How to Prevent Your Pit Bull From Fighting

Pit bulls are a loyal and loving breed of dog with countless good qualities. And as a proud owner of this wonderful breed, it’s your responsibility to keep your dog—and other dogs in the area—safe and happy.

In order to do that, it’s important to take the proper steps to prevent dog fights.

In the right circumstances, all dogs will fight. But pit bulls fights can be more frequent and more severe if you don’t know how to prevent them.

A dog fight might sound scary, but the truth is that you can easily prevent them by making a few smart decisions. And if a fight does break out, you can break it up quickly as long as you know what to expect and how to react.

A Few Things You Need to Understand About Pit Bulls

  • Pit bulls were bred for fighting. This doesn’t make them mean, bad, or evil; it’s just their heritage (similar to how many other dogs are bred for hunting).
  • Other dog breeds will act out submission signals when they want to stop fighting, which usually signals the end of the fight. But pit bulls may ignore these signals, which means that a pit bull fight can lead to serious damage—or worse—if the fight is not broken up.
  • Pit bulls are “people” dogs. They love spending time with people and enjoy attention and love from your family. They do not need another dog around to be happy.

What Causes Dogs to Fight?

  • Dog fights can happen suddenly and without warning. Fights may be preceded by growling, barking, or posturing, but they may not be. Fights can even occur between dogs that have been close friends for years. And once two dogs have fought before, they are more likely to fight again in the future.
  • Fights can be triggered by seemingly innocent causes, such as excitement and stimulation from seeing a squirrel or other small animal run by. Fights can also escalate from rough-housing, competing over a toy, or even out of jealousy (for example, if one dog is getting more attention from the family).
  • Sexual hormones can cause dogs to behave much more aggressively than normal.
  • Finally, tension between dogs can cause them to fight. And one sure source of tension is an unclear pecking order. If you have a fighting breed of dog, make sure to train it properly so that it clearly understands its place in the social hierarchy.

How to Prevent Dog Fights

The #1 best way to prevent dog fights in your home is to make the pit bull your only pet. As we mentioned above, pit bulls are “people dogs” who enjoy spending time with your family and do not need another dog to be happy.

If there’s no other dog around, there’s no one for your pit bull to fight with.

If you prefer to have more than one dog, here are a 8 tips to minimize any chance of fighting:

  1. Get one male and one female. Same-sex dogs are more likely to fight. Two males (or two females) are much more likely to fight than a male and a female. This is true of every breed, not just pit bulls, because two dogs of the same sex are likely to see each other as rivals.
  2. Release pent-up energy by exercising your dogs. If dogs are not exercised frequently enough, they will build pent-up energy. This can lead to dog fights.
  3. Walk your dogs together. Walking your dogs together forms a stronger pack. Dogs that have formed a strong pack are less likely to fight.
  4. Spay or neuter your pit bulls as early as possible. Sexual hormones cause them to be much more aggressive than usual.
  5. Never leave your pit bull unsupervised with other animals. If you aren’t around to watch them, each pit bull should be crated or kept in a separate room.
  6. Watch your dogs when they are playing. Even innocent rough-housing can escalate into a fight if you aren’t paying attention. Remember, as the human you are the leader of the pack—it’s your job to set limits on the dogs’ behavior.
  7. Pick up toys, bones, and food when they’re not being used. Two dogs who stumble across a toy or a bone could start fighting over it.
  8. Always keep your pit bull on a leash when you take them for a walk, and keep them away from other un-leashed dogs. This means that you should NEVER bring an adult pit bull to an off-leash dog park.

What If A Fight Does Break Out?

If your dog does start fighting, it’s important not to panic. Screaming and panicking will not stop a fight, it will only intensify it. By staying calming and using the proper tools, you can break up the fight quickly.

How to break up a dog fight, Method 1:

The two things you will need are a break stick (to pry the dog’s mouth open) and a collar or leash (to pull the dogs apart). It’s important to keep collars on your dogs at all times. Breaking up a dog fight is more difficult when the dogs are not wearing collars.

A break stick is a stick you insert between the dog’s back teeth. Then, twist the stick to pry the dog’s mouth open.

Once the dog’s mouth is open and the hold is broken, grab their collars or leashes and pull UP. Avoid pulling them apart face to face at ground level, it will only make them fight more intensely. Separate the dogs as quickly as you can—by putting them in separate rooms, or tying one to a tree while you remove the other.

How to break up a dog fight, Method 2:

One of the FASTEST and SAFEST way to break up a dog fight is by grabbing both dogs by their collars and holding them in in the air as high as possible, so the dogs lose oxygen. Without oxygen, they will not be able to hold their grip.

Yes, one dog will usually lose oxygen before the other, but as long as both dog’s front feet are off the ground and the collar is applying direct pressure to bottom of neck (as high up on neck as possible) they WILL lose oxygen and release their grip.

Do not hold the dogs in the air ANY longer than necessary — and that is the moment the dog releases its grip.

NEVER scold or hit your dog after a fight. Speak quietly to the dog to sooth it and reduce the arousal level. After the fight is over, it’s important that you create peace, harmony, and balance.

The idea of a dog fight might sound scary, but as long as you follow this advice you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. Just be mindful of your dog’s heritage, and you’ll have a loving family member who will be a source of happiness for years to come.

 

  • Amel Bodhi

    Some great tips here, just shared this article on positive pit bull press :-)

  • Mark R

    Owning a pitbull is serious business. It’s amazing how they can be like us sensitive douchebags. haha

  • Cynthia Close

    This was a really interesting article. You’ve listed a lot of good information on how to keep fights from happening in the first place, but I was really glad to see tips on how to stop a fight once it started. Thanks for addressing that, My dog is half pit bull and she tends to be a little aggressive. These seem like good solid ideas.

  • Beth Anne

    Great article and great tips on breaking up a dog fight. Pit bulls have a bad rap, but I feel that’s it’s more about the owner not knowing how to take care of them. They are a special kind of bread that needs to be treated and trained differently than your average dog.

  • jason hickton

    hello yall i have 2 pits one is 4 and the other is year old the problem i am having is my 1 year old is goin after the other one and it only happens when they are out side together when they are in the house they are fine. last night was the worse bc no skin is broken on both dogs and one had to go to vet how can i get my 1 year old to stop goin after the other one outside….

    • Are you able to verify what’s causing these fights? A toy, a person walking a dog, food, ext.? If you can figure out the root of what’s causing the fights, we’ll be able to come up with a solution for you.

      • Mercy Holzschuh

        My boys are 1 year and 8 months and the other is 5 years. The youngen is food aggressive and has so many things buried in the yard. One minute they are fine and the next my old guy is bleeding everywhere. What can i do besides the obvious?

      • Michael Church

        I have two boys and they only tussle over food and I’ve taken care of that by separating them and walking them together!!!! I love my boys ! On top of tht they’ve been sleeping together.

  • David Packham

    My pittys are brother and sister, 1 year old. The sister while smaller is quite tough. If her brother tries to get her toy she get very aggressive leaving shallow but many wounds. I know how to prevent this however I’m considering rehoming the girl because it seems she wants to be in a 1 dog home. Her brother is passive but he could mess her up if he wanted to, but he knows his boundaries and has learned well. We’ve had them since they were 6 weeks and I will be devastated to see her go but I think it’s best. My question is will this affect her emotionally and how can I be sure she is going to a good home? And will my boy change because they have been together so long?

  • Bobby Pettit

    Thanks for the tips on breaking up fight, the large bite scare will remind my never to listen to people on the internet again.

    • Bobby Pettit

      scar

    • Cathy

      A neighbor of mine had a dog fight and they used the leaf blower it really caused the dogs confusion and broke them up very fast.
      I also use a shake can when they are misbehaving together

      • Christal Prout

        Cathy, please tell me more about your shake can

  • Renee Pendley

    Is it true with a pit that once they get the taste of blood they will always fight? My two males got into a really bad fight yesterday. I think it started over food. But they literally fought for 25 mins. I tried to break it up but couldnt. One was on the runner, the other runs free. Now I’m scared and not sure what to do.

    • Cathy

      Struggling with dog aggression I have two females, I’ve come to this site for assistance. we haven’t had a major problem yet, I have an alpha female anerican pit and the new dog is extremely timid part pit bull, she will growl. At the alpha female, who treats all my dogs the same
      she is the boss and top dog, she doesn’t want any of the other dogs to get near me highly possessive. I also have a little Chihuahua who thinks he is the boss oh boy they have fun fighting but it’s all play for the most part until bedtime and then I do separate them. the two female pitbulls will sleep together but they don’t touch each other, I feel like I’m constantly refereeing but it’s just snarls growls posturing I’m trying to get a handle on this so that nothing bad happens I keep them separate outside when I’m not home but one day all my dogs were released from the yard and I’m not sure how this happened thankfully my neighbors called me immediately and a passer-by helped to put them in the yard

      • Hi Cathy,

        I would suggest taking your dogs for daily walks together (side-by-side). It’s a great way to form a strong bond between all of your dogs. Having dogs in separate spaces can create territory — which dogs tend to fight over. Forming a strong pack is the key.

    • Vlion

      25 min is not even showing control over your pitbull. I would suggest you get a professional to show you how to disiplin and train your pits before it’s to late.

  • Renee Pendley

    Is it true with a pit that once they get the taste of blood they will always fight? My two males got into a really bad fight yesterday. I think it started over food. But they literally fought for 25 mins. I tried to break it up but couldnt. One was on the runner, the other runs free. Now I’m scared and not sure what to do.

  • z boyz

    This is a good article I kid you not this is what my two pit bull males do, I have one that is a 1 year old and the other one is about to be three, my older one is more passive hates convertation but the baby is a real asshoke to him at times out of know where he would be n a stance n attack my older guy n hurt him really bad, last fight he got sent to the vet. I learned I have to feed them separate as well as for when they drink because the baby thinks everything is his and knows he can scare the big guy I get in the middle of these two n I’m a 5’4 female, at the end of the day these boys love each other to death. I do realize when they do fight afterwards I should he’ll n scream as it doesn’t help, now I know and I hope they don’t fight again but I would use these tips, I am also in the process of getting them both balls chop off as well.

    • Veronica Lodge

      😂😂😂 you are right

  • Rachael Hayes

    I have three females… One is 7 and the other two are 3. Nova (my oldest) and Betty got into a fight over who got to bark at the neighbor dog. After they almost killed each other we kept them apart for a short time only for them to reengage. We have kept them separate for close to year now where only by accident they have had contact with each other and fought each time. Its horrible and a huge stressor on my family but I refuse to get rid of any of them because I love them so much. I’ve considered getting a trainer to help possibly reintroducing them but I’ve heard from multiple sources it’s waste of time. I’ve even considered getting a male to help. Any advice?

    • Whitney M Stone

      we are having the same issues. Ours have been separated for the better part of 4 months

  • Jennifer Manolakos

    I have 2 males. 1 is a 3 yrs blue who has PTSD , anxiety and seizures (fixed) he’s second on command in the house. And a 2 yrs old midget American bull dog (intact for medical reasons) who’s bottom of the tottum pole. These 2 fight a lot to where separation is the only way to keep peace right now unless my youngest is leashed by my side. My younger male is the aggressor in 99% of the fights. I need to strengthen the bond between these 2 but walking my blue is not an option. The world scares him because of his PTSD and with him having seizures the vet doesn’t think walking him is a good idea. Once he shuts down its like he’s gone…I’ve waited for 45 minutes for him to come back from his trance like state after he was spooked by a guy walking down the street…. so I’ve had to use the treadmill or playing ball outside with him for an hour or two. Any suggestions are desperately welcomed to help strengthen the bond.

    Also as a side note I have a female red nose. She is the alpha and the Omega. That’s well established in the house. But she’s so calm she doesn’t care for the fights. After they fight she growls at both of them as if to say knock it off. I can walk the female and younger male. Will that affect the pack hierarchy?

  • Axel Rodriguez

    A have two 3-year old pitbulls that are brothers. I have tried taking them walking side by side, but they always growl at each other and show other signs of a fight to come. Are there any other tips to keep the peace between them whilst on a walk.

    • Whitney M Stone

      I have never heard any positives of having sibling pits together

  • Desirae

    We are currently having issues with our female and male. Our female is almost a year and a half and our male is about 5 pushing maybe 6 years. We’ve had them both since they were puppies, and they were best friends. Their first fight was over a toy and then she went into heat a week later. The second one was over a toy also, so we eliminated all toys. We recently got a pet potbelly pig, and they have gotten into two fights when the pig wasn’t even around, I think it’s our female that was getting aggressive and then our male not backing down. We have since spayed her and kept them separate, and switched their turns with the cage. Yesterday she had a kong in the cage and our male was roaming around our house, she growled at the pig or maybe our male and then it broke out into a fight. Do you have any suggestions as far as making them friends again? or figuring out what’s causing it? or if it’s an internal thing? Before the one will walk by the cage and they will kiss. I’m just not sure what to do, and I feel horrible always having one caged up, and now knowing they could still potentially fight if one is in the cage, I’m at a lost. I love them both so dearly and couldn’t even imagine getting rid of one. Any ideas?

  • Jess Nicole Oaks

    I have a question: my boyfriend has a 10 month old male blue nose that got stolen, we never thought we would be seeing him again, so I adopted a 3 year old male pit from the shelter. Milo (3years) has obvious scars on his face and body so I’m assuming he was a fighter or bait dog, he gets along great with my shepherd mix male dog. My boyfriend ended up randomly finding his puppy and now Milo wants to kill the puppy every chance he gets, but I can take him anywhere and he loves any dog except the puppy. We’ve tried everything and the puppy is getting fixed in 3 days will this help?

  • Nathan riddle

    Ok we a full grown blue which is 95 pounds then a rednose which is 65 pounds an then the one female who is 55 pounds….Up until we kept a male puppy from her litter neither of my males fought each other, they were perfect brothers. But now the puppy has gotten a little older my two males go at it on a daily basis which I hate cause we were lit. A perfect family…. Should I get rid of the pup. What should I do

    • jldavidson321

      I don’t take re-homing a dog lightly, but I think this is one of those situations where if you can find a good, responsible home for the pup, it would be best for everyone. See if a local rescue will help you post the pup and process applications for him so he goes to a good home.

  • rachael

    My oldest pit was injured tore his acl so we have had him in the room for a couple weeks so it can heal…now him and our other pit fights every time they see eachouther . I want to know how we can break them fighting so intencly as we do not want to give up one of them . I need suggestions asap!!!

  • EᗰIᒪY

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    YOᑌᖇ ᗪOG Oᑎ ᗩ ᒪEᗩᔕᕼ EᐯEᑎ Iᖴ IT Iᔕ TᖇᗩIᑎEᗪ

  • Liz Brown

    Pit bulls were not bred for fighting. You are so ignorant. Do your research before you write any articles. Didn’t want to read further

  • Nya

    My family and I have two pit-bull mixes (from the same litter) and they both have been getting into fights. Previously it has been over an object; stick, toy, chickens etc. But just yesterday, they began fighting while they were roaming our yard, and the previous day they had gotten into a fight as well. It was a harmless game of tackle until it wasn’t. We really don’t know what is making these fights happen, and it is killing us to always to be attentive and weary when our dogs are around each other. Is this a problem with dominance from my family’s part? Or is it lack of knowing for my dogs and where they stand in the pack?

    • Whitney Michele Stone

      We are having the same issue with our two females. They’re both around 4 years. A trainer said they’re kind of going through doggie menopause and trying to establish dominance. Could also be protecting boundaries. Ours have had 4 fights since April. The last one was almost two weeks ago while our neighbor was over and they accidentally got out together. It was really bad. Trixie had to go to the ER vet because Coba tore muscles in Trixie’s armpit area. She had to then spend 9 days at our vet so they could take care of her. $2400 later, Trixie is back home and has a HUGE open wound still. I’m nervous about their future together once Trixie is healed.

      • Merriwether Taylor

        Hi there, I hope that since you posted this, nothing has gotten worse. I am writing bc I have two 5yr old pits, 1 male, 1 female. They live seperated and i understand the reason for the fights.

        We have split the house previously, and it is securely gated to manage the 2 aggressive dogs. They have been in the same house, for 3 years, Taco came with me, Bella is the bfs female. The bf now is away from the house for overnight and Bella has jealousy issues as well as anxiety, and Taco has slept with me since he was 4 wks old where Bella slept with the bf but is now lonely.

        They got at each other through a one foot thick barricade, and it was vicious and terrifying. bf is the ‘alpha’ and both dogs know it and submit to him, he was not here. Since his night absence, it has gotten worse between them and today it was a 7 min fight and both of them are hurt and I am handling their medical to help them heal. Serious injuries.

        If someone can please tell me what behaviors I need to change to correct this? They get roughly 2 hrs each of outdoor time with me in the day.

  • Charlie

    Wow, after reading this I am a bit scared. I don’t want my dogs to be fighting at all. Just the thought of someday seeing blood terrifies me.
    When we got the Pitt, we actually got 2, 1 male and 1 female. After a few days we really had to make a decision based on what the vets office said, it would be better to keep the male and not the female. So we decided on the male and gave the female to the vet to find a good loving home with the right family. Now, I’m wondering if we should have kept the female instead!!
    I have a 3 year old Male Rottweiler, he’s also a medical service dog for my daughter, she’s 18. I also have a 4 month Male Pitt Bull. They bark and play off and on each day, and yes with supervision. They seem to love playing tug with an old sock. The puppy is all over the place playing with him. The puppy also likes to grab the Rottweilers collar while playing. They have never drawn any blood but at times I believe that the Rottweiler has had enough, not any biting, just sincere barks. Then we usually make them stop and rest an hour or so. Are we doing this right?
    The pit puppy sleeps in the bed with my daughter and the Rottweiler sleeps on the floor in her room also.
    This concerns me!!

  • Daniel

    I’m looking for some advice please. I have a two year old male pitty. I have the opportunity to add a female pitty pup to the family. I really don’t want my decision to blow up in my face of what I’ve red in this article. Any advice please.

  • Melissa Hayes

    I am a veterinarian who has sewn up the wounds inflicted upon other dogs by pit bulls. But I had the displeasure of breaking up a fight between two pit bulls that had been left under the care of a twelve-year-old girl, their sole source of supervision. These two dogs had lived together for seven years. I heard that poor girl screaming hysterically at the fighting dogs. Fortunately, I had pepper spray available, and I blasted each dog directly in the face, caring little if I caused irritation to the dogs’ eyes and nares. There was no way that I would have been able to stop them from fighting any other way. One dog was badly injured: its scalp and masseter muscle torn from the underlying bone. I telephoned 911, and the police came to file a report and to call the young girl’s mother. When the mother arrived, she yelled at ME for using pepper spray against her dogs, even though it likely saved the life of one of them and kept her daughter from being injured while breaking up a dog fight. Typical pit bull owner.

    Ove the course of my nearly twenty years in practice, I have encountered many pit bulls. The vast majority have been easy to handle. But I still don’t trust them. Not with another dog, a cat, and certainly not a child. In the United States, pit bulls comprise less than six percent of the canine population yet make up sixty percent of the dogs relinquished to shelters. Relinquished by a novice owner after the dog growled at the other dog in the house, their child’s playmate, or the child itself. Shelters are overrun by pit bulls, and shelter personnel are burnt out by the number of euthanasia they must perform on these unwanted pit bulls. For these reasons, I believe that the breeding of pit bulls should be banned, until this crisis has been resolved. All dogs have teeth which means all dogs can fight, this is true, but few can do the damage that a pit bull can do. What drives someone to own such a dog?

    • Brit

      How are you a vet??? Pit bulls are beautiful loving loyal and unique! It takes time discipline and patients! Originally pits were child sitters before fighters ….. Glad your not my pits vet!

  • Melissa Hayes

    As a veterinarian who has sewn up many victims of pit bulls (some of which have been fellow pit bulls), it is a mystery to me why someone would want to own such a liability. The vast majority of the pit bulls I have met have been nice to me, just not to other dogs. And when a pit bull is being aggressive, it’s being aggressive in a way that a Chihuahua could never be. Pit bulls make up for ~6% of all dogs in the United States, yet they account for more than half of all reported dog bites, and more than sixty percent of shelter admissions. Clearly there is a problem in the breed. I do believe that pit bulls should not be bred. There are enough in shelters to certainly give everyone who wants a pit bull a pit bull.

  • Melissa Hayes

    No one here can deny that this is a breed that is prone to interdog aggression. Otherwise this website “How to Break Up A Dog Fight” would have no reason to exist. As a veterinarian, I have just as much of an obligation to my canine and feline patients that have been injured by a pit bull. None of you can deny that there is a problem with the breed. Go to any shelter, any place, and the vast majority of dogs that are surrendered are pits. I personally do not think that they should be bred any longer until the shelter crisis is resolved. If you want a pit bull, do a dog a favor and adopt. Don’t breed!

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