11 Signs a Pitbull Will Attack

Warning Sign Pitbull Cover

Since the dawn of civilization, dogs have been a crucial part of our society. We have employed dogs in various jobs throughout history, and continue to do so. For these reasons, dogs have become a crucial part of our life, and most owners cannot get enough of their dogs. Unfortunately, there are times when these adorable creatures turn aggressive and end up attacking other people or animals. Out of all the dog breeds, Pitbulls are notorious for such incidents. While it is wrong to blame the entire breed, facts cannot be ignored.

Signs a Pitbull Will Attack

If a dog is properly trained, and specifically not told to attack, usually Pitbulls will remain calm; however, not every owner can be trusted, and it becomes important to learn the signs if a dog will strike. Also, not all dogs attack out of aggression, some may do it because of fear.

1. Fear Pose

In this, a dog will become tensed and stiff. Along with a rigid posture, a dog will tuck its tail and ears back, and might also close its lips tightly together. This is a universal pose of dogs being afraid, and if you pursue a dog at this stage, it will strike out of desperation. You won’t see many Pitbulls in this pose unless they are abused.

2. Fight Pose

When a Pitbull feels challenged by another dog or person, they become puffy and tensed, with their ears and tail pointed upwards, while staring intensely. In the doggy world, this position indicates that the dog feels challenged, and is willing to fight if pushed any further. If you notice a Pitbull with this pose, it’s best to back up, even if the owner is present.

Fight pose warning

A Pitbull fixated on a target

3. Growling

Growling is perhaps the most understood means of aggression from dogs. Although dogs also growl while playing, they are usually excited and in a happy state. Unless you are specifically told by the owner that the dog means no harm, it is best to leave the Pitbull alone if they are growling.

4. Baring Teeth

When a Pitbull lifts a corner of its lip to show teeth or all of the teeth, it is a clear sign of aggression, and the dog can attack at any minute. Even if the dog is leashed, and controlled by the owner, it is best to keep a distance if you notice such behavior.

Showing teeth warning

A Pitbull showing teeth

5. Stalking

While Pitbulls are not known for their hunting prowess, they were used as catch dogs in the 20th century, and they still possess some hunting instincts. When a Pitbull stalks a person or animal, it is pure hunting behavior, they’ll be fixated on the target and charge when in proximity. Usually, they’ll do it when your back is against them.

6. Staring

There are some breeds such as Border Collie, which tend to stare playfully, but when it comes to Pitbulls, if you notice they are staring intensely at you, they are suspicious of you. At this point, if you make any sudden movement, they will charge, and even if the owners tell you not to worry, one must be cautious during these situations.

7. Cornered

This case only happens if a dog is a stray, and doesn’t have an owner. A fearful dog will try to flee, and generally, avoid any contact; however, if it finds itself cornered, then this afraid Pitbull will resort to attacking. Usually, these circumstances occur when rescuers are trying to get a dog off the streets, they have specialized tools to get a hold of the dog, without hurting it.

8. Taking Away Possessions

This doesn’t necessarily apply to strangers, but family and friends of the owner. If you interrupt a dog eating or take away its favorite toy, then it will turn aggressive. Although this behavior is not limited to Pitbulls, it is good to know.

9. In the Heat

Once again, it doesn’t apply to this breed alone, this applies to all the species, for that matter. During the mating season, if a dog is not neutered, it’ll be naturally aggressive; however, if you interrupt a mating session, then dogs will become violent. Can’t blame them for this one, honestly.

10. Entering their Territory

Dogs are highly territorial, and they are programmed to protect their territory from intruders, and in this case, their territory is their owner’s house, this includes the porch and driveway as well. Pitbulls are known to have a fighting instinct, and they will not tolerate it if you step within their boundaries. Therefore, make sure you don’t enter the house without the presence of the owner.

11. Interrupting Attack

With the majority of owners being unaware of how to control a Pitbull, these hounds can become aggressive towards other dogs and people. Unless you are a dog expert or trained in handling Pitbulls, you must not stand in between them, it may appear heroic, but the dog will quickly redirect its aggression towards you. It is best to make these dogs divert their attention before they enter an aggressive state, but if they do, let the professionals handle it.

No Warning Signs

Although these warning signs are true, and these allow one to understand a dog’s intentions, Pitbulls are infamous to attack animals, people, and even small children without any warning sign. Social media and news websites are filled with reports stating that Pitbulls, which were docile throughout their life, suddenly attacked or worse, even mauled people. [1]SF Gate


1 SF Gate

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