Training Collar Guide: Pick the training collar that best suits your pet

Question @ putting a dog down?

Angela asked:

We have a 2-year old, fixed, male full-bred pit bull. We got from a friend when he was 6 months old. The former owner and the dog have an avid hatred for each other, so I am unsure of his history.

He has shown aggressive tendnencies in the past, but seems to be getting much worse. He has not bitten anyone, but he has jumped into the face of 2 men and head-butted them.

He is starting unprovoked fights with our other dogs. (the pit bull is a house dog, the other dogs are hunting dogs in kennels in the back yard) He is getting hurt from these fights through the fence, and so are the other dogs – if they choose to fight back.

A month or so ago he growled at our 10-year old son because he grabbed his collar to lead him outside. Nearly everyone we know is afraid of him. He is muzzled in public as he does not like most children and there are 2 I know he would hurt if he got the chance. He got out of our front door and chased one a few weeks ago and luckily I realized he was out and called the dog before he did damage. Although he has not bitten anyone, yet, I am getting more afraid to take a chance with the dog.

I have tried Cesar’s methods; gotten him a puppy to play with and drain his energy (she is a mixed breed, calm, likes people/children, etc.). They get along fine and I give the pitbull extra attention to make up for what I spend on the puppy. But he seems to be getting worse and last night jumped into the face of my brother-in-law whom he has known for the last 1 1/2 years.

I’ve bought, read and tried lots of dog-training books. He is well-trained otherwise (on leash – walks great, does not mark his territory, etc.) but is afraid of car rides for some reason.

We are at our wits end and are concerned for the safety of our child, his friends, our friends and neighbors and neighbor’s children. Has anyone been in this difficult situation and how did you handle it? Thank you in advance for taking the time to respond.
Thank you for your advice. We have made the decision to euthanize him. When we got the dog, he growled at me. His parents were not human-friendly either – and I should have known this was going to be a problem but thought I could ‘train’ it out of him. He does not like men, female or male children. This is not getting better, but worse. Our son does not mistreat him and has led him by the collar outside hundreds of times up until the time he growled. He is crated and obviously must be crated a lot when people are over that are afraid of him (often) or that he is aggressives towards (also often). I think the first 6 months of his life must have been abusive by children and/or males. He is protective of me, but to a dangerous point. No amount of correcting/timeouts/exercise, etc. has alleviated any of his aggression tendencies. This is not a breed-specific problem by any means, but I put his breed in to emphasize damage possibility.


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  • Wynona

    watch marley and me

  • Pearl

    You would be committing an egregious wrong if you put down a dog just because YOU don’t know how to correct the dog’s behavior.

    I also strongly suspect your 10-year-old son has something to do with this. I would put forth the opinion that when you are not around, or are not looking – the kid torments the dog.

    Your sentence “he growled at our 10-year-old son because he grabbed his collar to lead him outside” told me a great deal.

    I urge you, from the bottom of my heart, to go to the Dog Whisperer website and see if you can’t actually contact someone in Cesar’s organization about this. It is possible they will be willing to help you adopt out this poor creature. As I’m sure you know, Cesar has a soft spot for powerful dogs like Rotties and Pit Bulls.

    I am HORRIFIED at the people on this site actually telling you to kill that dog.

    Don’t you DARE murder a dog just because YOU failed.

  • Marcelo

    you may think its diffucult now, how will you feel after he bites one of your children in the face? or worse!.I think its time to do the right, humane thing. good luck . you could face charges if he does attack someone. by the way . These dogs were bred and first used in battle and for guarding, but they also served utilitarian purposes, such as farm work. Specifically, these dogs accompanied farmers into the fields to assist with bringing bulls in for breeding, castration, not nannys, though they were used to protect children as well as the entire family.

  • Shera

    I would give him to someone that doesn’t have a child. I love dogs…but they are dogs. Kids are our number 1.

    I think that I agree with Mrs N….why take the risk at all?

  • Kimiko

    Put him down before he bites your child or another.

    Ceasar’s method is a load of crap, I wouldn’t listen to that man if my life depended on it.

    Fact is, human aggression.. especially child aggression should not be tolerated. The dog needs to be put down for his own good and for your child and others that visit.

    Trust me, i’ve had to do it myself with my APBT and it hurts bad. But it’s a decision that needs to be made before something tragic happens.

    Tucker… that dog can never go to a house where they will not be children around. Kids are everywhere and they are too young to understand not to go up to a dog. That is not a risk anyone should take, there are no childless homes or areas.

  • Emiko

    This dog is a HUGE liability.

    If you want to keep him you need to hire an actual behaviorist to evaluate him and make recommendations. This can’t be done from reading Cesar Milans books.

    This dog is not rehome-able because of his aggression. If you find that you can’t work with him, the best thing may be to put him down. You need to think of your children. And really what is the dog’s quality of life being secluded and muzzled all the time?

    ADD: Thanks for the thumb down Carol! But this is a serious situation. If the owner can not control the dog and it’s aggression, it needs to be put down. Her children come first. And this dog would be put down if brought to a shelter. An aggressive pit is not going to find a new home.

  • Davida

    If this dog attacks someone, you’re liable, how would you feel if this dog actually killed another dog or a child? If you can’t work with him, your only option is euthanasia, he’s your responsiblilty.

  • Rebbecca

    Have you enlisted the help of a professional trainer? Or dog boot camp? The dog sounds like he’s not too far from biting someone. In which case they more then likely will put him to sleep and you could face a lawsuit or hefty fines. If the dog means a lot to you and your family i’ve heard some great stories come out of dog boot camps. But i’m sure those are on the pricey side. If you are honestly concerned for the safety of your child i would really consider euthanasia. It’s a rotten choice but if the dog will bite a family member, it would bite anyone. Unfortunately i don’t think it would be morally right to even try to rehome this dog.

    Add: Originally Pitts were bred to fight other dogs in the pit. If one EVER showed human agression the dog would be shot. These dogs are strong and powerful animals. Human agression should not be tolerated. Especially when it’s against it’s own humans.

  • Elli

    Do yourself and the rest of the world a favor and either HIRE a professional behaviorist with experience in aggression to help you sort out this dog or euthanize him. Reading books and watching tv is “ok” for the average dog with few or no behavioral problems, but it is NOT adequate for a dog with serious behavioral problems as your dog seems to have.

    There is a good possibility that a professional behaviorist who uses positive methods (aggressive/aversive training methods such as many that Cesar Milan uses have been proven in several independent studies to actually INCREASE aggression issues in aggressive dogs) can help you make this dog safer. But it will require dedication and commitment and a LOT of work on your part and you will never be able to “let your guard down” around him (in other words, you are going to have to constantly monitor both the dog and the environment for signs of aggression triggers and stay on top of managing his environment). If you can not or are not willing to do this, then it would be best for all if you had the dog euthanized. Even with professional training, there is still a possibility that the behaviorist may tell you that the best option for this dog is euthanasia.

  • Darrell

    unless you are willing to put out the $$$ for a very good certifierd behaver expert (NOT just a pet trainer like Ceser) you need to put him down
    the behavor expert may even have same suggestion – its rare but some dogs are not sane

  • Tegan

    Unfortunately if the dog is already doing this and not getting better but is getting worse, then I would have to say that it would be best to put him down. I worked as a vet surgery tech and have seen many cases and when a dog starts showing a bad temperament he will never change for the good. For the safety of you children and others I would put him down. You don’t want a lawsuit or even worse, him to kill. It may seem cruel but unfortunately this is the only way especially since you have already tried other things. I am sorry that I have to be the bearer of bad news but it is really for the best. It really isn’t even because he is a pit either. I have a friend that has 2 pits and they are wonderful, actually I have even seen this temperament in golden retrievers who are known to be “man’s best friend”.

  • Liane

    I would say for the safety of my children, I would put him down. This dog was raised with fear and abuse instead of possitive rewards. I dont think you will ever be able to break the dog now. He is acting this way cause as a pup he was abused. You cant blame the dog but blame his first owner. This dog would be better off in doggie heaven.

  • Dalia

    First take the dog to the vet for a thorough check up to rule out any underlying medical reason for his aggressive behaviour.

    If the dog is healthy, then he may be a genetically unstable poorly bred human-aggressive dog. While it may be possible to control his behaviour & environment you will not be able to change his temperament.

    Before deciding whether or not to humanely euthanize the dog, you may want to find a professional dog trainer to assess him & advise you on the best course of action.

    Growling at a child is unacceptable behaviour and does need to be addressed.

  • Justina

    You said you’ve tried “Cesar’s methods” but have you tried an actual trainer? One that specializes in aggressive dogs? Personally I’m not a fan of Cesar or his methods and if improperly used (as with all training methods) they can make things much worse. Please get this dog evaluated by a professional before you make the decision to end his life.

  • Carmine

    What HORRIFIES me is that people are actually here telling you to watch a goddamned *movie* or call some guy from TV to help you “fix” your dog!!


    You need to contact an honest to god, serious behaviorist/trainer to evaluate this dog. Ask you vet for references. You have every right to be concerned about the safety of your child, and the people in your neighborhood. This dog sounds mentally unstable, and is certainly a liability. Unpredictable, unstable dogs do not need to exist.

    ADD: h.dwire, you need to get *your* facts straight…bull terriers (APBTs included) were never “bred to be nanny dogs” – they were working farm dogs, used to kill vermin and control livestock…this eventually led to bull baiting and dog fighting. What the dog has *always* been bred for is to be easily handled by people despite its strength.

    The fact that they were good with children (which, I think, is actually attributed SPECIFICALLY to the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, not the APBT) was a by-product of stable breeding for other functions.

  • Hannelore

    Dangerous dogs require killing… matter what breed or lack thereof.
    It is *not* “well-trained” at all.
    Why do people continue to waste oxygen on dangerous animals when there are millions of SANE good dogs out there?

  • Jesenia

    Ok first of all, you do not need to put the dog down. The dog has issues with males. But you can fix that. If the dog is trained otherwise, use that training. As soon as the aggression starts, punish him. Give him a time out in a designated area. Wait for him to calm down, and then let him out. If the aggression starts again, he gets another time out. Every time he is gentle, praise him. This will take a lot of time and patience to get him over this aggression, but it is possible. As for your son, and really any one else that takes the dog out, don’t grab at an aggressive dog especially from behind. If the dog cant see you, he doesn’t know what you are doing and will be startled. When the dog already has aggressive tendencies you are just asking him to bite you. Another thing to do if you are outside your home and don’t have a time out area is to turn your dog away from the person he is being aggressive towards. Get right in the middle of your dog and the person, correct him, and turn him away. Keep him on a leash at all times while outside. Just lead him with the leash away from the problem. Eventually he will learn that the behavior is unacceptable. And always remember not to praise him during the aggressive behavior. Correct him with whatever word you have chosen to use ( no, stop, cut, leave it……) and either walk away with him or take him to the time out area. Do not use any other words than the corrective word. A lot of people will say “its ok, your ok…..” to their dog, that is actually reinforcement for them to continue their behavior. Patting or touching the dog in anyway is also reinforcing the negative behavior. Correct him right at the moment he does something wrong.

    And a great way to get him over the fear of car rides, is to just let him get in and out of the car without going anywhere. This worked great for my dog, who was terrified of car rides when we rescued him. He had traveled from the south after being abandoned by his owner, to come to the SPCA here in the northeast, and refused to get in my car. I just sat in the driveway and let him get used to the outside of the car, and then opened the door, sat in the car with him, opened the other door and let him get out. It took a few times before I could start the car and drive around for a few minutes and then come back. Eventually he got the idea that car rides didn’t have to be bad. He wasn’t going to be abandoned and it didn’t always end with a trip to the scary vet. Now he loves the car, and tries to jump in it every time I open the door..even if we aren’t going anywhere!

    Good luck with your training, and if you need more ideas let me know.

    add: Actually to the person that posted that pits were breed to fight, get your “facts” straight. They were originally breed to be nannies for children. People later on then started with the dog fights because of their size and strength. These dogs are actually very nurturing and gentle dogs.

  • Laverne

    CAROL: Get your head out your ***. The dog has problems and telling someone with serious problems to go to a guy’s website who is a **TV ENTERTAINER** is load of crap. You have to be realistic sometimes, there are some dogs in the world that are just genetically unstable. How can she be doing wrong if she has the balls to come on here and atleast ADMIT there’s a problem with the dog ? Sometime’s we have to admit there are some dogs that are mentally unstable..STOP **BLAMING** A KID FOR BAD GENETICS!!!!!

    As far as im concerned, unless you want to spend thousands of dollars **TRYING** to fix the problem, it’s best you put him down. The dog has already shown aggressive tendancies in the past. Keeping him around is only giving him a matter of time before he attacks some person or worse your son. Why take the risks of someone being bitten because you were negligent of keeping him and knowing his aggression could get worse?

    I’ve seen people end up in court rooms with dogs that had aggression issues and continued to harbor the dogs with either love or pretending it wasn’t an issue. It doesn’t turn out well for the owners of the dog..

    EDIT: Aw, You said it yourself. The **PARENTS** of this dog was not HUMAN FRIENDLY!!! The end result.. HUMAN AGGRESSIVE TEMPERMENT DUE TO **BAD** BREEDING PRACTICES!!

    Put down the dog. He is mentally stable.. This is exactly what im talking about when I say morons have ruined the breed by **CREATING** ill-bred and unstable freaks that should’ve put down!!!!

  • Frieda

    Carol, you have some serious delusions going on. Living with dogs is not always sunshine and rainbows and you can’t always simply train something out of a dog. How dare YOU blame a child you don’t even know for the behavior of this dog. If it was the kid’s problem, he’d only have a problem with kids – possibly even only THAT kid. He seems to have a problem with just about every human around AND is unpredictable. You go ahead and keep a human aggressive, unpredictable dog alive – let us know how many stitches you end up with.

    You ESPECIALLY cannot train something out of a dog using a TV entertainer’s methods. Cesar Milan may have some good theories, but most are crap and the ones that ARE good have been touted by trainers long before him. He is NOT AT ALL the be all end all of dog training. A dog that is genetically predisposed (see, we can say that because she admits the parents were that way as well) to human aggression should NOT be allowed to live. It’s not fair ot the humans who have to worry about his behavior all the time and, quite frankly, that dog likely is quite miserable and stressed in his life. It would be kinder to humanely euthanize him than to keep him around just because that’s a hard decision.

    I have nothing against pitties (I love them) and asker, I’m so sorry that you have to make this decision – I know you’ve already made it and I absolutely support it. You’re doing the best thing for your family, friends, neighbors and that dog. The poor guy will be much better off when he’s at peace. And when the pain subsides, go find a dog at a shelter who needs love. There are too many wonderful dogs out there for people to have to deal with ones that can’t be fixed.

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