Tag Archives: dog aggression

Ten Facts About Pit Bulls Every One Should Know

21 Jun


1. Pit Bulls are commonly used as therapy dogs. Whether they are visiting a senior care facility or helping someone recover from an emotional accident, Pit Bulls are making a mark Pitbulls as therapy dogsas outstanding therapy dogs.

2. Pit Bulls are used in Search and Rescue work. One example of well known SAR Pit Bulls is Kris Crawford and her dogs. Kris and her dogs have helped save the lives of many people during their efforts. http://www.ForPitsSake.org

3. Pit Bulls serve as narcotic and bomb sniffing dogs. One Pit Bull, Popsicle (named that because he was found in an old freezer) has the largest recorded single drug find in Texas history. Read more about Popsicle here. Including how he found over 3,000 lbs of cocaine in Hildago, Texas.

4. Pit Bulls are great with kids. They weren’t referred to as the “nanny’s dog” for nothing that’s for sure.

5. Pit Bulls are not human aggressive. The American Pit Bull Terrier as a breed is not human aggressive. In fact, quite the opposite is true of the breed. They are gentle and loving dogs. Like any dog individuals can be unsound and have behavior problems.

6. The Pit Bull was so popular in the early 1900’s they were our mascot not only in World War One, but World War Two as well. They were featured on recruiting and propoganda posters during this time period.

7. Sgt. Stubby. A Pit Bull war hero. Stubby was wounded in action twice, he saved his entire platoon by warning them of a poison gas attack and he single handedly captured a German spy.

8. Pete the Pup on the orginal Little Rascals was a Pit Bull.

9. Pit Bulls score an 83.4% passing rate with the American Temperament Test Society. That’s better than the popular Border Collie (a breed who scores 79.6%). View the ATTS stats here.

10. They are dogs not killing machines.


This article is a reproduction of the original which can be found here: http://www.pitbulllovers.com/pit-bulls-ten-things-you-should-know.html


Top Myths of Dog Aggression Part III

20 Feb

People tend to do away with the things they fear, instead of facing them and overcoming the fear. This incites violence, abuse and inhumane treatment in millions of animals around the globe everyday, many leading to unruly death and ultimately, extinction.  In an effort to dispell myths of dog aggression and replace fear with understanding, here are the final two myths about dog aggression:

Perhaps the farthest from the truth! There is a big difference between a dog that nips at the air and a dog that breaks skin or sends someone to the hospital. Veterinary behaviorist Dr. Ian Dunbar has created a helpful and simple to understand bite scale which ranks the severity of bite incidents on a scale from 1 – 6. It does not matter what the size or breed is of the dog.

  • Level 1– Dog growls, lunges, snarls-no teeth touch skin. Mostly intimidation behavior.
  • Level 2- Teeth touch skin but no puncture. May have red mark/minor bruise from dog’s head or snout, may have minor scratches from paws/nails. Minor surface abrasions acceptable.
  • Level 3– Punctures ½ the length of a canine tooth, one to four holes, single bite. No tearing or slashes. Victim not shaken side to side. Bruising.
  • Level 4– One to four holes from a single bite, one hole deeper than ½ the length of a canine tooth, typically contact/punctures from more than canines only. Black bruising, tears and/or slashing wounds. Dog clamped down and shook or slashed victim.
  • Level 5– Multiple bites at Level 4 or above. A concerted, repeated attack.
  • Level 6– Any bite resulting in death of a human.Yeah, little dog bites CAN kill.

Bite inhibition training should begin early in puppyhood and should be cemented both through social interactions with appropriate dogs and direct intervention from the handler.

The moral of the story is that all dogs can bite,  and it’s very important to teach them to use their mouths as gently as possible in case such a situation arises.  Dogs that bite low on the scale can move up levels on the scale if prompt intervention protocols are not implemented – biting, like any mechanical skill, improves with practice.  The more dogs practice biting, the better they get at it.

Let’s face it, people are human, dogs are canine.  We don’t smell like dogs.  We don’t look like dogs.  We don’t play like dogs.  We don’t eat like dogs.  We don’t sniff butts to understand our neighbors better.  There are plenty of dogs who are reactive to people or other dogs but not both. People don’t like everyone they meet, so why should you expect your dog to? The way dogs react to one another is not relative to how they will react to a human. In fact, there are many dogs who only like certain dogs of a specific size or breed. Some dogs are human aggressive but they love other dogs.  Redirected aggression, where a dog cannot physically reach the object of his aggression and so vents his frustration on the nearest available person or familiar dog is not uncommon, so these dogs will need to be monitored when they are around triggers.  Some dogs may be reactive to both dogs and people, but generally, people and dog reactivity are not related and are separate issues needing to be addressed in separate treatment situations for dogs that exhibit both.

This completes the Top Dog Aggression Myths series. Next time we will look at dog fighting more closely and how to channel that energy in a positive way for a balanced pet.

Information in the current post is based on original content that can be found here

Subscribe to my blog feed for great information on dogs, bully breeds, training and especially our beloved pitbull terriers.

Top Myths of Dog Aggression Part II

17 Feb

Dog aggression is a common problem, just like aggression in people.  It doesn’t matter what nationality you are and it doesn’t matter what breed the dog is.  Aggressive tendencies are linked mainly to social environment, upbringing, and training in both people and dogs.  Here are some myths associated with aggression as it relates to dogs. Awareness is key to understanding how to train your dog and teaches us how to deal with other dogs on a daily basis.  So what is all the fear about anyway?

Let’s re-invent segregation and discrimination against dogs because of what they look like. We can call it breed specific legislation. Government agencies, landlords, insurance companies have found a new way to create a virtual holocaust of canine victims. Proponents would like you to believe that only pit bulls, German Shepherd Dogs, Dobermans, Rottweilers, Chows, etc. are aggressive dogs and that Labs, Goldens, Beagles, and other “nice” dog breeds would never bite.  This is inherently and patently false. Socialization history, the ability of the owner to manage the dog, how well the dog has been taught bite inhibition, and the dog’s life experiences are far more likely to determine his bite risk than his breed.  Don’t believe everything you read. Punish the Deed not the Breed.

There are pit bulls functioning as service dogs.  German Shepherd Dogs are famous for their work with law enforcement, as are Rottweilers, Dobermans, Belgian Malinois, etc.  There are also Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, and Basset Hounds who have sent folks to the hospital for bite treatment.  Dogs of any breed can and will bite.  Some dogs may do more damage than others, some dogs may be more tolerant of the precursors for aggression (see above), some dogs may be more genetically predisposed to having soft mouths, etc., but all dogs can and will bite in a “perfect storm” situation.

People laugh when a small dog growls and bites.  Oh, a Chihuahua?  Biting? It won’t hurt. Small dogs are better around children because they are virtually harmless.  Wrong!  All domestic dogs are equipped with teeth made for biting and tearing prey.  Though a larger dog may have a more powerful bite, small dogs are often times more likely to attack mainly because owners often don’t see a potential threat and fail to properly train them.  It is also easier for a small dog to bite more delicate areas of the body, and attack a child that is more at its level.

Small dogs are picked up and carried around a lot.  This only makes aggression worse! Owners do this to for a number of reasons – they may want to make the dog feel safe or see it as a way of protecting their guests and other dogs from those tiny but razor-sharp teeth.  Little dogs are generally more insecure and imbalanced as a result – think of it as the Napolean complex. If a dog feels insecure, it will bark, growl, and bite in response to its own fears.  Small dogs are often products of puppy mills and inbreeding and poor puppyhood social experience, which makes it even more important to train these dogs and avoid treating them like a child.

Stay tuned for Part III on Dog Aggression Myths coming in a few days….

Information in this post is based on original content that can be found here

Contents are the property of animal lover and proud pit bull owner Angela Bratrud. Reposts and retweets are welcome! Subscribe to my blog feed for great information on dogs, bully breeds, training and especially our beloved pitbull terriers.

Top Myths of Dog Aggression Part I

9 Feb

Myths about dog aggression abound.  These myths put dogs, the people who love them, and the general population at risk. Based on my experience with owning a bully breed I find that this issue needs to be examined further by addressing a few of the many popular myths surrounding dog aggression and reactivity.  I will start this blog with the first myth and will post more in the coming weeks, along with great photos and videos of some dogs who have been put to the test.


A sweet puppy could not possibly grow up to be an aggressive, biting dog, right?  Wrong.  Nurture and nature are generally equally important in the creation of both dog and human behavior and personality.  It is relatively easy to create a reactive or aggressive dog, even in a puppy who has wonderful genetics – even in a puppy for whom grandparents and parents on both sides have been service dogs for generations.

How would you take such a wonderful puppy and create an aggression problem?

  • Don’t socialize the puppy – keep him inside your house or in your yard until his critical socialization windows are closed.  Wait until he is at least six months old before you introduce him to new dogs or people, then wonder why he is “freaking out.”  Wait until he has been rehearsing the behavior for a few years and then contact a trainer, saying “we need to fix this in two days, I’m having a baby this weekend!”  Get frustrated with the trainer when she can’t wave a magic wand and fix it.
  • Avoid teaching him how to use his mouth politely.  When he continues biting without improvement, simply throw him in a crate or relegate him to the back yard, hoping he’ll “grow out of it.”  Do not get help for the situation or reward him for soft-mouth interactions.  Do not hand feed to improve your bond and your dog’s bite inhibition.
  • Use flooding a lot.  If your dog is scared of other dogs, throw him in a room with 50 other large, bouncy, obnoxious dogs.  Keep hoping that “he’ll get over it.”
  • Make sure that the puppy has lots of unpleasant experiences around new people and other dogs.  Yell and jerk him around by his collar a lot.  Avoid setting him up for success, always work with him in environments where you know he will be unable to succeed (over threshold).
  • Ignore the puppy’s stress signals, keep pushing him past the limit of what he can confidently tolerate, thereby teaching him he cannot trust you to keep him safe.
  • Forget that your puppy has the mental functioning capacity of a 9 month old child, treat him like he’s a Guantanamo detainee!  Do lots of things to scare the crap out of the puppy – yell at him, punish him for resource guarding, spank him, shock him, alpha roll him, bite his ears, knee him in the chest if he jumps, etc.  This will teach him early on that the world is a scary place and since his people won’t protect him, defending himself with his teeth is a useful strategy for self-preservation.
  • Stop socializing the puppy the instant he turns four months old.  Avoid introducing him to any new dogs or people until he has reached maturity at 18 months – 4 years of age.
  • Ignore critical periods of development.  Second fear periods would never happen to a “nice” dog, right?
  • Avoid seeking professional assistance at the first sign of a problem.  Hope that it will just “go away on its own.”  Wait until you’re so frazzled by the dog’s behavior that you’re 48 hours away from having him euthanized to seek help, then give your trainer a two day deadline to “cure” him.

Congratulations!  You’ve created an aggression or reactivity problem!

Original Link to Myths taken from: http://blogs.dogster.com/dog-training/category/dog-aggression-myths-a-series/

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