Why did my Pit Bull attack me? If your Pit Bull recently attacked you, it’s easy but erroneous to put all the blame on them. You likely triggered their behavior, often through unintentional means. You must be aware of what caused the attack so you can prevent another incident.
Your Pit Bull most likely attacked you for these reasons:
- Defending their territory
- Anxiety or fear
- Insufficient socialization
- Leash aggression
- Redirected aggression or frustration
- Injury or illness
In this article, I’ll go through all 7 reasons above that inspire aggressive behavior in dogs, not only Pit Bull breeds. This article will help you hone in on areas of your Pit Bull’s training that may need some work as well as assess what other changes you can make around the house so you and your dog’s life together is as harmonious as possible.
These Are the 7 Reasons Pit Bulls Attack
Pit bull is experiencing Jealousy
Pit Bull breeds, from the Staffy dog to the American Bully, are often described as loyal. To outsiders who think Pits are nothing but vicious dogs, this can be surprising, but Pit Bull breeds love their families fiercely.
In some instances, this is not a good thing. Between their loyalty towards their owner as well as their alertness, Pit Bulls tend to notice when something within the household has gone awry. Well, awry in their eyes, at least.
For example, let’s say you got a new pet. It doesn’t even have to be a dog, maybe it’s a cat or a rabbit.
Now your Pit Bull feels like the odd man out since they’re not getting as much of your love or attention anymore.
At first, they might try to butt into your private moments when they can. If that doesn’t work, your Pit Bull could growl or snap at the other pet or even attack.
This isn’t limited to pets either. Spouses and children can be the victims of an obsessive dog who feels like they’ve been relegated to the backburner.
If your Pit Bull is an attention-seeking dog, then please don’t disregard them when you adopt a new pet or introduce a new partner or spouse into the household. Divide your attention about as evenly as you can.
Make sure you and your Pit Bull still get some one-on-one time.
Set boundaries as well. Just as you and your Pit have that special time together where it’s just the two of you, if you want to spend some dogless time with another pet or person, your Pit Bull needs to learn to wait their turn.
Your Pit bull is Just Defending Their Territory
Another reason your Pit Bull could have attacked you is that you encroached on their territory. It helps if you have a clear definition of what is and isn’t your Pit’s territory, as your definition can vary from theirs.
I’m sure you wouldn’t try to take your dog’s bed or toys away, but what if you’re on the part of the lawn they like to pee on? In some situations, that’s enough to aggravate a dog.
If you continue to linger in this area like everything is a-okay, your Pit Bull might begin growling or they can skip right to lunging, scratching, and/or biting.
Anxiety or Fear
What scares your Pit Bull? If you don’t know, then you could someday find yourself a victim of an attack. Fear-based responses may include aggression, especially if you crowd your dog while trying to soothe them.
To you, all you were trying to do was check on them or make them feel better, but to your Pit Bull, they feel threatened. What a threatened dog does is defend itself.
Many regular occurrences in your day-to-day life can create a groundswell of fear in your Pit Bull.
While reactions vary from dog to dog, here are some fear triggers common of canines:
- A smoke detector or security alarm beeping or chirping
- The vocalization of other pets, especially a squawking parrot
- People shouting
- Vehicular backfire or loud vehicles
Your Pit Bull might be fearful of other dogs if they had a bad experience with canines when they were young. Past abuses can also cause your dog to react in unexpected ways.
The problem is, if you haven’t had your Pit Bull their whole lives, they can’t verbalize to you what happened before they found their furrever home. You have to find out through trial and error, and in the most severe cases, that can involve physical attacks.
Outside of fear-based responses, anxiety in dogs can also trigger violent reactions. Formerly abused dogs can hold onto anxiety as well as fear from their experience, unbeknownst to you.
The anxiety then manifests in an attack. If you take a vacation and leave your Pit Bull with a stranger, that could leave them an anxious mess likely to attack as well.
By socializing your Pit Bull, the abovementioned anxiety and fear responses should be quelled, at least for the most part. Socialization is a training process that should begin ideally as soon as you bring home your Pit Bull puppy.
You can socialize an older dog, including adult and senior Pits, but it’s not nearly as easy as it is with puppies.
When socializing your Pit Bull, you take them out into the world so they can experience what it has to offer. Your dog gets to understand what kinds of sights, smells, and sounds are the norm when they leave their front door.
They see many strange people they don’t know who just go about their day, not paying attention to the Pit Bull. This tells your dog that strangers are not necessarily threats.
Your Pit Bull should be socialized to other animals as well, especially animals you already have in the house like cats or dogs. Take your Pit to the dog park where they can see canine breeds of all kinds.
Enroll them in a dog class. You can even bring them with you to your favorite pet store provided dogs are allowed.
In the pet store, they’ll see all nature of animals, from fish to cats, hamsters, gerbils, lizards, turtles, birds, and other dogs. This is a great way to socialize your Pit Bull to a variety of animals at once.
Socialization needs to occur in all sorts of situations and a variety of places. Take your dog out early in the morning, in the afternoon, and at night.
Let them experience rain, snow, and sun. The more your Pit Bull is exposed to the world, the less scary the world then becomes.
Doing your best to socialize your dog helps equips them with the ability to handle more of everyday life without necessarily resorting to aggression and/or violence.
You have to take your Pit Bull out every day several times, yet they turn into a monster when they’re on their leash. Any other time, such as when romping free in the yard or in the house, you have no problem with your Pit Bull.
This sounds like a classic case of leash aggression. Some dogs detest being leashed up.
It could trigger their anxiety or cause them pain, so they decide to lash out. If you pass other dogs on your walking route, your Pit Bull could try attacking them.
They may also unload on you, nipping and biting so they don’t have to wear their leash anymore.
If your Pit Bull has leash aggression, try switching them to a harness. The connection point on a harness for the leash is on the back so your dog is not choked.
If a harness doesn’t work, then it’s time to consider behavioral training for your Pit Bull. They can’t go on walks leash-free, so you’ll have to train them to adjust to the leash somehow.
Dogs get bored and frustrated just like we people do. The difference between dogs and people is that I can tell you I’m upset about something but your Pit Bull cannot.
Well, verbally, anyway. Instead, they express their feelings through aggression on whoever the closest target is. This unsuspecting victim might not have anything to do with the dog’s pent-up frustration, they were just at the wrong place at the wrong time.
So what frustrates dogs? Cooping up your Pit Bull can certainly lead to redirected aggression.
Pit Bulls need about an hour of exercise a day. Yes, every single day. If you can’t get your dog outside, then you need a backup plan where you two can play and exercise indoors.
Make sure you’re mentally stimulating your Pit Bull as well as physically challenging them. Treat toys will keep them busy for hours. This time doesn’t count towards their exercise, but mental activities will still satisfy your Pit Bull.
An Injury or Illness
The last reason a Pit Bull might attack is that they’re not feeling their best. Remember, since dogs can’t talk, overt expressions can sometimes be the only way to get their point across.
A sick dog doesn’t always look that way outwardly, so your Pit Bull will growl or snap to tell you to back off, they’re under the weather.
If your Pit Bull has an undiagnosed injury and you touch the site, that could be enough to warrant a bite from your dog. You hurt them, and although it wasn’t on purpose, they don’t want you doing it again.
What Do You Do If a Pit Bull Attacks You?
You can be left reeling after a Pit Bull attack, and rightfully so. Your dog can still be in a highly aggressive state right now, so what you do can prevent another attack. Here’s how to handle the immediate aftermath.
Don’t Move, and Especially Don’t Run
I know it’s really tempting to try to bolt away from your dog, but that’s about the worst thing you can do. Your Pit Bull will chase you if you try to run.
Instead, stay where you are and don’t move. Don’t look at your Pit Bull and especially don’t make eye contact. Dogs perceive eye contact as rude behavior and could take it as a threat.
Slowly Exit the Situation
Wait until your Pit Bull leaves you. At that point, it’s safe to assume the dog is no longer interested in attacking you. Then, get up and slowly get away from the dog.
Get Medical Attention
If you were seriously hurt from the attack, you may need to see a doctor. Don’t assume that just because it’s your dog that they couldn’t cause serious injuries, as that’s not true.
Know the Signs Your Pit Bull Is about to Attack
People always describe dog attacks in the news as sudden or out of the blue when they’re very rarely that. Pit Bulls and other dogs only resort to attacking when their other methods of warning haven’t worked.
You just have to know what to look for.
Some people call it the aggressive stance, but however you refer to it, your Pit Bull’s body will change when they’re primed to attack. Their muscles will go rigid.
Although it’s more associated with cats, the hair on your dog’s body can stand up. Your Pit Bull’s tail will be tucked, and despite that the tail may wag, it’s very robotic and stiff.
This is not a happy dog, so don’t be fooled!
Watch your Pit Bull’s face too, which is an obvious giveaway of their emotions. Their ears will flatten and their teeth will be bared.
Your Pit may lick its chops too. Some signs of impending aggression are less threatening, such as your dog breaking eye contact and yawning.
Growling or Barking
This is the more overt signal. A dog that intends to attack will not growl quietly, and if growling isn’t getting the point across, they may start barking. Now they’re verbally telling you to get away before something bad happens.
This can look like your Pit Bull is cowering, but what they’re really doing is getting into a lunge position so they can strike. An attack is moments away now!