I recently obtained two pit bulls from a horrible situation. I got them when they were only about 3-4 weeks old due to their mother not wanting to feed them anymore. We had to feed them puppy formula by hand for around 4 weeks. I named one Thade (from the planet of the apes) and the other Hancock from the new movie. My husband and I love the little guys, but Mr. Thade is very jealous of any attention directed to Hancock.
With strong breeds like pit bulls you need to establish the rules early and enforce them so things like jealousy do not grow into more aggressive actions. Also, long daily walks are important as they help burn off energy, bond the dogs to you and get you work together as a pack.
I recommend working with a trainer, taking a class from a local expert (one who emphasizes dog psychology over obedience and mastering walking on a leash and respecting boundaries over food and doorways).
If you have a Netflix subscription, you can rent all the Dog Whisperer shows that are on DVD. Cesar Millan, aka the Dog Whisperer, is especially adept at handling pit bulls (his very own "Daddy" is featured in many of the shows). Current episodes of the show air on the National Geographic cable channel.
Cesar's send book "Be the Pack Leader" also is very helpful, but seeing him in action first is best. Good luck and get some training for these guys ASAP!
Try providing them with enough chew toys so they don't tear up your shoes, furniture, etc.
I like the picture very much. Those puppies have the lovin'est masters.
I am a dog trainer, and the first thing I want to tell you is to educate yourself about dog body language and pack order immediately and be very cautious with the puppies. If you've rescued them from a person who was breeding to fight them, or if this person got the mother from a line of pit bulls being bred for fighting, you are in trouble. The fact that the mother was mistreating them is a big red flag. Aggressive behaviour is part genetics and part environment (how they are raised). You can manage the environment part, but there is nothing you can do about the genetics part. I caution you to NEVER have them near children unsupervised, or even at all without being restrained. Seriously. I'm a dog lover and I know that dogs can be taught to control their aggression, but sometimes if the genetics are too strong, the dog will just react. And it's not just pit bulls. Any breed, if it's from a line of aggressive parents will have the same problem. The sad part is that pit bulls are often bred for fighting to the death and so that line is strong in their genetics. These people ought to be put on death row for such actions, in my opinion.
Anyway, be aware of canine body language and pack order so you can recognize early, low level signals of aggression and be able to manage the behaviour effectively through prevention and careful training techniques. DO NOT use physical, punishment-based training techniques. You don't want your dog to feel that it is acceptable EVER to have a physical altercation with you. There are other effective methods that use dog psychology rather than physical "corrections."
I would caution you about using Cesar Millan's techniques. This is a television show. It doesn't show everything and can give a false impression of things. By all means, watch it, but with caution. Do your reading and research along with it. Stanley Coren's books are a great place to start.
I don't know if this has any bearing or not, but I will tell my story. I once got two male mixed-breed puppies from the same litter. We lived on a farm and they had free run. When they were about 1 year old, they got into a fight with each other and it was apparent they were intent on fighting to the death. We could never let them be together again and had to keep them in separate enclosures. We tried to put them together after several cooling-off periods, but they would immediately go for each other's throats. An elderly neighbor told us that this sometimes happens with litter mates. Don't know if it's true or not. Regardless, I'd be very careful with these dogs, considering their past and that the aggressiveness is showing up so early in life.
Also neuter them. As soon as a vet will let you. Neutering will help curb the hormonal-induced aggression and will help to calm them down.
Thanks everyone for posting a response to my question. My husband and I are gettng them neutered as well as in some training classes. I think with a great deal of work they will be fine. It's just my spouse and I; our daughter is away at in college in Mississippi, so they're not around any children. They are very loveable and just seek attention. They are in their own kennels; howvever, they are out frequently. We have an outdoor kennel from our other dog Tre that passed away about 13-years ago; and we never got another dog(s) until now, so it will be nice for them when they are old enough to be outside. My husband said he's going to add an addition to the kennel, so that they can be seperated as need. I would appreciate any other suggestion gladly.
Pit bulls make excellent house pets. They have a high pain threshold which makes them great with kids. Animals naturally have an aggression towards the same sex, so definitely neuter them.
Pit bull aggression is overrated. They actually make poor guard dogs because of their natural need to please humans. However, they are genetically inclined to fight other animals so socializing them with animals is highly suggested.
I wouldn't worry about the aggression level. They aren't like Shepards, chow chows, or akitas. Bad owners and breeders are the real problems. They give the breed the reputation. They abuse the quality best known in pit bulls, which is their tenacity to never give up, and exploit them in dog fights.
I've had chihuahuas to rottweilers to chows to pugs to bull terriers. I actually think the chihuahuas are the meanest!
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