How to Train a Pit Bull to Get Along with Other Dogs

Medium
2-4 Months
Behavior

Introduction

For anyone who has ever owned a Pit Bull, it is well known that they come with a reputation. While Pit Bulls can be some of the most loving and gentle dogs out there, many years of breed specific legislation and media frenzies have given them a bad name. As an owner of a Pit Bull, there are many things you need to keep in mind when training your dog, especially the breed’s tendency to be a little wary around other dogs.

While not all Pitbulls exhibit this trait, the breed is well known for being standoffish around other dogs whether in the home or in public. This behavior can stem from fear or outright aggression, but no matter the cause, it is much more serious coming from a Pit Bull than other breeds without the associated stigma. Aggressive tendencies from your Pit Bull may be seen as a nuisance, or worse, a danger. Your dog depends on you to set him up for success, not failure.

Defining Tasks

Socializing any dog with others of the same species can vary from simple to complex. Attitudes towards other dogs can stem from incidents in early puppyhood, the lack of opportunities to socialize, or traits that are bred into the dog genetically. Your dog counts on you to determine the most likely cause and utilize methods to combat any negative associations with other dogs to create much less stressful encounters.

Unfortunately, not every Pit Bull will find it necessary or inviting to play with other dogs, but with enough work, they can be taught to tolerate others in a fair and calm manner. To avoid having to troubleshoot problems later on, however, it’s recommended that you begin to socialize your Pit Bull as a puppy and carry on this socialization throughout his life to give him the best foot forward. But even if you miss the puppy window, there are still methods available to help an adult Pitbull adjust to the presence of other dogs without raising a fuss. Be prepared to spend several months on socialization either way, as it is an involved process that requires plenty of work to be successful.

Getting Started

Before taking your Pit Bull around any other dogs, be sure that he is vaccinated appropriately. If he has ever shown any indication that he may bite, consider looking into a muzzle to prevent any incidents from occurring. In addition, invest in a strong leash so you can maintain control. Preventing dangerous encounters should be of special importance, even if it isn’t your dog that initiates the encounter.

Following that, find some tasty treats that your Pit Bull especially likes. Try not to use any large treats, bones, or toys that can be fought over, as using these items around other dogs can instigate territorial aggression or resource guarding. The treats should be small and made to be eaten in a single bite.

The Early Method

Most Recommended
1 Vote
Step
1
Start after vaccinations
To give your Pit Bull puppy the best chance at getting along with other dogs, begin as soon as your vet gives you the all clear to take him outside following his vaccinations. Early socialization can give your dog the leg up he needs to prevent aggression from developing later.
Step
2
Set up playdates
Start with friends who own friendly, calm dogs to expose your Pit Bull to the ideal play companions.
Step
3
Keep encounters positive
Watch your dog for signs of stress or fear. Remove him from the situation to calm down if he starts exhibiting these behaviors.
Step
4
Vary the experiences
Allow your dog a chance to see dogs in places other than your home. Be cautious in areas where dogs are off leash. Never allow your dog to approach another without knowing the other dog’s temperament beforehand.
Step
5
Take opportunities
Find chances for your dog to encounter other friendly dogs, whether in a training class, on leash at the park, or out in dog-friendly public areas like pet stores. Continue with these experiences throughout puppyhood and well into adulthood.
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The Tolerance Method

Effective
1 Vote
Step
1
Recognize your dog’s limits
Not every dog will love other dogs. But you can teach him to tolerate them being nearby. Know when your dog is done socializing and know when to remove him from the situation.
Step
2
Keep your distance
If your Pit Bull isn’t overly fond of other dogs, try not to approach other dogs too closely. Maintain a good several yards between you at all times, or more if your dog is still uncomfortable.
Step
3
Work on obedience
If he needs a distraction, ask your Pit Bull to perform a few obedience commands while other dogs are nearby. Reward him for keeping his focus on you.
Step
4
Work your way up
Start with very little distraction such as a dog that is many yards away. Reward your Pit Bull with treats or praise when he ignores it. It may take a few days, but gradually get closer and closer to other dogs, rewarding each time your dog focuses on you instead. If he begins to lose focus, move back to where he was last successful and try again.
Step
5
Accept your dog’s personality
Some dogs are just meant to be people lovers instead. Never force your Pit Bull to interact with other dogs if he is clearly uncomfortable. Consider consulting a behaviorist or trainer if absolutely necessary, but if not, be ready to accept that your dog may never get along with other dogs. Encourage socialization with people instead, if that’s what he prefers.
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The Reinforcement Method

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Step
1
Know your dog’s boundaries
If your Pit Bull is skittish around other dogs, do some testing to see how close another dog has to be before she gets uncomfortable. Do not put your dog in any danger to do this. You should only have another dog get as close as necessary to get a small reaction out of yours.
Step
2
Exercise first
Your dog may be more prone to negative reactions when she has pent up energy. A tired dog may be more lax and calm. Take a long walk or run before meeting up with any other dogs. This can help eliminate stress.
Step
3
Reinforce good behavior
If your dog is displaying signs of welcoming behavior like a happily wagging tail, play stances, or polite sniffs, offer her a treat. These reactions to other dogs are good and you want to attribute them with good things.
Step
4
Meet on neutral grounds
Some dogs can be territorial and less likely to be nice to another dog if it approaches the house. Bring your dog to neutral territory such as a pet store or another safe pet-friendly area where she can meet other dogs.
Step
5
Keep things fun
Make sure your Pit Bull is in a good mood to be meeting other dogs. If she is showing signs of being stressed or afraid, take a step back to where she was last relaxed and try again. Offer treats every time she is behaving calmly and provide plenty of praise before working your way towards other dogs once again.
Step
6
Never punish bad behavior
Verbal reprimands or physical corrections may create negative associations with other dogs. Never use punishment to address your Pit Bull’s responses to other dogs.
Step
7
Be cautious of dogs with behavior issues
Introduce your Pit Bull to dogs that are well mannered and friendly with the owner’s permission. Never allow your dog to approach another without permission from the owner or without knowing how the other dog will react. Avoid dog parks for this reason.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Blu
Pittbull
3 Years
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Question
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Blu
Pittbull
3 Years

My dog had been around other dogs since he was 10 weeks old. Apparently somewhere along the way he started to body bump other dogs. I’ve tried a few different trainers all with no luck. He loves other dogs but he cannot control his excitement and seems to runs at them and bump them. Most dogs will hotnout up with this behavior and taking him to day care has been a problem. How can I stop my too happy 100 pound pittbull from slamming other dogs?? Help I want to keep him social!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
619 Dog owners recommended

Hello Nancy, Some dogs use body bumps as a way to control the movement of other dogs or pester them into playing with them. I suggest teaching an "Out" command (which means leave the area) and working on it around high distractions. Use the "Out" command whenever he starts to get too excited while playing, to give him a cool down time, before letting him return to playing once he is calmer. You want to teach him to recognize his own excitement and learn how to have more impulse control. This might need to be done with an e-collar on a "working level" - which is a lower level that is specific to your dog. You would need to find a trainer with experience using e-collars and finding a dog's "working level". If a trainer doesn't know what a "working level" is don't use them! They probably are not very familiar with e-collars and isn't the person you want. The goal of this training is for the collar to be used on the lowest level that you dog responds to, as a way to interrupt his excited state and help him pay attention to the command you gave him and move away from the other dogs. It's not just a random correction. Training must be done first so that he will understand what to do and not associate it just with the dogs. You would start by simply teaching him "Out" command without the collar so that he learns what the word means and is rewarded with treats for obeying. To teach him an "Out" command, first call him over to you, then toss a treat several feet away from yourself while pointing to the area where you are tossing the treat with the finger of your treat tossing hand and saying "Out" at the same time. Repeat this until he will go over to the area where you point when you say "Out" before you have tossed a treat. When he will do that, then whenever you tell him "Out" and he does not go to where you are pointing, walk toward him and herd him out of the area with your body. Your attitude should be calm and patient but very firm and business like when you do this. When you get to where you were pointing to, then stop and wait until he either goes away or stops trying to go back to the area where you were standing before. When he is no longer trying to get past you, then slowly walk backwards to where you were before. If he follows you, then tell him "Out" again and quickly walk toward him until he is back to where he was a moment ago. Repeat this until he will stay several feet away from where you were when you told him "Out" originally. When you are ready for him to come back, then tell him "OK" in an up beat tone of voice. Practice this training until he will consistently leave the area when you tell him "Out". When he will consistently leave, then practice the training with other areas that you would like for him to leave, such as the kitchen when you are preparing food, a person's space when he is being pushy, an area with a plant that he is trying to dig up, or somewhere with something in your home that he should not be bothering. You would then progress to finding his "Working level" for the e-collar and let him wear the e-collar for about a week whenever you are home to simply get him used to the feel of it to so that he doesn't realize it's the e-collar interrupting him later. Using a long leash, you would then practice "Out" and if he does not immediately leave the area he is in, you would reel him in with the long leash while stimulating the e-collar, until he moved a few feet away from where he is. By doing this you are showing him with the long leash that moving away is how he can make the e-collar stimulation stop. By practicing this, he should learn to move away before he feels the stimulation, right when you say "Out". If he doesn't start to move away within a second, the stimulation should start and the leash should pull him in the direction he should go. You would practice this all under the guidance of a qualified trainer who can help you use the e-collar properly, and you would reward him when he obeys "Out" without depending on the leash or e-collar stimulation, but simply does it on his own, obediently. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Bruno
pitbull
5 Years
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Bruno
pitbull
5 Years

We have puppies now, but Bruno either runs away or growls at them when they get too close.we would like to keep one but from previous experience it wouldn't be good for the puppy as we had one before and had to give him away because both Bruno and June were mean and aggressive towards him... How do I get them to get along?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
619 Dog owners recommended

Hello Refilwe, Honestly, this is not a quick solution. Fear-based dog aggression does take time and a lot of management, and I do suggest hiring a professional trainer who specializes in aggression and fear for this - especially with pups being so small and at risk. Pup needs to be desensitized to the puppy's presence and rewarded for calmness while the puppy is in the room. Your dog and the puppy would need to grow up together with a lot of structure and supervised interactions, to teach both trust and respect for one another. Depending on the root of the aggression: fear, a need for more structure and respect for you in the home, a lack of expose to puppies - but no issues with adult dogs, or resource guarding, there will be further training needed, but the details of that depends on being able to see the dog's interact and ask more questions about pup's history and temperament. If pup's aggression is general toward other dogs too, and not just puppies, joining a G.R.O.W.L. class in your area could also help. A G.R.O.W.L. class is a class for dog aggressive/reactive dogs, where they are all intensively socialized together more quickly in a structured way with all the dogs wearing basket muzzles for safety. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Queeny
Pit bull
4 Years
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Queeny
Pit bull
4 Years

My dog is a fear aggressive dog. She has bit people (it's been 2yrs) She needs to meet people first a few times in order to be comfortable with them. Then she's loveable. She was raised for the first two years by someone else who had a large male dog. I have two cats that she is basically afraid of and avoids them. She's played with other dogs a couple of times inside of my own. She wasn't 100% comfortable with it, but she let another female dog, a French bulldog spend the night, play with her toys, eat her food, they played a little, sat with each other. The other dog was the aggressor and dominant dog. Now my daughter is rescuing a male pitbull who is not neutered and about a year old. I'm terrified of this. I'm terrified of leaving them at home while at work. What do I need to do? This dog is coming from Germany on a plane this Friday and I have had no time to prepare for this. My dog is not crate trained and she will break through any barricade to get upstairs if I try to confine her to one space. Help!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
619 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kristin, First, both dogs need to be crate trained right away. You will probably have to follow a firmer method to stop the escape attempts with queeny. Find a trainer who can help you train both dogs in general. Be sure the trainer knows about her past human aggression to keep everyone safe. Use a stimulation collar (called an e-collar) that also has a vibration mode and at least thirty levels. Find her working level, which is the lowest level that she indicates she feels the collar. Finding level: https://youtu.be/1cl3V8vYobM To make the collar more effective and the least stressful, follow the Quiet method from the article linked below also. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Have Queeny wear the collar around for a couple of days while it is turned off (if there is time before the other dog arrives. If not skip this part). Once she understand what "Quiet" means, put her in her crate with the e-collar on, tell her "Quiet", pretend like you are leaving and go outside. Have a video monitor set up so that you can spy on her with her end on mute. An easy way to do this is with two smart phones or tablets with FaceTime or Skype on mute on her end, or a video baby monitor or GoPro camera with the Live app. When you are outside, when she barks, push the button to correct her right when she barks or tries to escape. When she gets quiet and stops trying to escape for at least two minutes, go back inside, drop a few treats into her crate, tell her "Quiet" one time to remind her to be quiet when you leave, then leave again. Practice the training for up to thirty minutes the first time, going inside to reward whenever she is quiet, then leaving again. You can increase the 30 minutes when she starts to show signs of understanding what she is supposed to do. After 30-60 minutes of practice, go back inside while she is quiet and not trying to escape, reward her with the treats, then do things around the house for ten minutes while she stays in the crate. If she barks, correct with the collar while ignoring her. When she is calm, after ten minutes calmly let her out of the crate using the method from the video linked below: https://youtu.be/mn5HTiryZN8 Doing the training that way helps her understand what the correction is for (disobedience to your quiet command in this case), and the treats help her realize that being quiet equals good things (and is what she is supposed to be doing), which helps her avoid the correction and gives her a choice (you can be frantic and be corrected or be calm and avoid the correction). Doing it this way means less corrections in the long run, and her not working herself up barking/attempting to escape for long periods is also better for her mental and emotional state and teaches her to relax better. Also, be sure to give her interesting food stuffed chew toys in the crate to alleviate his boredom. At first, while she is adjusting to the training and crate she may not eat the food, which is fine, but as she is taught how to be calmer in the crate she will be more likely to want it. For her and the other dog's relationship you need to hire a trainer. That is beyond what I can write here, but crate training both is a vital first step to make sure both dogs are safe. Even without a history of aggression I would never recommend letting two dogs that do not know one another stay in the same space unsupervised, and definitely not one with a history of aggression or an unknown temperament (the new dog). Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Michee
Boxer, beagle, pit mix
4 Years
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Michee
Boxer, beagle, pit mix
4 Years

My dog was a rescue. Looks cute but plays very aggressively. Loves to chase and be chased and nip at other dog's legs. Has had successful socialization. New neighbor moved in with rescue brown pit, 3ish years old about 50 pounds. Nala seems so sweet to humans and has socialized successfully with other sweet dogs. We both have huge back yards and would love for them to interact and be friends. She and Michee were aggressive. barking initially through fence. We walked them together on leash and they were fine. Tried to get them to play off leash and they sound as if they are going to kill each other.Any hints on acclimation between two strong dogs. (Michee has a strong bark, but literally no bite, having inherited the bulldog underbite!)

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
619 Dog owners recommended

Hello Betsy, Continue doing what you started with the walks. Also, practice obedience with them on long leashes in the same general area, but where they cannot reach each other. Practice Come, Heel, Stay, Watch Me, and so forth so that both dogs are focused on humans, earning rewards for being focused on you and calm around the other dog; doing that ensures that the other dog is automatically being associated with those types of calm emotions and pleasant rewards, and the other dog becomes boring (which you want to avoid over-arousal). The walks together should also be focused; with the dogs heeling and following you and Nala's owner, instead of competing to be in front. The dogs need to interact this way for a good while, until the dogs are very familiar with each other and pretty calm and bored around each other (like sibling dogs). Once the dogs know their place with each other, you can try letting them play together again in neutral territory first. Like a fenced-in area that isn't either dog's backyard the first time. If you feel either dog is endanger when you get ready to introduce them again, either do not introduce them and just continue getting them together during walks and training, hire a professional to help you, or get both dogs used to wearing soft silicone basket muzzles ahead of time and having them wear those during the introduction - by pairing the muzzles with the dogs' kibble food and making the experience positive, gradually introducing sniffing, touching, then wearing the muzzle overtime, as they become relaxed around it. Expect the training to take weeks to a couple of months and not days. Enjoy the time together with your neighbor and the chance to mentally stimulate and exercise both dogs as a fun activity in the meantime. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Bodie
Pit bull
4 Years
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Bodie
Pit bull
4 Years

We rescued Bodie from the pound. We are his 3rd or 4th home in his 4 years. He’s a Pit Bull Cane Corso neutered male. We don’t have much info on his behavior only that he bit another dog he lived with over food. We just getting to know him and get him to follow basic commands as we have only had him for a couple weeks. He is super sweet to people ant the only annoying behavior is he appears t be a Velcro dog as he never leaves our sides but we hope this fades some in tone and built trust. But yesterday when the neighbor came over with their leashed border collie Bodie went immediately to attack. So it is apparent he is extremely dog aggressive. Our last pit we adopted was as well and learned to work around it as it was mostly towards other males only. How can I safely break him of this behavior at this stage???

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
619 Dog owners recommended

Hello Trisha, You need to hire a professional trainer who specializes in aggression to help you. Unfortunately that level of aggression can take a lot of commitment and time to address, and is more comprehensive than I can get into here. You need hands on experience. Check out Jeff Gellman from SolidK9Training. He has a YouTube channel with hundreds of dog training videos. He can be a bit gruff but specializes in aggressive dogs and is very experienced. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Izzy
Pit bull
1 Year
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Question
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Izzy
Pit bull
1 Year

My dog is a pit bull mix. She is a year and a half old, I got her from a shelter about three weeks ago. She plays well with humans and seems very friendly with other dogs (besides play biting a little too often/hard). She gets very aggressive with other dogs any time food is around or other dogs are close to her food bowl (even if its empty). She has gotten into a fight (usually instigator) with almost every dog she has been around in the past three weeks. She got into a fight with a friend's dog last night which resulted in me getting bit while I was trying to break up the ordeal. What can I do to correct this behavior?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
619 Dog owners recommended

Hello Camden, First of all, feed her in a locked crate where other dogs cannot bother her and she can relax more around food and have less reason to guard it. Do not free feed (if you do). Instead, place her food down in the morning in the crate for fifteen minutes, then remove it after fifteen minutes if she is not actively eating it or hasn't touched it by then (carefully remove it after letting her out of the crate and the room first, or remove it using a fake hand made out of a glove and a stick). Repeat feeding her this way again in the evening with the evening portion of her food plus whatever she didn't eat at breakfast. You can also feed a lunch while she is adjusting if you simply want to - it is not needed unless she has blood sugar issues though. Her bowl shouldn't be left lying around unless you are specifically practicing training with it or she is actively eating out of it in the crate. With the help of a trainer, attach her leash to something secure but keep it loose enough for her not to feel any tension, then feed her a small amount of food in her bowl. Have another well mannered dog enter the room and reward her whenever she stays calm and tolerant by tossing more food or extra special treats into her bowl. Work with the other dog at a distance that she can stay relaxed at at first. Use a vibration or low level stimulation collar set on her working level to interrupt any aggressive behavior during these sessions - (find a trainer who can help you choose a collar with lots of levels and the correct level for her). Try to manage the situations so that she is likely to succeed the majority of the time by using the correct distances between the dogs. As she improves you can gradually get the dogs a bit close but the other dog should never be by her bowl while she is eating - that creates too much stress for any dog. Toss extra wonderful treats at her whenever the other dog gets closer or does something distracting and she stays calm. The goal is to reward her tolerance and to help her relax around another dog. Be very careful while doing this. I suggest the use of a vibration or stimulation collar for low level corrections to interrupt her as needed because they do not require you to be close to her. There is always the risk of aggression being redirected at you as you have experienced. Have a trainer who is familiar with both positive reinforcement and working level e-collar training and resource guarding help you with this. Ask a lot of questions and be careful which trainer you choose since not all trainers are experienced with aggression. When not practicing the training keep her food bowl up and feed her in a crate in a quiet room so that she feels less anxious about food in general. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Ryker
Pit bull
1 Year
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Ryker
Pit bull
1 Year

I got Ryker when he was 6 weeks old and already had a boxer that was 3 years old. Both are males that have not been neutered. Ryker is now a little over a year old and my boxer is 4. They have always gotten along great until about a week ago. Ryker gets aggressive towards my boxer and they end up fighting. This has happened 3 times already. What do I do?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
619 Dog owners recommended

Hello Christy, Between 1-2 years is when most dogs reach mental and sexual maturity - because of that it is also the age that many temperament related behavior problems arise. The males are probably competing for status, resource guarding, or trying to bully each other. First, you need to watch for what is triggering the fighting. Is one dog guarding an object or person? Trying to dominate another dog/being pushy, or is it related to some other action or circumstance? Once you know what seems to be going on between them you can develop a plan to deal with that behavior. Is there is resource guarding that needs to be addressed with the guarder, and the other dog taught to give more space and not steal objects or be pushy? If the behavior is related to dominance and pushiness, then there needs to be a lot of structure in the house for both dogs. Both dogs need to learn a solid Place command and basically stay on place anytime they are together and you are not giving them directions right now. They need to practice being calm around the other dog, being more submissive in general, being structured, and focused on you - which a long, calm place can help with when done right. It sounds intense but the behavior you have going on is intense and very dangerous for those in your home, so its okay to put the dogs into a boot-camp for a while at home. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Dog Training Do’s https://www.solidk9training.com/sk9-blog/2016/09/08/the-ten-commandments-of-dog-training-and-ownership-do-2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1IH8BFVKRk They should also be crate trained and crated when you are gone, and fed meals in their own crates with the doors locked, so that the other dog cannot bother them while eating - this not only prevents food fights it also helps the dog eating be able to relax, which can help digestion and general food resource guarding habits. I do suggest hiring a trainer to help you with the dogs. There are likely specific things that need to be done for the dogs, but those things will be determined based on exactly what is going on, how the dogs are responding to training, and their body language while interacting with each other - I can't help with those things without being there and hearing more. Look for a trainer who specializes in behavior issues and has a whole lot of experience with aggression. Ask questions, speak to their other clients or read reviews. You want someone with a history of success with aggression. Neutering the dogs will also likely help by decreasing the intensity of competition, testosterone, and fight drive, but it will not fix the issue by itself and it won't change overall personalities. A lot of it is behavior, made worse by the dogs being intact - neutering will likely make training easier and help the dogs respond faster though. Be very careful. Many aggressive dogs will redirect their aggression toward whoever is close if you interrupt during a fight. If you find yourself needing to break up a fight, then make a lot of noise, use water, a couch cushion, or something long (don't go near their heads), and if you absolutely need to grab the dogs, grab the worst one by their hind legs, lift up and pull them back...They will probably try to bite you but doing it this way avoids them being near your face and makes it harder for them to bite you. Ideally, someone else would grab the other dog at the same time and keep them in wheelbarrow position until they calm down enough not to bite you. You may need to have both dogs wear basket muzzles, introducing the muzzles gradually using lots of treats or their food kibble, one piece at a time as rewards for touching and tolerating the muzzle near them, until they are comfortable wearing them. Basket muzzles let them open their mouths still so that they can be given treats through the holes. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Ziggy
Pit bull
6 Years
1 found helpful
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1 found helpful
Ziggy
Pit bull
6 Years

My dog ziggy has already killed two dogs in the pass out of rough play and excitement he has been good with my other pit bull for years I recently got another dog a lab he seems to be doing good we are introducing him with a leash sometimes my bit bull gets shaking and tries to pin the lab down but I don’t Let him but my bit bull mostly ignores him should I trust my pit bull with this lab

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
619 Dog owners recommended

Hello Karen, You should absolutely NOT trust Ziggy with the Labrador given his history. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

I need help! My pit is a rescue. She has killed 2 cats, a dog and attacked my neighbor's dog. She loves people, but is aggressive toward anything with four legs. Oh and she killed 2 wood rats. Help please

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Gucci
pitbull
8 Years
0 found helpful
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Gucci
pitbull
8 Years

We recently had someone move in with a 2 year old female pit/lab and were having trouble getting them to get along. The 2 year old is always very excited but the older dog Gucci keeps starting fights with her. I’m trying to get them to stop fighting in general but I need some help.

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Bella
Pitbull mix
6 Years
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Bella
Pitbull mix
6 Years

My dog grew up with other dogs. She is very gentle and obedient. She had one larger male pit bull and one larger female pitbull as her siblings. After about 3 years old, Bella began to fight with her sister, and has bit her. The male dog also bit this other female dog. All dogs were separated and now Bella lives with me now, and the other female lives with my mom and two new dogs. I am nervous to bring Bella around dogs because of her history with her sister. Is she an aggressive dog? Or was it just she didn’t like her sister? I want her to be around dogs, but I do not want her or any other dogs to be hurt in the process. Please help!!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
619 Dog owners recommended

Hello Mikalya, There are varying degrees of aggression - not all aggression is the same severity. One indicator is whether she drew blood consistently during fights and how many bite marks she left - drawing blood and multiple bites is a lot more severe than when there is no damage after the fight. She may be more prone to getting into fights and have a lower tolerance level in general toward certain personalities/energies, she may also have less impulse control than some dogs. That doesn't necessarily mean she will fight with all dogs though - there may still be some specific dogs she likes and does fine with. I would not bring her somewhere like a dog park though - dog parks are hard for even well-socialized tolerant dogs because of the lack of control owners have, multi-strange dog environment, un-socialized dogs who are sometimes brought there, and the highly aroused state of many of the dogs that go there. She might do fine with structured activities with other dogs, like going on a walk where she and another dog are trained to heel and really focus on you, or practicing obedience in a class environment. For her you want any activities with other dogs right now to be calm things where the focus is on obeying you and not the other dog. Think about her experiences as a puppy if you had her then. Was she around a lot of other puppies places like puppy class, did she go with you to public places and see other dogs often, has she been around a lot of other dogs besides those in your own home? Unfortunately, being around family dogs is not enough to socialize your dog around strange dogs and expect her to do well. If she wasn't regularly exposed to new dogs or in a puppy class with off-leash play, I would be especially careful testing her around other dogs - a lack of socialization drastically increases her chances of not getting along with others. You can get her used to wearing a basket muzzle ahead of time, then when she is totally relaxed while wearing it, practice the passing approach and walking together methods with friend's with well behaved, social dogs with your friends' help and see how she responds to the other dogs. Practice this with several different dogs overtime to get a good idea of her reaction. If she does really well all the times, then take the muzzle off and practice some more and see if she still does well. Even if she does well, I still don't suggest bringing her somewhere like the dog park though because she may have a lower tolerance level during play than some dogs or when aroused, but if you practice the walking exercise above and she does great, you can feel better about calm interactions with other dogs. Passing Approach and Walking Together methods for introducing dogs: https://wagwalking.com/training/greet-other-dogs To introduce the muzzle, first place it on the ground and sprinkle her meal kibble around it. Do this until she is comfortable eating around it. Next, when she is comfortable with it being on the floor with food, hold it up and reward her with a piece of kibble every time she touches or sniffs it in your hand. Feed her her whole meal this way. Practice this until she is comfortable touching it. Next, hold a treat inside of it through the muzzle's holes, so that she has to poke her face into it to get the treat. As she gets comfortable doing that, gradually hold the treat further down into the muzzle, so that she has to poke his face all the way into the muzzle to get the treat. Practice until she is comfortable having her face in it. Next, feed several treats in a row through the muzzle's holes while she holds her face in the muzzle for longer. Practice this until she can hold her face in it for at least ten seconds while being fed treats. Next, when she can hold her face in the muzzle for ten seconds while remaining calm, while her face is in the muzzle move the muzzle's buckles together briefly, then feed her a treat through the muzzle. Practice this until she is not bothered by the buckles moving back and forth. Next, while she is wearing the muzzle buckle it and unbuckle it briefly, then feed a treat. As she gets comfortable with this step, gradually keep the muzzle buckled for longer and longer while feeding treats through the muzzle occasionally. Next, gradually increase how long she wears the muzzle for and decrease how often you give her a treat, until she can calmly wear the muzzle for at least an hour without receiving treats more than two treats during that hour. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Boss
Pit bull
2 Years
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Boss
Pit bull
2 Years

My handsome 2 year old blue nose pit I have had since the day he was born since I had his mother father and grandfather they are no longer with us since they have passed away but I alSo have had my now 3 year old Chihuahua since he was born now my two boys get along fine with each other but they both are aggressive towards outside dogs they both will try to fight any other dog that comes within their eye sight I always have my pit bull on a chain or leash and both are always supervised but occasionally they slip out and go after another dog and while I appreciate the fact that they have each other's backs I have had to pull a couple dogs out of my pit bulls mouth be hasn't killed one yet thank God but he shakes them pretty hard or rolls them on the ground aggressively I didn't raise either one of them to be this way they have been around other dogs their whole life so how do I stop this behavior and what could be the reason behind it

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
619 Dog owners recommended

Hello Cotie, Aggression can be genetic, it can be learned from another dog, it can be from pent-up frustration, it can be simply because the dog gets to practice it over and over and is successful, it can be from fear...Having a second dog acting that way probably makes things worse too because they will feed off of each other's arousal. The first thing that needs to happen is better safety measures. I would put in a six foot fence and bury an electric fence two feet in front of it so that the dogs cannot even approach the physical fence to attempt to dig or climb. Do not use an electric fence by itself though - it won't work and can make things worse. There needs to be a physical fence, like wood that is a physical and visual barrier. Second, right now the dogs are seeing other dogs, reacting aggressively, watching the dogs leave, and feeling very satisfied and highly aroused - feeding even more off of each other's energy. They are essentially practicing their aggression over and over again - and practice makes perfect. That's one reason I suggest getting a physical fence with the added safety measure of an electric fence. Third, check out Jeff Gellman from SolidK9Training and Sean O'Shea from the Good Dog Training - both on youtube. Always take safety precautions for yourself, the dogs, and the dogs they want to attack while training. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Charlie
American Pit Bull Terrier
3 Years
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Charlie
American Pit Bull Terrier
3 Years

I will start off saying my dog's behavior has a slight back story:
My family initially adopted Charlie with our other dog Storm, another APBT, who is her biological brother. And they basically were never apart--slept together, ate together, played together, and played with other dogs together. Unfortunately, someone stole Storm (he was a blue nose grey pit) and left Charlie. After he was gone she became antisocial and wasn't really nice to other dogs--she almost bit a lost chihuahua we found after she saw us playing with him (This was almost 2 years ago, before I left to college ). Ever since, my parents have kind of kept her inside because they are extremely busy with work and they're scared she's going to attack another dog. Due to this, she wasn't going out often and was refusing to eat sometimes and was super lazy. I came home this summer and finally decided I wanted to take her back with me to school because she wasn't happy. So this summer before I head back, I've been really trying my hardest to turn her around. It's been working very well! I play with her everyday, I take her on walks, reward her and give her all the attention she needs. She's even started eating more often and has gained weight and just seems happier over all.
So Here's the problem:
She hasn't had too much of an opportunity to be exposed to many other dogs--she's encountered the occasional 1 or 2 on walks (and she's really good at not barking at them, she has more of a problem of staying in her own lane) And she'll be moving back with me to the super dog friendly town of Austin, TX in a pet friendly apartment. I'm scared she won't be used to being around dogs so frequently and might revert back to this aggressive behavior. She's not dominant aggressive for sure, she's the most introverted dog ever (she likes to evaluate and stay away until she feels comfortable--which takes about an hour or two) , she's super sweet and loving, she's grown up with kids so she's people and kid friendly. What can I do help her adjust to this change of environment (house to apartment)? And how can I introduce her to playing with other dogs again?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
619 Dog owners recommended

Hello Cionne, First, I would make your goal calm interactions and co-existing and not playing. At her age if she wasn't socialized around lots of other puppies while young she might get to the point where she is good around others and getting highly aroused and then into a fight during play set her back, or another dog get that way and bully her and set her back. Think about a Service Dog and the types of interactions they have with others after puppihood (in puppy-hood they play but later it's structured calm interactions). See if there is a local dog walking or hiking group in your area or a group of friends with really well behaved social dogs and go on structured heeling walks with them (heeling is a good dog social activity but the energy is calm and focused on a task and people and not highly aroused and competitive like a dog park)...Check local training groups, meetup.com, ect...for groups. See if there is an obedience class with great reviews in your are - especially an intermediate one if she already knows her basic commands - practicing commands with lots of other dogs around is also a great social activity that has calmer energy and can help desensitize her to others. Keep any meetings with other dogs no more than three seconds while on leash, with the loose leash during the greeting to remove tension from the situation, and after 3 seconds say "Let's Go" happily, start walking away and reward with a treat when she follows you so she will learn to follow quickly and stay happy - short interactions can help prevent fights which could set her back because there is less time for dogs to start sizing each other up after the initial hello. Go places where there are lots of dogs like parks, and practice obedience in those areas to desensitize her to the dogs and simply expose her more, but keep the energy calm and focused so dogs are associated with that fun but calm experience. Get together with friends with well behaved dogs and host your own mini obedience class where the dogs practice things like Sit and Down Stays, and one in Down-stay while the other dog practices Come, and heeling together...Again structure and calmness, and making other dogs seems normal and almost boring is the goal...lots of excitement and arousal can increase adrenaline and lead to fights if you are already worried about one. You want your dog to learn to be super calm and nonchalant about others. If dogs look too rambunctious, aggressive, or badly behaved are asked to meet your dog, tell them your dog is in training and no. Be picky about who she meets right now...choose well behaved, social calm dogs - you want her to build a foundation of associating dogs with that right now, then if she meets a crazy one later she doesn't think that's the normal and dislike all dogs. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Valkyrie "Val"
Pit bull
7 Months
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Question
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Valkyrie "Val"
Pit bull
7 Months

So we just adopted her yesterday. She is great with us, kids included. Now with our older beagle mix (10 years old) she has shown some aggression. I know some of it may be trying to show dominance but I want to correct any bad behavior as soon as possible so we can all live together peacefully. Now that being said our older dog is usually laid back but she has been growling at her as well. We are trying to give them their own space though we don't have largest house, with a gradual intro, but they both want to be in our presences. They are doing better today, not growling each time they are close, but Val did nip Daisy's ear and cause her to bleed a little. So that was a set back with them. I told her don't bite and put her in kennel for a little bit but not sure this is the correct thing to do. I want to do positive reinforcement but if older dog is growling too, is this instigating Val's behavior? I have been showing extra love when they interact well together. Will be getting treats as well to continue positive reinforcement with this, but I don't want Val to be negative with other dogs as well as with our Daisy girl. We do have a 7 year old son and I have a 6 month old daughter. Biting has to be controlled. I want the kids to be able to play with dogs and not be in fear of biting. Like I said no aggression has been towards human family just towards the other dog but kids being low to ground and near dogs I don't want them to get hurt in the crossfire of doggy dispute. Please help.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
619 Dog owners recommended

Hello Day, First, continue to use the crates when you cannot supervise the dogs together directly. Feed both dogs in separate locked crates at meal times. Follow the Crate Manners exercise linked below to help with overall attitude and impulse control skills as well. Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Surprise method - use this method with new dog in addition to crate manners exercise if he isn't crate trained yet: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Second, teach both dogs the Out command (which means leave the area) and make whoever is causing issues leave the area as needed - including if pup is hovering around water bowl to guard. Out command: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Decide what your house rules are for both dogs and you be the one to enforce the rules instead of the dogs. No aggression, no pushiness, no stealing toys, no stealing food, no being possessive of people or things, or any other unwanted behavior - if one dog is causing a problem you be the one to enforce the rules so that the dogs are NOT working it out themselves. For example, if pup comes over to your other dog when he is trying to leave, tell pup Out. If he obeys, praise and reward him. If he disobeys, stand in front of your other dog, blocking the pup from getting to him, and walk toward pup calmly but firmly until pup leaves the area and stops trying to go back to your other dog. If you’re your older dog growls at pup, make him leave the room while also disciplining pup if needed. Be vigilant and take the pressure off of your dogs - you want them to learn to look to you when there is a problem, and for them to learn respect for each other because you have taught it to them and not because they have used aggression. Teach both dogs the Place command and work up to having them both stay on their separate Place beds calmly for 1-2 hours. This is a great calming, self-control building, and tolerance exercise. It also helps get them both in a working, more respectful mindset while in the same room as each other. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Finally, work on manners and building respect and trust for you with both dogs. Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Working method and Consistency method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Its extremely important that both dogs respect you, allow you to make and enforce rules, are in a calmer mindset at home, and are not allowed to be jealous, pushy with you, or begging for attention/other things from you...If two dogs are vying to be in charge, the human really needs to be viewed as the one in charge and all the dogs follow the person's rule instead of the dog's making and enforcing rules for each other. You also don't want to allow the dogs to be pushy to get your attention or guard you from the other dog because that behavior is related to resource guarding (of people not just toys or things) and will cause fights. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Oynx
Pit bull
1 Year
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Oynx
Pit bull
1 Year

Hello! I adopted this precious furry baby at the Indianapolis Animal Care Services. He is about one, and mixed with an American Bulldog Mixed with a Pitbull. One thing we have noticed is his temperement when he sees other dogs. He is fine with some dogs if he gets to know them and smell them, but when meeting or at a glance he freaks out and tries to bite the leash off. He will screech, and whine until we get on him about it. He is friendly with humans, but is iffy with dogs. What can we do to correct this behavior? We don't know his history besides that he was in there for about a week until we rescued him. He loves to snuggle and play with his toys, but when it comes to seeing another dog it's like a switch goes off and he turns aggressive. I would love some feedback, thank you! - Brooke

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
619 Dog owners recommended

Hello Brooke, First, I suggest working on building his respect and trust for you so that he will let you handle situations and defer to your judgement in situations that are hard for him. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Second, I suggest hiring a professional trainer who is very experienced with aggression and reactivity to help you with the next part. Be aware that an aggressive or reactive dog can redirect that aggression to whoever is closest (you) when in that state, even if they are normally fine with people - it's a product of their frustration about the other dog and not because they directly have any issues with people - therefore, safety measures need to be taken to keep everyone safe while training and to be aware. This is one of the reasons I suggest hiring help for this behavior - the biting the leash indicates a bit of redirecting already. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XY8s_MlqDNE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZbdrQd--wo&t=65s Once he is calmer around other dogs, then you can use calm praise and mild rewards for focusing on you, being calm, and being tolerant around other dogs. Practicing obedience, like a structured heel to give him something to "do" other than focus on the dogs to keep him in a calmer state of mind. Finally, see if there is a G.R.O.W.L. class in your area - that class is for dog aggressive or reactive dogs who all wear muzzles during the class and are intensively socialized around other dogs more quickly using structured activities like heeling. Ask a lot of questions when choosing a trainer to make sure they are experienced with this type of behavior - many trainers only teach obedience or are only familiar with fear-based aggression, and not all aggression is fear based (although that could be part of it). I don't recommend letting him nose to nose greet other dogs right now. Tell other owners "he's in training and can't meet". Avoid rough play situations and off-leash dog parks (he is a dog who should probably never go to those types of parks or any improvement could be lost because of the highly arousing and unstructured environment that's too much for many dogs). Instead, to maintain socialization once he does well around other dogs, go on group walks with others and their dogs - where the dogs all are heeling, go on hikes with such groups in heel, practice obedience with others - such as classes or friends getting together with their dogs to practice - generally, calm, structured activities around other dogs should be the goal. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Bobo
Pit bull
9 Months
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Bobo
Pit bull
9 Months

When we got bobo he was nine weeks old and raised with our beagle they are best friends but we recently got a black lab he is nine months old and very big bobo is very aggressive towards him he does not want him near his bed or near us he is very jealous and getting very aggressive the lab is so sweet but don’t know if we will be able to keep him because bobo is not happy having a new dog around

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
619 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ian, Below I can go over somethings I would suggest implementing with both dogs, but the truth is that you really need a professional trainer to help you implement the following and oversee the entire thing. There is a very real risk of you being caught in the middle of a fight or aggression being redirected toward whoever is closest (you possibly) so this isn't a situation I would recommend handling on your own. It may be something that can be addressed effectively but it will probably require changing the way you interact with both dogs, the amount of structure the dogs have in their lives, and the amount of management you have to do. Some people are up for that challenge and others are not, so it may or may not be a good situation for you guys. First, crate train both dogs using the crate manners and Surprise methods from the article and video linked below. Feed both dogs in separate locked crates at meal times. Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Second, teach both dogs the Out command (which means leave the area) and make whoever is causing issues leave the area as needed - including if pup is hovering around water bowl to guard. Out command: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Decide what your house rules are for both dogs and you be the one to enforce the rules instead of the dogs. No aggression, no pushiness, no stealing toys, no stealing food, no being possessive of people or things, or any other unwanted behavior - if one dog is causing a problem you be the one to enforce the rules so that the dogs are NOT working it out themselves. For example, if pup comes over to your other dog when he is trying to leave, tell pup Out. If he obeys, praise and reward him. If he disobeys, stand in front of your other dog, blocking the pup from getting to him, and walk toward pup calmly but firmly until pup leaves the area and stops trying to go back to your other dog. If you’re your older dog growls at pup, make him leave the room while also disciplining pup if needed. Be vigilant and take the pressure off of your dogs - you want them to learn to look to you when there is a problem, and for them to learn respect for each other because you have taught it to them and not because they have used aggression. Teach both dogs the Place command and work up to having them both stay on their separate Place beds calmly for 1-2 hours. This is a great calming, self-control building, and tolerance exercise. It also helps get them both in a working, more respectful mindset while in the same room as each other. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Finally, work on manners and building respect and trust for you with both dogs. Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Working method and Consistency method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you You will also need to address the resource guarding. I don't recommend tackling that on your own. It needs to be done using a back tie leash, e-collar, food rewards and careful management. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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harley
Pit bull
2 Years
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harley
Pit bull
2 Years

My toy poodle is 5, I just recently rehomed/adopted Harley into our family, Harley is around 2 -3 yrs. However she was a stray and ive seen she has some scars im guessing from dog fights. She is submissive to my toy poodle, other dogs when i introduced harley to my brothers rescue dog around the same size as her They almost fought which we pulled them away before things got serious. Later that day, they were fine for awhile they even playfighted. The next morning my brother brought his dog back over and they almost fought again? Since I dont know her past I find it weird she gets along and is submissive to my 8lb poodle yet with other dogs she is aggressive, and let me tell you my toy poodle will tell her what she doesnt like with a bark or a little growl and Harley will walk away. How can i socialize her more with other dogs without worrying they will fight and is there any tips on how i can get my toy poodle to be friendlier with her, or will that just take more time.maybe?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
619 Dog owners recommended

Hello Destiny, Honestly, it may be your poodles' size that helps her do well around her. Harley may recognize your poodle as different enough than the dogs she may have fought to not associate your poodle with those negative experiences. It could also simply be personality - dogs, like people, do like some dogs better than others based simply on who that dog is. To get Harley more used to other dogs, check out the Passing Approach method and the Walking Together methods from the article linked below. Going on structured walks with other dogs or participating in structured doggie group activities, like obedience classes, are great ways to socialize a dog around other dogs without the direct confrontation of a nose to nose greeting. The Passing Approach method will be easier than the Walking Together method so I suggest starting with the Passing Approach method. Once pup is calm doing that, then transition to the Walking Together method. Recruit friend's with well behaved dogs to help with this, hire a trainer with well behaved dogs to practice this with, or see if you can find an obedience club or group that works on such things - going on structured dog walks together or on-leash hikes with dogs. Start with one-on-one dogs until pup can handle that well before going on walks with groups of dogs though. https://wagwalking.com/training/greet-other-dogs Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Rori
pitbull
10 Months
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Rori
pitbull
10 Months

Hi, so my fiancée and I just introduced a new puppy (Lilly) into the family. My 10 month old pit (rori) is pretty good with her, but for some reason she has become food aggressive when Lilly comes up to her while eating, or if the bag of food is on the ground rori won’t let her by it. I can stick my hand and face in rori’s food and she is fine but i also have a 6 month old so it kind of scares me if she’s like that with the puppy what will she be like if the baby crawls over to her while eating. How can i help rori feel comfortable with the puppy being around while she eats?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
619 Dog owners recommended

Hello Morgan, First, feed both dogs in separate locked crates - this better manages the situation but also removes the stress surrounding eating and being worried another dog will steal their food - which also helps with the behavior itself. This is especially important as you baby grows and may crawl over to the dog's bowls. Crate Manners - great calmness and gentle respect building exercise : https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Surprise method - for introducing crate for first time: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Second, I suggest teaching both dogs Out (which means leave the area) and Place - which is similar to Stay but on a certain spot and they can sit, stand, or lie down but can't get off the spot. Practicing Place with both dogs in the same room on separate place beds can help facilitate calmness around each other and respect for you. Out is great for giving direction and giving a consequence of leaving the room when there is pushiness or mild resource guarding. Out command: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Decide what your house rules are for both dogs and you be the one to enforce the rules instead of the dogs. No aggression, no pushiness, no stealing toys, no stealing food, no being possessive of people or things, or any other unwanted behavior - if one dog is causing a problem, you be the one to enforce the rules so that the dogs are NOT working it out themselves. For example, if pup comes over to your other dog when he is trying to sleep, tell pup Out. If he obeys, praise and reward him. If he disobeys, stand in front of your other dog, blocking the pup from getting to him, and walk toward pup calmly but firmly until pup leaves the area and stops trying to go back to your other dog. If your older dog pushes pup or gets between you and pup uninvited, tell your older dog Out and enforce him leaving. When he is waiting for his turn patiently, then send pup to place and invite Dexter over - no demanding of attention right now from either dog. Make them wait or do a command first to work for your attention if pushiness is an issue, and make them leave if being pushy or aggressive. If your older dog growls at pup, make him leave the room while also carefully disciplining pup if pup antagonized him. Be vigilant and take the pressure off of your dogs - you want them to learn to look to you when there is a problem, and for them to learn respect for each other because you have taught it to them and not because they have used aggression. When pup first enters the room, give your older dog a treat without pup seeing so pup is associated with good things for your older dog - treats stop when pup leaves. When your older dog is being calm, tolerant, and friendly without acting dominant and pushy toward pup, you can also calmly give a treat. Keep the energy calm when interacting with the dogs. Don't feel sorry for either dog but give clear boundaries instead. With the help of a trainer you also need to desensitize your dog to pup being near his food. This would look like feeding pup and carefully walking pup past at a distance where your dog notices but won't react aggressively and rewarding a good response from your older dog and correcting a bad response. Because a dog can redirect their aggression to whoever is closest if they are aroused enough get professional help with this part to ensure safety and that it's done correctly to improve the aggression and not make it worse. Practicing this without the right rewards and timing of corrections both - but just walking pup around without those things, can actually make things worse, so communication with your dog here is super important. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Rocco
Pit bull
4 Years
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Rocco
Pit bull
4 Years

My 4 year old pit bull has always had fence aggression and we had another pit in our home that recently passed. When I take him on walks he freaks out when he sees another dog. He isn’t growling he makes high pitched noises but tries to charge at them. Makes it difficult for me to walk him. We moved into an apartment while our house is being built and there are lots of dogs around us and I am constantly having to take him out on a leash. My husband does not have this problem with him, so why do I? I want to be able to take my dog for a walk and be next to other dogs with him without the added stress. He loves to play but this doesn’t seem like I’m racing to play with another dog. He is fixed 3 legged and up to date on all shots.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
619 Dog owners recommended

Hello Stephanie, Your husband's body language, leash handling skills, or quite honestly gender could be the difference. Dogs tend to naturally respect men more easily than they do women (possibly build or tone of voice), but your husband also might act more confident, be calmer, or keep the walks more structured than you do. Regardless of why, since he is only reacting poorly when you are handling him there probably is a lack of respect for you from pup. Hello Allie, I suggest working on the structure of your walk first. You want pup to be working during the walk - having to stay behind you, focus on you, perform commands periodically, and not have his mind on scanning the area in search of other dogs. The walk should start with him having to exit your home very calmly, performing obedience commands at the door if he isn't calm. He should wait for permission ("Okay" or "Free" or "Let's Go") before going through the door instead of bolting through if that's an issue. When you walk he should be in the heel position - with his head behind your leg. That position decreases his arousal, reduces stress because he isn't the one in charge and the one encountering things first. It prevents him from scanning for other dogs, staring dogs down or being stared down, and ignoring you behind him. It also requires him to be in a more submissive, structured, focused, calmer mindset - which has a direct effect on how aroused, stressed, and aggressive he is - it makes him feel like the responsibility is on your shoulders not his around other dogs. Additionally, when you do pass other dogs, as soon as he starts staring them down, interrupt him. Don't tolerate challenging stares at other dogs. Remind him with a fair correction that you are leading the walk and he is not allowed to break his heel or stare another dog down. It is far easier to deal with reactivity when you interrupt a dog early in the process - before they are highly aroused and full of adrenaline and cortisol, and to keep the dog in a less aroused/calmer state to begin with. This also makes the walk more pleasant for him in the long-run. Leading the walk this way can actually boost a dog's confidence in the long run around other dogs because the dog feels like you will handle the situation so they can relax. Be picky about which dogs he greets. Avoid nose-to-nose greetings dogs who lack manners. A simple "He's in training" tends to work well. Be picky about who and how he meets other dogs. Avoid dogs that don't respect his space, pull their owners over to her, and generally are not listening well - those dogs are often friendly but they are rude and difficult for some to meet on leash. Also, avoid greeting dogs who look very tense around your dog, who stare him down, who give warning signs like a low growl or lip lift, who look very puffed up and proud - that type greeting with a dog is likely to end in a fight since your dog doesn't know how to diffuse that situation. A stiff wag is also a bad sign. A friendly wag looks relaxed and loose with relaxed body language overall. A tense dog with a very stiff wag, especially with a tail held high is a sign of arousal and not always a good thing. Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Reactive dog - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XY8s_MlqDNE Aggressive dog - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Outside of the walk you can work on building pup's trust and respect for you in other ways too. The following commands and exercises are also good for that: If nervousness is ever an issue - Agility/obstacles for building confidence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elvtxiDW6g0 Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M A long down stay around distractions is a good thing to practice during walks periodically. A good way to do introductions with other dogs is to recruit friends with calm dogs and use the Passing Approach and the Walking together methods from the article linked below. After a few practice session of this, when the dogs can calmly walk side by side finally, take pups on walks together with both in a structured, focused heel. This gives both dogs something other than each other to focus on, keeps their energy calm, and helps them associate each other with the pleasant experience of a walk. Repeat this with lots of different dogs, one or two dogs at a time - you want other dogs to be associated with calmness, pleasant experiences, and boring things - not roughhousing, wrestling, nose-to-nose interactions always, or being rushed by them. https://wagwalking.com/training/greet-other-dogs Sometimes you can even find others to practice with through obedience clubs, meetup groups, or hiking groups. When he does greet another dog nose-to-nose, give slack in the leash, relax yourself, and keep the greeting to a max of 3 seconds, then happily tell him "Let's Go" or "Heel" and start walking away, giving him a treat when he follows so that she will learn to quickly respond to that command in the future. Keeping the greeting relaxed and short can diffuse tension and give the dogs enough time to say hi before competing starts. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Brida
Pitbull mix
4 Years
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Brida
Pitbull mix
4 Years

We adopted our beautiful hearted pit Brida about 6 months ago. She was already 4yrs old when we adopted her, so we were not sure what challenges we would face. All we knew is she was delighted with our two small children and that was what we wanted. From day one we worked hard to develope a firm but loving owner/dog relationship. She respects us, and although she comes from a stubborn breed she is so smart and has become extremely obedient and willing to please her family. She is well behaved with children, people, and over time she has become not only accepting of our cats but truly good with them. Our issue however is her aggression toward other dogs. After watching her attack our vacuum cleaner because she was afraid of it haha...I'm assuming this is why she trys to attack other dogs, fear. I dont know what to do about it. When we first got her she had NO issues w other dogs. I could even take her into the pet store...but as soon as she became close and secure with ourfamily, she started fearing or attacking other dogs. I thought maybe she was protecting my children, but she does it without them present. For 3 to 4 months I was vigilant about her training. We use the reward system. It would go well and then just fizzle. After months I was exhausted...at the end of the day she was just not going to change her reaction to other dogs. It's only getting worse. I cant believe the dog who my children sleep beside and take baths with turns into this red eyed snarling beast! The switch is scary. I am not sure how to handle this. Unfortunately we live in a suburb where the houses are close together until next fall so in order for her to get her exercise in she has to walk past numerous dogs. I'm lost on how to handle this...I dont need her to befriend other dogs, just stop being so mean to them.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
619 Dog owners recommended

Hello Karla, I highly suggest hiring a professional, private trainer who specializes in aggression and behavior issues to help you. With any aggression a dog in an aggressive state can redirect aggression toward whoever is closest while aroused to it needs to be dealt with carefully. I suggest working on the structure of your walk first. You want pup to be working during the walk - having to stay behind you, focus on you, perform commands periodically, and not have her mind on scanning the area in search of other dogs. The walk should start with her having to exit your home very calmly, performing obedience commands at the door if she isn't calm. She should wait for permission ("Okay" or "Free" or "Let's Go") before going through the door instead of bolting through if that's an issue. When you walk she should be in the heel position - with her head behind your leg. That position decreases her arousal, reduces stress because she isn't the one in charge and the one encountering things first. It prevents her from scanning for other dogs, staring dogs down or being stared down, and ignoring you behind her. It also requires her to be in a more submissive, structured, focused, calmer mindset - which has a direct effect on how aroused, stressed, and aggressive she is - it makes her feel like the responsibility is on your shoulders not hers around other dogs. Additionally, when you do pass other dogs, as soon as she starts staring them down, interrupt her. Don't tolerate challenging stares - even if she is stressed. Remind her with a gentle correction that you are leading the walk and she is not allowed to break her heel or stare another dog down. It is far easier to deal with reactivity when you interrupt a dog early in the process - before they are highly aroused and full of adrenaline and cortisol, and to keep the dog in a less aroused/calmer state to begin with. This also makes the walk more pleasant for her in the long-run. Leading the walk this way can actually boost a dog's confidence in the long run around other dogs because the dog feels like you will handle the situation so they can relax. Protect her from other dogs. If she feels nervous and someone wants to let her meet their rude, excited dog, tell the other person no thank you. A simple "She's in training" tends to work well. Be picky about who and how she meets other dogs. Avoid dogs that don't respect her space, pull their owners over to her, and generally are not listening well - those dogs are often friendly but they are rude and difficult for a nervous dog. Also, avoid greeting dogs who look very tense around your dog, who stare her down, who give warning signs like a low growl or lip lift, who look very puffed up and proud - that type greeting with a dog is likely to end in a fight since your dog doesn't know how to diffuse that situation. A stiff wag is also a bad sign. A friendly wag looks relaxed and loose with relaxed body language overall. A tense dog with a very stiff wag, especially with a tail held high is a sign of arousal and not always a good thing. Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Reactive dog - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XY8s_MlqDNE Aggressive dog - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Outside of the walk you can work on building pup's trust and respect for you in other ways too to help her confidence. Although it sounds like you are off to a good start with all the obedience you have already done with her! The following commands can especially help with teaching her impulse control: Agility/obstacles for building confidence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elvtxiDW6g0 Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Any tricks that challenge her mentally, require impulse control, and equal her learning new things successfully. A long down stay around distractions is a good thing to practice during walks periodically. With the help of a trainer, a good way to do introductions with other dogs is to practice the Passing Approach and the Walking together methods from the article linked below with others who have calm, well mannered dogs. After a few practice session of this, when the dogs can calmly walk side by side finally, take pups on walks together with both in a structured, focused heel. This gives both dogs something other than each other to focus on, keeps their energy calm, and helps them associate each other with the pleasant experience of a walk. Repeat this with lots of different dogs, one or two dogs at a time - you want other dogs to be associated with calmness, pleasant experiences, and boring things - not roughhousing, wrestling, nose-to-nose interactions always, or being rushed by them. https://wagwalking.com/training/greet-other-dogs Finally, see if there is a G.R.O.W.L. class in your area. A G.R.O.W.L. class is a class for dog aggression or dog reactive dogs, who all wear basket muzzles during class and are intensively socialized together in a structured way to help the dogs get more comfortable with other dogs. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Big girl
Rednose pit
3 Years
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Big girl
Rednose pit
3 Years

We got Big girl when my daughter found her and two other rednose pits on streets we took all three in and two found homes for she has been raised around a boxer pit male and two small dogs Big girl and my pom-chi both same age fought Prvo together and lived. Big girls was my daughters dog until my daughter wasn't around much so big girl became our dog most my husbands. Well my pom-chi had puppies and keep one which big girl and the new born puppy played always we started having an issue of Big Girl attacking the small dogs not hurting them but holding them down no bite or blood well then Moo passed away unexpectedly about month ago well about four days ago Big Girl attacked the pom-Chi and if hubby wouldn't been here to put hands in her month to keep her from ripping pom-chi head off she would of my pom-chi had two deep puncher wounds one on on thoart and couple smaller one and my hubby also had smaller bites on his hands thank God my pom-chi lived but don't know what to do scared keep her because what if she kills one them but don't want to get rid her either she is family please help

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
619 Dog owners recommended

Hello Holly, You need to hire professional help from a trainer who specializes in aggression. Check out Jeff Gellman from SolidK9Training on Youtube and on https://www.solidk9training.com/ Also check out Sean O'Shea from the Good Dog on YouTube. Look for a trainer who trains and has similar experience. If either of those trainers are close enough for you to be able to work with them, someone they recommend, or travel to them to do board and train with them I highly suggest contacting them. This is an emergency and likely not something you can deal with on your own. The average obedience class instructor won't have the aggression experience you need. You will need to find a trainer who specializes in behavior issues and regularly deals with aggression. I am very sorry this is happening. I know it must be horrible for you. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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NALA
Pit Lab
Two Years
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NALA
Pit Lab
Two Years

My dogs loves to play with other dogs but she can get very dominant and most dogs don't like that, how can I allow her to be able to play without being so dominant over the other dogs? is this just in her personality?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
619 Dog owners recommended

Hello Abby, If the issue is in your own household, then having rules and structure for all the dogs, and working to gain all the dogs trust and respect can help decrease competitiveness often. If the issue is with dogs that aren't your own, like at the dog park, your best bet is management. Work on a Leave It and Come command and practice on a long leash around distractions when not at the dog park (don't use a long leash or food in a dog park - it can cause fights). Once she is very reliable with those commands, use those commands to give her breaks when she starts to get too aroused around the other dogs. There isn't a great way to modify her behavior in this area in that type of setting, but giving her better boundaries can help manage it and may even help her learn how to regulate herself better. Her attitude toward the other dogs likely won't change directly, but if she is respectful of you and listening well to you, she can modify her behavior out of respect for you - even though she may not respect another dog. The best place to practice this is a private fenced in area with only one other well behaved dog she knows. You and the other person can practice calling both dogs apart and enforcing commands - trying to keep things calm and less aroused during training to avoid potential fights. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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maggie
Blue Nose Pit
2 Years
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maggie
Blue Nose Pit
2 Years

We would like to introduce Maggie our Pit to our daughters German Shepard puppy (10 weeks old). Maggie is new to our family as well. About 2 months. So far she does not like to have other other dogs get close to her. She still listens to commands but not happy with other dogs getting close to her humans. Suggestions? Since the other Dog is a puppy does is that a good or bad thing?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
619 Dog owners recommended

Hello Boyd, Is sounds like she may be resource guarding people is the issues are primarily related to that. I suggest hiring a professional trainer to help you with this in person. Look for a trainer who will work with you one on one and specializes in behavior issues and aggression. I would start by addressing the potential resource guarding through building her respect for you. Doing things like practicing Place, thresholds, crate manners, heeling walks, and having her work for what she gets in life by doing a command like Sit or Down First. Check out the article linked below on ways to gently build respect. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you A well socialized dog will usually be more tolerant of a puppy than another adult, but that is only true for a dog that is healthy in that areas. A dog that is dog aggressive can be just as aggressive or more aggressive toward a puppy if they lack good impulse control and tolerance. This is one of the reasons I suggest working with a professional for this. A professional can more safely guide that and assess how Maggie does, opposed to how a general dog would be, then tailor the training accordingly. I generally suggest introducing two new dogs to each other on a walk in a low confrontational, walking in the same direction type approach (not face to face nose greeting). Check out the Passing Approach and Walking Together methods from the article linked below. Start with the passing approach method. If the dogs get to the point where they can pass each other calmly from a few feet away, then switch to the walking together method. I wouldn't let them get close enough to actually meet without a trainer there to help read body language and make adjustments. A basket muzzle might be needed if there is any question how she will do with pup. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittende

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bentley
Pit bull
2 Years
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bentley
Pit bull
2 Years

I just brought home a 3 month old female pit bull and he will not leave her alone he's punce her swating her, drueling pushing her and now she's nipping him what do I do

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
66 Dog owners recommended

Thank you for the question. It is not always easy to have an older dog treat a puppy properly right away. A gentle introduction is often needed. You may have to start off at square one and give Bentley time to adjust before giving him free access to the tiny puppy. Take a look here at excellent tips: https://wagwalking.com/training/accept-a-puppy. Keeping up Bentley's routine, such as his regular walks and game time is essential. Play fetch as you always did, have cuddle time alone when the pup is safely sleeping, and continue outings to the park while leaving the pup with a family member. At the same time, make sure that you do walk both dogs together, too so that they get to know each other. Do not leave them alone unattended, however, until the puppy is older and Bentley has become accustomed to his new furry roommate. If Bentley continues to be pushy, ask a trainer in your area to give an assessment to ensure that the two dogs can live in harmony. All the best!

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Luna
American Pit Bull Terrier
1 Year
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Luna
American Pit Bull Terrier
1 Year

We adopted Luna one month ago from a shelter . She 1 year 3 months. We did adopt another dog from the same shelter,he looks like a collie/lab mix maybe with some pit. He is about 6 months old. Both found on the street. He is 6 months.
Luna tries to play but roughly. He starts to growl. Then that makes Luna upset then they fight. We are trying to be patient.
I completely understand we should have waited to adopt, but I was up there with my daughter to possibly get a dog she wanted, but was already adopted.
Any advise please????

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
619 Dog owners recommended

Hello Pam, In this situation it sounds like Luna is actually the main issue. If a dog is being rude and trying to play incorrectly, it's pretty normal for a dog to give the other dog a warning growl - as long as that's all it is. Luna's response to that warning shows a lack of socialization and impulse control though because that growl should be respected as your other dog telling her they don't want to play and to give space. I say that just to say Luna is the dog that may need the most attention as far as training goes here. First, I would actually create a rule that the dogs aren't allowed to play together at all. That might sound harsh but some dogs lack impulse control and after a certain age don't really need to play rough with other dogs to be happy - they can learn a new way to interact instead. When a dog plays roughly, certain chemicals are released in their brain, increasing arousal - this makes fights more likely for some dogs. Since Luna already seems to lack impulse control, she shouldn't play rough with any dogs or it's likely to lead to fights. Work on teaching both dogs some commands to better manage their interactions. Once they have learned the commands, use Leave It and Out very consistently to command Luna to give your other dog space and not be allowed to initiate play. They can learn to calmly hang out and co-exist but no rough-house. I would also really work on both dogs respecting, trusting, and listening to you. There needs to be a lot of structure for the dogs in your household and both pups need to be following your leadership and letting you handle any issues that arise instead of resorting to aggression to handle it themselves. They currently lack the impulse control to be able to handle issues themselves - so this is not a situation where you should just let the dogs sort it out. To work on all of those things, practice the following commands with both dogs, especially Luna. Out command - which means leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate Manners - great calmness and gentle respect building exercise : https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Surprise method - for introducing crate for first time: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Working method and Consistency method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Because Luna appears to lack impulse control to a certain degree, do be careful while training, watch her body language. If she shows any form of aggression toward you, do not work with her alone, hire a professional trainer to help you manage her safely. I would also suggest hiring a professional trainer to help with desensitizing the dogs to each other. A strict, bootcamp, respect and calmness buiding protocol is certainly needed, but once that's in place using the commands and methods linked above, you can also work on desensitizing the dogs to each other by rewarding them for calmness around each other - especially when the other dog is doing something exciting like playing with a toy - and the second dog remains calm while watching that. You want to create a habit of the dogs respecting each other and being calm around each other. You also don't want to tolerate any guarding of you, pushiness toward you, climbing into your lap uninvited, nudging your hand, or barking at you for attention - anything that could lead to possessiveness over you needs to be corrected right away so that the dog's don't start competing with each other for you - even something as simple as telling a dog who jumps into your lap uninvited "Off" or "Out", then calmly making them do it is an appropriate correction for that behavior while if you catch the issue early. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Ellie and Bella
pitbull
2 Years
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Ellie and Bella
pitbull
2 Years

My boyfriend found Ellie when she was super skinny and I found Bella yesterday and she is also super skinny except we’ve had Ellie now for 2 months

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
619 Dog owners recommended

Hello Mia, How are both dogs with other dogs? If there is not known aggression I suggest introducing them first using the Passing Approach and Walking Together methods from the article linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/greet-other-dogs Work on teaching both dogs Out, Place, and Leave It and crate training both dogs. Keep things calm between them, giving them both their own space, using obedience commands to encourage calmness, and rewarding calmness when they are in the same room in a way that doesn't encourage food fights. Such as by giving each pup a treat on their separate Place bed on opposite ends of the room when both are lying quietly. Crate train both dogs and only give freedom while you can supervise until they are 100% accustomed to each other and you know fine together. Place: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-place-command-the-good-dog-training-tips/ Out: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Leave It: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Crate manners: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=mn5HTiryZN8 Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Goya
Pitbull mix
2 Years
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Goya
Pitbull mix
2 Years

This sweet girl is also a bit crazy. She loves loves loves other dogs and is always ready to play. However, she has started to become really frantic when passing dogs playing in water. At first I thought it was excitment but she started to growl at them and try to collect all of the sticks. Now she is frantically barking whenever we pass them at a particular route we take. I stopped going to the beach because of it. She generally behaves and is easy to train otherwise but for this I'm lost. Thanks

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
619 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ian, I suggest working on desensitizing pup to dogs around water by breaking the different parts of the scenario up and working on each part separately before combining them. To do this. First, have someone run the hose and reward pup for calm reactions near the water but don't let her get overly excited and playful around it - you want to condition calm here. As she improves decrease the distance between her and the water turn up the volume of the water, and have it collect somewhere like a baby pool. Practice with just the water until she is calm around the water and ignoring all levels of the water exposure. Next, work on rewarding calm responses around excited dogs from a distance, without water involved. Watch for calm body language, you want to reward calmness not just obedience to commands ultimately. Start further away and with less excitement and work up to closer distances to dogs who are playing or more dogs playing with higher energy. Places like the park or outside of off-leash dog parks (but not going in - just with dogs in the background on the other side of a see-through fence) are a couple of places you might find excitable dogs to desensitize around. Again, gradually work up to harder distractions around the dogs as she improves. Next, go back to the pool and desensitize pup to people playing in the pool - calmly at first with less people, then with higher energy and more people splashing and doing exciting things as she improves. Reward calmness and ignoring the action going on as pup improves. Give more distance and decrease the excitement if she starts to struggle, then work back up to the excitement. When pup can stay calm and ignore all of those things, go back to somewhere like the beach, but with pup on leash. Practice in that environment at a time when there aren't many dogs around, and work on conditioning a calm attitude just in that location in general. When she can handle that environment, then start exposing to dogs around water, staying further away and avoid overly exciting groups at first. Gradually work up to her seeing more dogs from a closer distance and rewarding her ignoring them. She is likely getting highly aroused right now - which is leading to the controlling (wanting to control the dogs), aggressive outbursts. You want the amount of adrenaline and excitement to go down, and tolerance and calmness to increase, so that she can better self-regulate around the excitement and stay focused on you. Rewarding calmness is important - opposed to rewarding just a lack of outburst when lots of tenseness and anxiety and frustration are still going on. You want to change her mindset in general around the water and dogs by gradually working back up to it, after rewarding and conditioning calmness in ways she can manage slowly., by doing all the above I described. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Snoopy
Chihuahua
2 Years
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Snoopy
Chihuahua
2 Years

I have a male Chihuahua since he was a puppy.I am looking to get another dog, and was thinking of getting a pitbull puppy. My Snoopy gets along with other dogs, since he has been socialized since a pup. Just wondering if getting a pitbull puppy would be a good idea.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
619 Dog owners recommended

Hello Christie, First, consider finding a really reputable breeder where you can meet the parents and be sure pup will inherit the type of temperament you want. There can be a lot of variation in temperament and aggression vs. bidability/sweeter disposition due to genetics. Both temperaments are out there and its hard to know what you are getting if you don't know the parents and traits pup is being bred for. Second, know that Pitbulls can be great IF you have one with the right genetics and socialize well, but even ones that do well with other dogs tend to have a lot of energy and play very roughly. They aren't the only breed that tends to play rough, but with a smaller dog you will want to take that into consideration with any breed you choose. A lot of your answer will depend on where you plan on getting a puppy from, how much management and training you want to do with the dogs early on to help with gentless and boundaries between them, and how confident and calm your Chihuahua is to be able to handle a more rambunctious puppy. If your dog is timid or very physically limited, or doesn't tolerate pushier dogs, you may want to consider a calmer breed. If you are up for it, able to choose the right pup, your pup can handle a potentially stronger personality pup, and you are willing to mitigate interactions while they are learning how to interact I would consider a Pitbull. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Elsa
Pit bull
4 Years
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Elsa
Pit bull
4 Years

I just got a new puppy mastiff we have had Elsa since she was a puppy six weeks we have not had any other dogs around her we brought home the new puppy yesterday and ELsa is being aggressive /hyperactive
she has killed two cats in the past and is reacting to the puppy the same way as she did with the cats that is the only time she has ever shown aggression
Please help

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
66 Dog owners recommended

Thank you for the question. This is not something that I think can be solved easily, especially that Elsa has killed two cats in the past. You may be putting the life of the puppy in danger. Keep them separated and contact a dog behavioral expert in your area to see if they think the situation can be remedied. Safety for everyone involved is key. How did Elsa do at dog training? Was she sociable there and able to get along with the dogs? If so, there may be a chance she can get along with the puppy at some point. Take her to obedience training again to reinforce the commands sit, stay, down, leave it, and come. These are essential to her safety and the puppy, too. I would keep them at a safe distance until you can meet with the behavioral trainer. In the meantime, assume that Elsa considers the puppy a cat. This may help: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-greyhound-to-like-cats. However, one on one training is needed. Good luck!

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Cheesecake
American Pit Bull Terrier
7 Months
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Cheesecake
American Pit Bull Terrier
7 Months

Cheesecake was abandoned outside my apartment building at about 4 months old, so I don't know what her situation was with the previous owner. Likely not great, considering they threw her crate and food bowl in the dumpster and abandoned a puppy out in the rain!

When I first took her in, she was perfectly fine with my parents' German shepherd for the week we stayed with them around Christmas (right when I found her). Their dog is high-energy, mine is high-energy; they had the occasional moment of roughhousing, nothing serious - no big deal. She gets excited around new people and will jump up to say hello or sometimes mouth at long sleeves (which we are working on). She has never bitten anybody and will calm down after her initial excitement. She is completely fine around my cats, chasing them a little bit to try and play, but will give up once she realizes they aren't interested. She shows no signs of food aggression and doesn't touch the cat food (thankfully!).

Initially, she was seemingly okay with other dogs we'd briefly meet on walks. Lately, however, she has been something else. If another dog approaches us and is growling/barking at her, Cheesecake never growls/barks back, but will get extremely worked up, whine, chirp, and sometimes even "scream" (hard to explain...) as she pulls towards the other dog. I also can't tell if she is trying to nip at the other dogs or if it is part of her vocalization. Once this starts, it is difficult to get her attention off the other dog until we are some distance away, no matter how hard I try and distract her with treats, squeakers, toys, etc.

Since this behavior started, I've tried letting her approach calmer dogs, but the same thing will ultimately happen, even when the other dog doesn't act aggressively toward her, so we have to cut our interaction short. It's hard to tell if Cheesecake is being truly aggressive or aggressively playful/curious. I REALLY don't want to be the owner responsible for my dog seriously injuring another dog. How can I approach socializing her so I can minimize this behavior?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
619 Dog owners recommended

Hello Gabriel, First, see if there is a G.R.O.W.L. class anywhere within driving distance of you. A G.R.O.W.L. class is a class for dog aggressive and dog reactive (doesn't want to bite but acts like it) dogs who are all intensively socialized together in a safe environment with all the pups wearing basket muzzles for safety. You can get her comfortable with a basket muzzle ahead of time using lots of dog food and pairing it with food so it's not a negative experience. A basket muzzle will allow her to open her mouth still and will be more comfortable. At this age, she is most likely under-socialized and simply reactive around other dogs, but I can't say for sure without evaluating in person. Reactivity can certainly turn to aggression as she ages if frustration and anxiety about other dogs continues to grow though. I wouldn't recommend testing which one it is without the help of a qualified trainer and a basket muzzle. If you can't find a G.R.O.W.L. class it would be worth working with a training facility that specializes in aggression, reactivity, fearfulness, and other behavior issues, and is set up to have access to lots of social dogs (like the staff's own dogs) to create controlled scenarios to practice safe interactions - usually utilizing a lot of obedience and focus work around other dogs - like a long Place command and Heel together. This is a time sensitive issue due to her age (sooner is always better during puppyhood), so I would pursue something that is set up to intensively address the issue immediately instead of just going at it on your own more slowly, to at least get to the point where you can do it more on your own and be able to have her around other dogs again. Check out the article linked below and the Passing Approach and the Walking Together methods. Practice the Passing Approach method over and over and over and over and over... with another calm, well behaved dog, until the other dog becomes boring and pup can pass calmly and receive rewards for a good response. Once the dogs can pass at a close distance, switch to the Walking Together method, starting with them separate again and slowly closing in the distance as both dogs are completely calm around each other - until you can take them on a structured (structured is key here) heeling walk together often. When she can handle that first dog, practice this with a different dog. This needs to be repeated with dozens of different dogs until each becomes boring to get her used to strange dogs in general - which is one of the reasons why I suggest working with a training group who has access to such dogs for these types of practice, but you can certainly recruit friends with well behaved dogs as well! Passing Approach method and Walking Together method: https://wagwalking.com/training/greet-other-dogs Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Milo
Pit bull
1 Year
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Milo
Pit bull
1 Year

Hey there :) # days ago we adopted a 1 year and 3 months old male red nose pitbull. It was quite scary at 1st. But somehow he is calm now. We introduced him to our almost 2 year old female siberian husky. Well it started off well. He tried to get ontop of her if you know what i mean lol but she kept on pushing him off or trying to gret away as she is not in her time now for mating. Yesterday when we got home from work. Milo (Pitbull) was calm and left Akira (husky) alone. But took them for a walk all was well when we got home he tried again to get ontop of her she kept pushing him away, but plays with him. little leg bite etc.

The problem actually happened this morning, the husky sleeps inside the house and the moment we opended up the door she ran out to him, he again tried to get ontop of her and she started reacting in a way that got me scared and a fight broke out. I quickly pulled them apart but had to leave for work. So now i locked akira up in the house and milo is outside. How can i get them to be civil. Akira has been with us since she was 3 weeks old and Milo is a dog we would really love to keep and love

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
619 Dog owners recommended

Hello Rozario, First, is the male neutered? If the behavior is sexually motivated, neutering could help. The behavior can also be linked to poor social skills or trying to dominate another dog though. It sounds like Akira told him to stop several times and he continued to do it, which is why she fought him. He is the main issue in this situation since he isn't responding to social cues and is essentially very "rude" in the dog world. I suggest adding a lot of structure to both dog's routine so that interactions between them are calm because they are mentally focused on a task you have given them. I would not allow rough housing at this point in their relationship. Work on teaching Out, Place, Crate manners, a structured heel, Down-Stay, and Waiting at doors and for meals. I suggest feeding both dogs in separate locked crates at appointed times (not leaving the food down all the time). Feeding them in locked crates will prevent stress around mealtimes, especially if the problem is related to him trying to dominate her. The commands will lay a foundation for how they should behave in the house and live together right now - creating a calm association between them in their relationship. Things like having both stay on separate Place beds in the same room and leave each other alone for 1-2 hours at a time (work up to that length of time), follow behind you and focus on you during walks together so they aren't competing to be in front and overly excited while together. Practicing commands that increase their respect for you and calmness in general so that they are listening better to your direction and less aroused around each other can also make a difference. When you aren't supervising and can't give them jobs to do right now, they should be separate, such as on Place, in a crate, or in a separate room. Don't leave them loose in the house together when you leave right now! Don't let him pester her either. Teach both dogs Out - which means leave the area, and Leave It, and you be the one to tell him to give her space when he is being pushy - don't wait until he humps her either. If he is acting rude - like in her face, not giving her a break, bothering her when she is resting or wanting to be alone, you be the one to tell him to leave the area so that she doesn't have to tell him. Also, make her leave the room if she is acting aggressive toward him, especially if he didn't bother her first. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Second Place method: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite If you feel overwhelmed, things don't improve, or things get worse, don't wait to contact a professional trainer who is experienced with dog to dog aggression to help you in person. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Paco
American Staffordshire Terrier
7 Years
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Paco
American Staffordshire Terrier
7 Years

Hello Caitlin, Paco is an American Staffordshire Terrier crosses with a pitbull.I had my dog since he was 6 weeks old which already is quite a young age to take him away from his parents. Growing up i made sure to socialise him with other dogs as well as training him to be very obedient and he was very playful. He loves people very much, however in the last few years he has become increasingly less social. He was being walked by a great dog walker a year ago and was finally socialising again after not playing with other dogs for a year or so, simply because he did not seem to want to. This dog walker was no longer able to walk him since. My girlfriend and I have moved around London a bit and so his scenes have changed, do you think this has an impact? When we go for walks and i ignore him and keep walking he either sniffs the other dog if one approaches him and walks on or he just barks to tell them off. Least often he dominates them but has never bitten. Once i call him he leaves and comes to me straight away. I would love for my dog to keep playing with other dogs and would love to understand possible reasons why he is less interested to do so and more aggressive. Then strangely the other day out of no where he played with another dog, it was short but it was something. He is quite spoilt as a dog at home, sleeps in the bed and wherever he wants really. He received endless amounts of cuddles. We do live in a quite small flat with no garden, and we take him out for at least 3 to 4 times a day, for an hour or so at a time. Do you think a lack of space at home may contribute? Or is it more likely that he simply wishes to play less as he grows older or does not like other dogs? unfortunately, we do not have friends with dogs with who we can try to meet up and socialise to we just rely on random interactions in the park. We always allow him the chance to play and interact and mostly ignore him and keep walking. Is there something else we could try to do to encourage him to play more or to at least not feel the need to tell the other dog off if he comes to him? I very much would appreciate any advice you could give? If you feel a dog trainer could be of any help I am also open to that idea if worthwhile? Thank you, L

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
619 Dog owners recommended

Hello Lorenzo, It is very normal for a dog to become less interested in playing with other dogs as they age. Mental and sexual maturity, as well as energy differences and the beginnings of aches like arthritis can also contribute. Dogs have specific personalities they prefer too. That dog he played with the other day probably simply had a personality that your dog liked - maybe they were respectful of his space, more his own speed, less challenging, smelled interesting, ect...Some dogs simply like other dogs better. I wouldn't be too worried about him not wanting to play with other dogs at this age. At this point it's not necessary for pup's overall well-being and happiness. I would however encourage socialization to continue. At this age that is going to look like facilitating calm, more structured activities with other dogs. I would see if there is a local dog walking or dog hiking group that meets once a week, bi-weekly, once a month, ect...in your area. Look online at local rescues, obedience clubs, social groups like meetup.com, and facebook to see if there is a legitimate group. Having pup practice a structured walk or hike in the presence of other dogs is a good calming activity that also facilitates a good association with other dogs because the structure of the walk and journeying somewhere along with other dogs (who aren't pestering or challenging each other but focusing on walking with you) is something that most dogs naturally love. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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lucky
Pit bull mix
3 Years
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lucky
Pit bull mix
3 Years

Hello, WE have 3 dogs in our home. A yellow lab since birth (m), A shar-pei since birth (f) and a offspring of the two (f). Yesterday morning, I heard a scratch at my bay window. Thinking it was a branch I ignored it. So 3 hours later when i opened my curtains at sunrise. I see a dog standing there. I immediatly go outside and find this pit-bull mix?. She is a female and was super skinny, I mean every bone was outlined and her toe nails where long. Longer than I ever seen. I would like to mention that her teets are baggy like she was nursing. I feed her and search around for a litter of pups. I did not find any. knowing that the shelters probably will kill her. I decided to keep her. the only thing, she is friendly but does growl at the other dogs. I understand that she is so malnourished that she is threaten over good. She seems to be well-behave and wants to play with me or my kids. She wasnt wearing a collar and I suspect she is a abandon breeder. Which really pisses me off. Now my question is, I am really affraid that she will not get along with my dogs. when other dogs come close she growls. HOw should I introduce them and what to do when she does growl.

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
66 Dog owners recommended

I think the first thing you should do for Lucky is take her to the vet. She may have health conditions that she can pass on to your other dogs - so just to rule that out. The vet may be able to prescribe medication to help her feel better and gain weight. The vet will also check for injuries; if there is an injury, that can bring out aggression. It is understandable that she is growling, it is a sad situation and of course, she feels intimidated. She may have been through a lot. Do you have room so that Lucky can have space to recoup away from the other dogs? Afterward, I would introduce them slowly out of the house so that they are all on neutral ground. Maybe even introduce them one by one, allowing a period of time in between for them to get to know each other. You can also take them on pack walks, keeping them some distance apart and slowly allowing them to get closer over several walks. Also look into this site, there are many tips and videos that can help! https://robertcabral.com/. Good luck with all of your pooches!

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Gypsey
pitbull
1 Year
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Gypsey
pitbull
1 Year

My pit is very lovable with every dog I have, but at times she just attacks one of the 2 puppies we have. She will play with them almost all the time, but sometimes she just attacks without warning. It is only the 2 pups, not any other of my pets, what can I do to stop her from hurting the pups?

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
66 Dog owners recommended

Hello, this issue with Gypsey should be addressed one on one by a professional before one of the pups gets hurt. Please call a trainer in your area who is used to working with aggressive dogs. Online resources are plentiful - especially in these times - so finding someone who can help will be the solution. In the meantime, I would keep the pups away from Gypsey unless there is someone watching at all times who can quickly and safely intervene. As well, keeping them apart until the issue is being worked on may be a wise idea, too. You know your dog the best, but it's never a good idea to take chances. Start spending a lot of time training Gypsey so that she listens to you - brush up on her obedience commands, like "leave it" and "down/stay." Look at this guide for advice: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you. Also, there are excellent training videos here: https://robertcabral.com/. Good luck!

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Charlie
Pit bull
1 Year
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Charlie
Pit bull
1 Year

Charlie, is a sweet dog. She doesn’t mean to hurt our 2 yorkies. She wants to play with them but doesn’t realize her size compared to theirs. She’s accidentally hurt our male yorkie, a second time. He doesn’t like her, growling at her and the like. What should we do? I don’t want to get rid of Charlie..

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
66 Dog owners recommended

Cute photo! Charlie does look big and strong and the Yorkies really are no match for her. Do not leave them unattended at any time. I would look for other ways to channel Charlie's energy. Sign her up for agility or flyball. Join a walking group where she'll be able to play with dogs her own size. Enlist a friend to come over with their dog for a playdate. Take her to obedience classes for the exercise, socialization, and mental challenge. Consider some agility obstacles for your own backyard to teach her fun skills and expend energy. There are many options but I really don't think having her play with the Yorkies is a good idea at all. They can be friends, but not playmates. I would channel her attention otherwise when she wants to play. Immediately take her outside for games of fetch, etc. Teach her "no" when she attempts to engage the Yorkies in play. Be firm but kind. She'll catch on. Never leave the three of them alone unless the Yorkies are in an inaccessible area. Good luck!

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Training Success Stories

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Bosten
Red nose pit
8 Months

I have had my dog since she was a baby I have been trying to get her to socialize with other dogs. But it seems like since the first time I took her to the park and this aggressive husky bit her as a baby it really hurt her. And from that point on as she has grown she is standoffish from other dogs when I take her. She has her picks and chooses which one she wants to play with but she would rather stay underneath me all day everyday. Someone pls tell me is this a sign of she is going to be over protective of me will she grow out of the scary stage or is she s ared for life and there is nothing I can do. I mean I have a smaller dog that she loves to bully all the time but she doesn't want to interact with other dogs that way someone tell me what I am doing wrong here

1 month, 3 weeks ago
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