Pitbull Getting Dog Aggressive

by David
(Corona, CA., US)

I have a full grown German Shepherd and a 2 year old Husky. I just got a recently five month old pit bull and he gets along most of the time with the other two dogs. But out of nowhere they fight. My wife wants to give him away but I want to keep him. How do I keep him from getting aggressive? I heard once he turns one year it gets worse.

Gale's Reply:

Hi David

What may be happening is that the presence of your new pit bull pup has confused the social order among the dogs. So, they are all jockeying for position within the pack. This can be distressing--especially if no one seems to be willing to back down. However, it doesn't necessarily mean that your pit is dyed-in-the-wool dog aggressive.

What you have most likely heard is that dogs (depending on breed and genetics) reach social maturity somewhere between 1 to 3 years of age. And, it sometimes happens that dogs that were very social with other dogs when they were puppies become less tolerant--intolerant even--as they come into their own.

It's also true that even dog aggressive dogs with good training and management can live harmoniously with other dogs. It requires strong leadership from the owner. And, the dogs should be separated when the owners aren't home.

Here are some things you can do to promote peace and re-establish order in the pack.

1. Get the dogs neutered if they haven't been already. Hormones aren't the only cause of aggression, but they do play a role.

2. Make sure the dogs are getting enough exercise. Dogs with pent up energy they've been unable to release in some other way will naturally begin rough housing with each other which can escalate.

3. Take charge of any resources that they might fight over--toys, food, treats, etc. Let them enjoy these things when they are separated from each other.

4. Establish yourself as pack leader. This will help restore social order and relieve the dogs of the necessity to fight over the top dog position. You may find Patricia McConnell's book How to be the Leader of the Pack...And have Your Dog Love You For It. helpful. And, Bad Rap's article, Living Peaceably in a Multi-Dog Home has some great tips as well.

Good luck!

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 Pitbull Getting Dog Aggressive

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Jul 04, 2011
getting desperate. dont know what to do
by: Jo

First a run down of my "Pack" & how long I have had them...

Roxy - pitt - 2 years at the end of this months she's roughly 2-1/2 yrs. She's my autistic daughter's service dog and needless to say the sweetest dog on earth... She's only been human aggressive once towards a man on the street and we found out that he beats his wife and son.

Kesha - Akita - 18 months old we've had her for about 9 months

Alex- Yellow lab - wolf (poss artic wolf) mix - 5 monts odl have had her for 3 months.

They've been getting along fine. Roxy has established that she is the Alpha. Alex is loves to play being so young. And Kesha is just laid back. We kinda tease her sometimes cause we're not sure what goes thru that brain of her's if anything...

Anyway Starting a week ago Roxy cannot stand it when Kesha and Alex play. She will mount Kesha (which I understand is a sign of being the Alpha) and end their playing. We try to stop her from doing it once in awhile but not every time. Cause as puppies they need time to be able to play.
This weekend she has bitten Alex 2x's. Not horribly bad bites. Both were a little bloody but not dripping with blood. So we'd been keeping Alex inside when Roxy is outside, or Roxy inside when Alex is inside

We had been told by our vet in the past if we had issues like this to flip her on her back and challenge her. So I was doing that Roxy had finally stop growling, Kesha walked by and she full on attacked Kesha... What do I do?

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