Pitbulls are who we raise them. If we raised them with love and care, they will be affectionate and loyal pets. Everything starts from puppyhood. With this, you should observe some Pitbull puppy behavior problems and fix it right away. This way, your pooch will grow to be disciplined and well-mannered dogs.
Start them young, as many say. This is actually true if you’re planning to raise a Pitty. They have a hard-wired tendency to be aggressive and it’s important to dampen these predispositions as they grow older.
The biggest challenge here is to identify whether it’s just a playful behavior or something that’s already bordering to aggression. Here, I discussed some of the key points you should know including some tips on how to fix behavioral issues.
Why Pitbulls become aggressive
It’s not a secret that Pitbulls have a dark past. They were bred and abused by irresponsible humans who used them for dogfighting. This made them aggressive and a victim of society’s stigma until now.
But here’s one fact: Pitbulls are aggressive because they are raised as such. It’s not inherent for Pitbulls to attack unless they are trained to do so. This is also the same when it comes to preventing behavioral problems. If you don’t tolerate it, your pet will know that it’s uncalled for.
If your pup seems aggressive, there are possible reasons for it:
🐕They have a problematic lineage (parents might be directly related to bull baiting dogs)
🐕Not socialized well
🐕Not trained early on
🐕The pup has experienced trauma before
The good thing here is it’s never too late to fix behavioral problems among Pitbulls. Even those that were rescued from dog fighting rings are re-trained and placed on loving homes.
Sure, Pitbulls are strong, intimidating, and tough. But if they grew aggressive, it’s your fault as the dog owner. You can always use dog training classes for Pitbulls to help raise a good dog.
In this video, Alex and Theo tell us why dogs become aggressive. (Tip: it’s not about the breed!)
Signs that your Pitbull pup has behavioral problems
Some may think that it’s too early to diagnose whether a pup has behavioral problems or not. But if you want to subject them to proper training as soon as possible, it’s important to check their habits. This will help you and the trainer work your way around re-shaping a dog’s attitude.
Here are some red flags you should watch out for. Remember, these are just possible signs and may not be conclusive depending on the dog’s history:
If your Pitbull pup keeps on mouthing your hand and clothes during handling, you may need to do more work on obedience training. Some of the usual signs on puppies are mouthing your toenails hard, mouthing when lifted or physically touched, and so on.
Take note that this uncontrollable mouthing can be problematic and dangerous if it’s accompanied by snarling. You’ll need to suppress this behavior as soon as possible to prevent your doggo from being a risk in the neighborhood. It will help to enroll the pooch in dog training classes for Pitbulls.
🐕Problems with confinement
When a Pitty pup barks, howls, and bangs its body on the crate, it may indicate separation anxiety. This is a pretty common issue among dogs and somehow more prevalent among Pitbulls.
Pitties with separation anxiety will find it hard to settle on a crate no matter what the size is. Also, the dog may eliminate inside the crate even if it’s completely housebroken. If accidents keep happening inside the crate (given that you don’t isolate the dog for extended hours), it could be a behavioral problem.
Also, you have to check possible reasons for the Pitbull puppy behavior problems. Your Pitty might have gastrointestinal problems, birth defects, or urinary problems.
🐕Lunging, barking, or raising hackles
For pooches with no history of aggression, the act of lunging, barking, and raising hackles are guaranteed signs of a behavioral problem. This fearful response is concerning and you should find ways to fix it. Usually, Pitbulls who bark incessantly on strangers aren’t socialized well.
If not fixed during puppyhood, this aggressive response may develop into something more problematic. Your dog could become a biting hazard.
🐕Hiding from people and other animals/objects
Don’t think that your Pitty is shy just because it hides whenever a person, an object, or another pet shows up to your house. Your pup may start to become aggressive during adolescence if you don’t fix this problem now.
Pitties aren’t naturally introverted dogs. It’s important that you re-shape their demeanor into a happy and non-fearful way. Proper socialization is always the key here.
This one is very notorious among Pitbulls. Since they have strong jaws, Pitties with separation anxiety may vent out its feelings toward chewing and destroying your possessions. This should be fixed through training and proper use of a crate.
If you just let your dog chew anything, it will develop Pitbull puppy behavior problems. They may damage your neighbors’ belongings and worse, bite someone.
🐕Aggression toward another dog
Aggressive responses toward another dog are actually normal among untrained Pitbulls. These doggos are territorial and they don’t sit well with other dogs, especially one with the same gender as them.
Pitbulls have the hard-wired instinct to establish their dominance over another dog. This is the pet’s way to let the other dog know that he’s the leader of the pack. Such a thing shouldn’t happen because YOU, the pet owner, should be the Alpha.
This can be fixed through training and proper introduction of a new dog. And if you’re planning to get another pooch, your chances are great if you opt for a different gender than what your Pitbull is.
Pathological factors to consider
Aside from acquired behavior, it’s also important to factor in the possibility of some pathological problems. Some Pitbulls might come from a litter of poorly bred dogs. If they are directly the offspring of a fighting dog, the aggressive tendencies might be passed on to them.
This can be fixed, but it will take a lot of effort as compared to Pitbull pups that came from responsible breeders.
Some Pitties may also have higher risks for various health problems. For example, if the Pitty pup has canine hypothyroidism, the hormonal imbalance may cause the dog to react harshly due to the discomfort.
Other pain-causing conditions may cause the pup to become indirectly aggressive toward you or other people. It’s important that you get the doggo checked by a veterinarian on a regular basis.
Solving Pitbull behavioral problems
Aside from dog training classes for Pitbulls, you can personally do something to inhibit the negative behaviors of your pooch. First, you have to assess the behavior. Is it just a playful response or a serious behavioral issue?
Remember, the dog won’t act out unless he gets something out of it. For example, if the dog jumps to a visitor, it means that he’s asking for attention. This is normal among dogs and not just Pitbulls.
In the same scenario, we have to assess the extent of the behavior. Is it an isolated case or an aggressive move? If the dog seems aggressive, you may have missed something when it comes to establishing your dominance.
Your Pitty needs to learn to respect other people. That starts if he knows he can’t jump or leap when someone opens the door. And how will that happen? You should teach the dog that it’s not acceptable behavior. If he jumps to you when you arrived home, say a loud “No!” or don’t pet the pooch until he calmed down.
To solve Pitbull puppy behavior problems, you need to follow four important aspects:
Your efforts to fix your Pitbull’s behavioral problem will be in vain if you don’t do it consistently. If your dog jumps, you should always do the same disciplinary routine to solve the problem.
Dogs can learn from patterns. For example, if he jumps to you and you told him no, you should do the same thing every day.
🐕Reward positive behavior
When it comes to dogs, you’re not supposed to punish bad behavior. You can reward the good ones until the dog learns that he gets nothing if he misbehaves.
All dog experts will agree that only positive reinforcements can go a long way in training. This is why dog training classes for Pitbulls also use this. And if you can’t handle the training on your own, you can enroll your pooch in a training school instead.
In the same vein of letting your dog knows he will get something when he obeys, you should let him know what he loses when he defies. For example, reward the Pitty if he follows your command. If he ignores and insists to have his own way, don’t give the treat.
This will be a repetitive process until your doggo gets the hang of it. But at any cost, never use violence, leashing, or crating as forms of punishment.
🐕Proper training management
This is where many dog owners fall short. Training your dog isn’t just a random activity that you’ll do when it suits you. Take note, a Pitbull’s puppyhood is the most crucial part of its growth. This is the phase where the doggo develops his fears, habits, and responses to various stimuli.
You should always have a game plan for training. If you can’t handle it, you can always tap the help of a professional that can guide you along the way.
Remember, you can’t mess up the training. The same with humans, bad habits are easy to develop but hard to quit when it comes to dogs.
Here, Thomas Davis, a canine educator shows us how to fix aggression among Pitbulls:
Using playtime to inhibit the biting tendencies
Pitbull puppies love mouthing, chewing, and biting things. You can divert this energy into something more beneficial in the form of tug-of-war. Many pet owners will disagree with this suggestion as they think that tug play can fuel aggression.
However, studies have proven that such play doesn’t affect the dominance and aggression of a dog. In fact, if facilitated properly, it can help a Pitty inhibit his biting tendencies. Also, the dog will learn when to release an object.
In a separate post, I’ve discussed tug play in detail which you can use as a guide to develop your Pitty’s positive behavior.
Playtime is also the best opportunity to maximize the reward system. If he releases on cue, reward the pooch with a treat. If he doesn’t, stop the game as a consequence to its defiance.
Why early socialization matters
I have said this time and again: Pitbull pups need early socialization. Yes, these doggos can be sweethearts but they aren’t Golden Retrievers. They need more socialization than any other breed.
Take note, though, that socialization isn’t just about introducing new people and other dogs. You should develop a positive experience for your pooch when meeting these hoomans and doggos.
Socialization and education are the two main foundations of raising a friendly Pitbull pup. By teaching them discipline and getting them used to other people, they won’t be aggressive like what other people think.
Imagine raising a child: you have to instill to the doggo the right things to do. Although the approach will differ, the process is equally crucial and necessary.
And even if your pooch is not a puppy anymore, training and socialization should be a staple. Dogs can easily deviate from good habits if neglected and allowed to have their own way. When you submit to your dog’s imposing behavior, you’ll just encourage the pooch to become aggressive.
Yes, you can spare yourself from the present hassle of dealing with their stubborn behavior by giving what they want. However, this will give you a bigger problem when the Pitbull pup becomes an adult dog. It’s like a spoiled teenager rebelling against his parents when he doesn’t get what he wants.
Identifying and fixing Pitbull puppy behavior problems are crucial if you want to raise a well-mannered dog. Unlike other breeds, Pitties need more socialization and continuous training to stay a disciplined and happy canine.