The 5 Most Common Training Mistakes

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Due to their high intelligence and strong desire to please, pit bulls are easier to train than most breeds. In this, they are very much like Golden Retrievers, but with an extra dose of energy and a terrier's stubborn streak and inventiveness thrown in. So, your demanding handful of a best friend is also a potential obedience champion.

But you don't want to make these common mistakes:

TRAINING MISTAKE #1: Scolding Your Pit Bull When She Comes to You

Even if she ran off and ignored you when she clearly heard your call, even if you just watched her spend the last hour chasing rabbits while you ran late for an important meeting, DO NOT YELL AT YOUR PIT IF SHE COMES WHEN YOU CALL. Clearly, this goes for all your dogs, not just pit bulls.

A corollary to this is NEVER CALL YOUR DOG TO PUNISH HER.

Why, you might ask? Why not reprimand her for not coming right away, or for running off when you told her not to?

Because if you punish your dog when she finally does come, she is going to associate answering your call with punishment. This doesn't give her incentive to come in the future; it gives her reason to stay away, and come back later, after you've stopped calling.

Look at it from your dog's point of view. If she thinks, "my human is calling; oh no! What is he going to do to me this time?", she'll also think, "why not delay the punishment as long as possible? Maybe the human will be nicer in a couple of hours."

You want your dog to associate answering your call with good things--affection, treats, and loving behavior. Your dog is far more likely to develop perfect recall if she expects praise and a hug. And aside from life being a lot easier with a canine who comes when you want her to, there are times when it's absolutely vital that your dog respond immediately to your call.

If you put an extra note of urgency in your voice when she's heading in the direction of the road or the rattlesnake, you want her thinking, "my human's calling, gotta head his way," not "better run away faster!"

TRAINING MISTAKE #2: Rubbing His Nose in It When He Makes a Potty Training Mistake

This will just confuse the dog, and possibly make him afraid to go at all. The correct way to house train your pit bull is to watch him for indications he needs to go, tell him "outside," and then take him outdoors right away. Once he has gone outside, praise him.

Also take him out at set times, such as when you first get up, before bed, after meals, etc. Dogs thrive on routine. And when you can't watch the pit bull you're house training, make sure he is crated. This way you won't find any unpleasant surprises behind the living room curtain.

Using this method, even an adult rescue who has never lived indoors before will be house trained within a week.

TRAINING MISTAKE #3: Punishing Your Pit Bull for Something That Happened a While Ago

If you walk in and see that your dog shredded the couch, do not begin shouting. She will think she's being punished for what she is doing now (possibly greeting you at the door, or lying on the floor wagging her tail), not for what she did a long time ago.

And keep in mind, 20 minutes before you got home might be a long time ago in your dog's mind. You'll just have to wait until she acts out while you're around to let her know the particular behavior is not appreciated.

TRAINING MISTAKE #4: Encouraging Bad Behavior

This could also be called "Don't Be Inconsistent."

If you don't want your pit bull begging for table scraps while you're eating dinner, never give him any. Otherwise he's going to cutely plead for you to give in again. Once out of every 100 times is more than enough to keep his hopes up.

To give a more problematic example, don't let your pit bull jump up on you. Even if you don't mind, visitors may feel differently. Especially with a large, powerful breed such as the pit bull, your unsuspecting guest might get knocked down.

Many people are frightened of pit bulls to begin with, and they'll be terrified of the careening bundle of joy launching himself into the air to give them a facial with his tongue. Don't flirt with disaster; make sure your dog knows which behaviors are simply off-limits.

TRAINING MISTAKE #5: Making Training Sessions Too Long

Like human children (and many human adults!), dogs have a relatively short attention span. While individual canines will vary, the ideal training session is usually no longer than 5-15 minutes. After that, it becomes less of a game and more of a chore.

Your pit bull will learn far more from three ten-minute sessions scattered throughout the day than a single lesson taking an hour. This is especially true when training puppies, but it applies to adult dogs too.

There you have it. The mistakes pit bull owners are most likely to make are more or less the same errors trainers of all breeds are most likely to make. You'll just want to keep in mind that pit bulls, while they can certainly be a stubborn handful, are a little more sensitive than most breeds. Adjust your training accordingly by putting greater emphasis on positive reinforcement and avoiding harsh correctional methods.

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92 comments

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bullypaws's picture
bullypaws
Fri, 04/30/2010 - 1:14pm

I would also like to add never to use an "Alpha roll" or grab your dog by its neck and force it to do something. These are very bad mistakes people have made after watching Cesar Milan.

Milliethepit's picture
Milliethepit
Sat, 07/02/2011 - 12:56pm

I stopped watching Cesar because he uses too much force, doesn't mind shock collars and will use punishment as a training method.  I think Victoria, from:  It's me or the dog is much more effective and only using positive reinforcement.

deeandangus's picture
deeandangus
Sat, 05/15/2010 - 11:02am

I have actually spoke with Cesar Milan and he is a great person. Your Pit needs love and balance I have found that the snap of my fingures works just fine. I just need help with my Xena and her chazrging after people to get loving.

bullmaster74's picture
bullmaster74
Sat, 05/29/2010 - 5:52pm

I agree,,i use clicks and snap my finger, slap may hands together to redirect her and my pup as well,,who is taking to it better than lots of words...and eye to eye speaking,,as dogs naturally do..we are trying to get to understand their nature ,,,english is a second language to them. ceazar is great btw and what works for some, does not work for all p.s. how did u get to speak with ceazr milan?

gilmer321's picture
gilmer321
Tue, 09/21/2010 - 8:21am

tell em bullmaster74!!!

whittmickkandrockyy's picture
whittmickkandrockyy
Sat, 09/11/2010 - 3:36pm

my dog does that too and i dont know how to break him of that habit. He definately isnt running up to hurt anybody but im sure it looks like it when hes running full speed towards someone. Have any advice??

gilmer321's picture
gilmer321
Tue, 09/21/2010 - 8:19am

agreed!!! snap or shh!!! works perfectly!!!

Peteys Mum's picture
Peteys Mum
Mon, 05/17/2010 - 11:58am

We have our sons 8mth old pitbull at our house.We have had him since he was 6wks old.We can not get a collar or leash on him at all.He gets nasty,trys to bite&runs away when he sees the collar.We got a collar on him once when he was sleeping,but it was getting to tight on him so we had to remove it.Other than this he does not have any aggression at all with anything else,but we really need a collar on him.Any help would be appreciated.Thanks

clb92873's picture
clb92873
Mon, 05/17/2010 - 1:13pm

You are not alone~LOL! 8wks is awful young to be showing aggression towards an object such as a collar. It is however, not unusual for them to be frightened of what they do not know (as any human child). Try offering a small treat (half a normal treat) at the same time the collar is being placed around his neck. Use smooth movement when doing so as not to startle or redirect his attention to what is really going on.(LOL) Another idea would be to (as long as he doesn't see it as a chew toy) try setting it with him 'AFTER' he has settled down and is ready for a little puppy nap. However, being this would be 'HIS SPACE'...Should he get up and retreat from 'HIS SPACE' the collar should be picked up and put away but, you can certainly try a few more times!! Hope I could be of some help.
Pitbulls can be a lot of work, hang in there he'll come around. He's probably just a bit scared of it or on the other hand he could be trying to push his limits...they are VERY smart dogs!

Peteys Mum's picture
Peteys Mum
Mon, 05/17/2010 - 6:08pm

Thanks clb it was helpful,we will try!!!!But he is 8 Months old,not 8wks old.Like i stated the collar was put on one time while he was sleeping,but he soon grew out of it,so we needed to remove it.Thanks Again

bullmaster74's picture
bullmaster74
Sat, 05/29/2010 - 5:57pm

i hear ya,,,but the simple fact is he cant see the collar as a good thing because he wont let u take him for a walk.... if he were a unbroken horse u would rope him.....slip the buckle of the leash through the collar and make a loop that will close up like a choker...just rope when hes not looking and right out the door

sashaandhulk's picture
sashaandhulk
Tue, 05/18/2010 - 5:20pm

Hello,

Have you tried slipping a martingale collar on? Once on, you can just adjust it like a bra strap. No need to mess with buckles. You can use the treat method CLB mentioned while slipping on the martingale collar. Then, you don't need to worry about taking it off...ever!!

rebeccajoshuaoshea's picture
rebeccajoshuaoshea
Thu, 07/01/2010 - 11:02am

Hello! I'm a newer pit bull owner, but hope I can offer what advice we've found to be helpful. We had some similar issues with our dog when we'd try to slip on the Gentle Leader leash, to take him on walks. I would have treats on hand, have the leash in one hand, and have him sit/stay, lots of verbal praise, and give a treat. With the Gentle Leader, it has a nose loop, and I'd feed treats through that nose loop, and he eventually got used to the loop going around his nose. Perhaps you could try feeding treats through the collar? We use what's called a Premier collar (there are some other names for it), no buckles involved. Hope things are going well for you and your new pet. :)

whittmickkandrockyy's picture
whittmickkandrockyy
Sat, 09/11/2010 - 3:38pm

dont put a collar on him until its time for walks or car rides, then when you say " car ride" or whatever your term you use, he/she will come right up to you ready and willing to do whatever you ask to get in that car. Evenually my dog warmed up to collar and a leash, now he tries to walk himself abd brings his leash to me!

k9rescueNYC's picture
k9rescueNYC
Fri, 09/17/2010 - 12:01pm

I'd suggest initiating a positive association between a collar and his favorite treat. Start with something circular and spacious (as wide as a hula hoop if needed) and give him a treat when he puts his head through it. Gradually reduce the size of the circular objects he puts his head through. Don't go too fast or it won't work. But with patience and perseverance, it should be a smooth transition.

If you have a treadmill in the house that you can train him on, you might want to drain some of the excess energy he has from not going on regular walks that way. A tired dog is generally a bit easier to train (and because he'll have worked up an appetite, he'll really want those treats). Before you put on his actual collar, place it around his food bowl at mealtimes so he associates it with food. Hope this helps!

gilmer321's picture
gilmer321
Tue, 09/21/2010 - 8:28am

have you tried presenting the collar patiently using scent not sight? get the dogs nose involved!!! let him/her smell the treat not see the treat, so you have the dogs attention!!! then present the collars, let the smell bring the nose to the collar. DO NOT try to be quick or sneaky, you will loose trust.

Grracer11's picture
Grracer11
Tue, 09/28/2010 - 8:42am

You can try and borrow a bunch of collars from friends old ones or what not and put them all over the house so he sees them on a daily basis... dont try to put it on while hes sleeping because thats not fixing. Also try abd make putting the collar on as a positive experience like going on a hike or a ride in the car or going outside to play ball. Its always repitition over and over again until you can break the habit

trdorsey's picture
trdorsey
Sun, 02/20/2011 - 10:14am

Accompany putting the collar on with the dog's favorite treats, make the collar something it wants to do to get a treat, you can gradually phase the treats out, but you want the dog toget used to the idea of something around it's neck.

baydoll_nc's picture
baydoll_nc
Sat, 04/02/2011 - 3:00pm

our pit loves his collar-he associates it w/ "going bye bye", lol. We introduced it when it was time for walks or car rides, so its something he wants to have put on.

susan greene's picture
susan greene
Mon, 05/31/2010 - 9:55am

i got a pit that was 6 years old when we got him. he is a great dog, loves people but DOES NOT PLAY WELL ( to put it nicely ) with other males. he is fine with girls. i also have a female the same way fine with the boys but not girls. any advice?

mciaccia's picture
mciaccia
Sat, 07/03/2010 - 12:09pm

He's a dominant male. Most likely, he'll never get along with other male dogs since he's already 6 years old. The only option you would have would be to have him play with very submissive males. If he starts to play with another dominant male, they'll both react badly. It's the same thing with the female, she's dominant and doesn't want to have a "challenge" with other females.

EricaD13's picture
EricaD13
Sat, 07/03/2010 - 5:43pm

mciaccia, not necessarily. The dog in my profile picture is a previous fight dog, who was once deemed dog aggressive... I have 3 other dogs and they do just fine. Proper training is the key. If the dog is intact, thats the problem. If he's fixed, he hasn't been properly socialized. Try slowly introducing him to neutered males, correct aggressive behavior immediately. If the problem is happening on your property, that could also be a key issue, b/c he's protecting you and his territory. Sometimes males just don't like males...but its not always the case.

Zookeeper63.65's picture
Zookeeper63.65
Sun, 11/07/2010 - 8:54am

Hello EricaD13 i found a pit pup 2 years ago i already had dogs at home she fit in fine so it seemed until she attacked one of my males over fence garding he is a husky mix and he talks alot some days she plays so sweet with him ,but it has happened 3 times now so they no longer go in the yard at the same time .Suzy Q is so sweet i love her so much but the other night Boots who is 9 yrs must have tryed to lay in the bed she was in she covers herself up with a blanket and we woke up to a dog fight and a vet visit.So now she has fought with both my boys.Right now at bed time we cover her up in her very large cage,and let her out when we get up,if we leave the house she gets crated i hate this please help how can i train her so i can trust her with the boys?I called a training place they want $595.00 if i have to i will do that but it will take awhile to save.

Zookeeper63.65's picture
Zookeeper63.65
Sun, 11/07/2010 - 8:54am

Hello EricaD13 i found a pit pup 2 years ago i already had dogs at home she fit in fine so it seemed until she attacked one of my males over fence garding he is a husky mix and he talks alot some days she plays so sweet with him ,but it has happened 3 times now so they no longer go in the yard at the same time .Suzy Q is so sweet i love her so much but the other night Boots who is 9 yrs must have tryed to lay in the bed she was in she covers herself up with a blanket and we woke up to a dog fight and a vet visit.So now she has fought with both my boys.Right now at bed time we cover her up in her very large cage,and let her out when we get up,if we leave the house she gets crated i hate this please help how can i train her so i can trust her with the boys?I called a training place they want $595.00 if i have to i will do that but it will take awhile to save.

EricaD13's picture
EricaD13
Sat, 07/03/2010 - 5:33pm

Susan, is he fixed??

dawnlineman's picture
dawnlineman
Wed, 06/02/2010 - 5:49pm

the biggest problem i have with my roxy is she will take food off everyone's plate...except my husbands. i hate having to lock her away when we eat, but it is the only way we can get through a meal without her taking something. she stands on her back legs to try and climb on tables and counters. she is very persistent. she recently broke my dish getting to the peach cobbler by climbing. any ideas to fix this would be appreciated. thanks in advance

mciaccia's picture
mciaccia
Sat, 07/03/2010 - 12:12pm

Just keep telling her "no" every time she climbs on the counter. If you catch her climbing, place her in her crate. If she grabs food, then put her in her crate. Try putting food out on the table and then give her treats for ignoring the food (but don't sit at the table or be right next to the table because then she'll associate you, the table, and food with treats and will continue to beg). Mine used to do the same thing and now he lays on his dog bed when we eat.

k9rescueNYC's picture
k9rescueNYC
Fri, 09/17/2010 - 12:06pm

Give her a designated place to be during meal times (like a dog bed in the corner of an adjacent room but within view). Any time she moves from it, tell her "bed" and walk her back to it. Have her sit and stay before you go back to eating. After you are done eating and she is still on her bed, give her a great treat and reward her with plenty of praise. You might find yourself feeling like a ping pong ball going back and forth for a while, but it'll be worth it in the end.

The goal is to give her a very clear barrier and place she can sit comfortably during mealtime. If she's going about her business in the kitchen and lurking under the table, she won't stop the behavior. Proactive measures work far better.

rhcorbett's picture
rhcorbett
Tue, 10/26/2010 - 4:13pm

I had a similar problem with my 2 pits. Whenever I'd eat, they would be right there trying to grab a snack. I took a different approach using a technique similar to some posted here, and had good results. Since both are like members of my family, I enjoyed sharing meal scraps with the Pups. What I do is always cook a little extra for the dogs. They are not allowed to come around me when I'm eating. Normally they will lay on the floor or their couch and not even look at me while I eat. When I'm done I click on the plate with my fork or knife 4 times, and thats the signal that it's time for their snack. They will come into the kitchen where I divide their food equally on one plate.Then i set the plate down and they each eat their own pile.It took alot of patience, but since using the technique of positive reinforcement, they learned to patiently wait for "their" dinner.I found out that yelling didn't really accomplish anything, but getting them into a pattern seems to work best.It's funny now, because instead of calling them if they are asleep upstairs or sleeping out in the yard, all I do is click on the plate and theyr'e right there.(:

Milliethepit's picture
Milliethepit
Sun, 07/03/2011 - 6:57am

Give her something to occupy herself with.  A nice chew bone, her favorite toy.  Keep praising her when she stays on her bed.  If she thinks she is being punished constantly by being placed in a kennel, she will come to hate the kennel.  She must associate the kennel with something positive, otherwsie, she will try breaking out of  it. 

starsmomma's picture
starsmomma
Mon, 06/14/2010 - 11:36am

My almost 3yr pit doesn't like male dogs either, there is a male dog next door that she can some what tolerate but if we are at the vet she growls and barks, i've never be able to break her from it i just tell her no and tell her to sit...

EricaD13's picture
EricaD13
Sat, 07/03/2010 - 5:37pm

..is she fixed?? Pits are great w/people, sometimes not great w/other dogs. The true key to pits is socializing them w/other dogs, safely obviously...if she's intact, thats more than likely the problem, especially if shes aggressive towards males. She could be growling at dogs at the vet b/c its a stressful situation. Try taking her on walks and asking a friend (who has a dog) to walk next to you while you're walking. Stay further apart, and slowly get closer together the less interest the dogs take in each other.

LBell36's picture
LBell36
Mon, 07/05/2010 - 8:55pm

I adopted my three year old pit from a shelter, she's a great dog.
She's great with people and kids. But when I walk her she's incredibly aggressive when other dogs are in our vicinity. Even when they're down the block and she catches a glimpse of them. I've tried a few different techniques consistently but nothing has really worked. She is fixed, and she did have surgery to clear her of pyometra, not sure if any of that has any effect on her dog aggressive behavior. Any suggestions?

llgrundler's picture
llgrundler
Wed, 08/18/2010 - 8:08pm

Does she know her basic commands? if she does try praticing a leave it and watch me to distract while other dogs are passing by. Also when she does not perform correctly, turn her away from the distractions, circle her around, and re-gain her focus and try again.The key is for you to stay calm. She will sense your anxiety and react accordingly. You have to be confident in those situations. Pits are very reactive and in tune to their owner feelings. This may take awhile to desensitize her, make sure you provide amble treats for when she does well. You may never take the aggression away, but you can learn to control it!!

angella451972's picture
angella451972
Sun, 07/11/2010 - 8:03pm

im trying to learn all i can about this breed to stop my local area from banning them?

katster's picture
katster
Sun, 08/08/2010 - 2:37pm

My son just left me with his 1 yr old female pit, Roma. She is very hyper and cannot stay in the house. She chases cats, bites the puppy and chews my door facing. We fixed the backyard fence and she has an acre to run in the grass and trees, but she is constantly walking the fence, trying to get out. I'm afraid to leave her during the day when I got to work as she may get out. Any ideas?

k9rescueNYC's picture
k9rescueNYC
Fri, 09/17/2010 - 12:15pm

This is a situation that needs to be addressed immediately. Pits are incredibly smart and, once they put their mind to something and don't have supervision, chances are they'll figure out a way to do what they want. Does she have an outlet for her energy? An athletic breed, a Pit Bull's body needs a lot of exercise. Their mind's need as much stimulation as their bodies do. If you have a treadmill in your home, I would suggest training her to jog on it. This can't and shouldn't replace walks, but it can make them more enjoyable after the initial energy is burned off.

Do *not* leave her unattended in the backyard. If she has that much energy, she will be able to burrow her way under the fence or just plow through it if it's not sturdy. Few react well to seeing a boisterous Pittie running loose. Destructiveness is another sign of boredom or lack of stimulation. Enrich her mind with interactive dog toys or leave her in an area of the house that doesn't have items she would normally chew/destroy with a Kong ball (if she doesn't have an allergy, I'd suggest putting peanut butter in there and freezing it so it takes longer for her to eat it all). Her temperament issues can be helped with the proper channel for her energy and training, but she should not be left in the house in the same areas with the cats and puppy.

If the above suggestions don't help, contact your son and tell him the situation isn't working out. She's his dog, after all, and he should take responsibility for her. Most trainers will give owners a free consultation, but if the situation doesn't change, you may have to contact a local rescue (NOT a shelter) and see if they can find a better living situation for Roma. Her living in a backyard on her own is a recipe for trouble.

MARY MARINEAU's picture
MARY MARINEAU
Sun, 08/08/2010 - 6:42pm

try buyin her a kong, and a doghouse ,but u are worried about leaving her in the yard while u are at work ,since it is still summer time have one of the kids from your community walk her during the day. when she is acting up it is ok to correct her but some times you have to ignore her when she jumps on you ,pay her no attention walk away its ok its your way of saying when i am ready to cuddly with you i will,but i need to rest.have her sit by your chair or bed which ever one your in.when she bites make a loud ooch noise like you are in pain she will get it and realize that she can't bite people or animals because it hurts. they have a spray that you can buy at your local pet supply store/petstore -petco if there is one in your area. good luck with roma ,she is still a pup.

bpeters's picture
bpeters
Sat, 08/21/2010 - 11:55pm

i am raising our livey by myself while my boyfriend works out of town..livey is a handful at this stage..she will kiss me but will also bite in a playful way but when she bites at my face i usually spank her and she hides from me for awhile and then does it again later! i know shes just a puppy and shes being playful but i need advice on how to handle this because a lot of people i talk to have doubts that she will grow to be a nice pit. i just need some tips or a little direction..shes just growing so fast it seems like everyday she grows a little more..please help

dmon42's picture
dmon42
Mon, 08/30/2010 - 2:33pm

When my dog koda does that, I just say no and push him away. Then I ignore him for awhile. It stops him. It took a few times but he dosnt nip at all now.

baydoll_nc's picture
baydoll_nc
Sat, 04/02/2011 - 3:03pm

when our pit was a a pup he did the same thing. I would gently close his mouth and tell him no firmly. a few times of doing this and he stopped. He is now three and just loves on you!

Max4life's picture
Max4life
Mon, 08/30/2010 - 12:42pm

I have a 2 year old male pit, i have had since he was 11 weeks. They will always nibble on you while they kiss. Its a pit bull thing, they all do it. Don't smack her she is loving on you. I have nicks and cuts from my guy, but he did it loving on me. Up a little further, i personally don't believe in cutting anything on my dog. He is still has his male organs. The vet is always trying to convince me to take them off. But he can play with any dog just fine. There is not one bone of aggression in him at all. He runs from my moms Pomeranian when it growls at him.

Karma's Mama 37's picture
Karma's Mama 37
Sat, 09/04/2010 - 3:20pm

I have a 10 month old female named Karma. She is a wonderful dog although she still chews all the time. she is very affectionate and well socialized. She looks forward to us letting the ferret out of his cage so she can give him kisses and is the same with the cats, other dogs, and kids. She is very attentive to my command. It's only when I'm gone for a few hours that she chews on things. I have scolded her in the past but to no avail. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! I'm not going to give up on her she is to much a part of the family!!!! lol!!!

matt's picture
matt
Sat, 09/04/2010 - 3:39pm

Crate train her. That's the best thing you can do.

Or you can hide her actual chew toys around the house with treats in them to keep her busy.

Karma's Mama 37's picture
Karma's Mama 37
Sat, 09/04/2010 - 10:30pm

Thank you so much for the advice Matt! I really do appreciate it. Problem is she chews all her toys up within minutes of giving them to her! Everything except her rope which I haven't figured out how to hide something inside of yet! I have a crate but also have another dog that is worse than her. His name is Wrecks and the name fits him well! Lol!!! Not sure what breed he is for he is mixed. Were told he was pit and malamute mix but not so sure. Trying real hard with both of them have all the time in the world to spend with them, don't know where I'm going wrong.

jessofalltrades's picture
jessofalltrades
Wed, 09/08/2010 - 3:44pm

My pit used to chew and tear things up when I left her alone when she was around that age... she's now just over a year, and has been able to be in the house alone w/out tearing anything up for a few weeks now. Whenever she has chewed on or wrecked things, I always take the remnants of the item and express my displeasure with her actions by scolding her while showing her the item. I know this seems like the potty-training "solution" in which people put the dog's nose in their accident, however that method is only problematic because going to the bathroom is okay in certain places but not others. Chewing things up is not okay period, so the need to differentiate doesn't complicate this process.

ShibbysMom's picture
ShibbysMom
Fri, 04/08/2011 - 2:31pm

I have tried this method with my female when she gets into the trash, but it never works... :(

Dee's picture
Dee
Wed, 09/08/2010 - 7:26am

Hi I am in desperate need of help, I have a 7 month old Pit/Beagle mix he is adorable and loving MOST OF THE TIME. We are starting to train him and found we have a serious problem. If he "steals" something like a sock, clothes, even tissue if we try to get it from him he will literally attack us. Just last night he took my son's shirt when I tried to get it from him he bite me on the arm a couple times. I did after put him in his "room" We have a decent sized laundry room we have gated off and put him in there at nite and when he does something he shouldn't. We haven't had him that long and any other time he is very loving and a joy. But he has done this attacking to me, my husband, and the kids, is there something we can do or what should I do. Thanks

CurryChicken's picture
CurryChicken
Sun, 10/31/2010 - 7:07pm

Beagles are a very resourceful breed.....extremely intelligent, and can be very mischievous, as well as a bit of a hoarder. Combine those traits with the Pitty's natural strength, and you have a recipe for trouble if not nipped in the bud. You need to show dominance and confidence in dealing with your dog....any show of fear or timidity are picked up, and a young dog will try to assert his dominance. He/she sees the family as his pack, and he needs to realize that EVERY human is above him in that pack.

brittany.mitchell's picture
brittany.mitchell
Wed, 09/08/2010 - 9:14pm

I just adopted a seven week old pit with my boyfriend and he is already showing signs of food aggression. It's only when he eats wet food though.. I'm trying to break him of it the same way that I broke all of my dobermans of it by petting him while he eats, pulling his ears, and rubbing his belly- all of which he's fine with and can ignore. But as soon as I go to rub his head, face, or under his neck, he growls at me. He never bites, shows teeth, or gives me "the stare", but he growls at me. I don't quite know the best way to train him not to do this. Any advice? :)

amstaff adict's picture
amstaff adict
Fri, 06/17/2011 - 3:11pm

you're doing good.  keep touching, poking and prodding the dog when it eats. if he growls take the food away and make your pit sit. as soon as he sits tell him he's a good boy and give the food back. and keep touching him. if he growls again take the food away and repeat. he needs to learn that he is going to get plenty of food and that he doesn't need to guard it. he has to be content with what he has.  you're on the right track

Taana's picture
Taana
Wed, 09/08/2010 - 9:17pm

Dee, teach him simple commands. I use "leave it" or "drop it" with Beastley when he takes something he is not allowed, depending on the situation. Beastley learned to open our dryer and he will bring out the clothes. I say leave it and he will drop it immediately. He then gets a reward (high value treat)for doing it. When you pull or tug on something they think it is a game and will want to win. Check out www.pbrc.net and read up on commands, NFL, etc. Everyone in the household needs to be on the same page. I, personally never play tug o was with Beastley because it riles him up. Others will tell you they do it is a personal preference. Check out the sight and good luck

katie loves bronco's picture
katie loves bronco
Wed, 09/15/2010 - 7:22pm

I have big baby named Bronco. I got him when he was 6mths old. The person that i got him from didn't socialize him with people and he has been outside all his life. I live with a house full of people of all ages. I have had him for about a month and he is getting use to the house butt a little too protective. He is growling at people when they come in the door and doesn't stop when i tell him too. I know he is uneasy in the house and has low confidence. What can i do besides socialize him. Can anyone give me advice?

Grracer11's picture
Grracer11
Tue, 09/28/2010 - 8:47am

Socializing is the best option take him every where even if its a ride so you can get gas. The places he goes and people he sees will calm his behaviour but you need to stay on top of his feelings because if he gets too stresses it can become aggressive. Also at home you can train him to go to a "time out place" when he becomes uneasy at home or when people come to the house. Tell him to go to a mat or bed or something and he has to wait there til the people or in the house. Another trick you can do is keep the dogs favorite treats by the door and have visitors give him a treat when he does not growl or show aggression toward your visitors. I have a dog that used to be like that and we changed him around.

raisins mom's picture
raisins mom
Fri, 09/17/2010 - 11:28pm

Dee - Next time you go to get something from your dog try to do an exchange give the dog something else to get the item you want. This could help any biting or injuries then when you have time work on the leave it command. When we adopted Raisin he would clamp down on things and refuse to give them to me. I would exchange him one item for something else. Then when I had time I worked on leave it for example I would put a treat down and when he went for it I would make noise and tell him leave it. After awhile he would just look at me when I said leave it and it has worked well.

He also growled at me one time while feeding him after that we started making him wait til I allowed him to have his food. I make him sit and look at me then I would hold his bowl while he ate. So now feeding times goes like this, I hold his bowl and he sits down. I then wait for him to look at me and after he is watching me I put his food bowl down on the ground but he does not get to eat it until I say ok. Now he lets me take his bowl away and things out of his mouth. Good luck and keep up with training. This breed is alot of work esp when they are young but the payoff is unmatchable.

raisins mom's picture
raisins mom
Fri, 09/17/2010 - 11:28pm

Dee - Next time you go to get something from your dog try to do an exchange give the dog something else to get the item you want. This could help any biting or injuries then when you have time work on the leave it command. When we adopted Raisin he would clamp down on things and refuse to give them to me. I would exchange him one item for something else. Then when I had time I worked on leave it for example I would put a treat down and when he went for it I would make noise and tell him leave it. After awhile he would just look at me when I said leave it and it has worked well.

He also growled at me one time while feeding him after that we started making him wait til I allowed him to have his food. I make him sit and look at me then I would hold his bowl while he ate. So now feeding times goes like this, I hold his bowl and he sits down. I then wait for him to look at me and after he is watching me I put his food bowl down on the ground but he does not get to eat it until I say ok. Now he lets me take his bowl away and things out of his mouth. Good luck and keep up with training. This breed is alot of work esp when they are young but the payoff is unmatchable.

peterflanker@aol.com's picture
peterflanker@aol.com
Sat, 02/12/2011 - 12:15pm

Best advice i have seen re:food but if you start from a pup u can stop this occuring by using food as a treat u give and take then give with praise plz remember u r the dominant in this partnership. Using the word/command NO is often caused by letting your puppy do wrong so if possible never put temptation in his way.Praise him at all times scold him seldom and never if possible give him the chance 2 be naughty, very hard when you r dealing with a pup but trust me these ground rules are essential if u intend 2 have a complete adult obediant dog

 

Lou's picture
Lou
Sat, 10/02/2010 - 9:26am

I have a former bait dog that is such a sweet boy.He is 8 yrs old and does well with all dogs,unless a dog shows a little dominance,he then goes into full meltdown mode.Tail between his legs,shakes and hides behind me.And it's not even big dogs,a corgi or a poodle can scare him.I feel so bad for him,I know he wants to play with other dogs,but I never know what will trigger him.Any suggestions?

Guitarjunky1292's picture
Guitarjunky1292
Mon, 01/31/2011 - 10:48pm

.

amstaff adict's picture
amstaff adict
Fri, 06/17/2011 - 3:18pm

you need to build his confidence. play fetch and tell him hes a good boy a lot. when another dog comes around and your dog hides don't pet him or reward him for that behavior it is only making it worse. my comforting your dog after he hides is only encouraging the behavior because it got a positive enforcement by you.  if possible aproach one of the other dogs and introduce yourself by letting it sniff you and by petting it while you have your boy sit and watch. then pat your dog when he doesn't hide or move. this will enforce hime to be comfortable. when he hide just ignore him and walk away or turn your back on him.  praise him for playing without hiding.

juliachild's picture
juliachild
Wed, 10/27/2010 - 5:11pm

HI there everybody!!
i love reading everyones advice ive been reading all day... i am going to be getting our first pitbull on friday. Im nervous and so excited!!

I am hoping you wonderful people will be able to give me some advice when i need it :) so far everyones tips are awesome...

if anyone has anything that they would like to share about anything to do with pits im more then open!

I hope to hear from you all soon!

Lori's picture
Lori
Tue, 11/02/2010 - 12:34am

I was kissing my 2yr old 100lb male pit on his muzzle and when i pulled back he bit my face. Today I tried kissing him again but noticed his body stiffen and he started a low growl so i pulled back and punished him. He is spoiled like a child so I dont understand why he is doing this now. Any idea?

amberc922's picture
amberc922
Tue, 11/02/2010 - 8:27am

Lori,
Have you ever played games with him or blow in his face or anything? I will play with Kira and sometimes she will lick lick and sneak in a nip at my nose. She gets in trouble for that. She doesn't get tense though. I wouldn't jump and say he is human aggressive. Some dogs just don't like to have people in their face. I've had a few that were like that.

Bents mom's picture
Bents mom
Thu, 11/11/2010 - 11:50am

We bought a 6 month old Blue Fawn Male Pit who is the joy of our life... took him to the vet an he is in excellent health... He is so mild and does love kisses... Bentley has the softest kissing tongue... we just love him...

1234Zeus's picture
1234Zeus
Wed, 12/08/2010 - 12:35pm

i jus wanted to say how much this website helps me with my pink nose that magically was perfect for me.. back in july i went camping, n to make a really long story short, theese pple camped across the street were all screaming n i heard chainsaws.... evryone jumped in their cars n took off, about an hur later i heard a dog barking, walked across the street to make sure he was ok..(i figured everyone left.. there was an older lady who explained to me that this beautiful pit named zeus who belonged to a her daughters boyfriend, who is no longer in the picture..(prolly in jail..) the next morning(early) i noticed all their tents were gone cept one that was busted up, a pile of clothes laying in the dirt n zeus wit a big rusted chain around his neck tied to a really bick cynder block. he had fleas tick scrathches, open sores, n his poops were black.. so i brought him home... thanks to banfield which i recomend, Zeus is Perfect!!!!!!!!! happiest pup ive ever seen! i live wit my brother who has a german shep/rot(biggie) about 2 months younger then zeus.. they are perfect for eachother. before i found zeus, when my brother said he was getting a dog i said we should get a pit, he got biggie n the entire time i was trying to name him Zeus.. it was the craziest thing..this dog i pictured in my head magically finds me in the middle of nowhere

1234Zeus's picture
1234Zeus
Wed, 12/08/2010 - 12:41pm

he snaps a lot in a playful way, never agressive wit kids, does great around a lot of pple, i drove 30 mis to a beach that i found out allows no dogs n zeus dug a hole in the sand and slept for 2 1/2hours.lol he is around a year i dont really know. but i love it because it blows pples minds how good he is, or when this girl says she doesnt like dogs n zeus pit goes and curls up into a ball on her lap, that changed everything, however he is very strong n pulls hard on the leash,especially walkin next to biggie

brownngold's picture
brownngold
Thu, 12/09/2010 - 9:46pm

I am a new owner to a red nose pit she is 3 months, very smart dog I am training her well. I hope I made a good choice of getting her I had second thoughts about it. she is a hand full and like to bite even when she is playing is it because she is teething still?

PuppynamedTyson's picture
PuppynamedTyson
Wed, 01/05/2011 - 10:36pm

Hi, I recently got a 8 month old pitbull. When he plays he is very teethy/mouthy. Im not sure if its just because he is still teething or if thats the only way he knows how to play. He tries to chew on my arms and hands. Any ideas on how to break this habit?

xmtgirl's picture
xmtgirl
Sun, 01/16/2011 - 7:29pm

I need help. I have a 3 year old red nose pit (female, fixed). Just recently she has been fighting with my other 2 dogs. Just out of the blue she will attack them. This weekend it happened 4 times and I actually got bit, not bad, thank god. I've been told that if a female gets fixed to soon, around the age of 3 they just snap. Is this true? I'm starting to think it is. She's a great dog around humans but I'm getting nervous for the safety of my other 2 dogs. Can anyone help me?
thanks

dp4heaven's picture
dp4heaven
Mon, 01/24/2011 - 1:40pm

I have 2 male pits that are from the same liter, they are 2 yrs old . they were fine until they hit 2 yrs of age and one of them became aggressive with our lab. I did get him fixed and he still is aggressive to the lab. He also wants to be the alpha dog of the group and when outside in a fenced in back yard and another dog walks by he starts barking and try to get to the dog walking by and then he attacts the other pit outside with him. Any suggestions on what I could do  to change this behavior?

 

Milliethepit's picture
Milliethepit
Tue, 07/26/2011 - 3:55pm

Sounds like there's frustration going on.  Because they are the same sex, there will be a rivalry, you need to exercise them A LOT.  Putting them in the backyard doesn't do it with Pit bulls, they like to explore, and if you like to run, they will love that.  You must separate them, and never leave them unsupervised.  You posted this a while back, so wondering if things have improved.  All of them must get fixed, have lots of stimulation.  I am not a great expert, but have read tons of books on them, and until you have something personally happen to you, you don't understand why certain things have to be done when it comes to Pit bulls. 

SevenThePrincess's picture
SevenThePrincess
Mon, 03/21/2011 - 1:01am

I received my pup,"Seven" at 5 weeks and she was very difficult to leash train, in the beginning!

She would yell, flip, fight, (all but bite) to avoid walking on the leash or even putting on the collar. However at 4 mos now, she is absolute awesome. The best advice I can give is be "consistent & relentless". If your pup, is having issues, the bottom line is they must be trained. Once, I applied the collar and or leash, my dog would refuse to even move.  Yet, I'd be emotional, jumping around and trying to coax her with treats to take a step, etc. Then I realised, If I stay calm and, become "consistent & relentless", she will learn that when she is leashed/collarded, she will have to walk.. Now, she loves it.. I walked her in the rain today, she couldnt get enough. It is so true, "Pits" love to please their masters, as long we love to "Train" them as much, Life with a "Pit" will be freakin awesome..

Wish u the best!

jppprue's picture
jppprue
Mon, 04/11/2011 - 1:34pm

Yes I have a 2y/o pitt named Luke hes a wonderful dog but suffers from serious separation anxiety he use to eat up shoes but has gotten older now and has stopped doing that.But now he elects to do his business in clear view so that we can see it as soon as we get home. He clearly know that he is wrong and you can tell by his attitude.He acts very shameful, with his tail under his butt and in a fetal position.I scold him and then clean it up ,by saying no and pointing my finger at him.Is this the right way to discipline him, to correct this problem.

jppprue's picture
jppprue
Mon, 04/11/2011 - 1:34pm

Yes I have a 2y/o pitt named Luke hes a wonderful dog but suffers from serious separation anxiety he use to eat up shoes but has gotten older now and has stopped doing that.But now he elects to do his business in clear view so that we can see it as soon as we get home. He clearly know that he is wrong and you can tell by his attitude.He acts very shameful, with his tail under his butt and in a fetal position.I scold him and then clean it up ,by saying no and pointing my finger at him.Is this the right way to discipline him, to correct this problem.

Milliethepit's picture
Milliethepit
Tue, 07/26/2011 - 3:50pm

My Daughter always used to tell me that she knew her pug had done wrong because when she came home he would put his tail between his legs.  Actually, because first thing you do when you come home is discipline him for what he did 10 minutes prior, or five minutes prior, he is cowarding and is becoming fearful, he only knows you will be mad when you come home. The only thing you can do to change this behavior is to show him what to do right on the act, if he does it in front of you, you immediately pick him up, tell him NO, take him outside and tell him to go poop, if he does, praise him and give him treats.  If he doesn't go, take him back out 10 minutes later, in the meantime, put him in a kennel, until the time he actually does pee or poop.  Pointing the finger is not good either, the dog has no clue what he has done wrong.

jeanettemcm's picture
jeanettemcm
Fri, 04/29/2011 - 12:29am

I just got a 7 week old pit puppy and i do the hole creat thing when i leave and when im home i take her out every time my other dog goes outside to potties but she still potties  in the house so i show her what she did is bad and pop her but then put her out side its that the right thing to do?   And when my 6 year old daughter plays with her she bites at her so i tell her no and my a sound she will stop when i do that but the starts back up when my daughter stares to move again what can i do about that?

amstaff adict's picture
amstaff adict
Fri, 06/17/2011 - 3:35pm

as for the potty training only disipline her if you caught her in the act of going potty and put her outside immediatly to finish.

for the play biting be consistent. you may need to put the puppy on a leash in the house and everytime she snaps or makes a  move toward your daughter give the leash a little jerk and say NO. also clapping or making a loud noise will also helps. don't let the puppy get away with it not even once. it will take time. but be consistant and it will all work out. you may even want to show your daughter how to respond when the puppy nips her.  tell your daughter that if she makes a sudden sqeel or yelp that is loud the puupy will feel bad for hurting her.  training takes part for all members ofthe family.  If the puppy is persistent after a few corrections put her in her crate and don't let her out until she stops crying.  when she gets rough again but her back in her crate. she will learn that being rough and nippy is not acceptable.

I hope this helps. your puppy is still young and it's going to take a while. there are no magic words to make her perfect from the start.  she should get the idea.  it's takes 2 weeks to make a good habit.  it only takes one day to make a bad habit

 

Milliethepit's picture
Milliethepit
Tue, 07/26/2011 - 4:00pm

You never hit a Pit Bull, must always use positive reinforcement.  Particularly having small kids in the house, a Pit bull must always be shown love.  She is still young, I have a Corgi, 3 years old that I sometimes catch peeing, I immediately tell him No and put him outside.  If he does it while I am gone, I don't threaten him or pop him.  At seven weeks old they must be taken out every 3 hours, be consistent, they have a small bladder and cannot be in a crate for hours on end.  Make sure your  Daughter is not playing too rough with the puppy either.  Give the pup a toy to distract her from bad behavior, remove your Daughter or put the puppy in a play pen.

muttlova's picture
muttlova
Fri, 05/06/2011 - 8:18am

When my dog wont come back when I call her I clap my hands together which usually works.. But I also think that the Alpha Roll trick is great!! You have to show your dog that she/he cant get away with bad behavior but you also have to be gentle with it!!

MamaMandee89's picture
MamaMandee89
Wed, 05/11/2011 - 12:18am

I've got a question... I have a 13 month old Pit. and a little bit after she went into heat, I started noticing her be aggressive towrds some strangers... Mostly teenagers? Little kids, and older people she's ok with.. But my cousin who is 17 and my boyfriends daughter who is 15 she acts funny around.. Until the other day she had never actually went up to some one, but she nipped at his heels.. Didn't hurt him at all but it's still the fact that she did it. I'm not sure why this sudden attitude change has happened and it worries me bacause shes been nothing but friendly, and socialized since i got her at about 6wks... I know I need to get her fixed, and i planned on it but i lost my job, and with being 6 months prego its kinda hard to find a new one at the moment.. but as soon as i start getting regualr money in and i can afford it i will definetly get her fixed.. But she has all her shots, and has never been mistreated that im aware of... If any one has any advice on how to correct this problem or atleast try, it would be greatly appreciated!

misillad's picture
misillad
Wed, 05/11/2011 - 4:44am

Hi there,

Knowing that she is only 13 months, her temperament is not fully developed, usually around 2 to 4 years is when they seem to mature just from what I've learned and read.  My sister's female pit was the same, except she became very aggressive after she had a litter, may be mother's instincts?  She had to just keep her on a leash and distance to be safe...but then you never know may be some people make her feel nervous too, after all dogs can sense things that we can't.  I would get advice from a dog behaviorist, I'm sure they can help you both.  Also, do you live near a PAWS shelter?  The ones here in WA state will spay/neuter pit bulls for only $55 plus a free microchip!  You can also research Humane Society and other non-profit animal shelters...sometimes they get grants so they can spay your pit for free, it just depends on your county...some also have waiting lists  Hope this helps, good luck! 

PS. Have you seen "The Dog Whisperer"?  Cesar Millan has some great tips on training issues, you should check it out on Hulu or Youtube...He is a great ambassador for Pit Bulls and all dogs :-)

Misilla

Milliethepit's picture
Milliethepit
Tue, 07/26/2011 - 7:00am

There are many low cost or even free clinics to get Pit bulls fixed.  Her hormones are changing, might be a cause of it.  Also, a good trainer, experienced, not just from a book, will do an assessment.  Get a second opinion, I made a big mistake with my Vet and only took his word for it, something I will regret for the rest of my life.

Jazz_gezzymom's picture
Jazz_gezzymom
Fri, 05/13/2011 - 1:36am

Hi my name is jazz and I own a 7 week old pitbull. I think he is a little lazy and I don't know what to do. He doesn't like to play and he doesn't like to walk. He also doesn't listen when I call him andhe chews on my shoes. My boyfriend says if he continue to cut up I'm gonna have to get rid of him. I have fallen in love with this dog and don't wanna give him up can someone help me.

misillad's picture
misillad
Fri, 05/13/2011 - 4:17am

Hi Jazz,

I'm sorry to hear that...For the chewing thing, you may want to get him some toys like the Kong (Comes with Lifetime Guarantee) or other appropriate and safe toys for puppies.  When you catch him chewing on shoes, you may want to correct the behavior right then and give him his toy instead and let him know that shoes are off limits.  Also, rememeber to praise him when he listens to directions. You can enroll him in a puppy/obedience class too and I'm sure you can learn a lot from the trainer.  Now the lazy thing, is he eating well and nourished?  I don't give Mags anything with synthetic ingredients or dyes in his food, which are allergens and may affect moods/irratability ...Also, try taking him to a park to socialize him to other puppies/dogs and people..this will also help you guys in the long run especially at this age, which is very important that he learns to be submissive to you, so when you're public he will learn to behave...Today we took Magnum to the park and three little yapper dogs kept barking and provoking him, but thank goodness he is pretty submissive and was socialized early as a puppy, so he does not pull and bark or growl at other dogs and or people. Remember, you are the pack leader and as an ambassador for Pit Bulls, we need to put time and effort to teaching these high energy and intelligent breed.  I don't think I would own any other breed, they are so loyal and loving to their family, especially our children. At the same time they also need your love and affection in return.  Please don't give up on your pup, with hard work and diligence, you will both succeed.  Also, remember to be assertive and take deep breaths so you're not nervous or worried about what his going to do next, we want a well balance dog, by being a good example. Don't forget to excercise him as well :-)

By the way,  I like watching The Dog Whisperer or Victoria's It's Me Or The Dog...you can learn a lot from these shows...or you can also get a book on Bully Breeds...Here's a helpful web site worth checking out: http://www.pbrc.net/socializing.html

All the best,

Misilla

Jazz_gezzymom's picture
Jazz_gezzymom
Fri, 05/13/2011 - 8:05am

Thanks for your input. I love it's me r the dog. I was thinking bout signing gezzy up for it. Lol but these are great tips for me to use.

Love-A-Bull's picture
Love-A-Bull
Sat, 05/14/2011 - 6:33pm

Jazz, When my pitt was a puppy she didn't want to go for walks either.......we took her everywhere to visit people with other dogs so she could learn to play and walk with other dogs, now she loves her walks. They are a kind of low energy breed so don't force him or he will learn to dislike walking altogether. once he gets older he will understand that walking is fun :)

Letie79's picture
Letie79
Mon, 07/11/2011 - 3:41pm

great tips, thank you. The only problem Im working with now is the jumping up on people. He is being friendly but like you said some people are scared of his breed to begin with let alone being greated with a pit tongue facial.

 

Letie79's picture
Letie79
Mon, 07/11/2011 - 3:41pm

great tips, thank you. The only problem Im working with now is the jumping up on people. He is being friendly but like you said some people are scared of his breed to begin with let alone being greated with a pit tongue facial.

 

simmonel's picture
simmonel
Mon, 07/25/2011 - 8:50pm

my pitbull puppy nala is 7 months old and lately she has been digging into everything in the apartment. especially the walls how do i stop her from doing this type of behavio for someone who works full time during the day... are there special games or toys that will keep her occupied... thanks in advance for the help

Milliethepit's picture
Milliethepit
Tue, 07/26/2011 - 7:06am

Try changing her food, and buying toys that will get her curiosity, the Kongs work for a few minutes, put the special peanut butter in them, and also buy the big chew bones.  If you have a good friend that can come let her out during the day, that will also help, she is probably very bored, Pit bulls are such intelligent animals, they can get bored quite easily...  Before going to work, take her out for a good run, same thing when you return from work and before going to bed.  Find a couple of friends that know the breed well and own pit bulls, you can get a play group going, but make sure all Pit bulls are well socialized and everyone knows what to do if a fight breaks out.  Most importantly, a pitbull must be exposed to all kinds of things, kept in a leash.  Good luck.

simmonel's picture
simmonel
Tue, 07/26/2011 - 10:09am

thank you so much for the advice... i have been trying to get a group together but so far no luck... once again thanks a bunch

jppprue's picture
jppprue
Tue, 07/26/2011 - 1:40pm

Youre more than welcome we as pitt owners need to stick together for the common good of this unique breed of dog.It is with great pleasure for me to have owned 3 generations of pittbulls and in my opinion they are one of the smartest species of dog known to man.Pittbulls like most bulldog breeds tend to be very stubborn and hard headed,but threw much love and dedication, they just want to get a clear understanding of what it is that we expect of them and once they get it they got it.Now your dog may be very approachable and kind to the average person approaching,but dont be mislead pittbulls are very protective of their owners, for they have adopted you into their pack.They are friendly on one hand and can be very aggressive if feeling threatening on the other.They dont like loud confussion or argument. But dont be mislead they can decern a good person from a person that they may feel some negativity approaching.So in essence learn to know your dog and adhere to all the warning signs that they will give you,alot times if someone is approaching they will tend to look up at you for you to give them approval to accept the stranger or not, if not than immediatly take you dog out of that potential threatening situation.Dont feel that you have control over the animal,for the only control that you have is for you to remove the dog from a  potentially threatening situation.Basically what im saying, is learn your dog as they will learn you and dont forget where this breed originated from and what they were used for.