Sunday, November 11, 2012

Our Pocket Pittie

The Pup

Maggie (also lovingly nicknamed Wombat Smush, Mags, Magsters, Magdog, and a variety of other silly names) is our 10.5 month old pocket pitbull mix.  We adopted her on September 20, 2012.

This is Maggie at the shelter (then Lola).  She looked so sad and we could tell that she just wanted a home.

This is Maggie after a few days with us.  She was much cleaner and already feeling at home in our apartment.
She immediately became comfortable and started showing her extremely loyal and cuddly nature.

She is just so cute.  We can't take enough pictures!
A great picture of her two different colored eyes.
So many wrinkles!!!!

Getting to know Maggie

After reading a lot of Cesar Millan materials and one of his books, we came to believe that the walk would be our best way to bond with Mags.  The only problem was that she got extremely excited whenever she saw dogs across the street or in front of us.  We chugged on and kept trying to teach her to walk very nice and ladylike next to us or behind us.  We tried using a backpack and different kinds of leash/collar combos (even a front clip harness) but nothing helped all the time to get Maggie to listen to us or not pull on walks.

Even though she was incredibly cuddly when she was tired, she was also extremely hyper during other times of the day.  She would run like a crazy maniac between the bedroom and the living room and jump over furniture.  She's incredibly fast so we couldn't catch her and sometimes, we felt like we were totally out of control.  Physical restraint didn't work at all with her.  We could yell but all that did was rile her up even more.

When Maggie showed excitement, we assumed it was because she wanted to play or go outside to walk.  We would throw a tennis ball for her or take her for a walk (which was mostly become a frustrating process).

We hadn't seen Maggie interact with other dogs for 7 weeks because she had kennel cough when we first adopted her so she was contagious and shouldn't have been around other dogs.  Then, she was recovering from her spay surgery so she shouldn't have been around dogs because of possible rough housing.  We tried obedience class one night and Maggie went nuts!  She was whining, crying, barking at the other dogs.  She was acting very cujo-like.  She wasn't allowed to stay in the class.

After many weeks of frustration at not knowing where to test her for aggressive issues and just about how she was around other dogs, we got the name Brandon Fouche from some nice people at a pitbull rescue foundation (LA's Downtown Dog Rescue).  They use Brandon to evaluate their pitties that they rehabilitate, foster and adopt out.  The two women I talked to could NOT recommend Brandon enough.  They said that if we had any doubt about Maggie's ability to be with other dogs, Brandon was the guy to go to.

We finally brought Maggie to Brandon's facility for an evaluation.  Check out the next few posts to see what happened!


  1. Hi =) I just saw your comment on Kate With a Camera's blog post today, so I decided to check you out (because I'm a fellow blog stalker when I come across new and exciting blogs!).

    Welcome to the blogging community! I adore the name of your blog. I just started blogging in August after adopting Athena, my 1/2 yr old APBT, in July. You can check us out at

    Reading this post made my mouth drop open because I swear that it sounds like we adopted the same dog. Life was rough in the beginning when we got Athena home. She was so wild and would run around the house doing zoomies and we had such a hard time to get her to calm down. She still has her wild moments, but it's nothing like it was in the beginning. We are still working on the leash pulling problem...we tried all sorts of harnesses and backpacks, but Athena gets bad hot spots, so most things didn't work without making her underarms bleed. Now we use a Halti head collar on walks and it still doesn't work very well...maybe some day we will find something that does!

    Anyways, your girl Maggie is a doll! I can't wait to hear more about her!

  2. Okay, first of all, Athena is ADORABLE!!! I love brindle pups and she is such a beautiful lady.

    I actually think that Maggie and Athena are doggie sisters from different places and mommas. So many of the issues that you have written about (because now I'm obviously stalking Pitlandia) are issues we had with Maggie when we first adopted her. She was incredibly leash reactive, did "zoomies" around the house, was super mouthy and just uncontrollable in general. We struggled for a while about what to do and who to speak to about it because she couldn't even make it through an obedience class at a local training facility. We tried the gentle leader, it wasn't the answer for Miss Mags. Changing our entire outlook on our relationship with Maggie and truly becoming her pack leaders (we were SO NOT her pack leaders before) was the answer for us. Another part of Maggie's growth process has been socializing with other dogs of all sizes at Brandon's doggie daycare. This has helped her SO much with her leash reactivity.

    It sounds like you guys are so incredibly dedicated to helping Athena become the best pitbull ambassador ever!!! Can't wait to read more about Athena and all of her awesome gear. Also, I am OBSESSED with all your craftiness and DIY for Athena! Happy blogging! Thanks again for saying hi!

  3. Yes, I was going to say exactly the same thing that Maggie and Athena seem to be soul sisters! I'm so glad that we've found each other now and can discuss these crazy girls together through our blogs!

  4. I know, me too! You guys give us hope for Maggie being able to attend training classes sometime soon. She was too reactive the first time to stay. Athena sounds like she's an obedience rock star!

  5. Good for you for working through! I swear Jay and I are reactive dog makers--meaning that I feel dogs we had that weren't initially reactive become reactive! I can't wait to read more :)
    We've never had the too energetic problem, just the nutso leash problems!

  6. The leash problems can be SO frustrating, right!? Even now that we've realized that it isn't us making her reactive, it's just as hard. We're trying counter-conditioning wither her so that when we see a dog and she starts to push towards her threshold, the yummy yummy roasted chicken comes out. She gets lots of it as long as she isn't freaking out. She pretty much thinks that's awesome. It's hard though, definitely a patience builder in humans!

  7. Your frustration at not knowing where to test her for aggressive issues and just about how she was around other dogs.

    Pit Bull