Pit Bull dog aggression is a real thing but it can be managed. Pit Bulls are DOGS, not killing machines. That stereotype is perpetuated by people who post horrible dog fighting videos online, which I am sure you have come across
The people that can somehow “enjoy” this type of thing are repulsive.
There are also websites that completely falsify dog bite statistics because they are 100% anti-Pit Bull. If you google Pit Bull, you will know which site I am referring to because they pay to show up on every page.
In my opinion, the number one problem with Pit Bulls is PEOPLE.
Pit Bulls in General
Just so we are clear, Pit Bulls are NOT human aggressive. They love people (and children) and do NOT make good guard dogs. That is a fact.
I hear all about the dog attacks that end up being top news stories and I can’t say why they happen. It’s stunning to me that someone is just walking down the street and a Pit Bull comes out of nowhere and bites them.
I know it happens. However I also know that in a lot of the stories, the initial reported breed turns out to be incorrect. It is very easy to claim “Pit Bull” only to find out later it wasn’t. I am not saying that is always the case, it’s not, but it happens more than you would think.
Why Dogs Attack
If a dog is starving, abused, scared, or protecting their puppies, they can act out in scary ways. For some reason they may view you as a threat. I don’t know. I am not saying it’s ok because it’s not by any means. Some dogs that attack are more feral than others, it’s impossible to give just one reason.
I will say this though….do you think the owner of an attacking dog is going to admit to abusing him? Neglecting him? Training him to fight? I doubt it.
Just like people, dogs have a history and a reason they react the way they do. Pit Bulls are not born wanting to attack people, in fact, it is just the opposite. So when I hear stories like this, I also know there is another reason at work, NOT because it is a Pit Bull.
If you live in an area that has stray dogs, the majority of these dogs are probably Pit Bull mixes- the most abused dogs.
Back-yard breeders are the worst culprits. They breed constantly, without knowing the lineage of the dog, just to make a buck. They don’t do home checks or even care who they are selling the puppies to. It’s just about the money.
Some even try to breed dogs that are bigger and more aggressive because they know there are people out there who will spend big money for dogs like that.
And we all know why.
So, once mom or dad aren’t needed anymore, or if their “prize” dogs aren’t performing well enough, who cares what happens to them right? Those dogs end up living on the streets; scared, starving, and totally unpredictable.
If you treat a dog badly enough he is eventually going to snap; whether that’s towards you or an innocent person, it will happen.
What’s amazing to me is with the number of abused dogs out there that it doesn’t happen more.
With all of this being said, when a feisty and energetic terrier is bred with a strong, persistent, courageous bull dog, you come up with a Pit Bull. And that means you have to be vigilant.
My Personal Story
I created this website to promote these amazing dogs and to encourage positive Pit Bull ownership. If I only talked about the wonderful traits of these dogs,and none of the negative, that would not be honest. So, I am going to tell you my personal story.
As you may know, I have two females, 6 year old Riley and 10 year old Brooke. When I adopted the second female, Brooke, I didn’t do my research. I would NOT change a thing about taking in our 2nd girl however I should have been better informed. I should have done my research.
Pit Bull Dog Aggression- It Happened With My Dogs
I will start this out by saying that not EVERY dog is the same. Of course there are exceptions to every rule, however this is what I have found raising my two dogs and I want you to know what to do if this ever happens to you.
Pit Bulls are dog aggressive; at least mine are. (again, I am not saying that ALL are, but this is a common trait, no denying that)
Just a couple years ago I NEVER would have thought that either. After bringing Brooke home and keeping her leashed and basically attached to my husband for the first couple of weeks, she got along really well with our other Pit Bull Riley. No issues at all. At first.
I am not the Dog Whisperer so I don’t know if things started to change because Brooke was getting older and Riley sensed that or if it was always there and I just didn’t see it. Was Riley jealous over the attention I gave Brooke? Was Brooke jealous over the attention I gave to Riley? Since Riley was here first, did she think everything was her’s and not Brooke’s? Did that include me?
I don’t know for sure however the fact is, they started becoming aggressive with each other and everything changed.
Their first fight happened when we were boarding them while we were out of town.
My family owns a Pet Care Facility and has for over 40 years. My uncle Mark runs the kennels and training facilities and is the BEST. If there really are dog whisperers in the world, he is one of them. When you think of calm and assertive energy, he reeks of it. He can just look at his dogs and they will do exactly what he wants them to.
One day Riley and Brooke were out in the large yard enjoying the day. Keep in mind, I had told the kennel workers that my dogs got along, had never had a fight, that they love, love, love each other!
Well apparently there was a toy in the yard they both wanted and however it happened, they got into it. The employees came running, but no one could break it up. My uncle was there and had to take a fire extinguisher to them to break it up. He sprayed them and they eventually broke apart.
In his 40 years of working with dogs this was only the 2nd time he’s NOT been able to break up a fight on his own.
My dogs were not terribly hurt, thankfully, but I learned a lesson from that.
Well, I thought I did.
It Happened Again
About a year later I was home working with Riley and Brooke sleeping on the floor. Again, I was not vigilant and there was one toy that they both wanted. The fight broke out before I even knew it and I was the only one home. It scared the living hell out of me and took me a good 20 minutes to break it up.
I used everything in reach to try to break them up (a hockey stick, leashes, a broom, water) They would not let go of each other and I thought one of them would not come out of it alive.
I eventually got them down the stairs and was able to get one in the bathroom, with the other on the outside, and slam the door on them until they finally broke apart. There was a lot of blood and I had 2 pretty tore up dogs.
After a $2000 trip to the ER vet, I realized how lucky we were that both dogs were “ok” but THIS was my wake up call. I could not allow this to happen again no matter what changes I personally had to make.
No matter what breed of dog, they can and will fight. The difference with Pit Bull types is that they go at it with much more determination. They can do some serious damage and if you have a smaller dog, we know what can happen.
The fact is, if you have multi-Pit Bull homes or multi-dog homes where one dog is a Pit Bull, you HAVE to be more vigilant than you would with other dogs. Some people won’t like that statement but if they tell you otherwise, it’s not true.
I love my dogs, I love Pit bulls. When I adopt another dog in the future, it will be a Pit Bull.
My dogs are normal dogs and still love each other. They still want to play and don’t try to bite each other from their cages or any other way. However I know what they are capable of and I want you to know as well.
Things To Keep In Mind
- Same sex. If you already have a female, try to adopt a male (and vice versa) I know that is not always possible so if you are adopting a Pit Bull and already have a dog in your home, stay aware! Do not leave them together when you are not home and if any aggression occurs (whether it’s from the Pit Bull or your other dog) separate them until you can get professional help
- Watch the toys! As with all dogs, Pit Bulls can be territorial about their stuff. (we all are!) When giving them toys to play with, give them in their crates or in separate rooms. Its just not worth the risk.
- Feeding. Feed them apart. Again, whether it’s in separate crates or different rooms, do not feed them next to each other
- Keep energy levels down. When your dogs are excited for whatever reason, and are together, this is a fight waiting to happen. Give attention at separate times. Ignore them when you first get home. Don’t allow them to feed off each others energy when they are both at a high level
- I dont really believe in the theory that you should pay attention to the “dominant” dog first. Some people swear by it however with my dogs, I dont know WHO the more dominant dog is. I know the older one used to be, the younger one wants to be, but the older one isn’t ready to give it up. So, this is up to you but in my opinion, treating them the same is the way to go.
- Have separate cages for each dog and use them! That is the place where they can go to decompress, eat, sleep and relax.
- BE THE CALM LEADER. When your dogs are aggressive towards each other it’s really hard not to freak out. When mine had the big fight at home when I was the only one there, I lost my mind. They say “stay calm” and “yelling makes it worse” but it’s an automatic reaction, at least it was for me. I am working on myself, trying to stay calm, but in some situations I have a very hard time with it. I know not everyone is like that, some people can handle it. But I know for me, and many normal dog owners, your first feeling is fear and you react like that. Work on it, but don’t beat yourself up over it. You’re a work in progress just like they are.
If a Fight Breaks Out
First off, do NOT get in the middle. Their aggression level is already SO high that they may re-direct on you. They won’t even know what they are doing, but that is the last thing you want to happen. If your dogs get into it, here are a few tips-
- Have a fire extinguisher on hand and spray it on them. It sounds crazy but it works.
- Wheelbarrow- IF you’re able to, stay behind (not in the middle of the fight, never in the middle) lift up the back legs of one of the dogs like you would use a wheelbarrow. Sometimes, they will lose balance and have to let go to re-adjust themselves. During these couple of seconds, get one of the dogs out of the area NOW. This does not always work, but sometimes it does.
- If you have a hose nearby- use it.
- Use liquids- of course not boiling water but anything wet could snap them out of it
- Blankets- grab a blanket and throw it over one of them if you can. Sometimes this can change their brain for a second and give you enough time to get them apart and one of the dogs out of the room.
- Try not to freak out. I know, that is a ridiculous thing to say, but the more you freak out, the more that can get them going.
So, this was my story. Now my dogs are kept separate at all times. I let them out one at a time, I feed them separately, and I am constantly crate rotating them. In the summer, one dog is in the fenced in back porch while the other one is the yard, then we rotate. In the winter, we take turns with one being in my office with me while the other is upstairs.
It can be a pain sometimes but they are worth the little extra trouble.
No matter if your dogs have shown aggression or not, you must be proactive and vigilant. Stay on top of everything and if you see problems starting to occur, separate them immediately. You can choose to do what I have done, keeping them on separate schedules all the time, or you can get professional help. It doesn’t matter what method you choose, it only matters if you choose to do nothing.
Again, this is the worst trait they have because all other common traits of Pit Bulls are wonderful.
If you are looking to adopt a dog and give him a GOOD home, please do your research and consider adopting a Pit Bull. They are amazing and loyal dogs who deserve loving homes with people who will take good care of them.
As always, if you have any ideas or concerns, please leave me a comment below and I will get back to you asap!