Everyone is very afraid of my American Pit Bull Terrier. How should I explain that he won't hurt them?

I have a 1 year old Pit Bull Terrier who can be aggresive sometimes, but is friendly with people. Everyone, including my neighbors, just despise him. If he is outside, they will go inside or move away. If were walking down the street and he starts barking, they will go away. I try to tell them that it is just the way he is. All dogs bark. All dogs can be aggresive. They won't give him a chance, and I want everyone to understand this guy. He had a rough life in the past and I hate for people to be afraid of him.

Asked by Member 981905 on Apr 17th 2010 Tagged afraid in Aggression
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This is so sad. And unfortunately so prevalent because people would rather buy into the overblown misconception that a certain breed is inherently dangerous. A friend of ours has a pittie and once she was asked to leave a dog park for no good reason. We stood out ground against a very rude woman who insisted her well-behaved dog was a menace and a danger while her yorkie tried to bite her because he was so poorly socialized and trained.

I think the problem is that when you have a dog that is misunderstood it's extra important to make sure they are well behaved in public places. It's just one of those things that people will pick up on with your dog but not be bothered if a poodle did the same thing.

Consult a professional trainer to help you manage his anxiety on walks so that he's less barky and just keep explaining to people that he's friendly. Jack barks constantly on leash and if I can't calm him down, I just tell people he "likes the sound of his own voice." That works well.

Jack answered on 4/17/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer

Cookies 'n' Creme (1998-2011)

Same situation with my GSD sometimes, though to a lesser extent since I live in an area where most seem to understand that GSDs are not monsters.
If you aren't already, work on teaching him manners. Barking is normal, yes, but it can be annoying when you just walk down the street and a dog barks like heck at you. (I've had the same troubles with my GSD.) A book I recommend for learning canine behavior and training is "The Dog Whisperer: A Compassionate, Nonviolent Approach to Dog Training". You should be able to find it at a local library or on Amazon. Show people how well-behaved he can be. You can even have him do tricks.
Second, educate people. Read up on canine behavior and the breed itself and tell people what you've learned. I believe that the website for BadRap (one of many groups trying to stop the banning of Pit Bulls) have a fact sheet you can print up and share. At least I've seen one somewhere.
Good luck.

Cookies 'n' Creme (1998-2011) answered on 4/17/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


I am concerned when you state the following: "All dogs bark. All dogs can be aggresive." My dogs DO NOT bark when I am walking them, nor are they aggressive. They are trained to walk calmly on their leash and are trained not to bark at everyone or everything they see along that walk. I cannot tell for sure because I do not know your dog, but I get the impression he may be out of control on his walks? It sounds to me like you may need some professional help with his walking... I would enroll in a good obedience class ASAP, since you have a breed which, due to their bad rap, does need to be under control at all times. The best way to fight these conceptions about "bad" dogs is to make sure your dog is NOT aggressive and barking during his walks.

Member 641257 answered on 4/18/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


in addition to what toto said....
you seem to be confused about your dogs behaviour. in the question you state that he's "aggressive sometimes, but friendly with people". then in your profile, (which is no longer there), you stated that he had become "very aggressive towards people".

a pit that barks at people for no reason while in walks through the neighborhood will get the exact reaction that you are will most any breed. people are going to think he's not friendly. a well behaved dog does not bark at people unprovoked or show any signs of aggression. allowing him to do so is unacceptable in my opinion, and has the potential to lead to trouble.

it sounds as though your pit may have some issues to work through and need professional training to do so.

the short answer is, you can't "explain" anyting. people will judge your dog by his actions, not by your words. until he exhibits good behaviour and stops showing aggression, people are going to be wary of him,

Member 960416 answered on 4/18/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


The guest and Toto said good things. I have two kinds of Bully breeds, German Shepherds and Rotties. They walk quietly on the leash and the neighborhood loves them. You get out of your dog what you put into him. Good luck to you in your process of fixing this problem.

Kayak answered on 4/18/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


You need to be more clear when you say he "can be aggressive sometimes". Aggression is NOT normal behavior AT ALL. If your dog has shown any type of aggression, I would get a trainer immediately.

I own a bulldog mix and he has never shown any type of aggression towards people or dogs. Owning a pitbull, you took a big responsibility. Aggression in pitbulls is NOT normal. If your dog bites someone, he will be euthanized and your situation will be added to the hundreds of pitbull attack stories in the US prompting more state officials to ban pitbulls in certain cities.

You cannot blame uneducated people for not liking your dog. You can't make them like him either. These are the things you deal with when you own a bully breed. Please get your dog under control and call a trainer asap!

Murphy answered on 4/18/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


if your dog is barking or growling that is a sign of aggression. I don't blame someone for moving away, I would too. Aggression is not something all dogs have while on a leash. Your dog needs to be leash trained and socialized with people better before people will like him. I can give you steps towards leash training that works! message me if ya want them. oh and if your dog barks it's better for you not to get close to people, don't risk it! it means your dog is uncomfortable or fearful. Good luck with this!

Sig answered on 4/19/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer

Armani (Adopted 2012)

A brightly colored collar and/or bandana with a cute print will make your dog appear more approachable. The first impression is the most difficult part of changing anyone's breedist perception, provided your dog has a good disposition.

Armani (Adopted 2012) answered on 4/20/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer