is thriving, last year earning her CGC with flying colors. I adore Mona and I’m proud to be her mom. She's helped people see that bully breeds are silly and loving. @miss_mona_the_pibble

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