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

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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 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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The Tolerance Method

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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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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
393 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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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
393 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
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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
393 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
393 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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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
393 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
393 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
Question
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
393 Dog owners recommended

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

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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
393 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
393 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
393 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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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
393 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
393 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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