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Raising a Puppy: Mia the Blue-Nose American Bully Pit—36 weeks old

A day in the life with Mia the American Bully (Bully Pit) puppy. 36 weeks old, 63 pounds, 18 1/2 inches from the ground to the highest point of the shoulders (the withers).

A wide-chested, blue nose American Bully Pit is sitting on a blacktop surface. She looks happy and has her mouth open. There is a white horse trailer and a trampoline in the distance

36 weeks old (8 months)

With Uncle Tim

A blue nose American Bully Pit is walking across a hardwood floor with a toy in her mouth to a man sitting in a rocking chair.

Mia visits with Uncle Tim, her Autistic friend. Of course, as usual, he gets a toy presented to him as a submissive gift. Her head is low, her ears are back, and her body is curled. She is also making a friendly woooo sound as her back end wiggles from side to side, tail wagging.

A blue nose American Bully Pit is standing next to a man in a rocking chair. The man is looking down at the dog.

At least with the toy in her mouth she can't lick his legs.

A man sitting in a rocking chair is petting the back of a blue nose American Bully Pit. The Bully Pit has a toy in her mouth.

"Oh, Mia..." If Tim reached for the toy she would happily give it to him, but Tim never takes the toy. He does not like to touch slobber. He laughs, petting her for a bit before he tells her to go away, still laughing.

Kung Fu Kitty

A blue nose American Bully Pit is sitting on a blacktop surface and a white cat is rubbing up against the dog.

Kung Fu Kitty, how am I supposed to get Mia's weekly profile picture when you won't stop rubbing all over her?

Hanging with the Brothers

Three happy looking dogs are standing on a wooden porch and they are looking forward. There mouths are open and tongues are out.

Mia with her brothers Spencer the American Pit Bull Terrier and Bruno the Boxer hanging out on the porch

Top down view of three dogs drinking water out of a water bowl on a brick floor.

The way all three of them will share a water bowl squeezing their heads together shows that none of the dogs are alpha over one another. They see themselves as equals with the humans as their clear leader.

A blue nose Pit Bull Terrier and a blue nose American Bully Pit are laying across a hardwood floor and they are biting each others face.

Spencer and Mia have a vocal, laying down play session, wagging their tails and biting on each others faces.

Manners in Public

While at a trip to the pet store the pack spots a Great Dane. Bruno, Spencer and Mia are all very interested. The owner sees my three dogs and goes down a different isle as I tell my dogs to "leave it" and "this way", my commands to ignore and go about their business. A few minutes later the pack could hear a squeaky toy noise in the next isle and noises coming from the other family with the Great Dane. Their ears perk and they try and peer around the corner to see. "Leave it". We continue to shop. As we head to the check out line we pass the Great Dane who began to bark and growl. Bruno perked up and got into his squared up stance, barking back and Mia joined in. Oh I don't think so. I poked both Bruno and Mia on the back side with two of my fingers to get their attention. They both turned around and looked at me. "Leave it, this way..." Bruno and Mia turn away and keep walking as Spencer follows not making a peep. At check out all the dogs can see the Dane. The Dane's owner gives him a command to lay down and he does. My pack and the Dane look at one another and I tell Bruno "No-no" and he looks up at me wagging is nubby of a tail as if to say "yeah, yeah, ok mommy". He knows better and he understands I want him to ignore the other dog.

The back of a blue nose American Bully Pit that is standing on a tiled floor in a pet store looking at another dog.

Mia gets one more poke to redirect her attention away from the other dog as she is still a litte too interested. With my pack and the Great Dane under control I was able to check out with all dogs behaving.

The Ultimate Loot

Close up - A Maggot on a fluffy surface.

I had walked outside all ready to load the pack into the van for a walk when I looked over and noticed all three of them at the dog bed. In the middle of the bed was a squished mouse and surrounding the mouse was about a hundred maggots squirming all around. Oh my gosh! Mia, you really hit the jackpot with your loot finding this time!

Three Maggots are on a brown dog bed next to a dog. There are three red arrows pointing to the maggots.

I picked the mouse up by its tail as maggot fell from its gut, and started walking to the goat field to toss it over the fence. Mia trotted over and opened her mouth trying to take it back. She was very happy about her find. "Ewe, Mia No!" I chucked it over the fence. Only after it was gone and the bed mostly cleaned off did I realize I never took pictures of the mouse. Guess I was distracted by the thought that the dogs most likely ate those fat little creepers. There were so many maggots that I did get pictures of a few stragglers burrowing down into the cushion that didn't come off the bed the first cleaning attempt.

Poor Eyesight Fear

We realized early on that Mia could not see that well. Just yesterday Stephen and I were in the driveway and Mia was on the porch. We knelt down standing close to one another and we must have looked like one long object because she didn't know who or what we were. We were only about 15 feet away. She would not walk close to us and she was making barking, growling noises as she walked back and forth as if willing herself to get closer trying to smell us. Her barks and growls were not aggressive, but unsure and a bit afraid, although her tail was not under her so she was more unsure of the unknown. There was a big rectangle living object looking right at her and the wind was not blowing in her direction so she could not smell it. As soon as we spoke she realized it was us. Her ears perked and her tail started wagging a mile a minute as she ran over to give us kisses. "Oh, its YOU!" That was from only about 15 feet away, which means her eyes are pretty bad. If she were human she would be legally blind. Yet her nose is excellent and she relies on her sense of smell heavily, but if the wind is not blowing her way she can't smell the object.

The next day she spotted a skull on the dining room table. I was across the room and heard her let out a small bark and a growling noise as she jumped back. At first I was not sure what had startled her, but I had a hunch it was the skull staring at her. I picked it up and confirmed she was indeed afraid of the skull. After encouraging her to come and smell it she realizes it smelled like plastic and is nothing to be afraid of. Bruno the Boxer and Spencer the American Pit Bull Terrier would not have even given it a second thought, but decide to come and smell the thing that is freaking out their sister. I am not going to be able to make her eyesight better, but I need to work on communicating to her that I do not agree with her fearful reaction and at the same time show her there is nothing to be afraid of. I can easily desensitize her to the unknown object, but there is not enough time in either of our lives to do this to each and every unknown thing we see. Therefore I must also teach her to react differently to the unknown. This will have to be accomplished by me remaining mentally strong when she is unsure and telling her I do not agree in a calm, but firm tone when she reacts poorly, then either showing her the object or moving on past it depending on the circumstances and her reaction to them. Sometimes she will need to learn to just keep moving. We will not always be able to approach whatever it is. I also have to tell everyone else in the family to do the same because it is easy to just laugh at her, which I admit we have been doing at times, which is the same as saying "Good Girl, I like how you reacted". That skull is pretty freaky looking and I can only imagine what it must have looked like to her with the greenish-yellow glow in the dark material and big black eyes staring at her. It's easy to just laugh or sweet talk at her as you show her the object, but that would be missing the lesson of teaching her to react differently.

First Reaction Guidance

The back of three dogs that are standing on a blacktop surface looking across a parking lot.

Telling Mia I disapprove of her first reaction to bark at things that startle her is working. We were at a park and someone off in the distance dropped something that sounded like heavy metal and Mia quickly turned towards the sound and let out a small "woof". I barely physically reacted, leaning slightly in her direction, but in my head I was sternly thinking "NO!" Mia turned and looked at me with what appeared to be an oops type of mischiefs smile on her face. She abruptly sat down in a manner that reminded me of a brick dropping to the ground, turning back to the direction the noise came from, only this time watching in silence. Thinking back I was a bit surprised realizing that I hardly moved, yet she knew what I was thinking. Mia felt my emotions and it reminded her she was not to bark at the unknown as a first reaction.

She certainly has a strong guard dog instinct. As I was typing the above a helicopter buzzed over the house, flying very low. Mia was sleeping at my feet, and suddenly stood up in a high alert mode, letting out a woof and some growls. I hushed her and she looked at me and I could tell she understood what I said, but she looked back up at the ceiling then back at me and let out a quieter low growl. I hushed her again and she let out an even softer growl as she listened carefully to the noise that was getting quieter. She began to settle back down at my feet. She was letting me know something was out there. My problem is, I laughed. Very bad, I know. I laughed at her and the way she looked right at me and told me she didn't think that noise was safe. The communication between us was awesome the way she was telling me what she hears. She was not barking or running through the house like a wild dog, she was looking at me to tell me something strange was out there, as she stayed right by my side. Mix that with her bulldozer, cartoon character demeanor, and well, it was funny. However, if I want her to believe me when I tell her a noise is safe I need to not laugh while I tell her to hush. It's not going to be easy, I will have to get my mind in the right mode. I will never be able to take her instinct to guard away, but I can guide her into having reasonable reactions and listening to me when I tell her things are OK. The best guard dogs are those that see their humans as leaders, watching them for guidance, because when a dog looks at the handler for communication that is when you know you can trust your dog's instincts should a real threat be present. You will be able to tell the difference and your dog will be able to tell you something is different this time. If a dog is unstable and not looking to the human for direction the human is less likely to be able to read what the dog is saying and the dog is less likely to even try to communicate.