Are Pitbulls Good with Kids? A Complete Guide from Experts & Parents
Adopting a dogs is a good idea for families with kids; the dog can be friend the kids’ best friend and teach them how to be responsible. However, when it comes to dog breeds with controversial reputations like Pit Bulls, there are a lot of concerns about whether these intimidating-looking dogs are safe.
So, as responsible parents, we must ask ourselves, are Pitbulls good with kids?
Pit Bulls are good with kids as long as they have been socialized and trained properly from a young age. They can be affectionate, but they are also territorial and might become aggressive if they sense a threat. So, it’s important to take precautions and supervise interactions between your Pit Bull and kids to keep them safe.
Keep reading to learn more about the history of Pit Bulls and their controversial reputation. and how to make sure they’re safe to have around your kids.
The Truth Behind The Pit Bull’s Reputation
Pit Bulls are known to have a reputation for being aggressive, and it’s very common to see alarming news articles warning against adopting them.
The main reason behind their bad reputation is that they were originally bred to bait bulls in bits, which is how they got their name. They also became very popular at illegal dog-fighting rings. All of this caused them to develop aggressive tenedcies against other animals.
Another reason is that they have a very strong bite which has reportedly caused more fatalities than any other dog breed. According to statistics in the past sixteen years, Pit Bulls are responsible for about 72% of deaths due to dog bites in the United States.
Due to their bad reputation, many owners tend to avoid adopting Pit Bulls or even abandon them as they fear the dog will become aggressive toward them and bite them. However, many advocates of Pit Bull ownership believe that the bad reputation of Pit Bulls is very much undeserved.
Are Pit Bulls Aggressive by Nature?
Pit Bulls are not aggressive by nature; like any other dog breed, they are a product of their environment.
Over generations, these dogs were bred for fighting, so any aggressive behavior they might exhibit is mostly a result of irresponsible ownership, as there are many who actively train Pit Bulls to be aggressive and force them to fight other animals.
Can Pit Bulls Become Aggressive Towards Humans?
Pit bulls were never bred to be aggressive toward humans; however, they might show signs of aggressive behavior if they were severely abused or if they sensed a threat toward their territory.
The tendency of your Pit Bull to become aggressive or act out toward humans will mainly depend on how well you train your dog and whether you provide it with suitable living conditions.
Health issues can also lead to aggressive behavior in older Pit Bulls with conditions such as dementia and canine cognitive dysfunction.
Are Pitbulls Good with Kids?
Pit Bulls that are socialized and trained from a young age are good with kids, and they even can be delightful companions to them. However, you still need to be aware of the risks that come with leaving your kid with a dog and take proper precautions.
What Makes Pit Bulls Good Family Companions?
There are many reasons why Pit Bulls are good companions for families, especially if they have kids. Let’s take a look at some of those reasons:
- They are social creatures and easy to train as they are always looking forward to pleasing their pet parents.
- If Pit Bulls were trained and socialized properly, they would be very obedient and loyal to their family.
- They are great as playmates for kids as they are very energetic, and they can even be very affectionate and cuddly.
- They are also great guards as they’re very protective of their territory and family members.
- They do not require a lot of maintenance when it comes to grooming, as they have shorter hair compared to other dog breeds. This will reduce the time it takes to clean them and make them more hygienic to have around kids.
- They are generally a healthy breed, so it’s safe to have them around without any fear of disease transmission or health problems.
I discuss this in a bit more detail in this article on why are Pitbulls good with babies.
How to Make Sure Pit Bulls Are Safe Around Kids?
While Pit Bulls aren’t usually aggressive toward humans, they are still large, powerful dogs. Like any large dog, you need to be very responsible with how you raise it and take proper precautions to keep your kids safe around it.
Here are some tips from experts and parents that will help you create a safe space for your Pit Bull and kids so they can get along well with each other:
Train and Socialize Your Pit Bull Properly
Pit Bulls are social creatures by nature which makes them very easy to train. However, if you want the pitbull to grow as a companion to your kid, you need to train it from a young age.
You need to make sure your Pit Bull is socialized early on to prevent it from becoming aggressive and help it establish a healthy relationship with others. You can socialize your dog by allowing it to interact with a wide variety of environments and situations, as well as exposing it to different scents, sounds, animals, and people.
It’s very important to be patient and consistent with your Pit Bull throughout the training process.
You need to teach your dog some basic commands such as sit, stay, come, and down early on in its training. Also, make sure to always reward your dog with praise and treats when it does something good so that it will continue to display that specific behavior. Avoid harsh punishment by all means, as it might provoke the dog to attack in self-defense.
Teach Your Children How to Behave around the Pit Bull
As your kids grow, their curiosity will increase, which could lead them to unknowingly mistreat their Pit Bull, and this could cause the dog to develop some aggression toward them over time.
That’s why it’s very important to teach kids at a young age how to love and respect their dogs to prevent any harm coming to either of them.
You need to make sure your kids are not playing too roughly with the dog by kicking it, tugging on its tail, or throwing things at it. You also need to make sure your kids won’t startle or disturb the Pit Bull while it’s resting, as it might scare the dog and cause it to lash out.
Allow Your Dog Time to Get Used to Being Around Kids and Other Family Members
If you’ve just adopted the Pit Bull into your family, make sure to introduce it to your kids and family members gradually by letting them sniff out some of their belongings and surroundings first.
Allow the Pit Bull some time to get used to being close to the kids and make sure it doesn’t feel overwhelmed or intimidated. If you sense that your dog is in a situation it doesn’t feel comfortable in, allow it to walk away to a safe area to prevent the discomfort from escalating to aggression.
Supervise All Interactions Between the Pit Bull and Your Kids
Even with proper training and socializing, accidents can still happen.
Pit Bull are never aware of their large size or strength, and they often play by taking objects in their mouths to chew on them. It’s very possible that your Pit Bull might get too excited while playing with your kids and inflict serious bites without realizing they’re actually hurting them.
So, it’s very important to never leave your kids alone with your Pit Bull and to supervise all their interactions either in person or using a monitor. Make sure to be on the lookout for any signs that your dog might be becoming aggressive toward your kids or that your kids are unknowingly harming their dog.
Signs of aggression in Pit Bull include retracing their lips and showing their teeth, which is often accompanied by growling as well as pulling their ears back completely, and raising their tails in a rigid position while moving them back and forth.
Testimonies from Real Parents about Having Pit Bulls Around Kids
If you’re still feeling skeptical about the dangers of having your kids around Pit Bull, check the following testimonials from some pitbull parents.
“My brother’s dog, a Pit Bull, was 3 years old when me and my sister were born. Everyone warned my mother about having a dog like him around with two brand new babies, and I don’t blame them.
He was a strong, muscular, intimidating dog to anyone who didn’t know him. Here’s the thing – he never hurt anyone. He never bit anyone, never attacked anyone, never even growled at anyone as far as I can remember.
I vividly remember playing tug of rope with him at the age of like 10 and not feeling the least bit in danger. He wasn’t aggressive towards dogs, big or small.”– Maria Arevalo
“I have 2 kids, and I have a 6-year-old pit that we adopted. He is a wonderful pet and loves everyone in the family dearly now.
He spent 4 months in the shelter, and because he is a little older, he needed about 6 months to really fully acclimate to us.
At first, he was jumpy, lunged a lot, and reacted with suspicion to strangers and other dogs. None of that is unusual for a shelter dog though.”– James Brawley
Conclusion: Are Pit Bull Good To Have Around Kids?
Pit Bull are good to have around kids as long as you teach them both how to behave around each other. You also need to understand that having Pit Bull, or any other dog breed, around your kids without proper supervision will never be completely safe, so you’ll always need to keep an eye on them.
If you still are not convinced about getting a Pit Bull and are not sure if they are going to be the best dog to have around kids but still want the benefits of getting a strong guard dog, you may want to consider the Bull Terrier instead. Bull Terriers are excellent with kids and are generally tamer than Pit Bulls, so they are easier to handle.
PitbullsHome Personally-Tested Picks for Pitties:
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- According to my vet, these are the best foods for Pit Bulls with Skin Allergies.
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- The Best Shampoos for Pitbulls (including shampoos for sensitive skin)
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- The Best Brushes for Pit Bulls (For amazing coats with the least grooming effort)
- The Most indestructible and comfiest Beds for Pit Bulls (That they will actually like and use)
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