How to prevent a fight
The very best situation to prevent a fight in your home is to have a pit bull as the only pet. Pit bulls are people-dogs anyway and if they receive enough attention from their family, they don't need a canine companion to be happy. However if you prefer having two dogs, and many people do, the next best situation is to have a compatible neutered male and a spayed female, whose interactions are always supervised. If you have multiple pit bulls or a pit bull in a multi-pet home, you might find our Crate and Rotate page helpful.
There is a higher incidence of aggressive behavior between dogs of the same sex. Two males or two females often view each other as rivals even if they appear to get along most of the time. This is a fact for every breed. Most dogs however, don't resolve conflicts with the determination and intensity of the Pit Bull. Remember that these dogs were "bred" to fight. Submission signals that would indicate the end of the hostilities can be ignored in the heat of a fight by Pit Bull type dogs.
We do not recommend allowing a fighting breed dog to establish pecking order on its own. The hierarchy will, therefore, remain unclear and cause tension between the dogs. Tension is a trigger for fights.
There are other stimuli that can trigger a fight, even with dogs of opposite sex. For that reason, PBRC does not encourage placing pit bulls in multiple-dog homes as problems between the dogs will surface eventually. It could take several years before conflicts reach serious proportions. Unfortunately, pit bulls are usually the dogs people rehome when serious problems occur.
Properly introduced, a neutered male and a spayed female with compatible personalities should be fine. They will, however, require strict supervision all their lives. Please follow the guidelines offered by PBRC to insure the safety of your dogs and avoid unpleasant situations.
Responsible Pit Bull Ownership Guidelines
Take note that a fight can strike suddenly and for no apparent reason. Warning signs can be very subtle with Pit Bulls and even completely absent in certain cases. Two dogs may be best friends for years, sleeping together, cuddling, playing, even eating from the same bowl, and one day something triggers one of them and boom! Often, the dogs act like best friends as soon as the fight is over. They might even lick each other's wounds. You have been warned, though. If they fight once, chances are they will fight again and will get better at it each time.
NEVER leave Pit Bulls unsupervised with other animals. We can't emphasize this enough. When no one is around to keep an eye on them, the dogs should be safely crated or in separate rooms even if they are best friends. You never know what might trigger a fight in your absence. All canines can fight, but Pit Bulls were bred to never quit. If no one is home to break the fight, the dogs could inflict serious injuries to each other, or worse.
Have your dog(s) spayed or neutered as early as possible. Females in their reproductive cycles and males that are triggered by their sexual hormones tend to be far more reactive and aggressive than those who are not.
Always monitor the dogs while they play and don't let things escalate. Roughhousing can trigger a fight if not kept under control. Pit Bulls like to play rough and can be pretty vocal. Their games often mimic a real fight and can be overwhelming for the other dog. Don't let the dogs push it too far. As the "leader" of the pack it is YOUR responsibility to set limits and keep the dogs under control.
Never leave food, bones, toys, or anything that could trigger a fight at their disposal. Keep in mind that certain dogs tend to push out any competition for what they perceive as limited resources - your attention, food, toys, etc.
Note that in general, the first fight is often an indicator of more to come. At this point, it may be necessary to separate the dogs. Many loyal Pit Bull owners have learned to live with dogs that don't get along. It is feasible but requires a great deal of commitment and discipline. Those who adapt their lives for this situation will tell you that the dogs are worth the efforts.
ALWAYS have your Pit Bull on leash when you take him/her for a walk.
Do not bring an adult Pit Bull to an off-leash dog park or any other area where it may come into contact with other dogs running loose.
Early socialization MAY help, but is not a guarantee that your Pit Bull won't become dog-aggressive at some point. ALWAYS be prepared for it!
Last edited by ErikH; 12-28-2008 at 01:28 PM.