Pit Bull hates cats and other dogs

by Michele
(Phoenix, AZ)

Hi there I was wondering if I could get your thoughts on a situation. I adopted my beautiful pit bull beauty from the humane society when she was 6 months old and she just turned 4 in July.

Beauty has always been really good around other dogs actually she was wonderful, she would bow down to other dogs and stay low to the ground as they sniff her and once they were done doing the sniffing everything was fine and dandy.

I used to let her off her leash and run with her, let her in the front yard trusting she would not run away or harm any one. About two years ago we decided to give Beauty a friend and we brought home a 1 year old Shepard mix again he was a rescue dog.

On their first introduction Brownie was very much the more dominant dog, barking and acting aggressive and of course Beauty very submissive and they became best friends.

Well all was great until a few days later and Beauty jumped our 6 foot brick wall and tried to attack our neighbors dog who was a miniature doberman. Luckily someone was home and their dog was not hurt but the jumping the wall continued so she became an indoor dog.

Something clicked in side of Beauty and it made her become aggressive and it got even worse when we took the dogs for a walk.

The second they got the scent of another dog they acted like a pack of wolves. Beauty would make this weird screaming sound and her eyes would turn bright pink and she gets into this zone where she foams at the mouth.

Its like they feed off each others energy for the worse. It has got to the point where they can not go on walks together because they are uncontrollable to the extent that I fear for other animals that we might encounter. Beauty and Brownie both are very good around adults and kids it just seems to be any type of animal that gets them crazy.

Beauty doesn't even take a second to process anything she just goes into this zone when she see's another dog or cat.

My son was 6 years old when we got Beauty and she is the best dog ever with the exception of being around other dogs or cats. I don't understand how this lovable and sweet dog can be so aggressive when it comes to other animals.

When we
feed her she does not growl, she can have a bone in her mouth and I can take it out of her mouth with no problems. Do you have any suggestions on the best way to over come this aggressive side of her? I have called trainers and they all pretty much tell me that Pits cant be trained.

Gale's Reply:

Hi Michele

It's not unusual for dogs that are tolerant and submissive as puppies to experience a change in personality and behavior when they reach social maturity--typically between the ages of 14 - 36 months. It sounds like this is what has happened with Beauty. The addition of Brownie may have amplified this, but I don't believe it's the cause.

Dog aggression and prey drive are not things that can be trained out of a dog. Which is to say that you should not expect to trust Beauty off leash in an open area.

However, in most cases, aggressive behavior can be conditionally modified so that you can safely walk her on a leash without needing to wrestle with her every time she sees another animal.

I would strongly recommend that you get professional help with this. Especially, since you are dealing not only with Beauty's behavior, but with the dynamic between Brownie and Beauty as well.

It's sad that the trainers you have spoken with say pit bulls can't be trained. But, at least they are showing their ignorance BEFORE you actually hire them.

There are some great dog trainers out there--brilliant ones even. But, the dog training industry is still largely unregulated. Consequently, expertise varies greatly and you will encounter people who should know better saying dumb things like "pits can't be trained".

You may want to search for a professional trainer or behaviorist through this group: The Association of Pet Dog Trainers. Members of this group have received formal certification in a least one area of expertise and they are committed to on-going professional education.

If you'd like to read up on the kinds of training that have been successful in dealing with dog aggression, you may want to read: Click to Calm: Healing the Aggressive Dog (Karen Pryor Clicker Book) You may also want to check into the NILIF Program.

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

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

All the best to you and Beauty and Brownie. Feel free to post back if you have more questions.

Comments for Pit Bull hates cats and other dogs

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Sep 01, 2010
my 2 staffies
by: michelle

i have this prob with my 2 staffies mason my 4 yr old was great till we got wispa now they go mad when they see other dogs ita a nightmare going out with them but taken out singly theyre fine ?

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