(Closed) Pit bull and Staffy Owners thoughts please?

posted 6 years ago in Pets
Post # 3
Member
2607 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

I don’t own either… I’d love a pit mix, but they’re banned in my city sadly… but from what I understand about how the breed has evolved, and been designed, she’s exactly right.  They were designed to be dog aggressive, and utterly loyal and docile to their handlers.  Think about the stories that pit owners tell about their dogs, and what big softy sucks they are amongst the family, that’s not by accident.

However, I’ve seen myself in obediance classes, and at the dog park, that if a dog wants to challenge another dog, or percieved a challenge from another dog, and they’re prevented from actually reaching eachother, they’ll lash out at anything in site.  I’ve seen dogs attack their owner, or even a chair placed in the way.  Dogs don’t deal with frustration well, so eventually they just lose control, and unfortunately it can result in a loved human being bitten.

 

Post # 4
Member
454 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

I really don’t know about the specifics, but in general I agree that what is perceived by humans as aggression (in all types of dogs, not just pits) is often something else, be it protection, feeling threatened, anxiety, etc.  Personally, I’ve never seen my female pit display aggression that seems to come out of nowhere.

She has some toy guarding issues.  If a human tries to take certain toys in certain situations, she will growl.  I don’t think this is aggression at all, I think it’s her feeling threatened and we’re working on it with her.  She finally started to drop her ball if she wants us to throw it – before that, fetch lasted all of one throw because she would never release the ball haha.  Now we are working on getting it on command.  If a dog tries to take her toys she lets them, or will play friendly tug of war with the other dog.

She has in the past barked and growled at other dogs on the street who barked and growled at her first.  Again I don’t see this as aggression, this falls under normal behavior to me but I am slowly training her to ignore other dogs on the street.

So, I think someone who is inexperienced with dogs might see some of that stuff and think “aggression” but it is often not really the case.

I don’t think that all pits are harboring aggression and will eventually take it out on either dog or human.  I don’t even know if they are particularly loyal to their humans over other breeds.  I only know my own dog but I will say that as sweet and submissive as she can be, I will never say that she could NEVER act out either.  She has a big personality and has learned a lot of restraint but it’s on us to be diligent and set her up for success.

Post # 5
Member
1279 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2012

Take The Reins Your post was very enlightening…I myself don’t own a pit, but my younger brother has owned 2 and they are extremely friendly, loving, and family dogs….but I have also seen what they can do to when agressive…. I believe the lady on the program was correct.  either way thanks for posting this very informative post.

Post # 6
Member
2697 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I’m not sure what the question is, but I agree with a lot of what she says.

Dog aggression is not equal to people aggression.

However. Pit bulls/Staffies/Amstaffs are terriers. Terriers very, very comonly redirect their aggression and excitement. Like any terrier (jack russel, yorkie, etc,) if a pit bull is being aggressive to a cat, dog, etc and excitement is running high, there is a good chance for the dog to misplace their excitement. Say you have two terriers in a yard barking at a cat that is outside of the fence. One dog accidently slams into the other. Dog fight then ensues. Child runs up to a dog and pets it as the dog is barking at something else. Dog reacts, child is bitten. Not uncommon, and not specific to pit bull type dogs, or even terriers. Just more prone to the possiblity. I know I have witnessed this or pack mentality in my own dogs. Neither of these scenarios would qualify as dog or people aggression, just dogs reacting to stimuli.

I reccommend reading this: BadRap’s guidelines for a multi-dog home

It has a lot of good info. I personally, would not leave two large dogs along together if they happen to be a breed that is prone to redircting excitement into aggression. Crate training is really important.

EDIT: I own a pit mix, who is now 8 and who I adopted at 9 months. She grew from being dog friendly as a puppy to dog tolerant around 3. She has gotten into scuffles with a few other dogs, none serious, and the turning point for her was being attacked while on a walk by an off-leash dog. She has never bitten/snapped at any person, and has only growled at people she didn’t know walking by our door, then accepting them happily as I would invite them in. She is excellent with my niece (2) and nephew (5.) We also have a bloodhound mix, and I am very careful about excitement triggers (food, toys, animals) and keep them separated when alone, and keep a close eye on them around potential triggers. I will say that the bloodhound reacts basically the same as the pit bull, and they both want to be top dog.

Post # 7
Member
454 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

@Roe:  Funny about the bloodhound and the pit together!  We have a bloodhound down the street and he and my female pit mix are not on the greatest terms haha.  No fights or anything but they are pretty suspicious of each other, kinda both like “did I say you could be on my block?”  They won’t be playmates anytime soon!

Post # 8
Member
750 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

My personal experience:

I have a pitty/Lab mix. K-Dog is almost 4. My future brother-in-law lives with us and has K-Dog’s sister from the same litter.

The two of them grew up together except for a short time when Brother-In-Law and his dog lived elsewhere. They’re very rambunctious and a lot harder to handle when they are together – apart, they’re not too bad. We keep them in separate crates when we’re out. They play fight and wrestle once in awhile, and only twice have I felt I had to separate them.

Both dogs are property-protective. We live near a school and kids walk by every day. If they are both in the yard, the dogs go batshit crazy and rush the fence, barking like banshees. If it’s just one dog out, that dog’s reaction is much less. Still, barking and stalking the fence to make sure no one comes in. If other dogs come down the path, the reaction is the same. They really don’t try to get out, they’re just loud and it freaks people out. We abide by the fence/dog regulations though!

When I take K-Dog for a walk by herself, she is protective of me but not aggressive. If we meet another dog, she wants to sniff it and if that dog is aggressive, she will often react aggressively – especially if it’s a little dog! She hates little barky dogs. She’s not well-socialized to strange dogs and that’s something we’re working on. When dogs bark at us from inside their own yards, she gets a little nervous and just stays close to me. If I am close to her, she doesn’t mind a strange person wanting to pet her. I find that if I am calm when I have her outside the yard, she is generally calm as well. 

Pits are LICKERS! Both dogs are ridiculously licky – and not just people, they’ll lick my laptop, the couch, the carpet… weirdos. 

Because she is so property-protective, I worried when I moved in and introduced my 7 year old cat into the house that “belonged” to K-Dog. She was more curious about the cat than anything – tried to lick it and got bopped a lot! The cat still doesn’t want anything to do with her (over a year later), but K-Dog has never been aggressive to the cat in all that time. I was a little surprised but am pleasantly relieved. When the sister dog moved back in with us, K-Dog was protective of the cat! It was like “I know it hates me, but that’s MY cat!”

K-Dog is nice to kids, though she’s not around too many of them. She loves our 4 year old nephew who she has known since he was a baby – we don’t leave her unattended with any kids though. 

She’s a lover and I wouldn’t trade her, even when she drives me bonkers. 

Post # 9
Member
454 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

@sweetcrackers:  oh my goodness, WHAT A CUTIE!!!

It’s funny about the fence thing, we know some pits and some non-pits at the dog park who are highly reactive to people or dogs on the other side of the fence but ours could not care less what is on the other side of the fence unless it’s a tennis ball that rolled out and she can’t get to it haha.  Just goes to show, they are all individuals!

Post # 10
Member
2697 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

@sweetcrackers:  My pit uses my pant leg to dry off her tongue (seriously) after she drinks water. Big Weirdos.

@phillygirl629:  My girl’s best friend is the Akita that is chained next door. Who knew? She also tries to love on the cat all the time, but he isnt so pleased by the idea

Post # 11
Member
750 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

Also – be prepared for high energy! K-Dog still has puppy energy and she’s 4. It’s not enough to put her in the yard, I have to go in the yard and make her play. Lots and lots of fetch at our house! That naturally just wears her out, although I’m sure that’s true for any dog.

ETA: She does not like to play fetch as much when the other dog is around. Nor does she focus or respond to commands quite as well.

We never play aggression games with her. No tug of war, no stuffed toys that look like other animals, no wrestling. She is not allowed to ever fight us for something in play, because then she will think aggression is play. If she won’t drop her toy when she wants to play fetch – too bad, we’re not going to throw it. Now she is very good at the “drop it!” command. Her chew toys are rawhide bones and Kong products, no stuffed hedgehogs or rabbits (and definitely no cats!). She does get a rabbit or squirrel in the yard once in awhile, but when we tell her to drop it, she does. If we call her off when she chases something, she comes back. She was taught early and it’s reinforced often – aggression is never play.

Post # 14
Member
2607 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

@Take The Reins:  Sorry.. I should have specified that mis-directed frustration is something that ALL breeds are subject to.  Dogs I was thinking of in my post are a Manchester Terrier and a Shi Tzu mix respectively… so def, not bully breeds.  The bullies tend to be a bit more stubborn about getting to what they want though, and when you couple that stubbornness with a terrier’s tenacity, you get an even more determined dog.

You’re definitely right that not being neutered increases the frustration level in male dogs. 

 

 

Post # 15
Member
2607 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

I wonder if we all took an informal poll of those who have been bitten by a dog in the past, what the results would be?

Personally, I’ve only been bitten twice.  Once by a neighbours poodle, and once by my grandparents dog (whose whiskers I had just pulled… I was about 6 at the time 🙂

I”m willing to bet they’d mostly be small breeds, but small breed bites are rarely reported because they dont’ do the damage that large breeds/bullies do due to their jaw strength.

Post # 16
Member
2580 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

@Roe:  I’ve seen the misplaced excitement and aggression with our pit mix…it’s not a frequent thing, but I definitely recognized it when you mentioned it. I would never think he’s harboring aggressive tendencies, because in almost all situations he’s very friendly to both dogs and people.

I think a lot of people confuse breed generalizations (e.g. poodles are smart, labs are loyal, etc) with hard and fast rules for a dog’s temperament. It may be a common trait that people bred for, but it’s not necessarily evident in every dog of that breed.

Also, in my experience people tend to only see the pit in a mixed breed dog. A pit mix has equal chance of carrying common traits or characteristics from either breed. Our dog is part red heeler and he definitely has a ton of heeler traits (herding, energy level, etc). If you got a purebred pit bull from a breeder, they may have been bred for the traits you described, but adopting a pit/staffy mix from an animal rescue–I imagine those traits have been diluted quite a bit from mixed/street breeding.

ETA: Is this the face of a fighter? 🙂

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