Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
My pit mix puppy just turned a year old. He's been well socialized on and off leash his entire life but suddenly at the dog park he's begun to show aggression. I'm not talking play growling--this is teeth bared snapping, chasing, pinching. This is only occasionally and he will stop if I give him a loud "no" but I'm worried that it may escalate or that I just may have an aggressive dog that hasn't exhibited until now.

A few things about my dog- up until now he has shown submission with most dogs even rolling immediately when approached. He also has what I can only describe as a visual problem (attention tremors). Based on observation he is not able to see objects that are thrown (balls, sticks, etc.) so I'm wondering if the aggression is happening out of visual frustration when a dog is outside his sight range and "sneaks" up on him. He is a medium energy dog -most days- usually a 45 minute walk and a game of tug of war will suffice to tucker him out. I'm wondering if I should exercise him before going to the park. Any help/experience would be appreciated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,773 Posts
Get out of the dog park NOW!:eek:


Pits are not great dogs to take to the DP in the first place.....and from what it sounds like yours is a disaster waiting to happen......the breed plus a possible vision problem..no bueno!

There are tons of ways to exercise your pup with out going to the DP:)

if you still insist on having your dog in a group setting...do it with a small group of well known dogie friends....you may also need to look into a break stick ...JIC
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,710 Posts
stop taking him to the dog park. I say this for two reasons.
1. if he has a visual problem, the rowdyness of the DP is probably more stressful to him than you realize.

2. The MINUTE a dog shows aggression at the DP they shouldn't go there. they should be taken to or given careful training and...

NEVER go to the DP again. if socialization is a must you can find dog play groups that are smaller and more manageable and MOST importantly...exclusive.

and him being a pit mix...is going to get him into deep doodoo if he were to get into a fight. Prevention is nine tenths of the cure.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,534 Posts
I agree, get out of the dog park and try to find a more controlled setting to have dog/dog interactions for him. Have you had his vision problems diagnosed so you know what's happening? Yes, vision problems (like ANY health issue) can cause behavioral changes.

i would guess that if your dog can't see clearly, it would be more anxiety issues at not knowing what's going on around him that's causing aggression. Be sure, if you're correcting him you're NOT punishing for giving warnings (snarling, growling, air snapping) as he NEEDS these tools to warn other dogs he's uncomfortable. The worst thing that can happen is he bites without warning.

You need to learn HOW to break up any possible fights JUST IN CASE, do NOT go for the collar, ALWAYS go for the back legs so you can 'wheelbarrow' him away from the other dog, if he doesn't release you may need to go a step beyond by sticking a finger up his rectum (I know it's gross, but it WORKS).

The fact is you own a breed (mix) that is know for dog aggression, was bred for it for 150 years. YOU have to take the responsibility, as a pit bull (mix) owner, to be sure you know your dog and how to control him AT ALL TIMES. That means training him AND knowing his body language so you can learn his stress signals, if you know his early stress signals you can PREVENT him reaching the threshold of having to give warnings by calling him to you the INSTANT you see him start to tense and redirecting him. I HIGHLY suggest you get this set.

CALMING SIGNALS BOOK/DVD SET
by Turid Rugaas

I also recommend this set,
AGGRESSION IN DOGS - PRACTICAL MANAGEMENT, PREVENTION & BEHAVIOUR MODIFICATION
by Brenda Aloff

Management is going to be key in this process, and you might also want to get a good trainer involved to help you with timing and any mechanics you don't understand. Just be sure you get a good positive reinforcement trainer, I wouldn't want ANYONE touching him that uses adversive measures as it could actually escalate the problem.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks...while I never wanted to admit that the dp was a bad idea I have been more recently able to accept it. In answer to the last response his visual problem has been vet checked. Since he has had the problem since he was a pup we have no way of knowing whether his problem is developmental or birth trauma related, but it is not harmful and we have made many accommodations for it, such as giving him more time to solve visually challenging situations, like getting into a car, going downstairs etc. He really has come a long way in that he trusts us to show him when things are ok.

Toki has many friends at the dp so I am thinking of asking them if we can get together at a local park in small groups to play and walk together. His buddies at the local park we walk in everyday are great but it is not always guaranteed that we'll run into them as they all seem to have random walk schedules (we are very routine :)).

I want to make it clear that Toki does not get into fights but more or less will warn other dogs with the air snapping and he DOES respond when called off. I know that owning a pitt- even a mix- is a big responsibility and I pride myself in the fact that he is extremely well trained for the short time that we've had him. The reason for my post was to get some ideas on why this behavior may be popping up so suddenly. I know that pitts can display aggression at any time and that it may show up as they get older. Thank you all for not immediately attacking...many people tend to do so when they hear of a problem with a pitt.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,773 Posts
Many PB can become less tolerant to down right DA as the mature....this could be part of what is happening

Also did the vet say anything about his sight probelm getting progressively worse?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,534 Posts
This is a VERY pit friendly bunch here, many on this board fight against BSL everyday (including myself) if you had gotten attacked here for the owning of a Pit, the person would have been shut down immeadiatly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,710 Posts
Thanks...while I never wanted to admit that the dp was a bad idea I have been more recently able to accept it. In answer to the last response his visual problem has been vet checked. Since he has had the problem since he was a pup we have no way of knowing whether his problem is developmental or birth trauma related, but it is not harmful and we have made many accommodations for it, such as giving him more time to solve visually challenging situations, like getting into a car, going downstairs etc. He really has come a long way in that he trusts us to show him when things are ok.

Toki has many friends at the dp so I am thinking of asking them if we can get together at a local park in small groups to play and walk together. His buddies at the local park we walk in everyday are great but it is not always guaranteed that we'll run into them as they all seem to have random walk schedules (we are very routine :)).

I want to make it clear that Toki does not get into fights but more or less will warn other dogs with the air snapping and he DOES respond when called off. I know that owning a pitt- even a mix- is a big responsibility and I pride myself in the fact that he is extremely well trained for the short time that we've had him. The reason for my post was to get some ideas on why this behavior may be popping up so suddenly. I know that pitts can display aggression at any time and that it may show up as they get older. Thank you all for not immediately attacking...many people tend to do so when they hear of a problem with a pitt.

I own an outright DA as crap pit bull. I wouldn't jump you for owning a pit that snaps...


While he may not be getting into fights now, you really want to keep that from happening period. Once they have actually gotten into a real scrap, the aggression has a real possibility of escalation. The best way is to keep play to smaller groups of stable, familiar dogs. Strange dogs are going to likely cause more of a reaction in him. as well as smaller groups are easier to keep everything going smoothly, especially if you know the owners well. Anyone can show up at the DP. You don't want to be there the day some irresponsible person with an aggressive dog shows up and sits there yakking on their cellphone while their dog terrorizes the rest.


He could be developing DA issues. it could also be fear issues related to his vision problems.

How does he act when he meets a new dog? Is he hesitent at all?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,534 Posts
Oh, I also wanted to add this, it's the ONLY way he should be meeting new dogs, especially if his vision is failing. Keeping a strict protocol with him is going to be important if he loses his vision completely. It will boost his confidence that YOU are in control and he doesn't have to take action to prevent being injured, which will reduce the chances of aggression.

Meet Me in the Middle – The Best Way To Introduce Dogs

I want to make it clear that Toki does not get into fights but more or less will warn other dogs with the air snapping and he DOES respond when called off.

Thing is, you need to know his stress signals so you can call him to you, or redirect him BEFORE he gets to the reaction stage (growling or even lifting his lip). Every time he gets to this stage, he will escalate faster and with less and less warning. By calling him out before he gets to that point he'll know you are in control of the situation and will become less reactive, instead of more.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
189 Posts
As to why he is doing this now, I have found that most aggression seems to manifest itself in dogs that are around a year to a year and a half. I personally think it has something to do with becoming an adult and trying to establish dominance or just kind of figure out his place in the world. Just a thought. I would highly recomend taking him to a group obedience class. This is not because I think you have a bad dog, from the sound of it he seems to be well trained, but because there is something about teaching your dog to obey you for a good hour in the presence of other dogs in a controled enviroment that gives them confidence and helps make them more predictable in any situation.

If I were you, I would make it my goal to get him his CGC (Canine Good Citizens). It really isn't hard but will take some time practicing things like meeting other dogs and just being a polite even in strange or maybe stressful situations. Even if you never get a CGC (which I promise, you can!) if you work towards this through group classes I think you will be really happy with your companion.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,135 Posts
Hey Toki's mom. Glad you came by to talk about this. As others have said, this is probably a combination of a couple of things. 1. the sight issue could cause some inhibitions..especially with unfamiliar dogs.

But just as important, reactivity of aggression does seem to begin to appear as they mature...in any dog. And being that you own a pit mix...you are in the hot seat. I would definitely NOT continue going to the dog park with unknown dogs. If you feel you must socialize him with other dogs, definitely set up small play groups that are well supervised and make sure you keep the intensity level in check. It sounds like you've got a well trained dog, but if an unknown dog would react to your dog...that could be the recipe for disaster.

My dogs aren't really dog park material, i've come to realize. We used to go all the time as they were puppies, I started to see problems when they were around 8 months old. They didn't get into a fight (never have at the park) but I recognized the risk early and stopped going. It looks like you are recognizing a potential risk...I would listen to your gut and keep with small groups of familiar dogs.

My dogs are great with smaller groups in a controlled environment, with familiar dogs, and in a class environment. But let them loose with a bunch of unknown dogs in a field...and its more likely to end on a negative tone. If I were you, I'd just play it on the safe side and choose other avenues to socialize your dog. I'd love to see pictures!!!!
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top