Rehabilitating a Former Bait Dog?

February 10, 2017

Ex-bait Dog Attacked My Other Dog - brown dog with blanketsWilbur is the sweetest most loving dog. I adopted him 6 months ago. Since then he attacked 2 separate dogs and then last night, he attacked my Cocker Spaniel, Grace. They've always gotten along. No fights or anything. She's doing OK after a trip to the ER, but I can't let this happen. He tore my thumb up as I was trying to get him off her. I love him to death and want to help him. Is there anything I can do or should I find him a home with no pets?



February 10, 20170 found this helpful

Your dog has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
I'm sure he wants to just get along, but every once in a while he has flashbacks and sees those other dogs as his attackers and tormentors. So, in his mind, he is defending himself.

Unless you have experience with mentally traumatized dogs it's unlikely this will get better.
Do you know anyone who is very experienced with abused dogs? Unfortunately I think your dog needs someone who is more experienced to handle his issues. Otherwise, I'm afraid your Cocker Spaniel may end up injured or worse, or you could be a subject of a lawsuit by others if their dogs are harmed.


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February 10, 20170 found this helpful

I would find this dog another home, and quickly! From what I know about the law, there is a "one bite" policy, and then the dog has to be put down.


Take it to an animal shelter, where they will be sure to place him in a home where there are no other animals or children.


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February 12, 20170 found this helpful

This dog is what Cesar Millan would call a 'Red Zone' dog, and him and other dog behaviourists and rehabilitators have special skills for rehabilitating these animals. YOu could watch past episodes of The Dog WHisperer, especially in regards to Red Zone dogs, to see how he does it.

IN general though I agree with the consensus, that unless you have the ability to rehabiliate him, he needs to be rehomed. They will try to adopt him out with a NO OTHER DOGS note on his file, or in a better case scenario he will go to a sanctuary. Worst case scenario, of course, he will end up in a kill shelter and be put down, but at the end of the day you probably need to look out for your own family first.

February 15, 20170 found this helpful

I would say find someone who is willing to take him that doesn't have any other animals or small children just to be on the safe side. This way no one else or other animals gets hurt and he also gets individual attention which just might be what he needs.


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February 20, 20170 found this helpful

I would turn the dog over to a person who knows how to deal with such behaviors described. A soldier who suffered from PTSD needed a dog to help him and he also knew how to train dogs from his own family occupation. This man said he wanted a pit bull as he'd seen them in action during his service stint and he knew what to do.


Check online for anyone who is a soldier requesting such a breed who knows how to work with a pit bull and train, so the dog will benefit a soldier and you won't need to concern yourself with future dog quarrels/bites. You'll also be contributing to a good cause and saving a dog's life from being put down.

January 20, 20200 found this helpful

Do you live in Ohio ?? Because I got a dog a year ago & a couple weeks and he looks the exact same as this dog scars and everything he was also a bait dog but he never got along with any animals at all as soon as he smells one or sees one he tries to go after it I would just like to know if this is the same dog

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3 More Questions

Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

December 27, 2015

We have a very lovable bait dog that was a member of the family before the children came to live with us. So far he has proven very protective of the children. What are the chances that will continue or that we might end up regretting taking the children while we still had the dog living with us.

He has made his third year anniversary with us and the only problem he seems to have is with other dogs and a seizure disorder.


December 27, 20150 found this helpful

Depends what you mean by "very protective." Has he almost bitten? Could you call him off? Train your dog. Train him to LISTEN and OBEY.


The dog aggression is understandable but cannot be allowed to continue. If he attacks and kills a beloved pet he will be ordered to be put down. Regardless of his past, for his own good you must get him training. If you're worried, nervous or anxious he will bite somebody or kill a dog that's enough to justify getting him the help he needs.

December 28, 20150 found this helpful

He listens to me and one other adult, but that is it. He has attempted to attack other dogs, but he was muzzled because we know it can be a problem. At 95 pounds plus, I don't want to take a chance on a dog or person being hurt because of someone in his past.


The most threat he is in the house is his tail, offer a treat and it can beat you to death even if it is his 15th one in an hour.


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December 28, 20150 found this helpful

You really need the advice of a professional in dog behavior. This is a complicated situation, and the stakes are high, for you, the children, and the dog. Find a professional and have your dog evaluated before you make a decision. You really don't have enough information to make a decision. I agree with Abigail about the training. Good luck.


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February 25, 20170 found this helpful

I wouldn't risk it. Children can be rough with dogs and this could set your dog off. He could bite the children and do a lot more harm.

February 25, 20170 found this helpful

This is scary. But if you take this to the logical conclusion, then no family should own a dog because it might eventually attack someone. So you don't want to get too freaked out.


Mostly, learn to read a dog's body language, and interfere at any sign of aggression.

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October 16, 2019

I just rescued a Pit Bull who was used as a bait dog about a year ago and was bounced around until I got her about 2-3 weeks ago. She has issues with some dogs and an issue with cats and a couple of other animals.

She lives on a farm and I wanted to know if there was any way to help her over the hurtle to be able to safely interact with these particular animals.

Training a Former Bait Dog - brown Pit


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October 16, 20190 found this helpful

I would invest in a professional trainer for this.


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October 17, 20190 found this helpful

Depending on the age of the dog and how long the dog was abused this could be very difficult to train the dog or really help the dog out much. You can try with treats and love and introducting the dog to other animals. If this does not work then you may need to invest in a trainer and see if they can help you out.


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October 18, 20190 found this helpful

You may need to treat this dog with care for as long as you have her. Consider a professional trainer to determine what can be changed and what cannot. Then you will know how to handle her. She may gain some confidence from agility training. Most dogs love it. Good on you for taking her in.


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November 2, 20190 found this helpful

Our vet always recommends a trainer for these dogs (if this is your first experience with a dog who had such trauma.)

Ask them for guidance on the best trainer for this situation.

Lots of patience and consistency will go a long way in your journey!! One thing our local trainers recommend and I strongly agree with is that EVERY family who interacts with the dog attend EVERY training session so everyone has the same message and same methods for handling the issues. This will really go a long way to shortening the time it takes to train if everyone handles the situations in the same way!

I will send up lots of prayers that your pup can recover and assimilate quickly! G-d bless you all for having a big heart to work with this baby!!!

Post back with updates!!

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November 12, 2013

My wife and I found a dog in Hawaii on our honeymoon. He was starving and looked like he fought a boar. We took him to a vet and they said he looks like he was most likely used as a bait dog for fighting. We brought him home, and have been just fine till after over a month he killed my daughter's cat. Now I don't know what to do. Any ideas?

By Michael


November 14, 20130 found this helpful

Please don't give up on this pup. This is all he has been taught that the bigger you get, you try and kill the younger. They can be retrained with patience. When around a smaller animal stay close and any show of slightly hurting the smaller one. He is put aside in a kennel or private area. When he is gentle around the smaller animal give him treats for doing good. I did this with a golden that was pitbull bait. She now does great with smaller animals and even protects smaller animals. My girl is now 5 years old.


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November 14, 20130 found this helpful

Didn't he show any signs of aggression before the kill? I'd ask my vet for the name of a dog trainer and watch him when you have him around other dogs or cats. If he starts to show aggression you'll have to retrain him.

November 14, 20130 found this helpful

Why don't you check with Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer? He has a web-site and would be my best bet for help.


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November 14, 20130 found this helpful

I'm sorry to say that maybe you should let this dog go. The killing of the cat should be a warning of what he is capable of. Next time it could be someone's much loved pet, a small puppy or dog - or maybe a small child. The heartbreak that this could cause for the owners would be unbearable.

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