Two Big Problems..


Experienced Member
Hey guys,

I thought while I'm on here I might as well ask about Lego's behavioural issues and see if there's anything else I can do to help nip these in the bud.. I always appreciate some new insight when it comes to training methods :)

Her first one is that she seems to have developed a fear of strange men coming into our house. It started a few weeks ago, when my roommate brought over his friend who is a self proclaimed "dog person". Basically, this guy was just a wannabe gangster idiot who almost got himself punched by my boyfriend with his behaviour. Lego came from an abusive home, and therefore can be a little nervous about meeting new people, so she needs slow introductions. She doesnt cower or hide or anything, she's a typical bully breed dog and is very forward, but she just frightens easily. I usually ask people to come in and ignore her, but this guy burst through the door and started yelling about how stoked he was that we've got a pitbull. Instead of noticing her nervous barks at him and backing away, he rushes towards her, spread his arms, swooped down at her head to try and wrestle (no intro first) and starts yelling about how he "loves pitbulls". Lego PANICKED.. She growled, tucked her tail and ran into the corner where her bed was, looking terrified. The man continued to advance on her.. He noticed they were both wearing matching red bandanas and so he thought it'd be a good idea to ake his off and start whipping her with his while she was in the corner. Needless to say I lost it on him, and poor Lego looked so terrfied that I'm sure if I hadn't been there to stop him, she might have snapped at him. Now, Lego is a very social dog.. In fact, I've been told that her only issue is that she loves SO intensely that it can intimidate people a little bit. She's never shown any signs of dog or human aggression since I've owned her, but unfortunately due to the negative stereotypes on pitbulls, even if that man had gotten himself bit because he was torturing her, she would be blamed. That being said, I CANNOT have people coming into my home and scaring/harassing her until she finally reacts (and it takes a loottt to push her over the edge), so I informed my roommate that his friend is no longer allowed around here. It may sound unfair, but I can't risk having him come over and hit and corner her until she snaps while I'm gone.

So that pretty much started it all.. Since then I've noticed she's super wary of men who walk in. She runs to the far end of the house to her bed, grumbling and looking pretty scared the entire time. Basically I just need to know if I'm doing this right.. So far I just tell the visitors to just ignore her and let her come to them. When she makes that move on her own, then they can offer her treats, but still keep the physical contact to a minimum so she doesn't shy away.. Until she gets comfortable. Is that a good way to go about dealing with this? I'm pretty mad that all it took was ONE idiot to go about ruining my social butterfly of a dog and making her so scared, so I want to fix it asap!

My next problem is the reason I joined this site in the first place - destructive tendencies. Lego is affectionately known as my little tornado of destruction. When I first got her, she came from a home with 20 other dogs, and owners that couldn't care less about her. She had a bit of food/toy guarding issues - which I assumed was understandable, coming from a home with so many dogs.. But we ended up fixing that and she's muhc better. The other issue she had was separation anxiety. If I left her alone for something as short as going to the bathroom, I'd come back to my entire room torn to shreds by an anxious little dog who couldn't stop whining until I was by her side again. It's gotten way better, but I still didnt trust her home alone, so I used to crate her when I left. Then one day, out of no where, she decided that she was terrified of her crate.. refusing to even go into the same half of the house as it, and peeing herself and screaming/head butting the kennel door if I tried to put her inside. I have NO idea what caused this, she's always loved her crate, but it really upset my boyfriend and I to watch, so we started trying to leave her loose while we were gone. For the first two weeks she was amazing. Never so much as touched anything in the house while we were gone. Lately though, she's getting into anything and everything she can.. Even if we just leave her to go get coffee, we come back to either garbage, groceries or furniture shredded across the floor. She's taken to shredding the couch that the landlord had put in the livingroom, and even though she's been punished, I sometimes still find her back shredding that same couch.. Evem if I'm still home, but just have my back turned. She doesnt do this every time we leave, but enough that I'm getting ridiculously frustrated.
After talking to some people on a pitbull rescue forum here in Vancouver, I came to the conclusion that she's probably bored, as well as that she desperately needs to be locked up while we're gone until she can earn our trust again. So basically, my ideas to stop this are to buy her some interactive toys to help her to use her brain while she's playing by herself, and hopefully to tire her out.. As well as to start teaching her more tricks, and to buy her an Xpen - since she's so terrified of her crate. I'm hoping these solutions will work, because as a student I really can't afford to keep buying new furniture... but I'm hoping you guys might have some additional adivce to offer me?


Honored Member
Is that a good way to go about dealing with this?
Yes its a good way of showing her that guys are not horrible and are not going to hurt her. Just make sure that you don't allow them to go up and pet her she needs to come to them wanting to be petted.
For leaving her home get her some kong toys to keep her from getting bored. Here is the website for kongs
Good Luck


Honored Member
Well, you have a lot of separate issues here, some will be easy enough to fix.:D

The destruction stuff, when you ARE home---------- imo, is usually a dog's way of crying out, "HELP ME! HELP ME! I'M BORED OUTA MY MIND"
i could be wrong, but, imo, THAT is what THAT is all about.
I would bet a bag of dog food,:ROFLMAO:
that if you walk Lego at least twice each day, good long walks,
have at least a few sessions of vigorous play, like tuggy-toy, or fetch, etc, to help further wear out Lego and give Lego some chances to burn off some energy.

also, begin teaching Lego tricks, any trick will do, this gives Lego a chance to use her mind, to increase her bond with you, your bond to her, and it also helps Lego become more adept at following YOUR cues, and trusting you more.

Do this every day for 2 weeks, and see, if you don't see a much less destructive dog in just 2 weeks.(when you ARE home) and then, you will know, Lego does need a way to burn off her energy and that WAS the problem. (my dog also goes nutz if he does not get enough exercise)
Also, taking the dog places thrills most dogs.




Honored Member
//"Then one day, out of no where, she decided that she was terrified of her crate.. refusing to even go into the same half of the house as it, and peeing herself and screaming/head butting the kennel door if I tried to put her inside. I have NO idea what caused this, she's always loved her crate"//

not sure why exactly you have to crate Lego,(?)
but, if you DO need to crate Lego (?) oh, sorry, i get it, cuz of her destruction, i get it, sorry. I truly truly truly believe Lego is bored outa her lil mind with unspent energy, which like i say above------is not too hard to cure.

but anyway,

you could start allllll over from scratch, doing this:
(in THIS 1st video, you swap out the word "purse" for "crate")

or this: (this is only part one)


Honored Member
btw, i just wanna pause here, and tell you, with all my heart, that DO HAVE HOPE, for great cures in all of the above problems, i think, with patience, and time, you can and WILL resolve all of those problems.

I also brought home a dog with more issues than Nat'l Geographic,:ROFLMAO: and they can be helped to become their best selves, :D and to become lovely pets and companions. SO HANG IN THERE, AND DO NOT GIVE UP!!!! HAVE MUCH HOPE, I THINK that about 3/4 of Lego's "issues" will be easy enough to fix, you'll see!!! you'll see!!!

and of course, stay AWAY from watching dog whisperer:cautious: tv show, much of his ideas are a buncha crap, and DO watch "It's Me or The Dog":D tv show, with Victoria STillwell.

Getting to a POSITIVE ONLY dog trainer, (ASK them and go watch them in action prior to bringing Lego in, and stay away from trainers who use shock collars, choke collars or yank dogs around, or intimidate dogs)
might be helpful, too.
Especially ask if the trainer has any actual experience with shy dogs, or "nervous" dogs, too.


Honored Member
I saved the last one for last,
about the fear of unknown men.

It is possible, that Lego *might* be a "shy" dog. No one can really evaluate a dog online, nope, but, there are "shy" dogs out there. You are not alone. Other ppl call them "anxious" dogs, or "Nervous" or "timid" etc etc. IF IF IF IF Lego *is* a "shy" dog, they are born this way, it's genetic. We can make a shy dog better:D , or worse (as your visitor demonstrated:( )

Does Lego usually allow unknown humans to TOUCH her, or does Lego prefer to back away from unknown ppl touching her??


**I ask, as adult dogs NEW to a home, are typically overwhelmed. It takes an adult dog several weeks, or even more, to truly feel comfortable in a new home...all the new smells, new sounds, new ppl, new rules, it's all overwhelming. It takes more than giving an adult dog a meal or two til the adult dog has truly decided the humans CAN BE trusted, and this IS indeed, where Lego belongs.

At any rate, i think it sounds like you do understand Lego's need for allowing Lego herself to decide who, and how close, how fast, a stranger can approach Lego, so good on you for understanding this!! THAT is a big plus.

I completely agree, with you, that Lego herself, should be protected from ppl leaning over her, touching her, talking loudly in her face, or making loud, sudden movements close to her.
I think, you will have to warn all new visitors, to follow your instructions, on how to meet Lego.
HUmans are harder to train than dogs, and you WILL have to be assertive with some of them.:rolleyes:
If Lego's reactions, are severe, you *might* want to think about putting Lego in another room, while you seat and instruct all visitors.
Ask new visitors, to stay seated, (less threatening to insecure dogs)
and to IGNORE Lego, do not even look at Lego.

Then they may glance at Lego, do a SLOW BLINK, and then glance away. NO staring, that is rude in dog language. No leaning over the dog.

They can calmly toss treats to Lego, (Not overhand sudden moves, but calm tossing)

IF and WHEN Lego approaches, ask them to NOT touch Lego for now.
Treat Lego for showing interest in the strangers. NO shrieking "SHE'S SO CUUUUTE" in her face,:rolleyes: but they can calmly praise her. Again, no staring for now.
If Lego initiates touching, give her a treat for that. Ask them to not touch her head, but instead, her sides or chest.

Watch Lego for any signs she is NOT happy, like lip licks, hairs falling out, and moves to back up. calmly remove Lego away if you sense Lego is NOT comfortable.

You can have huge huge hope:D to undo the damage this loud guy did, to reduce again Lego's reaction to men. NEVER EVER force Lego to accept unwanted contact, not even out on walks, etc.

Overtime, you may not need to do all this, but for now, i'd do it, to help signal to Lego, "i will keep you safe, i understand your fear, and i allow YOU, Lego, to choose who and when you meet" etc etc.



Experienced Member
I truly truly truly believe Lego is bored outa her lil mind with unspent energy, which like i say above------is not too hard to cure.
Hmm.. That's sort of what I figured. In the last month, due to a variety of personal issues, I hadn't been able to take her out NEARLY as much as she needs, being a working breed and all. Usually I'd take her out every day/every other day for a 1-3 hour trip to the dog park for some play time and hikes.. But it got cut down quite a bit last month when I started getting stressed out. So I definitely take full responsibility for her behaviour (and to be honest, feel pretty crappy about it :( ).. SO, that being said, I've started our exercise routine up again. Yesterday my boyfriend and I took her to the dog park by our house again for about a 2 hour hike through the trails there, and she's been sleeping ever since! I think if the rain clears up I'm going to try and see if I can bum a ride down there again today.

I think her destructive/anxiety issues can definitely be fixed.. I just needed to check if the way I'm going about it might work? Which is basically just tons of stimulation. As much as I would LOVE to have to not crate or xpen her while I'm gone, I just can't trust her at the moment, and can't afford to buy more couches lol! So I'm hoping that maybe I'll only have to try it for a few weeks, maybe a month, and then can start trying to leave her loose while we're gone again.. But keeping up with the tricks, brain games and exercise as much as possible.

As for a trainer.. there is a highly reccommended one who works specifically with pitbulls here in Vancouver - the director of Hugabull. I'd really love to have her come by and do some private sessions with me and Lego to help deal with her fear of men (which is pretty mild so far, so I'm hoping it can be nipped in the bud fairly easily).. But unfortunately at the moment I'm in debt paying off the furniture she's destroyed, so I may have to put that one off until next month unfortunately :(

Is there anything else you could possibly think of to help?? And thanks so much for what advice you've already shared!!


Honored Member
Lol, LuckyLego, we might be posting back and forth so fast, we are still "editting" or simultaneously posting at same time!!!:ROFLMAO: i ALWAYS EDIT allll my posts for about 10 minutes after i post them,
as i am lousy lousy lousy to say it right the first time.:rolleyes:

//"I think her destructive/anxiety issues can definitely be fixed.. I just needed to check if the way I'm going about it might work? Which is basically just tons of stimulation."//

I see Lego's "anxiety" issue,
as separate thing,
than her destructive issue.

STimulation, or rather, exercise, will help with her destruction,
but wont' do much for her anxiety issue, :----that one, is best helped by prevention of unwanted contact, imo. And you also seem to be of a like mind on that, too, by the way you interrupted your loud visitor.

I could be wrong, i'm just some dog owner, so what do i know? but, i've been learning a bit about dog behavioral issues since i took home a gangsta dog, BUT all of us all have our own ideas on the causes and best treatments for behavioral issues.


Honored Member
PS--- please don't be too hard on yourself, for having a stressful month where Lego was not your top focus,
do be aware, walking dogs, IS a 4-star way to relax YOU, too!!!

almost nothing is as good for either anxious humans,
OR anxious dogs,
as walking outdoors.:D



Experienced Member
Does Lego usually allow unknown humans to TOUCH her, or does Lego prefer to back away from unknown ppl touching her??

It depends.. Some people she readily accepts pets, but from most people she needs to sniff them first. If a stranger on the street stops and tries to pet her, generally she pulls her head back a bit and tries to sniff them first before she'll allow them to start petting her. After an introduction though, she's fine. Once the initial meeting is over, the shyness goes out the window and she is ALL over people with kisses (I'm trying to work on HOW she expresses affection without going overboard at the moment too). She's about 15 and a half months old now, and I got her when she was 5 months old.. So almost a year now! The weird thing is.. Otherwise, she's not at all a shy dog! She's actually pretty forward and obnoxious.. But just in the last month this fear has popped up :S

I've noticed that with women coming into the house, even those who are loud/obnoxious and get in her face, she actually LOVES it. She feeds off their excitement to a point where I have to make her lie in her bed and calm down before she gets any more attention.. But if its men, its a totally different story. I completely agree with you about training people though.. No matter how many times I tell both men and women to just ignore her when she comes in, there's always someone who slips up, or someone who think's they're a 'dog person' and that the rules don't apply to them because of that. I told my roommates flat out that if they bring people over like that who encourage her fearfulness and corner her like that, that for Lego's own safety I may have to kick them out.. So they've been really great about listening to me and informing their friends.. So that's a plus.

The plus side is, she gives LOTS of warning. She's never bitten, but luckily I've gotten pretty good at reading her, and can tell when she's getting overly fearful, so that's why I seriously hope I can get people to listen to me.

Seriously though.. thanks again for all the help on Lego's various issues. She has quite a few - some ask why even bother owning a dog with as many issues as her, but to be honest.. Coming from the place that she did, I'd be surprised if she DIDN'T have issues. To me they aren't HUGE problems. By that I mean, I believe they can all be easily fixed, but that it'll just take lots of time and patience on my part.. And I'm definitely willing to put in the work to fix them :)


Honored Member
//"reccommended one who works specifically with pitbulls here in Vancouver - the director of Hugabull."//

most ppl do seem to put a lot of store by what breed of dog they are working with, but to me, any dog with anxiety issues, or "shyness" all need pretty much the same therapy, imo.
LIke "VISITOR EDUCATION" and prevention of unwanted contact, unwanted overly animated approaches by UNKNOWN humans.

Once a shy dog "knows" a person, they are usually okay with THAT person. It is the UNKNOWN human that worries the shy dog, of any breed.

and yes, yes, you, YOU, can indeed, learn how to help Lego become more desensitized to unknown humans, even with no trainer,:D
to learn how to be calm if unknown humans are in her house, and learn that she WILL be kept safe from unwanted approaches by UNKNOWN humans. YOU CAN LEARN how to do this, all by your own self,

and no one
no one, can know Lego the way YOU know Lego.

i'd be especially vigilant with CHILDREN, as even laid back dogs might find children "too much", as they are fast moving, shrieking, ear-pulling, unpredictable, back-climbing funny-moving things
that CAN freak out some dogs. Even dogs who love being petted by strangers, might find some CHILDREN to be kinda freaky.

so i'd try to prevent children from getting too close to Lego for now, if you can.......while you and Lego both gain confidence in being around unknown adults for now.


Honored Member
//She has quite a few - some ask why even bother owning a dog with as many issues as her, //

ah, welcome to 'The Club":D

there are some of us here, on DTA, who are drawn to the "hot mess" dogs!! I've learned more with Buddy, than i EVER LEARNED from all my "normal" dogs put together. I need Buddy, and he needs ME.
Most anyone can raise up a normal dog, but helping a "special needs" dog IS a journey!!:ROFLMAO: I'd even go so far as to say, i've even learned a few things about ME along the way!!


Honored Member
yeah, some shy dogs seem to be more sensitive about unknown visitors IN their homes, and shy dogs can escalate now and then,
or reduce again, too.

most shy dogs ARE okay with other dogs.:D

(not that we "know" that Lego IS a shy dog, cuz who can tell online, but it sounds like Lego *might* be a shy dog). There are MANY MANY MANY levels of shyness, from mild/barely noticeable, to severe.
It sounds like you ARE doing a lot of things right in managing Lego's shyness.:D LUCKY LEGO!!!!!!!!!!!


Experienced Member
Hahaha thank you! I really do try my best at any rate, and its very easy to get discouraged, so it's nice to hear I'm doing something right :)

I have a feeling you're probably right though on the shy part.. While she's certainly not a total scaredy cat, she can definitely get a bit overwhelmed by people at times. Children are a bit iffy though, I'd almost like to test it a bit more (safely and supervised of course). When I first got her (and her stitches came out), I took her down to the park every day to sit by the playground and let the little kids play with her. She never really seemed to be nervous or shy around them, just soaked up all the attention. We also used to have my friend's kids over - one of which has an EXTREME case of adhd and I thought he might be a bit too muhc for her, but surprisingly she loved him! About a month ago though, she had an encounter with a random little boy that I met on the street, where I could see she was getting just a bit scared. You could tell the boy was tryyying to do everything right, and he wasn't actually that bad, he was just SO in her space and trying to pet her right on the face, which caused her to back up a bit, so the kid followed, causing her to get even MORE nervous. Nothing even close to bad happened, I just stepped in between and told the dad that she's a rescue and can sometimes get overwhelmed by attention.. And he surprisingly took it really well, they stayed and chatted about Lego and gave her some space and then went on their way! So, it wasn't necessarily a bad situation, just something that I need to watch for I suppose. She's always been great with kids, so I'm curious to see if it was just something about that kid, or maybe she just wasn't feeling up to having someone so 'in her face' that day!

The destruction thing will probably be easiest to fix.. The fear issue is the one that might take a bit more time. The only reason I'm worrying so much is that I want to make sure nothing I do will make it worse. We've always been a Belgian Malinois family growing up (my family are moreso Great Dane people now), and the last one we had had such bad anxiety/fear issues when it came to strangers, that we actually had to give him away to a trainer we knew for quite a while, who works with malinois for movies and schutzhund. He started off WAY worse than Lego though - starting by charging at people barking and turning away at the last second, and progressed into actually having bit two people. We figured out that by us getting anxious ourselves everytime company came over, and going into a panic to try and get the dog out of the room, we actually added to his own fears and anxieties.. Causing it to escalate. It's a shame, but luckily he ended up in the best possible hands. So that's pretty muhc why I'm just trying to get all the help I can.. I just don't want to do anything that might make things even worse!

And I totally agree! To be honest, my perfect little jack russell was an amazing boy, and I loved him dearly.. But Lego's definitely taught me SO much more about training than if she were a model citizen like Jack. Figuring out how her brain works and how she gets things (etc), has made things that much more interesting with her :)


Honored Member
Nothing to add to this;) Tigerlily has said it all.
Having previously owned an abused, shy dog, I do agree with the educating of people.
Even with the best intentions, they can scare the living daylights out of a dog.
I had been doing a whole lot af work with this dog and it took just one second to set him back. Someone he knew scared him, unintentionally. And my dog held a grudge on him for years, despite this persons effords to make friends with him again:D Only when he turned blind, at 12 years of age, he allowed this person to touch him again.

I find that working with dogs, who have special needs(whether aggression or fearfull) is so fulfilling. But also sooooo frustrating!!
I now own an (dog)aggressive dog and boy, has he taught me about myself!!! And he still does! Not always very nice to find out certain things about yourself:D

And I agree with Tigerlily, it does sound like you are doing a lot of things right!(y)


Honored Member
Lucky Lego, i can tell that you already KNOW to never "correct" a growl, but just in case you need some support to continue never scolding or yanking Lego when she growls (other ppl watching you with Lego may egg you on to "correct" growls:rolleyes: as the "Dog Whisperer" has infected many ppl ) you might care to read "REPLY #5" on this thread below.

The reply number, is on the bottom right hand corner of each post, so look for "reply #5" about "Growling".
the rest of that thread, won't be much help at all for YOU, as it is about my ideas on what helps my dog-aggressive dog,---------
which is an entirely different genetic disorder,
than the genetic disorder seen in a shy dog.

I think both conditions, (dog-aggression, AND shy dogs) are genetic, and so do most veterinary geneticists all over the globe).
Usually, dog-aggressive love humans, all of 'em,:D
and usually, shy dogs are fine with other dogs.:D
lol. It's two different disorders.
Sometimes you hear about a dog doing a lil bit of crossover, but usually, that secondary target --IF it ever develops----is not too hard to eradicate.(the worst is, when you have a shy dog, AND a dog-aggressive dog, living together!! wow, does that get complicated!)

anyway, no one ever wants to "correct" a growl, cuz then you are left with a dog who gives no warning, and goes straight for a bite. Those are the owners who post "Fluffy never gives a warning, one minute she is fine, next minute, BAM! She has bitten someone!" cuz somewhere along the line, Fluffy was scolded or punished for growling...

HANG IN THERE, and keep us posted, if wearing Lego out, helps reduce your little "tornado" dog!!!:ROFLMAO:


Honored Member
WOW!!! I never knew that Tigerlily!!!!:eek: That's interesting:D I had the Cesar Millan infection before I got my dog, then I understood everything.... I was stupid then.....:rolleyes:


Honored Member
Not a whole lot to add, you've gotten a lot of really good info, advice, and suggestions here. But - one thought did pop into my mind. You said Lego is about 15 mos old, and the crate fear happened suddenly, as did this fear of men (altho that idiot clearly would have scared me,too! :eek:) . It's entirely possible Lego could be in a fear period - they happen up to 2 yrs old, and between 14-18 mos old is prime time. Here's an article you may find enlightening, and it *may* explain the sudden onset of her fears. I walk a 9 mo old Golden Retriever sev times a week, and things had been going alone beautifully - and then one day a couple weeks ago, truly, it was like her world was falling apart, she was terrified of absolutely everything - things that the day prior had been fun (and things that 2 weeks later would be fun again). It's a fact of life with dogs. Some dogs can pass thru these periods relatively easily, others can really struggle for a short time. Just something to think about/be aware of.

Do as you're doing - always be Lego's biggest advocate. You must speak up and protect her, always. If guests can't or won't respect your wishes, then they can't be welcome in your home. Hang tough, she'll be worth it all.