Dog Agression

by Debbie
(Rockland County, NY)

My sweet, lovely Pit Bull is almost 4. She has suddenly begun acting aggressively and strange with other dogs. She has always loved dogs and people. Now just people. What is up?

Gale's Reply:

Hi Debbie:

It's not unusual for a pit bull's tolerance for other dogs to change over the course of their life. Assuming that your girl is healthy and not in pain and there haven't been any significant changes in her social sphere, this is mostly likely what it occurring.

Dog aggression is a tendency all pit bull owners need to be prepared for. And, quite a few people have written in asking about a dog that suddenly seems to have changed her mind about liking other dogs.

Here are some articles that may help you understand what's going on and how you need to respond to it:

Feel free to post back here if you have additional questions.

For more information on obedience training, visit our Pit Bull Training page.

For help with behavioral problems, check out our Dog Behavior Training page.

Comments for Dog Agression

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Nov 04, 2010
Sudden dog agression
by: Debbie

Thank you, Gale, for your comments. I haven't investigated all the links yet, but I was wondering if there is any way that this sudden dislike of other dogs could be helped by a dog trainer? I'd like to feel there is a cure. She is healthy, and happy otherwise. We even have 2 cats that she still likes. Thanks again.

Nov 05, 2010
Yes! Training is definitely part of the solution!
by: Gale

While you can't make a dog like another dog, the right training can go a long way in helping to modify the way your dog reacts when she sees another dog. Your biggest challenge will be finding the right kind of trainer. Preferably, you want someone who is experienced with the breed and committed to positive, non-coercive methods.

I believe the links to the articles in my reply contain some suggestions for reading materials that can help you understand the principles involved in helping a dog that has become dog aggressive. I double check that to be sure. But, if you have more questions in the meantime, ask away.

Oct 05, 2012
backed down
by: Anonymous

I was recently attacked by a pit bull walking my terrier and my 1/2 saddleback husky/1/2 grey wolf. The dog's strength pulled the stake holding it's chain out of the ground. When he got to us, Minnie, my husky, got in between the pit and me. The pit and Minnie fought, but, it was not bloody. Minnie never went down and the pit suddenly went for my terrier. Again, Minnie got in the middle. Again, there was a slight fight while I was trying to get away. The dog got me down on the ground and as it bit, again Minnie stopped it. There was something about the way this pit behaved with Minnie. This was not a blood bath. In fact, my terrier was safe, Minnie was safe and the only wound I had received was a hole in my thigh that was superficial. Did this pit back down from my dog? Why? This entire fight has frightened the day lights out of me and I am still confused. Can you shed some light on this?

Oct 06, 2012
Re: backed down
by: Gale

As to whether the pit backed down from this altercation, I really can't say. What I can tell you is that dogs (all dogs but especially unneutered males) that are chained (regardless of breed) are more likely to bite due to frustration, boredom and often a lack of socialization.

You don't say whether the owner of the pit ever appeared on the scene. So I'm going to assume they were a 'no-show'. Leaving a dog unsupervised on a tie-out is never wise. I suggest you consider contacting the owner and telling him or her what happened with you and your dogs. Hopefully, whoever is responsible for this dog will care enough to make better arrangements.

If you aren't comfortable talking with the owner directly or you talk to the owner but he or she doesn't seem receptive, you can report the incident to local Aminal Control and ask them to follow up with the owner.

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