Pitbull Getting Dog Aggressive
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.
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.
For more information on obedience training, visit our Pit Bull Training page.
For help with behavioral problems, check out our Dog Behavior Training page.
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