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Aggression in Pit Bull Puppies - Treating Aggressive Behaviors in Dogs

Updated on December 29, 2010

Pit bull puppies are rambunctious and require a great deal of exercise and ownership know-how to properly care for the breed. Many novice dog owners are not able to separate aggression from the typical pit bull attitude. The reality is that no pit bull puppies are actually “aggressive”. However, this does not mean that your pit bull does not have a behavioral problem. This can be due to a number of issues, but needs to be dealt with immediately to show the puppy that bad behavior will not be tolerated.

Common bad behaviors that may be confused with aggression in pit bull puppies include:

  • Biting
  • Nipping
  • Chewing
  • Mouthing
  • Barking
  • Growling
  • Clawing

Wrestling, chasing, nipping, and many other common symptoms seen are usually normal puppy play. Since the pit bull breeds, such as the American Pit Bull Terrier, are strong and built dogs, this “aggression” may seem worse than that of a Chihuahua or small breed dog. Most puppies (of any breed) will play using their mouths and paws when they are young. Taking a puppy away from his or her mother before 8 weeks can make these issues worse, as this time is crucial for the mother to teach the puppies their “manners”.

Pit Bull Puppy

Pit Bull Puppy
Pit Bull Puppy | Source

Human Aggression vs. Animal Aggression

To the contrary, most pit bulls will never be aggressive with humans. The pit bull has been bred for centuries to be a people-friendly dog. Most pit bulls are very friendly, even to strangers, and will welcome anyone with a wagging tail. Pit bulls tend to be submissive to humans, making them a well-adjusted family dog.

It has been reported on temperament studies conducted by the American Temperament Test Society that the American Pit Bull Terrier has a passing temperament rate of 83.9 percent. This is compared to a 77 percent of the general dog population. The temperament tests consist of putting the dog through a series of tests and unexpected situations to look for signs of panic or unprovoked aggression.

While most pit bulls are not human aggressive, but like most dogs, can be animal aggressive. Animal aggressive dogs cannot be kept with other animals and must be secured when out in public. Some dogs are only aggressive to the opposite sex or the same sex. It’s important to raise your pit bull to be animal friendly as a puppy. This can be done before the dog reaches social maturity, around the age of 2.

Pit bull puppies who seem to be animal aggressive should be provided with frequent socialization. This socialization should not be done in a public open area, such as a dog park, but with one other dog in a secured setting. In order to be effective in socializing an “aggressive” puppy, you must continue to provide regular opportunities to socialize with friendly dogs as he or she grows.

What to Do about Aggression in Puppies

Puppies that show signs of aggression can greatly benefit from obedience classes with a professional dog trainer. The trainer will not only teach your puppy basic commands, he or she will also socialize and discipline the puppy. Hitting and/or yelling at a puppy are counterproductive. Puppies need structure from a young age to learn what is acceptable. Pet owners must be firm, patient, and consistent with training.

Pet owners need to know that it’s okay for their pit bull puppy to play fight with other dogs. Taking the dog for long walks and encouraging several hours of play each day can help to lower the dogs’ energy level and allow for a calmer temperament. All puppies love to play hard, especially pit bulls. With the proper knowledge and training, a pit bull that shows bad behaviors can transform into a wonderful adult dog and loving pet.


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      Linda 4 years ago

      I love puppies and enjoy training them