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human aggressive or behavioral problem?

Discussion in 'Dogs - Pit bull breeds specific' started by pitlove, Mar 31, 2004.

  1. pitlove

    pitlove New Member

    We had 3 pits - Odie(dad), Haley(mom), and Barkley(pup). Haley and Barkley ganged up on odie and he died at the vet from losing too much blood. so with this dog aggression history let me tell you our story...

    we moved into an off leash neighborhood where there are any number of random dogs walking our neighborhood. Although our two dogs were locked up in our yard (2/3 acre) I still worried about Haley getting out and causing damage to someone else's pet or something happening to her. So we found a new family home for her out on 20 acres of land in the middle of nowhere where she is completely spoiled rotten.

    That left us with Barkley. He is 80 lbs and a bit intimidating and after Haley left, he started jumping our 6 foot privacy fence and sitting in our driveway. No big deal until he started chasing after people in the street. We talked to our vet and she suggested that maybe he was feeling insecure by himself and that another dog may be the answer...we adopted Kyra (pit/lab mix) from a local shelter and presto things were back to normal with Barkley. Kyra had to go into the vet for heartworm treatment and the day we take her Barkley got lose and bit a woman in the leg. kyra is home now and barkley has to stay locked up in the laundry room while we are at work because he finds a way to get out of the yard every time.

    What do I do? I love him to death (we kept him because he was bit by a rattler snake at 6 weeks) and he is great with our daughter and it's impossible for us to imagine him being aggressive but we have proof and i don't know what to do. we've heard that human aggression is a reason for euthanasia but is it that or does he have some sort of behavioral problem that we may be able to fix? :cry:
  2. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    This is a very touchy subject I know that you love your dog and the thought of having him euthanized most likely breaks your heart, but a human aggressive dog of any breed in my opinion needs to be euthanized.
    And if your dog has bitten a human I feel that dog cannot be trusted and should be considered human aggressive. I have dogs in and out of my home I foster dogs/puppies for my local animal shelter as well as work there two days per week and i also have 3 children If a dog were to come Into my home and bite anyone even a stranger that dog would be gone it would be returned to the shelter and be recommended for euthanization. I know it sounds cruel and I know that there will be people who will tell you to get the dog in behavioral classes and I guess maybe there is a slim possibility that the dog can be reformed, but personally I would still never trust it especially with having children in the home. I do wish you all the luck and am very sorry for the predicament you are in.
  3. elizavixen

    elizavixen New Member

    I don't think that you should get him euthanized, at least not immediately. You may just need to be very careful with him and work with him alot. This dog needs to be locked somewhere where he cannot get out when he is not supervised and I would not let him alone with your child or another dog.

    I had a dog who was semi-aggressive (he would have his moods). Mostly dog aggressive but some people he didn't like. He never bit anyone or any dog because I never gave him the chance. I knew his personality so I made special precautions about his environment at home and when I would take him out. I worked around his behavior. I knew what situations he could be in and what situations he could not be in.

    Obviously if this dog is acting aggressive towards you or your family then that needs to be dealt with. But if it is just strangers (as was with my dog) then I think you should work around it. Of course this all depends on the severity of his aggression.
  4. Angie

    Angie New Member

    If I were you I would definitely not leave the dog alone with anybody.
    I think he could snap at anytime and hurt someone really bad.
    This is just my opinion. I don't have any suggestions of what to do with him but please just don't leave him alone where he could hurt someone.
  5. jao_apbt

    jao_apbt New Member

    This is a touchy subject, and I am really sorry for you. But I would definatly have to agree with Regina. If it were another breed then maybe I would say to give it some time. But human agression is not supposed to be in our breed, and it really should not be tolerated. The lack of human agression is best quality of the apbt, I love knowing that no matter what my kids do to my dogs they will NOT bite them. I like knowing that when a drunk guy comes running/stumbling over to me in the middle of the night just to ask for a light that my dogs will not bite him(I live right down the street from multiple bars and liquor stores). If the same person came running toward my parents cocker and would try to rip there face off. It's not so bad with him because he is only like 15 lb's, but I couldn't imagine one of my boys acting the way he does.

    I can't imagine what you and your family are going through, and again I am really sorry.

  6. pitlove

    pitlove New Member

    still torn up

    thanks for all the advice. I have to say i am still torn and can't believe that he would hurt anybody. He has never shown any aggression towards us at all and i've never actually witnessed it myself. In Austin pits have a bad reputation - like everywhere else - but in our neighborhood it is harder since loose dogs are everywhere. We've had him since he was born and have nursed him through being bit in the neck by a snake, to chronic ear infections (severe allergies), only to have him put down? I feel that maybe he was going through a tough spell with having lost his mom and being a new place...he is staying locked up for sure while unsupervised but i think i at least need to give him a chance and have him assessed by a behaviorist or something before i put him down. anyway. thanks again. :?
  7. Angie

    Angie New Member

    Did anyone witness him actually bite the woman? She may just be sayin that because she doesn't like Pit Bulls?....
    My brother's male got out once and he is the sweetest. He would never bite a person. I don't really know how he is with other dogs though. Anyway, the woman down the street didn't like Pit Bulls and she claimed that my brother's dog bit her little dog. We looked at the dog and there was absolutely nothing wrong with the dog... no bite, no scratch, no blood.. I think she just wanted them to take Tank away. He is on probation (sp?)
    Hes a real good dog though.
    Anyway, goodluck... I hope you figure something out.
  8. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Pitlove: I am just curious to know what happened with the woman who was bitten by your dog did she press charges against you or was the dog seized by animal control? Around where I live if a dog bites a human and it is reported the dog is almost always quarantied and most of the time euthanized.
    I know that you are dealing with this the best way you know how but how will you be able to always keep your dog locked up? And really what kind of life will he lead as well as you and your family? Having a dog you can not trust to bite would be a heavy burden. I know you say you trust your dog and I don't doubt that he "would never bite you or your family"
    But what if by mistake he gets out again and bites someone else this time tragically? Would you be willing to face possible criminal charges and not only that but the guilt of knowing what your dog had done and that it could have been prevented after the first time he bit someone.
    It truly isnt in an APBT nature to be human aggressive. I do not mean to be rude in any way I really hope everything works out for you.

  9. bullylove1

    bullylove1 New Member

    That's awful. This must be a very hard time for you. I guess the question you need to ask is Can you trust him to not bite again? Do you trust him around your family no matter what?
    This topic can really go either way at this point.
    Harley is very dog aggressive, but I know she would never bite anyone, and we make sure to never give her the chance to find out. She is always kept on leash when outside and when people are walking by I transfer her to my other side. I always make sure no one pets her without asking me first. Sometimes she growls at people when we are walking, but I think this is more nervousness than anything. As soon as I talk to her in ahappy voice she calms down.

    I personally would never have a human aggressive dog. Although, he may not be aggressive, and the women could have done something to spook him. Dogs have very different perceptions than people do, and perhaps she approached him to bring him home to you. If he felt nervous, perhaps because she was wlaking directly towards him and seemed very strong, he could have reacted out of fear. I think if you want to keep him, you need to call a behaviourist first. Call a few to get prices and see if you can get references BEFORE giving any money. Some of these guys will just take you for everything you're worth. After the behaviourist examines and works with him, then make your decision.

    If you keep him, I would suggest training. Have you ever done training with your dogs before? This is very important to keep structure in their lives and could help improve his temperment immensley. If though the bahaviourist examines him, and deems him a threat, I would strongly consider euthinasia. This breed is NOT supposed to be human aggressive, and such a trait could literally come back and bite you in the ass someday.

    Good luck to you and keep us posted with what you decide to do.
  10. pitlove

    pitlove New Member


    So I just showed my husband this great website and he thinks I should tell you some other things to get more opinion...
    1 - the lady called animal control but they never came out and after talking to her and telling her we were serious about containing him and him not getting out anymore, she let it go...very nice of her indeed.

    2- when we spoke with her, we asked her to describe the dog who bit her (she sent us a pic of the puncture) to make sure it was him and she described him as red with cut ears. our dog has big floppy ears so we were hoping that it was another dog hanging out in our driveway. Anyway. we took him by our house and it took her a minute and she said she was pretty sure it was him. the other thing was he had a choke collar on which you'd think would stand out and she didn't remember that.

    3- we recently came across an intact male pit that looks just like our dog with cut ears hanging out in our driveway the other day and a friend of mine says she's seen him there before during the day.... so there is a possibility that it wasn't barkley.

    our neighborhood is super dog friendly and there are a few pits running loose with no problem but even if Barkley were to run up to someone just to greet them, i wouldn't doubt that they'd be afraid if they didn't know him....i am just so frustrated with this whole situation.

    she says she was running by and he came runnign up the driveway at her and then he bit her and then she yelled at him and he went back towards the house...then another neighbor who actually filed a complaint against him a couple of months ago told her his story (Barkley saw him running and went towards him to go running with him and the guy got scared and reported that he feared barkley would hurt him - the animal control just gave us a warning - guys here are very familiar with pits and realize most of the time people call in from fear of them due to bad press etc.)

    and yea - his life sucks right now locked up in the laundry room while we are at work but when we get home he hangs out with us. he's had basic obedience training. i'm just at wits end. our vet is a qualified behavioral assesment person and she's known him since he was born so that might be the route we take...on the other hand, i found haley another home just because i was worried about her being a liability towards other animals...i'd feel HORRIBLE if something worse happened with Barkley. Anyway. Thanks again.[/quote]
  11. bullylove1

    bullylove1 New Member

    It very well may be the other dog. That would really suck. Do you know whos dog it is? Is there a way you could go home one day during lunch to see if he's hanging out there? It s good that you are taking precautionary measures with him even if it wasn't him. Pits do have a bad rap, and a way of gettign blamed for a lot they didn't do. Have your vet check him out, and see how that goes.
    Keep us posted
  12. True_Pits

    True_Pits New Member

    I can agree this is touchy and a hard subject. What I don't understand is how some one can be so careless with their Pit Bulls. How they can be upset over something they could have prevented and then continue the behavior. I don't want to make assumptions, but from what I read you had these 3 dogs together unattended and 1 was killed? What is going through a persons mind when they leave 2+ Pit Bulls together with no supervision???!?!?!? Learn before you buy, if you don't want the responsibility then don't get one. This has caused more deaths then I care to mention of. What is the point of risking a dogs life?
    The dog may have bit the woman, it had been jumping the fence which you were aware of, well you should have taken care of that matter long ago, after the first maybe second time. No wonder these dogs have such a bad rap.

    Either take some responsible action now and see a professional behavioralist who is well versed in these matters or put the dog to sleep. Human aggressive Pit Bulls should be culled, unless you can fix his problem with a lot of hard work. Even then who knows what a new "trigger" may be for "bad behavior" in the future. It could be something different next time. He could seriously injure some one if he gets worse.
  13. pitlove

    pitlove New Member

    thanks for making a hard situation harder

    true_pits. Jesus. I don't need to be bashed or criticized. We thought we had fixed the fence and made it tall enough where he would not be able to jump anymore.

    When I broke up the fight that ended in the death of my dog, i was in my bedroom able to see them, unable to get to them fast enough. Haley was the one who inititated it and did most damage and I have since found her a home where she is the ONLY dog. I did NOT leave them unsupervised so quit assuming things.

    I know a lot about the breed and did EXTENSIVE research before I got one. He has NEVER shown aggression towards a human until now AND whenever around other dogs, he is very submissive and friendly (except for the ONE time he joined in on a fight that was already happening.)
    As emotional as you are about the subject, I understand, but don't assume you know anything about me or how much I know about the breed. I was looking for other opinions about what to do with my baby - not for someone like you to make the situation harder than it already is.
  14. jao_apbt

    jao_apbt New Member

    Well in my oppinion if he bit a person he should be put down. There should be no exuses, it's not in the breeds nature. There have been pits horribly beeten, and starved and still walk away wagging there tails. If he is being human agressive then he has a screw loose somewhere, he should not be scared or nervous or anything like that. I would not even tolerate my boys growling at people for no good reason. They better not ever be human agressive unless I am getting seriously hurt or somthing of the such.

    Now if he did't bite her then I guess we really have nothing to talk about. You will have to figure that out, and if he did bite, or if he shows signs of any human agression you should do what ever feels right in your heart, but remember if somthing does go wrong, that it is a serious problem to the whole breed. And not to mention you will be liable, and if there have been two calls to AC about your dog already you could be facing serious charges if he bites and hurts somone again.

    And I don't think True_Pits was trying to critisize he was just stating the obvious. You said yourself that you got rid of one dog because he was dog agressive, if you did so much research than you would have been prepared for that.

  15. True_Pits

    True_Pits New Member

    Who's bashing. I said I didnt want to assume and ended some remarks with a ? b/c things were unclear. I also don't understand if you were right there and able to break up the fight how one dog was able to loose so much blood? I'm not posting to bash, just confused about the situation, post lead off to other subjects and questions about the dogs situation. Many times things are assumed as the post may be vague. I feel bad for you, bad that the dog had to die, and don't understand how a dog could loose so much blood to die if some one was there to stop the fight?

    And this part of the post also lead me to believe they were unsupervised

    To me this sounds like he was BY HIMSELF, well I'm assuming alone because he jumped the fence and if you were out there you obviously wouldn't have let him, so he was all alone and did this because he's used to having company, then you adopt a new dog and leave that dog with him unattended as he was before she came? Am I wrong, did you leave Barkley alone in the backyard, but now that he has a friend you leave them both alone in the backyard? Or is it you just left him alone but got a new dog and now watch them? to me that didn't sound likely so yes I'm assuming they are left alone together. And that all 3 were left alone together previously for him to be missing them while he was ALONE in the backyard because he is used to having the other dog in the backyard with him, although they were unsupervised. I can only read post and try to determine from there, I don't know the whole situation, but thats what it sounds like to me?
  16. pitlove

    pitlove New Member

    In loving memory

    so we decided to put Barkley down. We took him to the park - it's a beautiful day - during lunchtime where there was no one around and let him go swimming and bought him a cheeseburger. He was being the sweet dog that we loved...we were walking back to the car and wondering if we had made the right decision when two dogs off the leash came running up to him...he barely took notice of them and then growled/lunged at their owner....

    this was one of the hardest things i've ever had to decide but i have an 18 month old daughter who I HAVE to put first and with his unpredictable behavior who knows what could trigger him to be aggressive in the future.

    i feel like it's all my fault. maybe i wasn't prepared enough to be a responsible pit owner, there are so many things I wish I could've done differently...but it doesn't make this any easier. Thanks for all your advice - say a prayer for Barkley. I'm sure he's rompin around in doggie heaven with his dad and not worrying at all about us anymore.
  17. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    I am very sorry I know how hard of decision it must have been for you I am in tears after reading your post.
    I do feel you did the right thing. I think you have saved yourself as well as barkley a lot of heartache in the long run. Do not be so hard on yourself raising a dog is a lot like raising a child you can never be sure how they are going to turn out. Some things you just can not change.
    My thoughts are with you.

    Rainbow Bridge Poem
  18. loves-da-pits

    loves-da-pits New Member

    I am so sorry about Barkley. I had to do the same thing with a beautiful chow a year ago, that I rescued from abusive people. I always had to have her separated from the other dogs and just one time we left a door open by mistake, and she got out and tried to fight another female. I tried to come between them and got hurt in the process. Barkley had psychological problems just like my dog. I always felt bad that she was segregated from everyone because she love to have the attention of only me and my husband, but she was always on guard. She wouldn't let us get too close, like if we were trying to groom her. She thought we were trying to hurt her. You did the best thing possible. Please don't feel guilty. Barkley is finally free from all that haunted him. You and your family were the happiest days of his life. I'll say a prayer for Barkley and all the rest.

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