why does my pitbull attack other dogs
Because the breed was selectively bred to fight bulls, bears, kill rats and then fight dogs, many assume the pit bull must be "vicious" by nature. Yet, countless other breeds were bred to hunt and kill. Retrievers were bred to retrieve dead birds, the smaller terriers were bred to kill rats, scent hounds were bred to track down animals and sometimes kill, greyhounds chased and killed small prey, and curs were utilized to hunt large animals and the list goes on. Pit bulls were overall very versatile dogs who throughout history engaged in different tasks. Their versatility, determination and willingness to please, allowed them to excel in whatever humans trained them to do. While the breed was used for dog fighting, the great majority of pit bulls seen nowadays are for the most part very far from the "fighting lines" of their ancestors, explains
Often people assume that because of the pit bull's history as fighting dogs they "seek enjoyment" in fighting with other dogs or will just "hate" other dogs. These anthropomorphic beliefs are far from true. Dogs who were used to fight were often neglected and abused. Most were chained or kept in cages, with little food or water. There is countless proof that the life of fighting dogs involved pain and lots of suffering. If the desire to fight was so strong and they were really so genetically predisposed to fighting, they didn't have to endure such harsh treatments to convince them to fight! On top of that, many pit bulls didn't have what it took to be a good fighting dog; thus they were recycled as pets and companions.
It is easy to assume that because they were fighting against other dogs, pit bulls must be genetically predisposed to be aggressive towards dogs. This can be true, but only to a certain extent. The states " Although some level of dog aggression is characteristic of this breed, handlers will be expected to comply with UKC policy regarding dog temperament at UKC events". Yet, expecting them to be aggressive towards dogs would be doing the breed an injustice, as genetic tendencies are highly variable. If you think about it, there are countless Labs, Yorkies, Chihuahuas, Maltese, poodles and fill in the blank, that are intolerant of other dogs. All of these breeds though share something in common: they lack a history of dog fighting. What does this tell us? It tells us that aggression towards other dogs can happen regardless of breed and genetics may not necessarily play a role in it. This is not to say that all pit bulls are completely safe to bring to the dog park to mingle with any dog. Saying so would be negligent as no dog can be assumed to be 100 percent safe. Regardless, it's an unfortunate fact, that in any incident at the dog park, the fingers are often easily pointed towards the pit bull regardless of circumstances. Just as with any other dogs, there are always chances pit bulls may develop some level of dog aggression at some point. Generally, when dogs are puppies they get along with all dogs and then as they mature they may become more selective. Yet, there's no certainty or rule set in stone. You may therefore end up with a pit bull that gets along with all dogs (there are several pit bulls who go to the dog park regularly without problems), that tolerates or is indifferent towards other dogs, that likes some but not others (several get along better with the opposite sex), or that dislikes just about any dog.
As with any breed of a dog, your pit bull's temperament and tolerance to other dogs is the result of several factors: genetics, level of training, socialization, ability to bounce back from a negative experience, resilience, context and so on. Interesting article, Doc. I spend 5 hours a day, 6 days a week in pet supply stores in MA and RI, all of which allow/encourage customers to bring their leashed dogs in with them. My company makes treats and, with the owners' permission, I offer some to their dogs. Many dogs take treats aggressively, but I haven't noticed it more in any specific breeds. I still have all 10 fingers and they're all still full length. Pit bulls are very popular around here, so I see a lot of them in the course of a week, and it's not common to see pit aggression towards people or other dogs. Surprisingly enough, when a dog starts something in these situations, it's most often small dogs. I talk with a lot of folks with more than one dog, often a big dog and a small dog, and they say the small dog rules the roost. I realize there might be some exaggeration going on there, because stories are often related in amused tones, making me think there's some embellishment happening. I wrote a hub on Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) a couple of years ago and, at that time, 13 states had enacted legislation that prohibited cities and towns from adopting BSL. That's the way things are moving here in the colonies.
It used to be just shelter workers and pit owners who were testifying at public hearings on BSL, and they lacked credibility in the minds of most legislators. But then professionals. veterinarians, behaviorists, trainers. even the American Bar Association. started testifying in support of pits and against BSL. Politicians have started paying attention and the tide is turning. That said, there's a city in RI that is in court right now trying to get around the state's ban on BSL, so the fight isn't over. It certainly helps that credible witnesses such as you are speaking out in defense of the pit. My next door neighbor recently got a pit, named Rizzo, who has issues, so they're working with a trainer because some of the others in the complex are complaining. When Rizzo saw me for the first time she sort of stared me down, so the owner thought it best if we say hello from a distance. Since then, I've been able to feed Rizzo a treat, which she takes gently. Another neighbor has a labradoodle, Obie, which barks and lunges at people who approach, but nothing has been said about that, as far as I'm aware. Pits do have an intimidating countenance. That, plus their ill-deserved reputation puts two strikes clearly against them. They need all the credible PR people they can get. That said, Ajej breaks the mould. She's a cover-girl beauty whose manners should be an example for all to see. Voted up, useful and interesting.
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