Is scratching the ground characteristic of fighting dogs?

I am a person that saves Pit Bulls from going to the shelter and being put down ... I try to learn things but I was told by someone that if a dog is scratching after every time they use the bathroom that is a sign of a fighting dog.

Please help me as I have one that my landlord asked me to foster and find a home but he is people aggressive and other animal aggressive. I don't want to place him in a home and then they have to deal with something bad ... So can you please help me keep him from being put down?

Gale's Reply:

The thing about scratching the ground being characteristic of fighting dogs is a total myth. Either someone is pulling your leg or they are horribly mis-informed. So you can ignore that bit of "advice".

Aggression towards other animals while not ideal in most family situations, doesn't make the dog totally unadoptable. He would need to go to an owner that has no other pets. Preferably someone who is experienced with the breed and/or understands their responsibility to keep the dog from harming anyone else's pets and will be diligent about it.

Aggression towards people is in another category entirely. The level of aggression will determine whether he can be rehabilitated and that requires professional expertise. Ask your vet if he or she knows someone who is knowledgeable and can help you with these kinds of cases.

It's sad to say, but not every pit bull
can be saved. While I wouldn't rush to that conclusion about this dog without knowing more, it's something to keep in the back of your mind.

Sometimes, bad breeding produces, for lack of a better term, a psychotic dog. Sometimes a dog that has been abused cannot be brought back from the edge.

Every dog is an individual and should be evaluated as such. But, at the end of the day when you've exhausted all the resources you can find and nothing is working, euthanasia may be your only option.

Of the nearly 50 dogs that were confiscated in the Michael Vick case, one or two were put to sleep for behavioral issues. And, that was a situation in which the rescuers had access to the best resources, the best facilities and the most knowledgeable people in the field standing by to help.

My advice is that you network. Reach out to the agencies and resources in your community and beyond that may be able to help you with "difficult" cases. Do the best you can with whatever resources you have to work with. That's all any of us can do.

Realize that a humane death for a dog that is beyond your ability to help is not only your responsibility to the community, it's ultimately the kindest thing you can do for the dog. It's sad. But, there is no safe place in this world for a dog that cannot live with humans.

Good luck and God bless you for caring about needy pit bulls.

Comments for Is scratching the ground characteristic of fighting dogs?

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Mar 07, 2011
Scratching The Ground
by: Doggie Mom

I thought all dogs did that... at least the ones I've seen. I also see it on nature and wildlife shows. I thought it was to spread their scent around, to cover up feces or wipe their back paws in case they got splashed while urinating. Mine will also scratch with his front paws to dig up roots to eat. I think someone has been watching too many cartoons or something where a bull paws the ground with it's front hooves before it charges...

Mar 07, 2011
by: Denise Cool and Tebow

My bully always scratches, especially when he is trying to make a bed (that has to be perfect). If he is on the carpet where he has no blankets, he tries to scrath the carpet up into a comfy bed---:)until he realized he can't, he does about 5 full circles, and plops down to sleep!

Mar 08, 2011
by: Anonymous

Cats do it to cover there waste, dogs do it to spread the scent, its kinda a animal thing now please throw a custerd pie in that persons face.

Mar 08, 2011
not a fighting sign
by: sheila

my dog does it and she is 12 years old and as friendly as they come. I have noticed she will do it to spread her scent around if another dog even a friend she knows comes in and goes pee in the yard.I have had many dogs do it and they were all friendly its just scent spreading.

Aug 27, 2011
animal habits
by: troubles mum

Hello, funny you asking that question as my 2 pits & staffie have done this i think most dogs do anyway i just read that dogs do it after the toilet just to claim that site as theirs,expecally if the dogs doing the toilet on or near to the same place,the fighting would be another issue & i would follow gale advice & get the dog checked by an expert but if for some reason in the dogs history it doesnt like other dogs, its not only pits that are dog aggressive, you would have to make sure you rehomed the dog with an experienced pit owner and let them know to muzzle the dog or to keep it away from dogs, it can still have a great life, just wont socialize with dogs but can enjoy being loved,but i would go to a expert if it is a concern to you good on you for taking on the dogs & for looking for the answer to problems i wish you & the pit all the best.

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