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PetDr, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 68
Experience:  PetDr has been a veterinarian for 13 years and working as a medical director in one of the best hospitals in NJ.
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My pitbull has recenty been showing aggression to visitors,

Customer Question

My pitbull has recenty been showing aggression to visitors, mostly small children (friends of my son). He is kepy inside most of the time, He is well cared for and probably spoiled if anything, but he was shot recently after an escape. A neighbor got him pretty good with a shotgun and after $1200 in vet bills he is back to healthy and mostly his old self. I don't know if the recent aggression is a side effect of his gunshot or if its because has just gotten bigger (roughly 85lbs at 1yr old). He shows NO aggression towards me or my family, just visitors on or near our property (which he does not leave anymore to run off as we have gotten more attentive to it). He has struck out at a few of the visitor kids and it seems to be random and only snaps or grabs clothes with mean snarls when we are holding him back by his collar for some reason and they are within reach of him. Any ideas or suggestions? I will be getting him a basket muzzle as soon as i get back home from work and plan to be working on his behavior vigilantly as i will NOT get rid of my companion. He is my best friend and treats me like gold..This aggression is not constant, it seems random as one of the recent nippings was on a kid that has been there repeatedly. has played with the dog and had no problems from the day they met for the first time.Any held would be greatly appreciated..
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Veterinary
Expert:  PetDr replied 4 years ago.

I'm sorry to hear that Cash has been having problems.

When a dog threatens, it's unwise to assume the dog would never carry through
on the threat. Have your veterinarian check for illness or injury that is often
at the root of aggressive behavior. When the aggression has not continued long
enough to become a habit, curing or controlling the physical cause will in some
cases immediately stop the aggression.

Dogs have a survival instinct to hide their pain. Showing any sign of
weakness in the wild could get them killed. Aggression is often the first and
sometimes the only change in behavior from pain, as the dog acts to ward off
approaches and touches that the dog has learned will hurt. Even the most
experienced dog handler can be fooled, so don't be quick to rule out pain as a

I would recommend starting with a follow-up visit with your veterinarian to check on the previous shot injury. In case that is causing pain to him.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Ok, I wont be available to do this for a week but will get on it as soon as I get to land again (im offshore on an oil rig) but in the mean time is there anything I can do to help prevent this behavior? I plan to work on it as much as possible, and I do not doubt that he would follow through in the long run. I just dont see him doing it yet. As I have one of those very same children walk into my house unwelcomed and my dog was the one who found him in the back in my sons room and did not attack. Only cornered him and growled when the child screamed in terror until my wife arrived on scene. I will be taking my buddy to the vet and following up on it, i just am wondering if there is somethin behavior wise that may be causing this that we can nip in the bud asap. I know there are horror stories of pitbulls turning on people and i have defended his honor tooth and nail in that respect, I just dont want to be another naive owner in a horror news report. Not mention i wouldnt be able to bring myself to have him put down...he has been there too much with me.

Expert:  PetDr replied 4 years ago.
If there's any way that you or your family can call a dog trainer immediately, he/she can fit the dog with a head halter or muzzle and teach your family how to use it safely and effectively until you are back home. Most dog trainers would be happy to pay a visit to assess the situation. This may be helpful until you come home and take him to your veterinarian.
Expert:  PetDr replied 4 years ago.

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