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So I found this forum a little while ago when I was just browsing the interwebs and when I saw it in my search results I just had to come see what its all about. As I was browsing I noticed so very many posts asking about agression and many of them seem to be asking if its our fault as owners or if its part of the breed. Upon seeing this I had to make a post for those that may or may not know. This wonderful breed that we all love has many desirable qualities such as loyalty, strength, an almost unending desire to please, and they are actually known to be incredibly patient, but along with their intense loyalty can come an intense drive to protect, if we humans as their leaders aren't careful and deliberate in how we carry ourselves when we are around others or when there are new people around, especially in our home environment. Which can then make that strength they are so well known for more of a negative trait, and can really shake our confidence when bringing new people and especially new dogs around. One tip I would suggest especially when introducing our pups and even fully grown dogs is to be sure that you carry yourself with confidence and if you have a dog that has been known to be "agressive" (which is most likely them feeding off your nervousness and behaving accordingly) try doing the introductions somewhere neutral that isn't your dogs home turf. If you are struggling with keeping that strong, confident pack leader posture you may need to work on that yourself, because if you are concerned your dog will correctly interpret your body language and even possibly your verbalization, to mean there is a threat and be completely unaware that they are the thing causing that, and so they will go into protect mode, which in my opinion is what they are supposed to do. After all that is what makes them such great family members, their loyalty. You might also try if you are not confident in a direct introduction to an/other dog/s, or new people, try putting your dog on a leash and just walking somewhere that isn't crowded but somewhere you can be around other people while not getting too close, so that your dog can get used to seeing/being around other people without having to interact with them directly or get too close (this is also a confidence building exercise for you as well). Then once you and your pooch are feeling more confident and your pup can see that you aren't afraid or anxious about what he/she might do he will be much less prone to exhibit what we typically interpret to be aggression, because he won't percieve all these new things to be a threat. Then you can gradually start walking together say 100 yds from other people rather than 150 yds, and then 75yds rather than 100 yds and so on, always maintaining a safe distance and watching for any signs of tension or stress in your dog and immediately returning to a distance that relieves that stress in your pup. This process could go very quickly (a matter of a few days) or it could take much longer (weeks possibly months) , but the idea here isn't to rush and put yourself or your dog in a position that would induce any kind of anxiety or stress, its actually the complete opposite. Also if your pooch is still very young and you are reading this post not because you've seen signs of aggression but actually trying to be proactive and looking to avoid it completely I cannot stress this to you enough. SOCIALIZATION is EVERYTHING with this breed even more than in many others. Pitbulls are known for their wonderful bubbly personalities and their amazing disposition towards people in general, but if your dog never sees other humans then how can you ever hope they won't see those people as a threat or at the very least be qary of them? It would be like you living completely isolated from birth until you were 20-25 and then all of a sudden getting dropped in NYC or Chicago. I'm sure you can imagine that would be absolutely terrifying and I'd bet you might be less than trusting/friendly with your neighbors or others in general. Also if you have another dog that your dog gets along with who is good with other people it might be good to bring them with you when you first introduce your pooch to other dogs and let that dog teach your "aggressive" dog how to interact with others (be sure you have a second person with you of course). Remember your demeanor determines the way your pooch will interpret the things around in your environment, because they don't speak verbally they rely almost 100% on body language and can pick up even the slightest most tiny differences in your behaviour. Another thing though I doubt I really need to say it I'm going to anyways. LOVE your pup and make sure you spend a non-trivial amount of time just building a strong relationship with your pup whether its playing or just allowing your dog in to be near you in your company as a pack member just relaxing, this is not only important for helping maintain the roles between you and your pooch but it also teaches your dog to trust you and follow you even if they are feeling less than 100% comfortable, and thats where its your job as a good leader to keep an eye out and make sure you don't put your dog in a situation that really stresses them out or scares them always removing the stressor or removing the dog from the situation while you maintain that same unshakeable leadership demeanor. I have always taken my dog as many places as were possible starting just as soon as I can so that my pup can become accustomed to being around new things and adjust quickly to changing environments without it being a stressful experience. By the way as Im certain some of you are wondering Marley my current baby will be 2 years old the 15th of October of this year and he's intact, so if you were thinking "my dog can never get to a stage that i feel comfortable with him around other dogs because he's intact" this is simply not true, it's just going to take some work on both your parts. I really hope this helps you, and if you have any questions feel free to ask and I will be happy to answer you to the best of my knowledge and ability. I don't claim to be an expert and I'm certainly not a dog trainer but I'll tell you my opinion based on my own experience and if anybody has anything they would like to add, or any more suggestions, I would love to hear them. That is why were all here isn't it? So we can help eachother learn and grow, and so we can be the best ambassadors for this magnificent breed of dog that so often gets such a bad name.




PS My brain isn't functioning at full steam its 4 a.m. as im wrapping this up so I'll come back and try to format this to be a little more readable in the afternoon when I get home from work. Thanks for reading and let me know if this helps you and your pooch.
 

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While I agree with many of your suggestions pertaining to raising a dog in general, I disagree with some of your points pertaining to the APBT particularly. First these dogs are NOT known to be protective or used as protection dogs. Human aggression is simply not a trait whether they be game bred or show bred. While there are exceptions to every rule, generally speaking dogs that showed HA or aggression towards humans were more often than not culled in the early years. Think about it. These dogs were initially bred to bait bulls and when that became illegal, they were bred to fight each other. The origins of dogfighting were not much different than boxing between humans. It was a gentleman's sport in the early years. But the key difference is that when dogs were fighting, their owners or handlers were in the box with them - not outside the ring like in boxing. Their owners and handles had to be able to handle them and reach in and grab them at any point in the midst of dog fight without risking the dog turning on them. So aggression towards humans was culled out while aggression towards other dogs was the goal. That being said, I would never suggest leaving an APBT unattended with another dog, even your own, regardless of training or socialization. Never. Ever. Any socialization with any other dogs should be very closely monitored and you best know your dog well and their tells as prevention is the name of the game; however, I strongly suggest you also know how to react safely if you're going to carefully socialize with other dogs and never do it off lead. You're just asking for potential problems and I promise you that whether it is your dogs fault or not, YOUR dog is going to take the blame as a bulldog.

Let me tell you a story....For a long time, I had three amazing, beautiful, WELL-trained APBT mixes (I swear one was a dogo mix but I won't get into that). The white older girl in my picture, Ciara was raised from a puppy by my ex-husband who is a certified trainer/handler in protection dogs and worked as handler in a prison. The two reds were also gotten as 8 week old puppies by us together and raised and trained from birth. The puppies, my DynamicDuo, were raised from the moment they came home with Ciara. There were minor tiffs here and there early on that were quickly handled. The dogs were kept separated unless one of us was right there watching. For the most part they did well together, the three of them. My ex and I separated and I ended up with all three dogs (that's a whole other story) and moved them all to Bama. Suddenly, for whatever reason, the pups turned on the old girl and I broke up my first serious fight, alone, with 3 naked pit mixes. I took a couple minor redirects from the old girl in the process but managed to get all three separated without anyone taking too much damage. I was outside, supervising the three, and that fast it was on. It happened one more time, when a guest let the old girl outside when I was outside with the pups. The old girl took more damage this time as I had screaming company to deal with on top of the three dogs. Anyway, at this point the dogs could no longer be together and I ended up calling my ex and he made the drive to get the old girl (whom we had to put down a couple years ago now). These dogs were all well trained, raised together by the same people and lived in mostly harmony for more than 4 years. None of them EVER bit a person, including me when breaking up the few fights. But at the end of the day they could never be trusted all together. I should note the DynamicDuo are siblings - I'll never do that again - and never have had any issues between them but we're always watching for signs of trouble. They bicker like siblings regularly but knock if off with a voice command. That could change at any point though.

Moral of the story is never trust a bulldog around other dogs and aggression towards humans isn't typical - generally speaking these dogs make terrible protection dogs...but most of your tips and suggestions are excellent basic suggestions for raising puppies in general, there are a few caveats for bulldogs.
 
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