Fear aggressive Pit Bulls

Discussion in 'Dogs - General Dog Chat' started by PitBullLove, Nov 13, 2013.

  1. sassafras

    sassafras mushinois

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    Unless I'm misunderstanding, the OP's dog isn't biting unprovoked? It sounds like there are specific triggers and situations. Conflating the issue by lumping dogs who have specific problems with dogs who are unpredictable isn't really constructive IMO. We're not in Hypothetical Land, we're talking about a specific individual dog in a specific individual situation.

    I have and I do (mixes, anyway). And I honestly I do but I don't understand where you're coming from. A manageable dog who bites with specific, known triggers isn't automatically an "unstable" dog IMO. And although the dog in question hasn't been evaluated by a behaviorist, from the OP's description that's where this dog seems to be falling for me with the information I'm reading so far.

    Now whether the home is an environment where everyone understands the behavior and takes it seriously and is willing and able to commit to that management and training is where the question of responsibility comes in for me. And the answer to that question is what is going to be different for every person. What is responsible for the same exact dog in two different households might be very different.
     
  2. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    I'm on my phone and can't reply too well but I agree with sass completely.

    I've never had a dog whose first instinct was to bite when uncomfortable. But that doesn't mean none ever did bite. All bites I've seen have had clear triggers and signs leading to it. That's a far cry from a dog that just randomly bites and I don't think the two should be treated the same way.

    And besides when does a dog get labelled a 'man biter' anyways? Warning bite ok? How about if it breaks the skin? Or how about my trainer's BC who nailed her when overstimulated? Defensive aggression? Some breeds are bred to bite and WILL if put into the right situation.

    My point is just that saying teeth on skin = buh bye automatically seems like jumping the gun. Especially with a dog that hasn't been seen by a professional.
     
  3. Torch

    Torch New Member

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    The OP has given numerous examples of the dog's behavior that tell me that the dog is fearful, somewhat unstable, and is escalating his bites. Without immediate intervention, we're talking about some bad news bears. The OP is considering euthanasia so I assume the situation and the behaviors they are witnessing are fairly alarming and serious. And while I agree that the dog clearly has specific triggers, we're not talking about "my dog bites when someone tries to assault me" we're talking about "my dog bites when I touch his collar". That's a level of unacceptable for me.

    I had an unstable little spaniel when I was growing up. She had a shitty temperament and bit me frequently. She was a fear biter but also bit out of irritation and displeasure. I loved that dog dearly but as an adult I can look back and see what a sad life that she had. She feared many, many things and was often unhappy. It's a quality of life question for me as well as a liability. We worked with a trainer, used positive techniques, and she still bit me when she was displeased over silly things. It took YEARS for me to be able to groom her without being nipped, and I never hit her, lost my temper, or hurt her in any way. I'll never own a dog like that again.

    An unsound dog is an unsound dog no matter how you dress it up or justify it.
     
  4. Maxy24

    Maxy24 Active Member

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    We don't really know if this dog is unpredictable, we don't have enough information about his triggers. I probably wouldn't be able to keep an unpredictable aggressive dog alive either. But predictable does not equal friendly. My dog is very predictable (though not 100%, that's not possible with a living thing). I can predict when he'll bite, I know I can because I've seen him reach that threshold a few times. My dog is aggressive and predictable.

    To me a predictable, aggressive dog can be safely managed if the triggers can be managed and the dog is in the right situation with the right person who is willing to go out of their way to keep people safe from him, whatever that means. The dog doesn't leave a bad impression for pit bulls if he's not out there biting people. I don't know on who or in what situations these previous bites happened, but I'm going to assume that effort wasn't being put into managing him at those times (perhaps owner in denial of aggression) and the OP is now going to do proper management going forward if she decides not to PTS. So I'm not going to jump to the "well she's already let him bite, of course it will happen again!!" because I don't have enough information on what has been done and what will be done in the future to prevent bites.


    I also take offense to saying a more friendly dog would make someone happier. That depends entirely on the person and dog. I know plenty of non-biting dogs I would dislike living with FAR more than my aggressive dog.
     
  5. yv0nne

    yv0nne Vizsla mom

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    Yeah, I'm with the whole don't jump the gun. My Border has bitten& broken my skin THREE times ..it's because he gets SOHIGH on agility equipment then if I'm in the way, boom! There goes my flesh. That's the only thing that causes biting but even with that, I've had people suggest we put him down because he's bitten?!!! People amaze me.

    I think it's a personal decision& others can guide you but probably cannot give you a straight answer. There is no straight answer ..the people on this thread can't even agree! So I think the answer is to do what you feel is right. Feel like you can manage it? Then try! Feel like it's not worth the anxiety/ fear? Then go with the PTS option. Not everyone is the same or has the same level of tolerance/ skill to deal with biting.
     
  6. Torch

    Torch New Member

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    I'm a heck of a lot happier with my two stable dogs than I was as a twelve year old girl crying about my dog nipping me for the umpteenth time. I feel a heck of a lot more at ease with my every day life knowing how my dogs are going to react to a situation rather than living in fear of what's going to trigger them.

    And again, until you walk down the street with your dog and mothers pick up their children in fear, people openly scorn and insult you and your dog ("Wait til he's grown and wants to rip your throat out!" "Why would you ever want to own a pit bull?), and you have to question everyone's intention towards your dog, you cannot understand how strongly I value my peace of mind regarding my dogs' stability.
     
  7. JessLough

    JessLough Love My Mutt

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    That's great! I'm happy for you!

    To assume just because something makes you happier, that everybody else will be happier with how you have it, is just ludicrous.
     
  8. Shakou

    Shakou New Member

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    What exactly defines an unsound dog? One that bites people? Ma'ii is in no way aggressive, but.....he's an ACD. Unlike Charlotte, who's a social butterfly, he's aloof with strangers and would rather be off doing other things than hanging out with them. He has never bitten anyone before, and wouldn't under general circumstances, but if someone came rushing at me or him, he'd bite them.

    The idea of euthanizing him based on the fact that he's capable of biting, and that I'd be happier with a dog who was friendlier with strangers is a huge joke to me.
     
  9. Torch

    Torch New Member

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    I've bolded the parts of the OP that are red flags for me.

    JessLough, it is so darn interesting to me that you take umbridge at my opinion when that is what the OP is ****ing asking for. OPINIONS. So I gave mine.

    Get off me.
     
  10. SevenSins

    SevenSins APBTs & One Crazy Banana

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    It depends on the breed. I personally hold APBTs to a much higher standard than most breeds, because APBTs are the only breed out there intended to have such an enormous degree of bite inhibition toward people as a breed trait. Considering the fact that the majority of APBTs will not lay tooth on a person, even if the dog is in severe pain, or redirect on a person who breaks their hold during a fight -- traits so deeply ingrained in the breed that even show dogs I've owned who haven't had a pit dog in their pedigree for many generations have been predictable in those situations -- then yes, fear-aggression very much defines "unstable" in this breed.
     
  11. sassafras

    sassafras mushinois

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    Collar grabs are a very common bite trigger for any breed of dog. It's also something that happens to be easy to avoid and/or manage if everyone in the household is on board and takes it seriously. And depending on the household, it's not that hard to keep kids away from dogs - again, if everyone in the household takes it seriously.

    I really don't think any of us know this dog well enough based on a few posts here to say either way. But I'm not seeing anything that immediately screams "euthanize this dog" to me. It sounds like the OP is willing to have the dog evaluated by a behaviorist, which is far more valuable than any of our opinions about the dog based on a few posts.

    You're entitled to your opinion, but everyone else is entitled to their opinion of your opinion, too.

    Also, you're not the only one who has or who has had these breeds or mixes, so please stop playing that card. It's irritating. I have had or have rottie, GSD, and bully crosses, so yes I do understand what it's like out there. I'm still going to evaluate each dog first as a specific individual with specific behavior in a specific context and what I am able to train and manage, not as its breed.
     
  12. PitBullLove

    PitBullLove Member

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    I apologize for the delayed response. Thank you for your replies and opinions. First I am going to tell you about how he acts on walks, his reaction to strangers, and then I am going to tell you about the bite incidients in detail, and then I will reply to the individual posts. I also filled out a form explaining Magnum's behavior to a behaviorist.

    I will also say, NO, a collar grab is not his only trigger. Being touched in any way when he does not want to be touched, is his trigger. He wants to be touched, or grabbed on his own terms. A collar grab is just his most common trigger - what most commonly causes the bites.

    First: We take Magnum and Bella on walks at 10pm at night. We live in a neighborhood (we do have a big backyard that the dogs are able to play in all day, but we go for walks at night, when we are the only ones out). When Magnum goes on walks alone, he slinks along, tail between his legs, freaks at every sound or movement - rushes to the end of the leash away from the sound/movement and takes a very long time to recover even slightly (as much as he is going to recover, anyway, since he acts so scared from the beginning). When he goes on walks with Bella, he acts much more confident - night and day. He prances along with his tail held high, rushes towards smells, etc.

    His reaction to strangers: When he was acting this way as a pup I thought I could solve it with socialization, so I asked random people to give him tons of treats when they met him. When doing this, Magnum would stay at a distance and then eventually slowly slink up to them, at as far away of a distance as possible, reach his neck out and gobble up the treats, and then back away. I continued doing this, but as he got older he started putting his hackles up and growling at people as well - so I stopped. When he met my roomates he put his hackles up, growled, and paced around them.

    Bite incidents:
    His first bite happened at 8 weeks old - this last summer. My ex-boyfriend accidentally let him slip out the door at our apartment, and our neighbor was outside. She walked up to him nicely, talking to him, and he went up to her (being wary), when she picked him up, he panicked, yelped, and grabbed onto her arm. He made her arm bleed.

    The second bite happened when my ex-boyfriend attempted to carry him to his puddle of pee on the carpet (just to show him why he was being told no, and why he was being taken outside). As soon as Magnum saw his pee, he started fighting in my exboyfriend's arms and bit him. That was a very common reason for his bites as a puppy. As soon as he saw he did something wrong, and he was being told no and was being held onto in some way, he would panic and bite. If he was not being held onto, he would just wiggle and wiggle and wiggle and wag his tail.

    When I was spending the night with a friend I had let Magnum outside to go potty. Although I had looked over the yard and it was completely fenced and secure, I did not notice a hole that was dug under the fence because it was covered by bushes. I noticed Magnum rustling around over there and called him and he didn't come. I went over there, noticed the hole, and grabbed his collar. He turned around and in a frenzy, bit me.

    When my 40 year old roomate was playing with him outside the other day, she turned away from him and he jumped up and bit her arm. He didn't draw blood, but he ripped her sweater.

    His most recent bite - he was digging a hole in the yard and would not call of of it. I went up and grabbed his collar and he turned around and bit my hand, and my hand bled quite a bit.

    On to the replies.

    I do live in a neighborhood, I have a big backyard. He is very happy at home. I do not need to take him out around people every day.

    I am so sorry to hear about your loss, crazedACD :( ((((HUGS))))

    Yes I can. But I strongly believe. No, I know, that if the harness is grabbed, he will bite because of thart as well.

    I, too, like my dogs to be bombproof. Especially my pit bulls, because they were bred to be bombproof with people. That is who they are supposed to be, and what any good breeder strives for.
    I do not think you can predit a dog 100% of the time in any situation, and I do not think "many dogs" could make me happier. Magnum makes me very happy.

    You see, I used to think like that. The "I don't give a F*** what people think about my dog or my breed, they can **** themselves," but you shouldn't think like that, if you truly want to fix the problem with BSL and BSD in the world today.

    Can you please explain marker training?

    I find that so sad :( You have no remorse for the multiple pit bulls affected in that area or their owners?

    I don't like the first idea because that sounds like avoiding the issue rather than fixing it. Maybe I'm wrong here - but I want to FIX the problem, not avoid it. I really like the second idea though :)

    Do understand this is why I am having such a hard time with this.
    But I do like the idea of consulting a professional and trying to fix the issue, before jumping to euthanizing him.

    I, too, have the same expectations of the breed.

    I think I covered everything. If I missed something, let me know.
     
  13. sassafras

    sassafras mushinois

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    So, substantively, what is the difference in difficulty between managing a dog who bites people and a DA dog, and how forgiving would the general public be if a pit bull killed a beloved pet dog?

    I'm not trying to be snarky, this honestly confuses me. People seem genuinely willing to tolerate and manage DA when the public outrage over little Fluffy getting mauled is going to contribute to public opinion about BSL every bit as much as an attack on a human. It doesn't make sense to me.
     
  14. PitBullLove

    PitBullLove Member

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    That is very true. Your point makes a lot of sense.
     
  15. Maxy24

    Maxy24 Active Member

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    He sounds very workable to me based on the bite incidents. He is fearful of strangers but he is not charging at people or running up and biting. The only exception is the bite to your roommate, but I'm not entirely convinced that wasn't him just playing with her, are you sure he was being aggressive?

    All of the other incidents involved him being trapped with hands on him while he was afraid (fear of strangers, fear of punishment). First step would be only letting him out on leash from now on (be it a 6 footer or long line). That way you can prevent him from escaping the yard and stop him from doing something like digging without putting your hands on him.

    He is not getting aggressive when you scold him without touching him, and I've heard of dogs that do that. Instead he shows appeasement (trying to prevent a confrontation) which is appropriate. Obviously he overreacts to punishment, but I feel like it's a sort of punishment you could live without since it requires you to actually get physical (your choice of course, you know what you can and can't live with).

    So in order to be safe you will need to be able to control yourself (as will everyone else he interacts with or else they can't interact with him) from touching him when you are upset with him as it seems like that is his biggest trigger. He is going to get punished for peeing and for digging, someone grabs hold of him, he becomes afraid, can't run but doesn't want to get punished, so he bites. You need to interrupt him without touching him. Call him away, teach him to hand target, whatever. A slip lead might work but it might not, he'd still be trapped. A squirt bottle could work but honestly I would try to avoid punishment as much as you possibly can because you don't want him to turn into one of those dogs that does go after you for saying no or squirting him with water or other non physical punishment. You may need to completely change your training methods which is a hard thing to do for someone who has been training dogs with some level of force (even if it's as mild as a verbal correction and physical removal). I loathe physical punishment and yet still get the strong urge to do it when Tucker is doing something bad, and sometimes I don't control myself. You don't get to make those mistakes.


    In the mean time work on reducing what triggers you can with the help of a really awesome trainer. Carefully work on collar grabs (super carefully). Maybe even counter condition him to a raised voice (yes it will no longer function as a punishment). Work on his fear of strangers (by not letting them interact with him- you want him to learn they will leave him alone).


    Are there positive interactions (not related to him doing something wrong) that he gets upset over? Or is it all when he's misbehaving?
     
  16. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    I've been wondering the same thing.
     
  17. SevenSins

    SevenSins APBTs & One Crazy Banana

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    First, DA is a major trait in the breed, so any responsible owner should be well prepared for it and keeping an eye on their surroundings. Second, there are leash laws in most places where other dogs would be difficult to avoid, and as long as your Pit Bull is leashed, you're typically not legally liable if another dog runs up to your and gets attacked. Normally, in that situation, you're not going to make the local or national news, that tends to happen when an idiot owner with a DA APBT/Bully/mix/whatever has their dog off leash around other animals. On the other hand, leashed or not, if someone isn't watching their child and it runs up and gets attacked by your Pit Bull, you're screwed and others who own the breed are screwed, period.
     
  18. sillysally

    sillysally Obey the Toad.

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    I've had dogs, horses, cats, rodents, lizards, and birds starting from the time I was young, and worked at a stable for 10 years and if there is one thing I have learned from my experiences is that there is no such thing as an animal that is predictable 100% of the time. There is no such thing as a horse that doesn't kick and there is no such thing as a dog that doesn't bite. Yes, individuals will fall somewhere on a scale of how predictable they are, but none are 100%. You can know an animal pretty well and still have it surprise you.

    As far as the pit bull issue goes--I do believe that human aggression in a pit bull needs to be considered in a different way than the same behavior exhibited, from say, a lab. Both are breeds where human aggression is a major fault, but the ripple effect of a pit bull bite vs a lab bite is much greater. It may not be fair, but the reality is that a community isn't going to ban labs because of a bad bite, but it it very well might when it comes to a pit bull bite. Communities have enacted BSL when there have been no pit bull incidents, simply as a preemptive strike.

    That having been said, the opinion of the pit bull community would certainly not be the be all end all of such a grave decision for me. I do have a generic "pit bull/pit bull mix," who despite her lack of papers looks enough like a pit bull to be effected by BSL--so I do have skin in the game. The fact is that the pit bull community aren't the ones that have to go to sleep every night knowing that they chose to have their physically healthy dog killed. Frankly, I think that a knowledgeable dog owner properly managing an unbreedable fear aggressive pit bull is pretty far down the list of the breeds problems.

    If someone is at peace with their decision to PTS an unstable pit bull, I understand. However, I also understand if a person with such a dog wants to try management, behavior modification, and medical intervention instead.
     
  19. Torch

    Torch New Member

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    Perhaps I shouldn't have said 100% of the time. But pretty **** close is what's expected in my house. As I mentioned, I've lived with a man biter and now I live with dogs that are pretty much the exact opposite. I much prefer it. I apologize to the OP if they thought I was being callous about their current dog, who they obviously love very much. When I used the term 'happier', I was oversimplifying a much greater range of emotions. Having a man biter means extreme management and can cause extreme anxiety, fear, and guilt for the owner.

    I can forgive a lot of things in a dog, but a poor temperament is not one of them. A herder that won't herd, a guardian that won't guard, or a lab that won't swim is a lot less of a danger than an APBT that is a man biter.

    I stand by what I said earlier in the thread; The OP knows their dog best, they came with the suggestion of euthanasia, and they know the breed well and the implications of owning a man biter.
     
  20. Shakou

    Shakou New Member

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    That's not what I meant. What I meant was at that point it wouldn't effect us, because one of the many joys of my life is if we don't like an area, we can just leave. Of course it bothers me when people have a dog with a vite history who's NOT doing anything about it and putting it into situations where it is ALLOWED to bite. But that doesn't mean the dog is the problem or it can't be managed and kept from harming others and live a happy life with just a little bit of effort on behalf of the owner. I don't view dogs as something that's disposable that you can just throw away if they're defective like merchandise from a store. The fact people on this board feel that way makes me want to puke.

    I'm sorry that makes you sad. This whole thread makes me sad. That's all I have to say.
     

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