Signs of Pitbull Attack – How to Distinguish It and How to Handle It!

Of all the breeds of dog, Pitbulls are less or not inherently aggressive. But, why is it in every news, this type is used to be the cause of most reported dog attacks? This is the reason why some cities and towns have banned this dog. However, before jumping into any conclusion and throwing all the blame to those Pits, let us first identify what causes a Pitbull to attack?

As a pet owner, it is part of your responsibility to be aware of the signs a Pitbull will attack. Having and owning a Pitbull should not be taken lightly. However, also keep in mind that there are things that people do that makes a Pitbull attack you. It is not just the Pitbull alone.

What triggers pit bulls to attack?

1. Poor breeding

There are many breeders now that mostly produces poorly bred dogs. According to a study years ago, to be able to produce a fearful puppy, breeders should breed fearful Pointers with fearful Pointers. This means that some dog’s characteristics like fearfulness can be inherited. If fearful Pitbulls have been bred, puppies will be more likely to be fearful. It is said that fear is one of the factors that trigger a Pitbull to bite.

However, there are breeders that often mate the so-called good breeds with dogs that shouldn’t be bred. This people-created problem is included in what causes a Pitbull to attack.

2. Medical problems

One of the behaviours of Pitbulls is to defend itself if they are not feeling well. Unlike humans, dogs can’t help if they are in pain, sick or injured. Being a responsible pet owner, it is your accountability to keep your Pitbull medically well.

Some low life Pitbulls who are usually in gangs who are used for dog fighting are the ones without such medical care and assistance. They are the one who has also been infected with bacteria and parasites, unhealed wounds, and almost lack of vaccination.

3. Lack of socialization

Many pet owners do not allow their Pitbull to socialize and mingle with other dogs. These Pitbulls do not experience to be in training classes or to have in a behavioural session. Pitbulls that are not socialized are the one who is usually afraid of other people and other dogs. This behaviour of being afraid is also a triggering factor of dog biting. This is also what causes a Pitbull to attack.

Neglecting animals such as your Pitbull is very cruel to them. And not letting your Pitbull socialize is a form of animal neglect. This is also another people-created problem that what causes a Pitbull to attack. So another reason for not throwing all the blame to those pity animal.

4. Abuse

This is somehow very self-explanatory. If your Pitbull has abused by people definitely they will defend themselves. As usual, as part of their self-defence, they will bite and attack those who abuse them.

And for whatever reason, Pitbulls have a higher percentage of animal abuse. They have been used and abused by drug gangs for dog fighting and make an illegal gambling profit. Sometimes, these abused Pitbulls are also used to cover illegal drug operations. This is another cause of the people-created problem.

5. Territorial

Pitbull or most dogs, in general, have this behaviour of being territorial. They are always thinking and behaving that whatever they have and wherever they are, that is their territory and it all belongs to them. Pitbull usually protects their bonds to their competitors. Strange people and animals are considered unwelcome competitors.

Most attacks reported are made on or near the premises on people that they are not bonded with or they are not familiar to. It is very unusual to Pitbull to attack someone they know. If so, this is probably because they are sick. What causes a Pitbull to attack is mostly because of protecting their territory.

Pitbull allowed living in a backyard without human guidance tends to become highly territorial. Most of the Pitbull attacks usually involved a stranger that is entering the house or intruding the backyard. Or, it could also be a Pitbull escaping the backyard.

This breed of dog used to be a “junkyard dog” if you leave them in the backyard and don’t tend to socialize with them. Because of this, they will treat the whole yard as their property and tend to protect it. Allowing your Pitbull to socialize eliminates the problem of entering a friend or a friendly stranger inside the house.

Socialized Pitbull is friendly to people. If a dog is not socialized, then the possibility of attacks is very high. Leaving your Pitbull in the yard unsocialized has a high possibility to escape. That’s why many Pitbull attacks are due to dogs escaping in the yard. They escape and tend to attack people and animals near their territory.

Nowadays, the idea of leaving your dog in the yard and having your Pits to guard the house is not already a good one. Leaving them in the yard gives no benefit at all. Otherwise, giving you much more of the risk.

Again, territorial attacks are a people-created problem. Pitbull that can’t escape the yard doesn’t tend to attack people. Strangers that surprise a Pitbull by jumping into the yard or entering the house uninvited generally provoke a Pitbull to attack and bite them. Strangers that tease a Pitbull inside the fence usually provoke the dog to escape and go out to bite them.

6. Predator instinct

Dogs have inborn predator behaviour which is generally developed through experience. Pitbull sees other animals as their prey, chase them, grab them, and kill them. However, they don’t eat the prey that they killed.

7. Mood state

Once upset, Pitbull is more likely to defend themselves. Canine in an upset mode is usually in panic and escape mode and will definitely protect itself. Pitbull who gets upset also needs some time to unwind.

Another animal behaviour that we need to respect and understand is when they are in danger. Usually, during this state, they remain in an agitated state in preparation for a new danger that might possibly come. In this state, they are more alert and more likely to defend themselves.

Being a responsible pet owner it is our responsibility to monitor and manage their mood. Keep them apart from others when we notice that they are upset, until such time that they get back to their happy state.

8. Lack of training

Proper training is crucial to have a well-behaved dog. Training reduces the chance of unwanted aggression as well as gives you the chance to control your pet. Training your Pitbull is also a part of the socialization process. This also makes your pooch a functional part of the family.

Pitbull also like other breeds

In general, Pitbull is also treated like other dogs that have a poor breeding, that is neglected, abused, and not well supervised will more likely to bite. Sad to say, most people always treat Pitbull this way. Analyzing this acts, it shows that Pitbull attacks are most likely a people problem and not a dog problem.

All dog bites and attacks are very much preventable, whatever breed it is. Pitbull is not inherently dangerous. What makes it inherently dangerous is the improper management of these dog breed.

How do you know if a pitbull will attack?

Signs a Pitbull will attack

To protect yourself and other people from a Pitbull attack, it is very crucial to know the warning signs a Pitbull will attack. However, many Pitbull almost learned to mask noticeable indicators of biting. They almost learn to suppress these signs but not the bite. If a Pitbull is trained this way, a bite may come from “out of nowhere”.

Because of this, you need to know the different warning signs that a Pitbull might bite. Some of the most common signs a Pitbull will attack are the following:

1. Direct eye contact

This common sign that a Pitbull will attack is a direct threat from that breed.

2. Stiffly wagging the tail up

A wagging tail of a Pitbull may mean more than one thing. The meaning of wagging tail of a Pitbull may mean that he is happy or he likes you. But that doesn’t always mean that way. Pitbull’s wagging tail also indicates high energy.

3. Legs apart and thrown out chest

This is another sign a Pitbull will attack you. A Pitbull is trying to look big when you notice this indicator.

4. Ears up or perked

5. Low rumbling growl

6. Showing front teeth

A Pitbull that shows his front teeth is another sign that a Pitbull will attack. “Short mouth” is another term of showing of front teeth of dogs. Also, this indicator shows a clear intention of a Pitbull to bite.

If any of the indicators listed above is noticeable to a Pitbull, keep in mind that he will suddenly attack and bite. An excellent thing to do is to back away slowly.

What to do during an attack

∗ Need to make contact


→ Approach the dog slowly but not directly.

→ Be aware of your own body language and all the signals that you are giving your Pits.

→ Keep your hands low so that your Pitbull won’t be threatened.

→ Speak calmly and softly.

→ Do not make any direct eye contact.

→ Do not try to elevate your body over your Pitbull, he will be threatened by your height.

∗ The Pitbull moves to attack


→ First and foremost, protect yourself.

→ Don’t ever make yourself a target of your Pit.

→ Grab and put anything in the dog’s mouth before he may reach your arm, leg or face.

→ Shove anything in the Pitbull’s mouth when he opens it like a purse or backpack that you are carrying. In this event, the Pitbull will probably let go and try to attack and bite you again. Once again, he has to open his mouth to get to you. What you need to do is just put your purse back in his mouth.

∗ The Pitbull bites you


→ Do not panic.

→ Never get yourself out from a Pitbull’s mouth. This may provoke the Pitbull to bite you down a bit harder and might cause tearing.

→ Do not hit the dog or harm him physically. This will usually cause him to be angrier and will do more harm.

→ Stick something in your Pitbull’s mouth. This is the best thing to do in this situation. A gag like this will definitely work for your pooch and he might let you go.

→ Go to the doctor immediately, even if it’s a minor bite. The Pitbull’s mouth can be dirty, and there is a higher possibility of infection so a medical assistance is necessary.

Preventing the problem

A good training program and allowing your Pits to socialize can be a great help way to manage or resolve these dog behaviour. There is no absolute way to prevent your Pitbull’s aggression. However, there are helpful tips that you might consider to decrease the chances your Pits will develop a problem.

∗ Socialize your puppy

Allow your Pits to play with other dogs in a play park. Encourage your pooch to interact with well-mannered adult dogs who can teach your puppy how to behave and act in an acceptable way.

∗ Neuter or spray your Pits

It is advisable to have your Pitbull neutered as early as possible. Based on studies, neutering your pooch will reduce aggression of Pitbull.

∗ Be kind and respect your Pitbull

Always use positive reinforcement in treating your Pitbull.


Managing your Pitbull properly is an absolute help to prevent this kind of accident. Give and treat your pooch with kindness, respect, and a fair chance to experience a good life. That way you can prevent your canine friend from being dangerous.

Provoking Pitbull will usually result in attacking and biting people. Better to keep away from an unfamiliar Pitbull and just leave them alone. Pitbull can’t do it themselves. So, stop throwing all the blame to that breed. Generally, people create this problem and they are the ultimate responsible for what happens.

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  1. I’m calling rank BS on most of this article, save for the “while being attacked” portion and the bite stick. Dogs are bred for tasks. Period. NEVER believe someone who tells you differently. Shepherds herd. Bird dogs point. Malamutes love to pull. Great Danes won’t. Old bully breeds crosses with terriers were originally bred to fight, and fight to the death. If one knows their history (doubtful the author does), one knows that when Bill baiting was outlawed the former breeders took to fighting their bull baiting dogs instead. This grab/hold style was too boring to make much money, so the CHOSE A SPECIFIC BREED THAT WAS “GAME” ie terriers to cross with the bulldogs and this legendary fighter was born. And brought to the US. You see, they chose the breed for its tendencies – if they didn’t want a fighter they could’ve cross bred the Bull Dogs with a Cavalier King Charles spaniel. But they didn’t…so it IS SIGNIFICANTLY due to the breed. This is why AFS/pitbulls comprise 67 percent of fatal dog attacks on humans while only 6 percent of the dog population. TRUE many pits live a long and loving life without hiring anyone. But that isn’t as likely to happen with pit bulls versus ANY OTHER breed. Point? The breed is dangerous, because it was bred to fight. Period. Yes socialization and proper treatment may help. But they don’t eliminate the risk – half of human deaths by pit bulls are the owner or the owners immediate family. And if you think this is all due to how they’re raised, no other breed attacks it’s owners with anywhere near the frequency of the AFS/pitbull. Period. Maybe pitbull owners just need to be saved. From themselves.

  2. Is that “pitbull scare” or “pitbulls care”?

    I have an abandoned pitbull on my property that has been culling my livestock for days. I see her slinking in the bushes or hear her barking, but she will not get close. I am nearing my wits’ end of how to catch her.

  3. My 1 year old pitbull he’s sweet but he started biting when I take him outside to go potty and when he’s done he comes at me and jumps on me then he bites and then he trys to knock me off the porch to let him In HELP I don’t know what to do I’m not scared of him just don’t understand why he started doing that

  4. This is a really good article! However, it was very hard to read because of the spelling and bad grammar. Please correct so others can enjoy it.

  5. Your top 3 on that list are bull. All of my pits look you in the eye. Wait to see if we are going to play or just watching. Like they are bred to do. Remember they where bred to take care of the family mainly the kids.

  6. I can’t remember the attorneys name , but I’ll search and find it . You’ ll say he has an agenda or is biased . But he says pitbulls are responsible for over half of all dog attacks in the United States . I’ve seen my fair share of pitbulls and I think they’re more aggressive because of their genetics , plain and simple . They’re a fair amount of pitbulls in my neighborhood and the people don’t keep them under control . They get loose for a number of reasons . I read pitbulls attack small and small people the most on the attorney’s website . At you should have to have some type of insurance on the dog in case he does bite someone . This would be to pay someone for pain and suffering and for medical bills and losing your job if hurt that bad . Every year the dog should be inspected to see if they have any shots that are needed and to see what kind of dog they are . If they are very aggressive or mean dog then they should at the least either be evaluated to see if they can go out in public on a leash or only be confined to a person’s fenced in and secure property . Let’s face people get because they’re so big , scary and can protect them and their property . Mostly in this neighborhood they think they’re cool because they have a pitbull . I’ve been surprised by pitbulls in this neighborhood about 8 to 10 times . I seriously don’t like the feeling when that happens . If my dog would’ve reacted wrong anyone of those times it could’ve be ugly

  7. My baby went to puppy school, and protection school. We stopped going to school when he was 3 years old because his behavior was top of the class and the dog trainer said Gunnar is fully trained but we need to keep up the training at home. He was completely socialized with other dogs. He still is because we often get friends who bring their very active and weird Staffy dogs and they sleep over. Gunnar is now 5 years old and play like a big brother with them. Even if his own sister eats out of his bowl he allows her. Not aggressive at all in the boundaries of our yard. He would bark at strangers passing by but that is about it.

    But over the past 3 months, every time when I want to take him out for a walk, he bites his chain. Fact is he gets bonkers. He refuses that we leave the yard. It is so bad now he even goes for me to push me back and if I don’t want to get back into the yard he jumps up and nibble where ever he can reach. Today was a day I really got scared of him as I could see in his eyes he was prepared to actually bite with intend.

    Once I am back “safe inside” he changes all of his behavior to loving and happy. Health wise he is in great condition and it is only when we want to go out with his chain. He refuses to allow ANYONE to hold his chain. If we try to take his sister out on a chain, he bites the chain as well. I am also the only person that is even allowed to take him so far as to the gate. But from there it becomes a nightmare.

    There is some days when he is less aggregated and we managed to get pass the first 3 houses with dogs barking and the rest of the walk (about 2.5KM) is smooth and exciting, even coming back passing the dogs is with no event. But that is one out of 8 attempts.

    He needs the exercise and I don’t want to stop trying…. but my heart is broken as his bites are getting more intense when we try to go for his walk. Our vet checked him out. He was cleared with excellent health. He has the most beautiful big brother personality and and speaks to us when he need anything.

    I am open to any advise because I don’t want to give up on him.

  8. Good day
    My puppy like to play with me an leaking my ears ,mouth, then out of no where tried to bite me on my chin.
    What is it when she doing that.

    1. Puppy’s do that when they are small you just have to smack him really hard and he won’t ever do it again

  9. I already had a Toy Poodle at my house before I got a American Pit Bull but anyways when I got my American Pit Bull and brought it to my house I had my American Pit Bull in a harness and had it on a leash and I took it over to my Toy Poodle and let them meet each other and they liked each and they started to play with each other so I decide when I let my American Pit Bull outside I would hook him on a 30 feet runner and let him play with my Toy Poodle well my Toy Poodle would climb all over him and sniff his butt and my Toy Poodle would do that more than ones when my American Pit pull was on his 30 feet runner and my American Pit Bull was okay with my Toy Poodle doing that well I thought maybe he is just wanting to play so I would still put my American Pit Bull on his 30 feet runner and my Toy Poodle would still climb over and sniff his butt and this went on for about 2 weeks and so anyways one day my Husband went outside to my American Pit Bull on his runner and my Toy Poodle did not like that no one was over their petting him and out of no where my American Pit Bull came over and grabbed my Toy poodle across the yard and my Toy poodle ended up on his back so my went and took my American Pit Bull off of his 30 feet runner brought him inside and I made sure my Toy Poodle was okay and he was fine he was walking and he had no teeth marks and he was not bleeding or anything and so the next went to take my American Pit Bull for a walk down to the driveway to check the mailbox and we walked back to the house and both of them were wanting to play with each other so I took them over the my Toy Poodle started climb on him and sniff his butt and my American Pit Bull went and nulled him down on the ground and the was no Parking invalid so I grabbed my American Pit bull away from my Toy Poodle and my Toy Poodle was okay but I never put them together again because I did not want my American Pit pull to kill my Toy poodle. Can someone tell me why my American Pitt Bull would be doing that to my Toy poodle and how I can fix that and could my American Pit Bull be doing that to tell my Toy Poodle to stop missing with me.

  10. Thank you for the article, and also for many useful comments here. My husband and I recently adopted an adult pit bull. I am a dogs’ person, adore and respect dogs unconditionally. We were told that the dog had been abused, and is a scared, sensitive one. The first few days of adoption were lovely. Only, while he is neutered, he is highly territorial: he marked the entire territory – front yard, back yard, etc. Then he “marked” the interior of the house, and we had to google that one, as we had never seen such persistence and so many spots he “marked”.
    He got close to me, day by day then started getting territorial with my husband and our smaller, female, staffy dog.
    Today he attacked my husband out of nowhere, just as hubby came into the bedroom.
    Growled multiple times, and finally jumped towards him, in an attack mode. He did not bite my husband, but it was scary enough.
    The point is, we are heartbroken to have to return him to the foster home – where they told us they were surprised to hear about the dog’s behavior. I am heartbroken to see such a fine, handsome, loving animal, switch into a killer dog for no apparent reason.
    I wish there was a way to get into his DNA and remove these instincts that surface out of nowhere.
    I wish there was some kind of training…. But the stories and the statistics that people have shared in this post, seem very discouraging…

  11. Right there, starts the problem. They should have a collar on, short yank on the collar, and a LOUD NO should curtail that.
    Hitting is not the answer.

  12. My pittie is about 1 1/2 yrs old now I had him since he was 6 weeks he dies like to mouth hands when playing as well as jumping up on ya when he gets excited that your home or when somebody comes over as well as after coming inside from being taken out to potty . I have been noticing he pulls on me when he is done. He hurries to get in front of me as if he is leasing me. I pull on leash a little and mKe him sit we don’t proceed forward until I calm him and stop him from leading … I take first step forward and if he gets in front I immediately stop and make him sit ….he us a work in progress S for him mouthjbg and play biting I let out a loud sharp YIP!!! or OW and he immediately quits and lucks my hand as if he is saying sorry .. I train him with treats as well as a training collar I use the sound setting and the vibration setting 99.9% of the time it works not very often rarely do i ever use the shock setting ..he knows when he gets that quick Zap he has gone too far and Immediately will lick or try hugging you as if he is saying I’m Sorry

  13. ADDING ON TO ABOVE COMMENT …ARIES My pittie is very vocal and opinionated he sasses back at times like a little child being sassy when not getting their way …. he also slaps at me ..trues to swat my hand away when im trying to get a hold of his collar he looks like a child throwing a tantrum on the ground I don’t let him see me laugh and I try to maintain a stern voice so he knows MOM (me) means business …he has Also learned the word Mom which he says when he wants something ill hear a MoooM !!! …MOOOM !!! ….then another MOM I answer What? And he does his best to communicate to get me tk understand what he is saying ..he is pretty smart he is very much socialized with other animals and people although he prefers the attention he gets from people as well as loves to play with other dogs

  14. I NEED HELP!!!

    My male neutered blue nose Pitbull is almost 2 years and he was severely abused and tortured as a puppy from his first owner. He might have developed Autism or sustained head injuries making him a unique case. My dog is mostly an outdoor dog, hes never had formal training and lives with my other female 3 year old dog. The female red nose Pitbull is the dominating take charge personality of the two. I’m scared to be alone with my blue nose because he has bit me in the past. Can you give me advice or solutions on how to work through this situation?

    What will it take to have a healthy, confident and loving pit bull family?


  15. To Derek
    So you refuse to listen to the truth? Okay stay willfully ignorant. What you said is full of bs. Yes they are bred to be aggressive, but only to humans. There are dogs misidentified as pitbulls, so Pitbulls attack the most is bs. Sorry, but Pitbulls aren’t more likely to attack their owners then other breeds. As the article states, it does have to do on how they are rise because Pitbulls aren’t bred for human aggression. Pitbull who attack their owners aren’t family pets, but guard dogs
    And not all Pitbulls were use in dog fighting.

  16. Derek
    There are many Pitbulls who never maul or kill even after death. YouTube search Pitbulls saving lives. Other breeds attack their owners too, so maybe all dog owners should save themselves. Pitbull owners should save themselves from haters who like to claim all pits are monsters and refuse to listen to facts. Like I said before stay willfully ignorant.

  17. I occasionally watch my son’s Pitbull “Zeke”, a rescue from a shelter down in Houston following the aftermath of hurricane Harvey. He is super smart and very lovable most of the time. But every evening around 7 PM he becomes VERY aggressive and wants outside where he runs full steam around the yard barking the entire time. When he’s in this mode I liken him to a Velociraptor! Just opening the door to let him out is scary. He has his nose firmly planted at the doorknob and barrels his way out the he door before it’s even open enough to get through without tearing his face on the door and jamb. I’ve never seen a dog get so wound up and intense.

    It’s a Jekyll and Hyde personality. Sweet and chill during the day and a hyper out of control at night. Is this something I should be concerned with? I’m starting to wonder if it’s some kind of trauma related to the hurricane he went through as a pup. Is that possible?

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