1. Welcome to Pit Bull Chat!

    We are a diverse group of Pit Bull enthusiasts devoted to the preservation of the American Pit Bull Terrier.

    Our educational and informational discussion forum about the American Pit Bull Terrier and all other bull breeds is a venue for members to discuss topics, share ideas and come together with the common goal to preserve and promote our canine breed of choice.

    Here you will find discussions on topics concerning health, training, events, rescue, breed specific legislation and history. We are the premier forum for America’s dog, The American Pit Bull Terrier.

    We welcome you and invite you to join our family.

    You are currently viewing our boards as a guest which gives you limited access to view most discussions and access our other features. By joining our free community, you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload content and access many other features. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please, join our community today!

    If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact us.

    Dismiss Notice

Shelter Guide to the American Pit Bull Terrier (and Bully breeds)

Discussion in 'Rescue & Adoption' started by PNWPBR, Aug 13, 2008.

  1. PNWPBR

    PNWPBR Good Dog

    Written from an Animal Sheltering Perspective as an educational tool to animal shelter employees.






    [​IMG]

    A shelter guide
    to
    The American Pit Bull Terrier

    Working in animal sheltering, Animal Control or any sort of Humane Society hearing myths from Patron’s is a common and everyday occurrence. Being educated enough to dispel the myths, ease the fear and correctly present the breed you are adopting out is not only a service to the community in which you live and work, but to the dogs themselves.

    This guide will go over the general temperament and characteristics of the breed, the history, correctly matching an adopter to a dog as well as myths vs. the truth. When you are done with your training you should have a better sense of the “Pit Bull†breed and how to handle one as well as any person who has questions!

    If you need further clarification on anything discussed please feel free to contact us at pnwpbr@yahoo.com for more information.


    Topics:

    Breed Identification
    Temperament and Placement
    Myths vs. Facts
    Shelter interactions with a Pit Bull
    Dietary Concerns
    Breaking up a Dog Fight




    Breed Identification


    First off, let’s start with what IS a “Pit Bull†and then we can discuss what is NOT.

    The term “Pit Bull†is given to a category of dogs that historically have similar genetics, structure and even bloodlines. These breeds include the American Staffordshire Terrier, The American Pit Bull Terrier, The Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the Bull Terrier and now also the American Bully.. More often than not when someone is talking about a “Pit Bullâ€, they are referring to the American Pit Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier or the increasingly popular, American Bully.


    To fully understand what is each breed we need to understand what is different about each one of them.


    The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is the oldest of the breeds; it can be traced back to 18th century England. It seems to be the foundation breed that has created the American Staffordshire Terrier as well as the American Pit Bull Terrier. While they all share many of the same genetics, they are all very different dogs.


    Staffordshire Bull Terriers were thought to be created by crossing bulldogs and terriers and were at one time called the “bull and terrier dog.†This mix was created when bull-baiting was made illegal in England and the sport of dog fighting was on the rise. These bull and terrier dogs had what was thought of as the best of both, the strength of the bulldogs and the drive of the terriers. Make no mistake, these little dogs are bred to work!


    Staffordshire Bull Terriers are commonly called “Staffy Bulls†by their owners and are easily identified. They are SMALL dogs that people also refer to as “Pocket Pits†or “Miniature Pit Bullsâ€, but they are a breed of their own and are not to be confused with the American Pit Bull Terrier.


    Breed Standard By the AKC for the Staffordshire Bull Terrier:
    Height at shoulder: 14 to 16 inches. Weight: Dogs, 28 to 38 pounds; bitches, 24 to 34 pounds, these heights being related to weights. Non-conformity with these limits is a fault. In proportion, the length of back, from withers to tail set, is equal to the distance from withers to ground.
    [​IMG]
    Staffordshire Bull Terrier 14-16 inches tall, 24-38 lbs




    The American Pit Bull Terrier is not a breed recognized by the AKC, the most popular and largest dog registry. It is however, recognized by the UKC, ADBA and many other registries.


    The bull and terrier crosses that created the Staffordshire Bull Terriers, also were the foundation for the American Pit Bull Terrier. These bull and terrier dogs were brought to America from England and Ireland in the 1800s and while England had not solidified the breed yet, the US defined what is now known as the American Pit Bull Terrier.


    These dogs were bred to have gameness, strength, speed and tenacity. Breeders knew that a dog like this could be dangerous to people and difficult to control if it were aggressive toward people, so breeders would look for the crucial trait of non-aggression towards humans. Fighting dogs that showed aggression towards its owner or handler were routinely killed and thus removed from the gene pool. While it may sound like a harsh end result this practice created a line of strong dogs that, while aggressive towards dogs and other animals, would be much gentler with people.


    Breed Standard by the United Kennel Club for the American Pit Bull Terrier:

    The American Pit Bull Terrier is a medium-sized, solidly built, short-coated dog with smooth, well-defined musculature. This breed is both powerful and athletic. The body is just slightly longer than tall, but bitches may be somewhat longer in body than dogs. The length of the front leg (measured from point of elbow to the ground) is approximately equal to one-half of the dog's height at the withers. The head is of medium length, with a broad, flat skull and a wide, deep muzzle. Ears are small to medium in size, high set, and may be natural or cropped. The relatively short tail is set low, thick at the base and tapers to a point. The American Pit Bull Terrier comes in all colors and color patterns. This breed combines strength and athleticism with grace and agility, and should never appear bulky or muscle-bound or fine-boned and rangy.


    [​IMG]

    American Pit Bull Terrier 16-19 inches tall, 30-60 lbs



    The American Staffordshire Terrier was accepted in 1936 for registration in the American Kennel Club stud book under the name of Staffordshire Terriers. At this time, the American Staffordshire Terrier, also known as an “Am Staff†was the same breed as the American Pit Bull Terrier and continued to be so, but the name was changed. It is rumored that the AKC did not like the word “Pit†in the dog’s name and therefore disallowed it.

    Since the 70’s the American Staffordshire Terrier has changed in appearance from its roots quite drastically. They are larger than the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Bull Terrier and the American Pit Bull Terrier and are said to have a more mellow temperament and less prey drive. Whether the latter is true or not is left open to speculation.

    Breed Standard for the American Staffordshire Terrier by the AKC:

    Medium length, deep through, broad skull, very pronounced cheek muscles, distinct stop; and ears are set high. Ears - Cropped or uncropped, the latter preferred. Uncropped ears should be short and held rose or half prick. Full drop to be penalized. Eyes - Dark and round, low down in skull and set far apart. No pink eyelids. Muzzle - Medium length, rounded on upper side to fall away abruptly below eyes. Jaws well defined. Underjaw to be strong and have biting power. Lips close and even, no looseness. Upper teeth to meet tightly outside lower teeth in front. Nose definitely black.
    Height and weight should be in proportion. A height of about 18 to 19 inches at shoulders for the male and 17 to 18 inches for the female is to be considered preferable.

    [​IMG]
    American Staffordshire Terrier 17-19 inches tall, 50-70 lbs






    The Bull Terrier is a breed all to its own! With its unmistakable head shape you would think people wouldn’t misidentify this breed, but it happens everyday.
    The history of this breed traces back to the 1800’s when the bull-and-terrier crossing was done that created the already mentioned breeds. The crosses that resulted of these breeding’s were all varied in size and color, the Bull Terrier being the result of one of these.

    Bull Terriers were originally known as The White Cavalier Terriers and then in 1987 the Bull Terrier Club of America was established, forever changing the name and setting the breed off on a road of popularity and stardom.

    Breed Standard for the Bull Terrier by the AKC:

    The head should be long, strong and deep right to the end of the muzzle, but not coarse. Full face it should be oval in outline and be filled completely up giving the impression of fullness with a surface devoid of hollows or indentations, i.e., egg shaped. In profile it should curve gently downwards from the top of the skull to the tip of the nose. The forehead should be flat across from ear to ear. The distance from the tip of the nose to the eyes should be perceptibly greater than that from the eyes to the top of the skull. The underjaw should be deep and well defined.
    The body should be well rounded with marked spring of rib, the back should be short and strong. The back ribs deep. Slightly arched over the loin. The shoulders should be strong and muscular but without heaviness. The shoulder blades should be wide and flat and there should be a very pronounced backward slope from the bottom edge of the blade to the top edge. Behind the shoulders there should be no slackness or dip at the withers. The underline from the brisket to the belly should form a graceful upward curve.

    [​IMG]
    Bull Terrier 20-24 inches tall, 45-80lbs





    The American Bully is the newest dog to be added to the “Pit Bull†category, but easily distinguished. This breed is a newly created breed derived from the American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Bulldogs and even some Mastiff blood thrown in for good measure.

    These dogs are the new “fad†dogs that are being seen everywhere, the most common and popular color being blue. They are “short and wide†with big heads, thick necks and very often presenting joint and mobility issues due to the lack of care put into the breeding and conformation of these dogs. This breed is also prone to breathing and heart issues and many of them rarely make it to 7 years old.

    American Bully’s are said to have sound temperament, and even lower levels of Dog Aggression than your typical American Pit Bull Terrier does, but that is left up for debate. American Bully’s still have the same lineage as the aforementioned breeds and therefore one should not assume they will not fight with other dogs if given the change. Proper management of the breed is necessary.


    American Bully Breed standard by the ABKC:

    Head- Medium length, deep through, broad skull, very pronounced cheek muscles, distinct stop, and high set ears. Ears - Cropped or uncropped. Eyes - All colors except albinism. Round to oval, low down in skull and set far apart. Muzzle - Medium length, rounded on upper side or slightly squared to fall away abruptly below eyes. Jaws well defined. Under jaw to be strong and have biting power. Lips close and even, some looseness accepted, but not preferred. Nose all colors acceptable. Neck- Heavy, slightly arched, tapering from shoulders to back of skull. No looseness of skin. Medium length. Shoulders Strong and muscular with blades wide and sloping. Back- Fairly short. Slight sloping from withers to rump or straight accepted with gentle short slope at rump to base of tail. Slightly higher rears accepted, but not encouraged. Body- Well-sprung ribs, deep in rear. All ribs close together. Forelegs- set rather wide apart to permit chest development. Chest deep and broad. Tail- Short in comparison to size, low set, tapering to a fine point; not curled. Not docked. Legs- The Front legs should be straight a slight turning outwards of the feet is accepted but not desired, large or round bones, pastern upright. No resemblance of bend in front. Hindquarters should be well-muscled, let down at hocks, turning neither in nor out. Feet- Moderate size, well-arched and compact. Coat- Short, close, stiff to the touch, and glossy. Color- All colors and patterns are permissible. Size- Height and weight should be in proportion. A height of about 18 to 21 inches at shoulders for the male and 17 to 20 inches for the female is to be considered preferable. There is no particular weight for the breed.

    [​IMG]
    American Bully 17-21 inches tall, no weight limit for this breed





    Now that we have defined and have seen examples of the breed it is important to remember that ALL of them are very different in their own ways. For example, you wouldn’t want to say that an English Mastiff has the same temperament as a Dogue De Bordeaux even though they both fall into the “Molosser†category.

    Calling the breeds by what they are aids in proper education of adopters in a shelter situation. Since each breed has it’s own characteristics, temperament, needs and so on, correctly identifying the dogs in a shelter environment is crucial.



    As it was stated earlier, after defining what a “Pit Bull†is, it was important to talk about what isn’t……


    Many, many breeds fall into this unfortunate category in a time where “Pit Bulls†are on everyone’s mind.

    The below listed breeds all fit within San Francisco’s “Pit Bull Breed Identification Checklist†(http://www.sfgov.org/site/uploadedfiles/acc/Documents/Breed Standards.PDF)
    but are clearly NOT “Pit Bulls.â€



    Note: Every one of these breeds listed has been found in an area shelter in the last 12 months



    The American Bulldog
    [​IMG]



    The Cane Corso
    [​IMG]

    The Presa Canario
    [​IMG]

    The Dogo Argentino
    [​IMG]




    In a time where BSL (Breed Specific Legislation), media hype and irresponsible ownership are at an all-time high, proper breed identification and education are more important than ever.






    Temperament and Placement

    The American Pit Bull Terrier is known throughout the dog world for it’s stellar temperament. It has been called many things but the things that it is, these are only to name a few:

    Friendly- They are generally very trusting of strangers and greet you with tail wags so hard that the whole behind is wiggling in excitement

    Stable- Once you have an adult Pit Bull (they mature at about 2-4 years old) it’s pretty much “What you see is what you get.â€

    Humorous- Their craving for food and human attention keeps them constantly working to get that reward. In doing so they will always keep you laughing with their antics.

    One of the major downsides to the breed that makes them not a breed for everyone is their tendency to be dog aggressive. They were bred and conditioned to be this way for over a hundred years and it has made them what they are today. While dog aggression can be a hard thing to manage, for the right person it CAN be done and quite easily with dedication and education.

    Successful placement of this breed in a multi-dog household can be done but always remember these few restrictions. The resident dog needs to be of opposite sex and a meeting of both dogs MUST be done prior to placement. Introductions must be on leash and with more than one adult present. Even when the introduction goes well, the adopter must be counseled and reminded that dog-aggression can happen at any time with this breed and that it can be effectively managed.

    Always recommend an adopter use a crate. The crate is confinement when the dog cannot be supervised and is for the dogs safety. This tool is effective in managing this breeds high energy level and need to chew and destroy as well as separating dogs if and when dog aggression arises.
    Always remember this breed is VERY high energy. Since they don’t really “slow down†like some other breeds, this is not the type of dog to go to an inactive person or family. Remember that this breed IS a Terrier breed. Even though their size may fool you, don’t forget that they can have the same drive as a Jack Russell or other Terriers. A tired dog is a happy dog so exercise is crucial. It curbs destructive behavior and helps create a more focused dog.

    While they may be large to some people, this breed is actually a Medium-sized breed ranging from 30 to about 65lbs. Many apartments and landlords do not accept large dogs, remember that this is not one. Always check to see the weight restrictions as sometimes this breed falls into the acceptable category.


    This breed is still a “fad†breed and many of the younger adopters will be attracted to them. The younger adopters may be lacking the judgment, experience and necessary life skills for managing a breed that can potentially cause problems. The more mature adopter is much more recommended to avoid a lot of possible issues.

    Socialization is important at an early age for this breed. The better socialized the Pit Bull is the easier it is to manage. Always encourage your adopters to socialize their dog properly (no dog parks!) and introduce it to training tools such as the leash, crate and reward-based training.

    Cats and small animals are a hard one for the Pit Bull since the Terrier prey-drive is something that they are prone to having. Again, socializing at a young age can help with these issues. Not to say an adult Pit Bull does not like a cat, but who wants to take any chances? Even if an owner states that their Pit Bull is good with cats, it very often depends on the cat and the situation. Always warn adopters of this and try to cat test if possible.

    Pit Bulls are excellent with children. An untrained Pit Bull can very easily knock them over with their jumping and exuberance, but once trained they can live with children of all ages. They were once called the “Nanny Dog†and historically have been good with children. Remind adopters that children must be respectful of the animal and the animal will be respectful of them.

    The American Pit Bull Terrier is just as versatile as the people who adopt them. Always following the standards of adoption for this breed “just-in-case.†Know that you will be limiting the number or types of people who would adopt this breed, but you are at the same time helping preserve a breed in crisis. This breed is subjected to Breed Specific Legislation in the US and around the world. The ban may someday come to your area and this beautiful and caring breed would no longer be allowed. Some people think this is for the best, but understanding the breed and proper management are all it takes to be a responsible American Pit Bull Terrier owner.


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 13, 2008
  2. PNWPBR

    PNWPBR Good Dog

    Myths vs. Facts




    Myth: Pit Bulls have locking jaw!
    Truth: NO, they don’t.

    Fact: “No, they do not have either. Dr. I Lehr Brisbin of the University of Georgia states, "To the best of our knowledge, there are no published scientific studies that would allow any meaningful comparison to be made of the biting power of various breeds of dogs. There are, moreover, compelling technical reasons why such data describing biting power in terms of 'pounds per square inch' can never be collected in a meaningful way. All figures describing biting power in such terms can be traced to either unfounded rumor or, in some cases, to newspaper articles with no foundation in factual data."

    Furthermore, Dr. Brisbin states, "The few studies which have been conducted of the structure of the skulls, mandibles and teeth of pit bulls show that, in proportion to their size, their jaw structure and thus its inferred functional morphology, is no different than that of any breed of dog. There is absolutely no evidence for the existence of any kind of 'locking mechanism' unique to the structure of the jaw and/or teeth of the American Pit Bull Terrier."


    Myth: Pit Bulls that are aggressive towards dogs will become aggressive towards people!

    Truth: False! Dog aggression and Human Aggression (DA and HA) are two completely different types of aggression and are NOT related.

    Fact: It is true that Pit bulls may be aggressive towards other dogs. People often think because a dog attacks another dog (dog-aggression), it will likely attack a person (human aggression). Aggression towards humans is a completely separate behavior than aggression towards other dogs; just because a dog doesn’t like other dogs does not mean it won’t like people. Think of it this way: Pit Bulls historically were bred for dog fighting. With dog fighting humans were always in the pit medically treating and handling the dog, all while the dog was in full fight mode. A dog that turned on a person while in this fight mode was euthanized and never bred. This is how the breeders and fighters ensured the low human aggression that the breed displays today. It was bred NOT to be human aggressive. If you have a pit bull that is then it is not a standard of the breed and should be euthanized instead of rehabilitated.


    Myth: Pit Bulls make good guard dogs!

    Truth: Pit Bulls are not a guardian breed and do not make good guard dogs. They are very people-friendly and would rather lick an intruder than bite them.

    Fact: Pit Bulls were a created breed and mainly bred to fight other dogs. They were bred to be extremely friendly towards their handlers and strangers and their aggressiveness was geared towards dogs. Pit Bulls were not bred for their ability to guard the hearth, home and livestock and they do not make good protection dogs because of the lack of wariness of strangers. They should readily accept new people in unfamiliar situations and should never bite. Guarding and protection breeds are the Mastiffs, the German Shepard’s and the Rottweilers. These breeds have been bred and conditioned for guarding and protection and have the correct temperament for the job.



    Myth: Pit Bulls attack people more than any other breed!

    Truth: Pit Bulls are not known to attack more than any other breed. They are known for not being human aggressive and are extremely people-friendly.



    Myth: Pit Bulls don’t feel pain!

    Truth: That is completely untrue, all animals feel pain.

    Fact: Pit Bulls have a nervous system just like any other breed of dog. While breeders that fought their Pit Bulls would breed the dogs that were winners in the pit and were more tolerant to pain. This is one example of what is called “gameness†Gameness is the “desire to continue on and/or complete a task despite pain and discomfort.â€



    Myth: Pit Bulls brains swell and make them go crazy!

    Truth: No, again this is an untruth. This was a popular myth when Dobermans were the “fad†breed as well. The Doberman’s popularity has declined and now the Pit Bull has seemed to inherit this myth.

    Fact: Their brains grow at the same rate as any other dog, and the only time that a Pit Bull's brain is going to swell is if it receives a serious injury. If an animal's brain were to grow too big for its head, the animal would die.



    Myth: Pit Bulls are trained to fight!

    Truth: Some people “train†their Pit Bulls to fight, but truly this breed needs no training. Dogs raised in the best of homes can become dog aggressive when they hit adulthood.

    Fact: The American Pit Bull Terriers were a breed created TO be dog aggressive. Socialization, spaying and neutering and training can lessen the levels of dog aggressiveness, but genetics are genetics and if a Pit Bull is going to be dog aggressive, it will happen whether you train them to be or not. Example: Jack Russell Terriers are a breed that is bred to “go to ground†after vermin. Whether you want them to or not, this is something they are genetically coded to do. While you can train them to “encourage†and hone their skills, a dog will do what it was bred to do.







    Shelter interactions with a Pit Bull

    Since talking about the history of the American Pit Bull Terrier, you would now know that they were at one time a fighting dog. Because of that and what is in their genetics, they do have a high tendency to be Dog Aggressive. ALWAYS assume a Pit Bull that you don’t know very well is Dog Aggressive. NEVER allow interactions with other strange dogs in a shelter situation unless necessary.

    A shelter, Animal Control or Humane Society can be highly stressful for a dog. They are in an unfamiliar environment, confused and alone. The smells and sounds of the other dogs, strange people walking about and even sometimes the smell of death can upset a dog’s mental well-being.

    That being said, a correct temperament Pit Bull should be able to withstand these stresses and still wag their tail in a friendly gesture. When entering a kennel that holds a Pit Bull first and foremost make sure that there is no other dog walking by so that you can safely enter the pen without a dog/dog interaction. Never enter a pen or kennel if the Pit Bull is growling, snarling or acting aggressive. A Pit Bull acting in that manner is an incorrect temperament and needs to be noted. Make notes of your observation on the tracking sheet for that animal with as much detail as possible.

    When taking the dog outside for yard time, walks or even a dog meet-and greet with a new prospective family ALWAYS have the dog on a leash until you are in a secure area. Hold the leash with two hands and try to fit the neck “noose“ high on the neck at the base of the skull. Pit Bulls are notorious pullers on a leash so if you don’t feel confident walking one in the first few seconds, put the dog back.

    When in the yard, still stay watchful of other dogs that may be coming and going in the shelter’s everyday schedule. Watch for fence/fights between the Pit Bull and another dog, watch for small children that the Pit Bull might knock over in their excited dash to lick their face, and watch for people that might be frightened of the dog. In those cases use the opportunity to educate the fearful person with the things you have learned about the breed!

    When walking in the approved Dog Walking areas, never allow your Pit Bull to sniff or interact with another dog. If you see someone approaching with a dog, ask that they keep their dog away and continue on your walk.






    Dietary Concerns

    Every breed has it’s known physical ailments and issues, the first and foremost with this breed being their skin problems.

    The American Pit Bull Terrier is a breed that is very often seen in shelters and veterinary medicine with rashes, hives, missing patches of hair and general dullness of the coat. While various treatments and medications exist, the most important “treatment†for any skin issues with this breed is a proper diet.

    Bully breeds in general are known to have skin allergies. Wheat, Corn, Soy and by-products are to be avoided in any dog food, but even more so with these breeds. Feeding a grain-free food that can easily be found at PetSmart or Petco and specialty dog boutiques is something your dog will thank you for!!

    Known for their low-immune systems, this breed is also prone to Demodex Mange, which can sometimes be cleared up (if localized) with a food change and a stress-free environment. They also often have yeast infections on the skin, in the ears and imbetween the toes. Adding a spoonful of plain, organic yogurt to the dog’s kibble daily is an effective way to manage this issue in combination with the grain-free diet.


    Below is a list of recommended foods and their websites:

    Solid Gold
    http://www.solidgoldhealth.com/

    Canine Caviar
    http://www.caninecaviar.com

    Eagle Pack
    http://www.eaglepack.com/

    Taste of the Wild
    http://www.tasteofthewildpetfood.com/

    Merrick
    http://www.merrickpetcare.com


    Natures Variety
    http://www.naturesvariety.com


    Castor and Pollux’s
    http://www.castorpolluxpet.com/

    Pinnacle
    www.breeders-choice.com/pinnacle.htm

    Petcurean makes Go! Natural, Go! Grain-Free and Summit
    http://www.petcurean.com/

    Natura makes both California Natural and Innova, both good choices!
    http://www.naturapet.com/brands/california-natural.asp
    http://www.naturapet.com/brands/innova.asp




    Breaking up a fight


    The best way to break up a dog fight? AVOID them!
    Assuming all Pit Bulls are dog aggressive needs to be a reminder in ALL shelter workers and volunteer’s minds. Sometimes all you have to go on is assumptions and in the case of a stray Pit Bull with an unknown history, it’s better to err on the side of caution.

    Avoiding a dog fight is a lot easier than breaking one up and a lot better for you and the dogs involved. Keeping ALL dogs you are walking on a tight leash, being aware of your surroundings at all times and warning others who might forget that they need to keep the dog they are walking away from the dog you are walking are good things to practice.

    So what happens if a dog fight between a Pit Bull and that barky Lab mix breaks out? Even worse a Pit Bull and another Pit Bull? USE YOUR LEASH!

    Since policy mandates that all dogs be on leash coming to the kennels or going to the yards, then one could assume that a fight would be with at least one dog on a leash. Hopefully both of them are on leashes and then the tables are in your favor.

    If both (or one) dogs are on leashes…. PULL. Don’t turn your back to the fight when you pull, instead get a really good grip on the leash and pull back with a sharp and hard jerk…. Let your body move steps backwards, not just your arms.

    Hopefully if you are quick enough with your reaction that no dog has latched on and simply pulling them apart would be enough. If that is the case, return BOTH dogs to their kennels and notify a manager.

    Let’s say when pulling the leashes you find that one dog has latched on to the other and is not letting go…. What do you do?

    First let’s start with what you DON’T do and work our way from there!


    DO NOT reach or wade in the middle of the fight
    DO NOT grab collars
    DO NOT yell or scream at the dogs
    DO NOT allow another volunteer to get involved to help


    Now what about the DO’s?


    DO ask someone to throw you a leash if you do not have one
    DO ask someone to go get a staff member ASAP
    DO not attempt to break up a fight alone, always have two people
    DO remember that these dogs are in fight mode and will bite you without realizing it
    Ok now that we have the DO’s and the DON’Ts let’s talk specifics.


    HOW do you break up a dog fight? Well usually it will be one dog with a latch on and the dog that doesn’t have a latch will be scrabbling for a better position to get a latch as well. Use this to your benefit and go after the safe dog first: The one with his mouth full!

    Talk to the person with the other dog, communication is KEY so that neither of you get bit. Whoever holds the leash to the dog with the latch, drop the leash and grab that dog’s hind legs. The person who has the dog that is not latched on is to tighten the leash and HOLD ON!

    Now the person with the hind legs (think like a wheelbarrow race) will need to pull backwards and at the same time, swing the dog from left to right. Usually this will cause the dog to let go as their balance is upset as is their orientation.

    Make sure that when you are swinging the dog from side to side that you are doing it in gentle motions. A hard swing could actually cause the dog’s head to come back around close to you and you could be bitten. Soft swinging motion is sometimes hard when your adrenaline is pumping but it is very crucial.

    Now say the dog drops it’s latch! Hooray the fight is over!! Right? Wrong!

    How you end the fight can be just as important as how you break it up. If you manage to get the dog to drop the latch and you then in turn drop the dog…. What will happen? The dog will just run back and start the fight all over again!!
    So what do you do?

    You remind the person that is holding the other dog on a leash that they need to IMMEDIATELY leave the area. You then ask a staff member to come and grab the leash of the dog before you let go of the legs. Once the leash is in a steady hand, you can drop the legs.

    Scary?! That is why we say AVOID the fight at all costs…. It can save not only a dog, but your nerves as well!

    If this method does not work for breaking up the fight other resources can be utilized. Water in either a hose or a bucket thrown on the dogs sometimes works. A fire extinguisher sprayed not directly at or on the dogs but near enough to startle them can work at times too. Remember regardless of using the first or these other methods, never drop the leash. The leash is your control, USE IT!
     
  3. MaryC

    MaryC Little Dog

    Excellent Excellent Post. I love it!!
     
  4. PNWPBR

    PNWPBR Good Dog

    Thanks Mary! :blush:

    This is what I use when training local shelters about the breed.
     
  5. JoeBingo

    JoeBingo Banned

    This is just about the best thread on the forum PNWPBR !!! I have already referenced it to one new person in the Introduction forum, plus I have learned a lot from reading it too. Thank You very much for posting this invaluable information, all in one place :) :cool: ... it really should be a sticky in other forums as well ...
     
  6. jeoestreich

    jeoestreich GRCH Dog

    Very nice!
     
  7. scottc

    scottc Puppy

    excellent. for fights when theres only one human, a pit, and in my case, a doberman, i've found that grabbing my pit by the collar and pulling them to the nearest door is the key - i place the pit inside one room and close the door while dobie is on other side... keep pulling door to while pulling pit and as soon as they separate for a second, it is easy to close door while pulling pit back. this keeps them separated, gives me time to regroup, check both animals without worrying about another round. and keep calm and save your breath - no need to elevate the situation. once i mastered this, it helped immensely.
     

Share This Page