Monday, May 13, 2013

Dog Aggression

I started this blog because I wanted to prepare other people out there - like me- who are either thinking about getting a Pit Bull or have one fall into their lap. I started thinking that I would have appreciated having a blog to read that talked about the adventures and occasional frustrating times that come along with this breed. I just wanted to be helpful to people wondering if a Pit Bull is the right choice for them.

I'll openly admit I was not as prepared for this adventure as I thought I was. I have learned so much and have expanded my views on so many things. I feel as a dog person I've really grown a lot, who knew one dog could do that to you?

Following up on my "World War" post. So far everyone is getting along fine. I have chosen to be cautious with this situation because this is the first time the dogs have gotten into it and it has been more than "just words". I don't want to take things overly seriously, but it is bothersome that both dogs ended up with wounds, which to me says this could have been a more serious argument. Regardless, supervising everyone today they act as if nothing is changed. After I got off of work I threw the ball for Sepp until he was super tired, then we came home, hung out for a while, and then I played ball with both Sepp and Seth. Just trying to keep in mind tired dogs are good dogs!

Let's get down to the nitty gritty!

Pit Bulls have a long history of various jobs, I would say most notably they were bred to partake in dog fighting. I don't really care where you get your dog - dog aggression is something you have to think about and consider. I constantly see ads on craigslist for dogs under 2yrs of age - they all say the same thing "Great with cats and other dogs!" I always think the same thing "Yeah, but wait until they are 2yrs old!" It doesn't matter how you raise them or how much you "socialize" them. These dogs can be fine and as they start maturing decide to "turn on" or become other animal aggressive. I would say you're more likely to see a problem if your dog has a high prey drive - if you're dog doesn't have a lot of prey drive I think the chance of DA[dog aggression] lessens. Really, ANY dog of ANY breed is not truly 'who they will be' until they have at least hit 2 or 3 years of age. I feel in most cases by age 3 the personality is set. My dog LiLo is a little bit of a weirdo and she went through a personality change when she was 5yrs old. A late bloomer I guess.

The thing is, across the board, any dog can be DA. However, I have to stress with this breed your chances of your dog being DA are much higher, than say, getting a hound, or a pug or something.

So is Seppel DA?

You did just read that he munched my other dog right?

I consider Seppel to be dog selective, maybe a small amount of him borders DA, but when I think of straight DA I think of the dog not liking other dogs, period.

Generally speaking, unless it's small and fluffy, I'm fairly confident Sepp would not haul off and attack another dog. For the most part he doesn't care about other dogs, it's taken a lot of time and training/relationship building but I feel that he's at a point where we can work around dogs without issue.

BUT... when it comes to one on one dog interaction his behavior can be questionable. I tried introducing him to my friend's puppy and he came at the pup with his mouth OPEN - like, he didn't even both to sniff, he was just like "Get in my mouth!"

My friend had her dog Karmann outside, she is another Pit Bull type dog. We didn't introduce them at first but Sepp kept barking at her and running around like he wanted to play. I remember we finally just let them meet and they were flirty and wanting to play it was no big deal.

Overall I am very cautious with our introductions because he had shown me in other interactions that he can be picky and want to eat certain dogs.

The reality of this breed is that they are powerful. Working in a veterinary clinic we see all kinds of dogs come in, various breeds are dog aggressive or seriously dog reactive. You'd be surprised how many labs are not friendly with other dogs[or with people for that matter!]. Unfortunately because the Pit Bull is so powerful they can cause a lot of damage, moreso than say a Jack Russell or Chihuahua. I've read instances of Pit Bulls killing dogs they have lived with for many years - without issue. This is why Sepp does not have free run of the house at night - so there is no risk of him getting into it with one of the other dogs or trying to go after the cat.

In my situation Seppel is a high drive Pit Bull. He has a very high prey drive and the energy to back it up. There are many "pit bulls" out there, primarily dogs with a lot of AmStaff or dogs that have been crossed with American Bulldogs/UKC Pit Bulls/English Bulldogs to create the American Bully - many of these dogs have lower prey drive and have a tendency to be less DA - but they are not what I consider the true Pit Bull.

If you are looking to get an authentic Pit Bull, looking to get an ADBA type Pit Bull, or are just considering looking at some Pit Bulls at your shelter that are high ball and prey drive dog aggression is something you need to consider - especially if you get a dog of unknown history/lineage because then you really have no idea where the dog came from and what their temperament may be like as they mature, towards other dogs.

I always thought it was 'how you raised them' that DA could be socialized out of them, the Pit Bull is what it is. Your Pit Bull will be who he is going to be, they aren't bashful about who they are and they are true to themselves. You just have to take and accept them for who they are, and as in my case - love them for it.

Pic taken by my friend Kay :)

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