Preventing and Fixing Pitbull Aggression
By Chad Zetrouer
I often get asked about preventing and/or fixing aggression in Pitbulls so in an effort to help people deal with this issue I will write about a few basic tips that can help. It's important you try to prevent aggression because it's much easier to prevent than it is to fix.
First I need to make it clear that animal aggression and human aggression are two completely different things and are in no way linked. Just because a dog is aggressive toward other dogs or animals does not mean he will be aggressive toward people. In fact, with Pitbulls this is very obvious. Pitbulls are naturally aggressive toward other dogs and animals. It has been bred into them over many generations. But, they have also been bred to be friendly to people.
This leads us to "soundness", a sound Pitbull will never show aggression toward a person. A Pitbull that does, has been bred incorrectly, lacks confidence, and probably isn't even a pure bred Pitbull and may not be a Pitbull at all. If a Pitbull does ever show aggression toward a person, it should be neutered or spayed immediately and never allowed to breed. The reason for this is to prevent that trait from being passed down to further generations of Pitbulls. If irresponsible breeders continue to breed these bad traits, Pitbulls will soon be outlawed all over the world and possibly made extinct.
When it comes to preventing and fixing aggression, there are three important factors that can be abbreviated as SST or Soundness, Socialization, and Training. We already covered soundness so I will skip that and start with socialization.
The best time to begin socializing your Pitbull is when it's a puppy. This means you should allow your Pitbull puppy to interact with as many people and other dogs/animals as possible. Take it to a park or on walks through crowded areas. The more people and animals it interacts with, the less likely it will be to show aggression in the future. If you have an older Pitbull, it can be more difficult to socialize because it may already be showing some aggression. In this case you must be more careful. One possibility is to get a good muzzle and put it on your Pitbull and then allow it to play with other dogs. It may show aggression but with the muzzle on, it can't do much damage. However if it does show aggression it should be immediately corrected.
Training is another important aspect of preventing and stopping aggression because a well trained Pitbull will be easier to control. Training is a very large topic so I can't cover it here in this article, but my book contains a ton of information about training that can help you with this. If you've trained your Pitbull correctly and it shows aggression, you can correct it and let your Pitbull know that you won't accept that behavior. If you correct and punish your Pitbull every time it shows aggression you should be able to solve the problem. By punish I don't mean hitting or spanking because physical corrections don't work very well on Pitbulls and for some Pitbulls, physical corrections don't work at all.
If you have a Pitbull and want to get another, you should get one of the opposite sex because Pitbulls are more aggressive toward the same sex. I recommend that if you have a Pitbull, you make sure that it's your only pet. It's not wise to bring a Pitbull into a house that already has other dogs or cats. If you do already have another dog, whether it's a Pitbull or another breed, you should make sure your Pitbull is of the opposite sex of the dog you already have.
Follow these guidelines and you will have no problem preventing aggression. If your dog is already showing aggression this information should make it easier to fix but it's much harder to fix than it is to prevent.