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Canine Behavior/Strange Acting Dog



Somebody dumped what seemed like a chocolate lab by our house, although I thought it looked like it had pit bull features. After somebody else noticed this too, I used Google to search for images of a what a choclolate lab/pit bull mix looks like, and I now believe that it is that particular mix (or close to it).
Here are pics of the dog:

Are there any concerns I should have (if it is a pit bull mix), whether it be humans or for pets? My biggest conern is that, althought it is young, I don't know its history. I also have cats,
and the dog is extremely athletic. The other night, we found it consuming what looked like a freshly-killed rabbit, which the dog probably ran down or surprised.

As for the dog's behavior, it does not seem very shy, and comes up to strangers, although it still might initially bark toward someone if their at a distance. However, it has odd behavior, and I can't tell if it is bad training, abuse, or both.
I notice when I reach for something, like a shovel lying against the house, it backs away. It also falls to the ground on its stomach sometimes when I approach, and sometimes it will eat like this too, although it doesn't usually act scared when it does this.
The dog seems to get along with all but one of my other dogs (it's the other dogs fault), but is interested in getting at my cats. Someone commented to me that it looks like it may have had a young pregnancy as well.

Thanks for any information.

This dog is hunting for food.  Cats are "prey" and a cat will run.  The dog is not safe with cats in the house, even if you really know what you're doing.  It would require a certain sort of management from day one.  Additionally, you have a dog that is not accepting of this dog (as you state).  The Pit Bull Lab combination is a common one.  Years ago, some (very bad) Labrador Retriever breeders went "out" to Pit Bulls to bring up "bone".  The result was several generations of Lab hybrids with potential behavioral flaws not commonly found in that breed.

Taking in a stray that is exhibiting signs of injury (eating while lying down is quite unusual in a dog on the "street") means being able to "read" the dog's temperament (evaluate) and begin rehabilitation of problems (and there will be problems) immediately while, at the same time, making a strong social statement of hierarchy to that dog and your other dogs.

I suggest you contact the humane society (NOT the kill shelter).  If this is a bitch and she is pregnant, she will require veterinary care and it is likely her litter will be quite large (perhaps 9 puppies or more).  Let's try to get this dog off the "street" and into a safe haven.  See if you can find a no-kill, privately run "shelter" in your area, also, as the Humane Society may not be willing to take the dog.

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Jill Connor, Ph.D.


I have spent my entire professional life rehabilitating the behavior of the domestic dog and I can answer any question regarding any behavior problem in any breed dog. I have answered more than 5,000 QUESTIONS on this site in the past (almost) eight years. If you are a caring, committed owner and need advice, I'm here for you. I am personally acquainted with my colleagues (Turid Rugaas, Ian Dunbar, etc.) who were members of an elite group in EGroups that I founded: K9Shrinks. THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES for serious behavioral issues; not only is it unprofessional to offer same, it is also unethical. IF I ASK YOU SUBSEQUENT QUESTIONS, I NEED YOU TO INTERACT WITH ME. More information equals more credible answers and a more successful outcome. If you want ANSWERS THAT WORK, participate in any way I request. I'm quite committed to working on this site for YOUR benefit and the benefit of YOUR DOG. Help me in any way you can.


30 years of solving serious behavior problems in domestic dogs; expert in dog to human aggression; Internet columnist for for 5 years; former radio talk show host, WHPC.FM, Garden City, NY "Bite Back" (1995 through 2000). List owner, international animal behavior experts, Seminar leader: "Operant Conditioning and Learning"; "Aggression in The Domestic Dog"; "Solving Problem Behaviors" -- conducted for various training facilities on Long Island from 1993 through 2000. Former clinical director of "Behavioral Abnormalities" in conjunction with Mark Beckerman, DVM, Hempstead, New York.

Member, APDT (UK); Psychologists in Ethical Treatment with Animals

Harcourt Brace Learning Direct: "The Business of Dog Training" "The Fail Safe Dog: Brain Training, not Pain Training"

Ph.D., UC Berkeley

Past/Present Clients
Board of Directors: Northeast Dog Rescue Connection; The Dog Project; Sav-A-Dog Foundation; etc. Pro Bono counselor: Little Shelter Humane Society My practice is presently limited to forensics. I diagnose cause of dog bite, based upon testimony before the Court, for attorneys and insurance companies litigating dog bites, including fatal injuries. I also do pro bono work for bona fide rescue organizations, humane societies, et al, regarding such analysis in an effort to obtain release for dogs being held for death in municipal shelters in the US.

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