You love your pit bull to the moon and back, but sometimes he shows signs of aggression. This post will tell you how to deal with the problem before it gets worse.
See Them as Lovers, not Fighters
For a long time, pit bulls are infamous for being aggressive and ready to attack humans. Most media hate the breed and pair them with terrible words like “bloodthirsty,” “deadly.” Some websites even quote statistics and blame under 70% of dog bite incidents yearly are caused by pit bulls.
However, if you have had chances of getting to know them, you will see that the dogs are sweet canine citizens. They are born to be lovers, protectors, not fighters.
5 Tips to Train Your Pit Bull Not to be Aggressive
So, to save our lovely canine friends from the false accusations, we have to make them as calm as possible from the start. Ideally, you have to start the training since they are still puppies. An adult dog could already have some fixed behaviors that you cannot change. A violent adult pit bull will most likely stay violent forever.
Tip 1: Teach him to be obedient.
As soon as you bring the new pitbull home, you must make sure to have an obedience training plan in advance. The principle is applicable for not only pit bulls, but any other breeds. After several days, the new dog has to at least respond to your voice or hand signals without hesitation.
We are talking about training a large, energetic breed, so you must master the “down-stay” command. Practice it often every time you take your pit bull out for a walk when someone is approaching. He will learn from his childhood that it’s wrong to attack a human when he or she poses no threat to him and his owner.
Tip 2: Talk to your pitbull as a friend
Socializing is the key to your training. There is still some controversy over the problem; since some people claim that it’s harmful to talk to and kiss your dog before his last vaccines. However, the period before vaccines is rather sensitive. It’s the time in which you should show your sweet canine pal the greatness of love and affection. This way, he will enjoy you and other human beings’ company and tend to be less aggressive.
Tip 3: Be his Leader, not Follower
If you have heard about the alpha dogs and dominance theory, you should practice it to keep your canine friend under your control. Before feeding the pit bull, make him sit. Don’t let him sleep on your couch unless it’s a snuggling time. Force him to sleep in his bed, instead of yours, even when he is a small puppy. Make him wait before you are ready to open the door for a time. Your hound will have to follow the rule consistently without interruptions. It will make him into a better-behaved pet that leads to a healthy lifestyle.
Tip 4: Provide your hound with exercises
It may sound silly, but we are all aware that tired dogs are often well-behaved. The large athletic hounds need exercising to train their muscles and calm their minds down. That says, giving your pit bull the exercises he needs is an effective way to get rid of the excess energy and aggression. In fact, most stories we heard about pit bulls attacks are due to prolonged keeping chained up.
If all you want from a pit bull is showing off, you should not own the dog. Pit bulls should be at the hand of athletic owners. You could mix up exercising with command training, so the dog could have fun and learn how to behave at the same time.
Tip 5: Keep Your Dog Healthy
Making sure that your pit bull is healthy and well-fed could reduce the chances of aggressive behaviors. Starving dogs are more likely to attack people, and it’s the same case for dogs suffering ailments. Just like humans, ill dogs are willing to snap, and sometimes they could even hurt family members. So, when your pitbull shows any signs of illness, you should take him to a vet for a checkup and seek consultation on his diet.
Playing Tug of War with Your Pitbull: a Smart Way to Eliminate Aggressive Behaviors
Like we have mentioned above, you could mix up exercising with training commands to let your dog have fun and teach him basic rules. Tug of war is a good game that can work as both.
Some people may think that such an intense match could encourage violence, worsening pit bull’s behavior. It’s not true at all. Letting the hounds nibble something, like the rope or chewable toys, can get rid of violent acts.
Still, the game could pose some threats if you don’t know how to play it with your dog correctly. Your hand must be far away from the hound’s mouth all the time. If the pit bull steps up too close to one of your hands, you must release the rope. The fun time stops immediately. After some time, the pit bull will know nipping at your hand is a taboo. In other words, biting people means no fun.
Repeating the exercise to make him see that you are in power. You could give him attention and love, also could take them away. Once the potentially dangerous creature knows you are the pack leader here, he will follow your commands without hesitation.
Besides, you should do the same when the dog expresses negative body language like growling or biting. If you ignore the terrible signs and continue with the game, you may accidentally encourage aggression — no mercy for bad dogs. The fun time must stop, and the toys will be out of his reach to teach him who is in charge.
However, during the game, you have to let the dog win sometimes. If he keeps losing, his interest in the tug of war in particular, and playing with you in general, will reduce. After all, we don’t want to see the disappointment on those sweet guys’ face all the time. A happy dog means a blissful life.
What More Could We Do to Train Pitbull not to be Violent?
If you follow all the suggestions above, you will likely have an obedient, lovely pit bull. However, to make sure they stay as lovers and protectors, not fighters, you could try those tips below.
First, when you take your canine pal out for a walk, carry a leash and harness with you. Some owners are overconfident of their training skills and walk the dog off-leash. However, we couldn’t say anything in advance, especially when your neighborhood is full of small pets and children. Your dog could be obedient, but the kids may not. And pit bulls, unlike other breeds, will attack as they see threats.
We have heard tragic accidents when pit bulls brutally bite kids. However, most of the time, the children made the first blow. We cannot blame them since they are victims here, but having a leash with you all the time could mitigate the chances of unwanted events. If you are walking your hound without the leash and notice a small pet or kid approaching, attach the leash right away.
Then, if you can take part in a program on therapy for the dog, please take the chance. The therapists know best how to replace aggression with affection. And by doing that, you could show everyone what a great lover your hound is.
Why Do People Tend to Hate Pitbulls?
Pitbull haters could say many terrible things about the lovely pals. However, most of the claims are not true, or at least not 100% exact. We could name some of the misunderstandings and redeem the truth. Look at the ones below for your answer.
1. Your Pit Bull Doesn’t Have Locking Jaws
Many people say that pit bull poses threats to other dogs and people due to the cruel, bloodthirsty jaws. However, if you seek the answer from a vet, you will hear that they do not have the feature. Despite their mouths’ look, their jaws are just like those of other breeds. In the middle of a fight, pit bulls’ jawbone could lose to some other breeds’. Don’t trust false claims from the biased websites.
2. The Media Is Not Fair With The Breed
Pit bulls happen to have a muscular, threatening appearance. It’s precisely what the media need to attract people’s attention. Some bluffing websites even make up dramatic stories on pit bull accidents to increase the number of views. As a result, people may see the breed as a severe threat.
If you care enough about the news, you could see that every time there is a new article about dog bites, they will claim that the culprit is a pit bull. No one will spare time to verify the writer’s honesty. People hate the breed more and step away whenever there’s a pit bull in presence.
3. Bad Dogs Are Due to Bad Owners
If your pitbull has terrible behavior, it’s because of you, not his ancestors. Although the breed is known to be robust and athletic, they won’t attack people without reasons. Most pit bulls which likely to snap suffer lousy handling. The breed should not be forbidden due to the bad owners. But unless you are confident that you could lead your hound into a healthy lifestyle, you should not own him.
The Levels Of Canine Aggression: Which one is Your Hound on?
There are seven stages of violence that your dog could be on. Knowing exactly where you guys are at could help deal with the training more efficiently.
1. Submissive pals
If your dog is here, he shows almost no sign of aggression. This means you have done an excellent job of showing who is in charge. When meeting with a challenge, the dog could give up easily, roll on their backs, and wait for the owners to solve the problem.
Sometimes, they could be so shy. You will have to protect them from other canine pals. Or, you have to intervene to get your dog to play with others at house parties.
2. Joe-Smoe Pals.
Dogs at this level could stand up when facing physical attacks. This could be seen as a “generic” level, applicable to many breeds, not just pit bulls. The editor of ScoutKnows.com has seen this level in labradors, golden retrievers, and even Chihuahuas.
3. The Happy Healthy Pit Bulls
It’s normal if you see your pit bull at the level. They will express aggression when attacked or challenged. If they see a new dog, they will come closer to make a friend. However, they will show signs of dominance over other canine citizens. If you see that, don’t worry. It’s just a normal pitbull thing because they are born to outstand other dogs.
4. Slightly Above Average.
At this level, your dog will display violent expressions toward strange dogs. They are willing to fight any threat around them. However, they will accept the presence of opposite sex dogs as long as they know each other for a long time. Also, they won’t attack puppies, since it’s their instinct.
Pit Bull at this level could still tolerate the presence of other dogs, but they will attack strangers. They could accept puppies, but to ensure the small dog’s safety, you must put them under supervision. Pit bulls at the level could be excellent protectors for your family, as they consider you guys his pack, his responsibility.
6. The Fool, But Controllable
Now the dogs are highly aggressive. They can only live with childhood friends and will welcome other dogs by attacks.
7. The Uncontrollable
Those dogs should not be adopted unless you are a professional in dealing with the problem. Dogs like them will attack any other dogs and have no mercy on strange humans. They are a danger for any creatures around.
The Final Thought
So, which level of aggression your pitbull is at? If the level of violent behavior is not so high, you should deal with it as soon as possible. Good luck training the pal!
Catherine Bono is a blogger, who is passionate about dogs and cats. She created Crittersitca.com to shares her experience as she studies to become a qualified vet.