My Pit Bull is 4 years old. He is a rescue and we have had him for 4 months and he has bitten 6 people. We are thinking of sending him to school or getting him a shock collar, but the last thing on our list is to put him down. What do you guys think? We aren't sure. Please help us.
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I've studied about this issue and here's what I've learned to share with you:
There's danger with a biting dog....I'd certainly keep the dog away from children and other pets. What are the adults doing when the dog bites them? Are they bothering the dog while it's eating? Sleeping? Approaching the dog too suddenly? Speaking too loudly?
I read on the 'net about a dog who shows its tongue is approachable, but if it's in its mouth where you cannot see it; leave it be. Talk but don't touch. Now this doesn't pertain to mild mannered dogs, but to those who have issues.
This dog could be an "Alpha" or leader dog and is protecting its territory from strangers or those it does not know that well who are maybe friends or family not living with you or is feeling overwhelmed.
If you are home with the dog all day and then have a higher level of sound; that may trigger annoyance in the dog. Watch for signs of change in the dog and keep note what you were doing at the time of the bite or aggressiveness showed.
The dog may have been abused as well and is very distrustful. Put the dog in an enclosed place while people are visiting so nobody else gets bit. It only takes one person to experience a dog bite no matter how severe it is to sue for medical expenses and pain and suffering and you may have to be required to have the dog put down anyway. Better to be safe than sorry and keep your money in your pockets.
Study over the 'net about pitbull dogs so you understand their behavior and it could even turn on you. Cesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer deals with such problems in a lot of dogs; not always a pit bull. Get his dvds and learn from him.
Whatever you choose for a method; be consistent that when the dog shows aggression even if it hadn't bitten, keep the dog away from you for a period of time so it gets the message you're not having it around you if it wants to snap. I know there are some websites that say grab the dog by the scuff of the neck, but this is dangerous as you may not have such fast reflexes as the dog and it'll have your hand full of his teeth before you can react. A dog has its own body language and it's up to you as the owner to learn them, so you know what the dog is meaning. Get books or whatever is necessary to learn about the alpha dog or abused dog that bites; do a google search as there's so much over the 'net. There are good rules to follow in the way you behave around the alpha dog and you must continue in them so the dog will know you are in control not him.
Bad behavior requires punishment, but do not hit the dog, place it in a cage or away from sight. I'd also recommend using a muzzle on the dog when it goes outdoors. If the dog should get loose from its property; it won't be able to go into attack mode and bring harm to anybody or their pets with its teeth. Again, I cannot impress staying in a safe mode to protect others and yourself enough. Do not trust this dog, just as you think the dog is ok, it'll show you that it really isn't and you may not be prepared.
I don't want to leave any stone unturned if I can think of any, but to add other thoughts forgotten:
Do not play tug of war with the aggressive dog unless you know you are going to come out the winner. Do not play chase with this dog as it already knows it can outrun you and that lets the dog know he has control in these areaa and is the leader. You must not appear weak to him. Don't baby the dog, but use a firm voice of command.
Play with the dog a lot as it needs exercised which helps to burn up that energy and help to calm him down so it's ready to relax. A content pet is a happy pet and all this will help, but it's a lot of work on your part to see the dog is exercised and may require more than a daily, but twice. A backpack made just for dogs can be put on him before walking which will help to wear him down faster if you haven't enough time for really long walks everyday. The backpack can hold your drinks or a treat for him. Keep that muzzle on the dog while it's on its walk. You can buy a muzzle that allows the dog to still drink water and breathe easily.
When I was younger I was mauled by an 8 year old Great Dane that I later learned had bitten many, many people. I had over 150 stitches to sew my scalp back on. I know you love your dog but for what ever reason, 6 bites is a red flag.
You didn't say the circumstances for the bites.
A 4 year old dog that bites though may be controlled, he can never be trusted.
I love dogs more than anything else in this world and in all honesty I would contact an animal medium and there are many to choose from and have them deal with your dog.
You will know why the dog does what he does and the medium will be able to tell you exactly what is going on.
You can talk to a hundred different people and each person is going to have their own idea.
I put down a 5 year old Chocolate Lab that I had raised from 12 weeks old for being a fear biter. 98% of the time he was by far the best obedient dog I've ever had but that other 2% was beyond dangerous. Brewster had a serious issue with thunder and fireworks and the kids in the next yard were playing with a bunch of fireworks when he turned on me. He climbed up in my bed and literally was an inch or two away from my throat.
I whispered over and over gain for him to get off the bed and he eventually did but that was just to close for comfort and I put him down the very next day. It broke my heart and tore my guts out all at once and then the Vet gave me a hard time about putting him down.
I knew and loved my dog but I was wise enough to know I didn't have a choice.
You've had this dog only 4 months and he's already bitten 6 people, were they kids? Neighbors? Family members? The dog for what ever reason has issues and no matter what you do, or to whom you speak, you will never be able to trust this animal no matter how much you've grown to love it.
There's an old saying, "A growl is a bite that hasn't happened yet".
I also do rescue work and I get the dogs that do bite, I'm the last step before an animal is put down.
I got a call about a Basset Hound and when I went to pick her up she had bitten the Vet Tech and then went for me as well.
Her owner had died and his wife tied her up in the backyard which backed up to a Middle School.
She was tormented by the kids and when people tried to pet her, she didn't know if she was going to be hit or petted and just flat out bit everyone.
I had her for 8 months and I thought I was a miracle worker with her but I accepted she was that way only with me. It took time and she bleneded well with my other dogs but anytime I had company she had to be locked away. That's no way to live and trying to find a home for a known biter is very, very hard.
There couldn't be any children, neighbor's children, what if the dog got loose and some little kid thought, oh, look at the cute puppy only to reach down and get bit in the face.
I talked to people in our Dog Club and made several calls to canine behaviorists and as a group we all decided to put the dog down. All of us were concerned about what sort of life and future the dog had and that she would bite again, just didn't know when.
Some dogs are worth saving, but stop thinking with your heart and start thinking of the consciences.
There's also different levels of biting, there are nips,
circle and run in and grab a leg, some go for arms that swing. Puppies aren't born mean, though I won't take a puppy if either of it's parents had bitten anyone either. In most cases if the mother dog bites, so will the pups.
The Great Dane that turned on me we later learned went from rescue group to rescue group to rescue group and he bit 3 more people after me before he was finally put down.
Doing the right thing is never easy and there are so many other dogs that need to be rescued and loved.
You will never be able to really enjoy the dog, dog parks, hiking, going to PetSmart because you mentally will be on guard at all times whether you believe it or not.
I wish I knew the circumstances that he did bite, food issues can be resolved is it possible to find out anything about his past? Don't you wonder how many other people he has bitten before you got him? I really feel for you and this is way too serious for me to candy coat for you. Even if you were to find a place that would take and train the dog, when you finally got it back you would discover that the dog would no longer bite the trainer, he and the dog would of bonded by then, but you be open game and it wouldn't happen right away.
I recommend you find out the biting laws where you live. Many states give a dog one bite and that's it.
Another possiblity that might be fair to the dog is to find a Guard Dog Company and see if they will take him. I've seen where after a business closes up for the night, the dog is dropped off and picked up again in the morning and it's handled by only one person.
Or as nasty as it sounds, a junk yard where during the day he's kept inside away from everyone and let loose at night to roam the property.
I would be horrified if any of my dogs bit anyone and if your dog really does hurt someone, you can't just stroll into the courtroom and tell the judge that the dog is a rescue dog and you weren't aware it bites. You are legally resposible for any physical damage this dog had done and will do in the future.
Please think this thing through, you would not be a bad person for putting the dog down. Biting 6 people in 4 months is a pretty dangerous, some fights are worth fighting for, this one is not.
Did you know if the dog really hurts someone badly, you could end up serving time, if you have children Social Services could get involved and there's so much more to it.
I'm sorry but biting 6 people is not something to be thought of lightly by any means.
I really am a nice person and I love dogs more than people but you're really not thinking clearly. Those 6 bites are a warning and I would take it very seriously. If Beau had been put down after the 3rd person he bit I would of not been mauled and traumatized by it. Months after I had been bitten I learned that Beau never stayed in any one place longer than 6 months. The last person he bit was a 5 year old little girl who was watching TV and he bit her on the back of her head. I have no idea how many people Beau had bitten in his lifetime but somehow, he just got away with it, home after home after home.
I'm sorry for having so much to say but it really upset me because you didn't seem to care anything about the people your dog bit.
I wish you well and don't make the mistake of thinking he won't turn on you. I can't express enough just how dangerous this dog is.
The dog is simply acting like a dog, an untrained, unsure DOG. You can not condemn the dog simply for behaving how it has been been shown is acceptible. It is the fault of the owners for not taking the precautions neccissary to ensure the safety of everyone involved. We rarely put people down for intentionally murdering another person, so why would it be ok to put a dog down for much less?
Your dog is fortunate you are willing to work with him and not put him down. Dog training (obedience) is not going to help with aggression. he needs rehabiliation simiiar to what the Dog Whisperer ( Cesar Milan ) does. Also Mr. Leerburg has worked to rehabilitate agressive dogs. Some have been former trained "attack" dogs. Here is a link to his materials, some of which are free on the internet. Best of luck with your pitty. I think they are a wonderful and misunderstood breed.
I just had a similar situation with my 3 year old Rottie. I had breed and raised Rottie's back in the mid 1980 but after my last Bitch had to be put to sleep I could not deal with getting another and switched to Boxers. I called the Los Angeles Rottweiler Rescue and spoke with them as the current Rottie I have goes after my grand daughter (and other small children) when not wearing her Service Dog jacket. In work mode she is perfect. Not in an aggressive fashion, but a curious one and with a Rott that is not permissible. The trainer had the Rott a direct descendant of my original Rottie from back in the 1980's so the fact that she looked like her great grandmother just added to the emotional component.
After a lengthy conversation with one of the representatives at the Rottweiler Rescue it was determined that I should in fact put her down. She had gone after two 2 year olds and had 2 warning bites of a neighbor and a dog. I backed out and could not do it. Which thankfully was a blessing.
Two weeks later the other representative from the rescue called and we spoke for at least an hour. Now I am a dog trainer, a Service Animal Advocate for the disabled for over 25 + years and so I know what I am doing. After a lengthy conversation the representative who knew the breeder well and we agreed he was an idiot (I am being kind here). The dog was a rescue at 18 months from a family original sold for 4,000.00 and returned as part of a divorce and came back with no socialization or discipline skills what so ever. I paid $1.250.00 for her so he made double the money on her! Plus she has hip dysplaysia and cannot be breed so I will never see that money back
As I have three other dogs, the pack situation was taken care of. My husband and I joined forces and took care of any food aggression issues and the dogs eat together and her food can sit in front of her for hours and until she is released by one of us she will sit patiently.
The warning bites, one to a neighbor walking my fence line thinking by walking with her back turned along a 2 acre property was OK and the dog would allow it, apparently the Rott did not like it and simply gave a warning, because as we all know if a Rottweiler wants to bite seriously it can. The second bite was after my daughters Yorkie with a Neapolitan complex who tortured the Rottweiler from day one of us getting her and the Yorkie went after my son's Boxer who my Rottie adores and she was protecting the Boxer. again - justified, even by the emergency vet who we brought the Yorkie to as she had a puncture wound in her neck. Because again if the Rottie had wanted to kill her as if she were prey she would have.
My advise to you (I don't know what state you are in) is call your local Pit Bull Rescue and tell them honestly - they will be candid with you. Four bites is a lot, but it is all determined by the circumstances and I agree with the previous post training is going to do nothing you must have rehabilitation as we are currently doing with our Rottweiler. She is kept kenneled or on our side behind an 8 foot wrought iron fence with a grate on it so little hands cannot reach her. Since my grand daughter only lives with me part time it works out perfect. Joint custody issues. I keep my dog - and the Rottie is in reform school for all intensive purposes and has learned that even the 18 months toys are off limits and she will not on her own accord step into the child's room.
Rehabilitation is not easy. It takes a huge amount of time, energy and effort - but is worth it if the dog is quality and only you know your dogs back ground. I strongly suggest you call the Pit Bull Rescue and be totally honest, they are there to help and assist and if necessary will help you put the dog down if it goes that far.
Remember, these are animals and instincts are instincts and we as humans as much as we love and adore our animals as family member can only do so much. Better put to sleep humanly than to have a disaster with life long injuries or trauma. If you are in the LA, CA area email me and I will pass on the trainer who is supposed to be as good as if not better than Cesar Milan but he is not cheap, it's $250.00 an hour. To rehabilitate is a serious investment.
rainettelopez AT gmail.com
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