Level 10 Aggression!

by Tiffany Sutton
(Mt. Carmel IL United States)

I have a 5 year old female pit bull that i rescued. She is very aggressive towards other animals and it's getting worse. I've tried everything and anything. I dont know what else to do.

I talked to a trainer that deals with aggressive pit bulls. She said that there's nothing more that we can do because she's at a 10 aggression level and the only other option is to put her down. I don't want to do that because she's my baby.

She's great with people and kids just not animals. I just don't know what else to do because it's getting really bad. I don't want to see another animal get seriously hurt by her or anything else. So can someone please help me in what I should do. My email roughnecksbaby at gmail.com.

Gale's Reply:

Hi Tiffany:

Wow! That's rough to have a trainer give up on you. Here are my thoughts. Of course, I know little of your situation (whether you have other pets or your living circumstances regularly brings your dog into contact with other animals). But, I'm a little surprised that a trainer who specializes in pit bulls would recommend euthanasia for a pit that has a high prey drive but a people soft temperament.

Assuming you have the capability to manage your environment in such a way that your dog will not be allowed the opportunity to harm other animals, I think your first stop should be your vet's office. Ask whether Prozac might be appropriate. Research has shown that hyper-aggressive dogs often have unusually low serotonin levels along with high levels of cortisol in their systems.

SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors) like Prozac can be helpful in combination with behavioral modification in lessening aggressive behavior in dogs.

BUT it's important to understand that the pill, by itself, is NOT a magic bullet. Rather it's thought that the drug balances the dog's out-of-whack brain chemistry so that learning through counter-conditioning and obedience training can actually take place. Whereas before the dog was so worked up, it was unable learn.

Dog aggression and high prey drive are pretty common in pit bulls. But, it sounds like your dog's aggression level is really over-the-top. And, if that's the case, then maybe it's time for pharmacological intervention.

Good luck. I hope you'll post back and let us know what you find out from your vet.

Comments for Level 10 Aggression!

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Jan 10, 2012
Understanding from dogs point.
by: Anonymous

The thing is not knowing what kind of background the dog came from. Your dog may have been the dog that was the one that everyone had beat up on. Meaning other dogs. That may be why she doesn't have such a problem with people. If it were me, I would makke mmy dog as happy as possible with in her own surroundings. You have saved her. she knows it is better than what she did have. She loves the comfortableness she feels around you and family. Why try to change her? Maybe change your ways that you feel a dogs way she should be. Just my own opinion. I am not saying my way is wrong or right. Just what I would do. Thank you!

Jan 10, 2012
Been there
by: Margaret

First of all, I completely agree with the response already stated. I had the same problem with my Pit mix. His issues started at about 18 months. I also had a trainer tell me to rehome the dog or put him down. Luckily I found a couple that focused on my dog's issues. He was going over the physical fence, taking the shock from the invisible fence and going after dogs. With a higher fence, the intense training began. My guy was also extremely people friendly, got along well in the pack but wanted to eliminate any dog outside of the pack. Withe my trainers help,I learned how to manage my situations, manage my dog and the pack. My vet wouldn't give me the medication until I worked with a trainer first. He is very conservative with meds. Don't give up. It is extremely stressful and your dog will most likely never accept other dogs but the right trainer will teach you to manage your dog and your situation. Good luck!

Jan 10, 2012
Agressive Pit
by: Anonymous

How about an anxiety wrap, that could possibly be part of the problem too. It may help. Is he/she spayed or nuetered, I know that helps too. I agree they can be more agressive with other animals versus people. How about socializing with a muzzle on, slowly at first then continuing until he may no longer need the muzzle. We use a gentle leader on our pit, it looks like a muzzle yet he minds so much better while on it. That could help too. Take him out more with the gentle leader on, and when he acts adversely to another animal reprimand him. If he is great for the whole walk then praise him and reward him. You could also start out with rewards each time he does well with another animal. consistency is key. Maybe even a pet psychic would be able to let you know what is bothering him and what you should do. I know it sounds kind of absurd, but I truly believe animals can be so misunderstood. They have feelings and emotions just as we humans do.

Jan 10, 2012
You adopted a terrier
by: Anonymous

You adopted a terrier, know in all sizes for prey drive and more specifically a dog that has been bred for hundreds of years to be dog aggressive. There is NO reason to put your dog down just because she is true to her breed.

Anyone adopting a bully breed needs to be ready and able to handle dog/small animal aggression. It sounds like your girl is a wonderful pet and it is you that needs to learn how to manage her. Talk to people that own real APBT and they will be happy to tell you how they manage their dogs.

If you don't feel that you can handle her and her DA then please rehome her to a responsible and knowledgeable home instead of putting her down. You will have to do LOTS of searching to find that home but please don't end her life for being the dog she was bred to be.

Jan 11, 2012
by: gg michele

I agree with everything Gail said (always do), except the Prozac. I have a six yr old adopted male pitbull who is still aggressive towards most other animals, with some improvement. After 3yrs of working with him, he is only less reactive, but strong prey drive prevails. So what? I'm extremely prudent in containing him, and vigilant when we visit with people. I found that by ME being more calm (less reactive) and reassuring in controlled situations, he's more calm. I keep him IN MY SIGHT, and TALK to him, give cues and GUIDE him, and create positive opportunities and experiences, where he can be showered with praise and learn the value of pleasing me and 'chilling out'. This is counter to his reflex reaction, as he gives over control to me. But he must feel confident in knowing I can lead and keep us safe. Its an ongoing process. Stay committed. Now, Prozac- I was a practicing hospital RN for 13 yrs. I've seen and learned enough to know for sure that MOSTLY EVERYTHING can be cured (or improved) through food. All pharmaceuticals are made in a lab through processing NATURALLY OCCURING plant life elements. I am now a staunch advocate for natural healing. Skip the chemically altered meds, they're poisonous. If you want to know more about this, you can 'friend' me on fb, or do your own research. Pharmaceuticals, in my educated, informed and experience opinion, are always a temporary absolute last resort! (Always, even for cancer and heart disease.) Also, after doing much research, I switched him to RMB diet. He is transformed. No more health issues, more relaxed, and what a physique! He's in top health! The best info I found on RMB was on Leeburg's site. And one more thing, environmental exposure to chemicals (in all air, food and water) effects every physiological process, including brain function. Try feeding 1/2 c. yogurt few times/wk, esp if you're feeding kibble. It helps heal the gut, where all health begins and ends, and the silica binds with the culprit chemical toxins to facilitate excretion. And buy a 5lb bag of diatomaceus earth (D.E.) and sprinkle it in her (and your) drinking water, daily. Best wishes.

Jan 16, 2012
Level 10 Agression!
by: Anonymous

Ok just to clear the air I never said I was putting my Pit Bull down or rehoming her. I love her very much. She's like one of my kids. The point is that i'm trying to correct the situation before something bad does happen where she will have to be put down. I want to help her as much as I can so she can live a happier & better life for herself & for me. I am a reasponable, experience, & knowledgeable Pit Bull owner. I even help rescue homeless, hurt, abusied, fighting, & abandoned pit bull's. I've had pit bull's my whole life growing up. I think their the most lovebale, sweetest, protective, companionship, protective family dog anyone could ever have. Pit Bull's are very misunderstood & I think alot of people need to really research & think about it before they just go & get a pit bull. They need alot of love & attension. My sister raises & helps me rescue pit bull's also. So i have alot of knowledge & training with them & about them. I'm just trying to figure out the best possible thing I can do to help my pit bull out. I've never had a pit bull with this much anger & this much drive to attack & wanting to hurt or kill another animal as bad as mine pit bull wants to. I have tried muzzles, training collars, shock collars, shock fences, & everything else you can possible think of & nothing works. She just doesn't care if it hurts her or not. She has her mind set on one thing & one thing only & somehow someway she's going to do what she wants. She is a very very very strong tough stocky extermily fast pit bull. she weighs about a 100 lbs. I'm going to call the vet in the morning & talk to them & see if they have any ideas or anyone that could possible help me with her. It's alot worse in the summer time because my kids are always running in & out & i have to constintly watch & check to make sure they didn't let her out where she can attack someones dog. I live in the country on bout 3 acres & she got out one day & ran straight to our neighbors house & attacked their pit bull & luckily my husband & me were right there to stop her from seriously hurting or killing their pit bull. So yes it is a constent battle with her but i'm willing to do anything & everything to try & help her have a better happy, fun, loving life then what she had & went through when I rescued & saved her life. So please no more with the negative & kinda hateful posts. Thanks So Much Everyone For Trying & Willing To Take Time Out To Help Me & My Pit Bull Chico!


Jan 18, 2012
putting pits down is a big no no
by: carrie

pitbulls should never be put down inless there sick and suffering sometimes change of sceanery and habits will help just cont with constant love

Jan 13, 2014
by: Anonymous

Hi Tiffany knowing this is about 2 yrs old since you asked for help and most likely you will not get this message but I hjave to try . I also found out recently my Pittie is agressive towards other dogs it s heart breaking he has been perfect what happened !? I dont know , he has gone thru Obedience school he is my best Buddie I love him but today realy did it , the neighbours Pup came across in a playful manner and Rusty just atacked him , poor little guy ended up going to vet!! I feel so bad about this , question is did you ever find a good answer with your Pittie !?

Jul 19, 2015
Aggressive Pitbull NEW
by: Anonymous

See Caesar millan

Oct 12, 2015
Tiffany & Anonymous NEW
by: Mona

What happened with you and your dogs finally? I have a friend, Glenn, who has raised a female pit, now 6 yrs old, who has in the last month killed two little chi's she has grown up with.. Glenn last week had Nova spayed finally, but she is acting aggressive towards other dogs.. What's up with this? What can he do? Any help would be appreciated... Blessings all! Mona

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