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As you might now, Pit Bulls have quite a reputation for being aggressive. But are they inherently aggressive, or do Pit Bulls get aggressive with age?
Pit Bulls don’t get aggressive with age if they are treated with care, and they are certainly not inherently aggressive. Like any other dog breed, mistreatment and lack of care lead to behavioral problems in dogs that owners are responsible for.
Keep reading to learn more about why Pit Bulls show aggressive tendcies and how to take proper care of them.
Are Pit Bulls Inherently Aggressive?
Pit Bulls are large dog breeds, famous for their muscly body, strong jaw, and big head. Despite the popular belief that they are an aggressive dog breed, Pit Bulls are very friendly, love to please their family members, and are mostly comfortable around other people.
People bred Pit Bulls to hunt and participate in dog fights; however, as time passed, they evolved and adapted to be house dogs. Unfortunately, their reputation doesn’t help them receive the love they deserve.
There is this famous misconception about Pit Bulls that they are more aggressive than other dog breeds when in fact, some studies conclude that Chihuahuas are more aggressive than Pit Bulls.
Chihuahuas are more antisocial and don’t respond well to strangers, so their response is always on the more aggressive spectrum.
However, they’re a small breed, so even though they are aggressive, they are not considered dangerous. In contrast, Pit Bulls, as big dogs, are just more intimidating and considered dangerous by most people.
Pit Bulls are not inherently aggressive, no dog is, but like with everything else, this has its exceptions. Dogs, in general, need care and love, and with Pit Bulls, for the love they provide, they require a higher level of attention.
Do Pit Bulls Get Aggressive With Age?
Now, you might be wondering if Pit Bulls do become aggressive with age; well, they do not. However, Pit Bulls, at puberty, undergo hormonal changes that can cause mood changes and behavioral problems.
They get more territorial and sexually hostile. What most people don’t understand is that all dog breeds also show these changes in their developmental period.
Do Pit Bulls Snap Suddenly?
Pit Bulls don’t snap suddenly without reason. They’re unpredictable, but that is no more likely with Pit Bulls than with any other breed. If your dog suddenly snaps, whether it is from an illness or a behavioral problem, you should take it to the vet.
Why Does Your Dog Show Aggressive Tendencies?
If your dog shows severe behavioral problems with age, then it might have been exposed to one of these reasons:
Lack of Socialization
Dogs from a young age need to be trained to be more sociable and adaptive to external stimuli, such as:
- Strange people and other animals.
- Foreign objects to them, like cars and bikes.
- Loud noises that can activate their fight or flight response, such as lightning and fireworks.
- New and unfamiliar places
If your puppy is not properly taught how to socialize, it can develop phobias and fear-based aggressiveness as they get older. You have to teach them about the world and how to deal with it every time they go out.
Dogs are more prone to misunderstandings if they do not get the chance to learn the body language cues that other dogs use to communicate with one another. This could lead to dog fights. A dog is more likely to develop fear-based aggressiveness against other dogs after participating in a dog fight, making them more reactive as a result.
A dog that is in a lot of pain or is weak may act and appear hostile. However, it is impossible to pinpoint certain diseases and/or hormonal issues as the cause of a Pit Bull being aggressive.
These diseases directly impact the behavior of your dog, and they include rabies, hypothyroidism, and metabolic disorders.
If you own two Pit Bulls and one of them happens to be more aggressive towards the other dog, it might be a different problem that has nothing to do with socializition or their health. It might be due to one of these reasons:
- You didn’t neuter your dog – Unneutered male dogs are more likely to become hostile and attempt to dominate the other dogs in the house. Male dogs are more likely to exhibit this, but unspayed female dogs can also show it.
- Not enough resources – That means you don’t provide each of them with their own plate of food, water, beds, and toys, so they feel as if they have to fight in order to get their necessities.
Owning one Pit Bull can be expensive, so you can expect that owning two of them is going to cost you double everything. You can learn how much Pit Bulls cost here as I break down the upfront costs and the recurring costs you will have to pay weekly, monthly, and annually, so do check it out.
Does Aggressiveness in Dogs Have Types?
Dogs show different types of induced aggressiveness, no matter what their breed.
- Maternal Aggression -It is when a female Pit Bull (or any breed) acts aggressively to protect its puppies from foreign people, things, and other animals.
- Predatory Aggression – It is the hostility that is most frequently seen in working or hunting dogs with a strong prey drive like Huskies and Germa Shepherds. In Pit Bulls, this kind of aggression is not common.
- Redirected Aggression – It is one of the main reasons for dogs’ aggression towards people, particularly those that try to break up fights between dogs or take their prey from them. These dogs become momentarily enraged at the person and react aggressively.
- Territorial Aggression – As male dogs have an innate need to defend their homes, they develop this kind of aggression when they reach sexual maturity. It can be severe in a poorly socialized Pit Bull.
- Social Aggression – Just like humans fight in social conflicts, dogs are just as prone to social aggression because they are pack animals with a complicated hierarchy.
- Possessive Aggression – Pit Bulls may start protecting their food, toys, or beds with possessive hostility when someone or an animal tries to take these things or gets close to them. Dogs with dominating personalities are more likely to exhibit this type to exert control over others.
- Pain Aggression – When a dog is hurt or has an illness, and someone unintentionally increases the pain of it, the dog will react aggressively. Many animals exhibit this kind of aggression, not just dogs.
- Sexual Aggression – It happens between dogs of the same sex and is due to sexual competitiveness.
- Fear Aggression – It is usually due to poorly socialized dogs who act aggressively as a defense mechanism against unfamiliar environments, sounds, and people.
Nipping is another form of aggression that is not typically seen as a behavioral issue. Pit Bull puppies use their mouths to explore their environment.
A Pit Bull puppy will not learn to control its nipping behavior if it is taken away from its mother. This means that they may bite quite hard or even cause bleeding while playing with humans and other animals.
How Can You Prevent Your Dog From Being Aggressive?
Training and socialization are essential factors in controlling your dog’s behavior and preventing it from being aggressive, so here are a few tips to help you do that.
You have to make them socialize as early as possible, but pay close attention to the period from 3 to 12 weeks. They absorb and retain information best during this period. It’s a good idea to explain things to them gradually at this point.
Maintain Control At all Times
Always maintain a level of control over any situation and put them in familiar environments that you can manage. Let me put it this way, avoid taking them to the dog park where they can potentially get freaked out by ten dogs. This only serves to set you and your furry friend back where you started.
Take Them to Obedience Classes
You could take your precious pet to a couple of puppy classes to get them started on their socializing journey, and while you are at it, get a bit of training too.
Introduce them to as many people with different shapes and physiques as much as you can. Avoid extremely busy areas until they have gradually become accustomed to them.
Do Your Best to Be Prepared
Always keep things upbeat. However, sometimes that isn’t exactly doable. Certain things that you would assume wouldn’t upset a dog can cause a surprising reaction.
Your dog might react drastically to the sound of a trash bag or dropping something, so you should always be mindful of simple stuff. If at all feasible, prepare the scenario in advance.
Review Their Training Periodically
Although it should go without saying, practically all problematic dogs are untrained. You have to train your dog to be obedient as soon as you get it so that it obeys your commands and hand signals without any doubt.
To make sure this training stays effective, you need to review at least the basic obedience commands like sit, stay, and no with your dog every 6 months to a year.
The good news is that Pit Bulls are pretty smart and will be able to remember their training pretty quickly and easily, and the more your practice and review their training, the more you can trust their reactions to your commands and to different situations.
Give Them Enough Exercise
Make sure to exercise your dog a lot. Another cliche, but a dog that is tired actually behaves better. Most cases of Pit Bull assaults are because of owners who leave their dogs alone at home all day, keep their dogs chained up, or do not know how to deal with a big, active dog.
You shouldn’t have a dog at all if your only motivation for getting a Pit Bull, or any dog for that matter, is to chain it up in your yard and show it off to your neighbors. Pit Bulls, and dogs in general, should not be kept outside at all times, it’s risky for you, the dog, and everyone else.
Finally, always make sure that your Pit Bull eats food of good quality and is healthy, as a starved dog is probably more prone to bite, and a sick dog will react more aggressively when approached.
What Do You Do If Your Dog Becomes More Aggressive?
You might be wondering what to do if your dog is becoming more aggressive and positive reinforcement is not working, even if you’ve been taking care of it.
If you happen to notice any sign of new aggressiveness in your dog, it’s better to take it to get professional help. You can take your dog to the vet for a checkup to determine if there are any underlying health problems, or you can take it to a dog trainer to help correct its behavior.
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