Did you know that when testing for aggression in dogs Pitbulls actually tested less aggressive than the Golden Retriever? It’s true! Pitbulls had an 86% pass rate, while America’s beloved Golden Retriever had a pass rate of 85%. However, Pitbulls are notorious for being vicious and seems to be always publicly held as a mauling beast. Wouldn’t it make sense to learn why these points are true? In this article we’ll do consider why Pitbulls have this reputation and of course dive into the signs when a Pitbull might attack.

Owners Responsibility

Many Pitbull owners steer towards the breed because of their perceived reputation. They want a dog that is “tough”, “vicious”, or that can “fight”. Herein lies most of the problem! A Pitbull like most other breeds is a pet and a darn good one in the right hands. This is a dog that should be loved and socialized. When these two vital things don’t happen is when things can go wrong. Another things that contributes to attacks are dogs off leash, dogs breaking out of their yards, or carelessness all things that could be avoided by responsible ownership.

“I’m actually a victim of Pitbull attack!”

Here are the circumstances that lead to the attack: I was on a walk with a good friend. We were passing by a house that had construction happening in the front and rear yard. They were actually replacing their fence around their entire property. However, with their fence down, their neighbors directly behind were exposes for having a fence is bad repair. A combination of loud tools running sawing the wood, with lots of stranger around got the neighbors dogs worked up. Before my friend and I realized what was happening two large American Pitbull Terriers were charging full speed from behind us. Being shocked we tried to avoid them but they jumped up pushing me into a car, thankfully which i was able to roll onto, and ultimately stand on. My friend wasn’t as fortunate and was bitten twice.

A neighbor ended up calling 911 in which the Fire Department, Police and Animal Control arrived to defuse and handle the situation. The moral of this story is that all of this pandemonium could have been avoided IF the owner has taken responsibility to keep their fences in proper condition. With that said many Pitbull attacks are due to under socialized dogs, and poor ownership.

Signs A Pitbull Is Going to Attack

vicious pitbull

Knowing if a Pitbull is going to attack can be crucial for protecting yourself and any who might be with you. Here a few things to look for to gauge if a Pitbull or most dogs are going to attack.

Direct Eye Contact

Dogs don’t really like direct eye contact. Try it with a dog you’re comfortable with, and 9 out of 10 times they’ll just look away because it makes them uncomfortable. To dogs including Pitbulls eye contact is a dominance thing, so if a dog staring at you making direct eye contact LOOK OUT because it is sizing you up and looking to exert is dominance over you.

Dominant Stance

When preparing to attack a Pitbull will get in position, if the dog spreads its legs and squares with chest and is making eye contact, here it comes. This stance is one of dominance and showing off its power before exercising it.


Next up, is growing. A nice low rumbling growl is the calm before the storm, a warning cry for whats going to happen next.

Teeth Showing

Pitbulls like most other breeds will show their teeth as a last ditch effort to warn you to back off. Digging into the ground with their paws and showing their teeth usually are the last signs one gets before a charging Pitbull is coming for them.

All of the signs works as a culmination. When you start seeing them all come together an attack is imminent. There are a few things you can do calm these signs. If you have come into the dogs space, back away slowly and calmly. Whatever, you do, do NOT run! When someone runs away from a dog it triggers an instinctive tendency within them to chase. Running excites them so much and at a time of possible attack we want the dog to remain as calm as possible.

What happens when you see all of the signs, but despite seeing them you can’t do anything to prevent the attack from taking place?

What To Do When Attacked by a Pitbull

Try to Avoid the Attack

The first step you can take to prevent the attack from happening is try not to panic! There is a belief that dogs and other animals can smell fear in people, that ability isn’t necessarily true but they can for sure read body language and tell when you are intimidated and that will boost their courage.  If you can remain calm, the Pitbull might think you are too dangerous to attack and might back off.

Don’t Run

As mentioned before, running could be the worst possible mistake. The dog’s confidence will sky rockets as their predatory instincts will kick in and chase you down. What is more, Pitbulls for the most part are athletic and quite agile out running one is long shot.

Stand Still & Sideways

By standing still and sideways you accomplish a few things. #1. You make yourself look less threatening, by slimming your appearance. #2. You also brace yourself from side impact better.

Ball Your Hands Into Fists

I know what you’re thinking…nope! You will not be punching the dog, but you will be protecting your fingers from being bitten.

Put Another Object Between Yourself and The Dog

little pitbull biting stick

If there are any items in your possession, use them as a distraction, or a barrier. One example of this is PG&E employees, utility companies will often equip there workers with dog wands. These are usually sticks with tennis balls on them. When under attack they can give the ball to the dog and they can proceed to bite on it as much as they want, allowing the person to back away until they are out of danger. Let’s say you’re on a walk or run when you are approached by a seemingly dangerous dog. Is it possible to throw your water bottle or another replaceable item? If so then do it! Throwing an item may take the dogs attention off of you and onto the object.

Stand Your Ground and Say, NO!

When you’re running out of options and an attack is becoming more and more imminent, it’s time to stand your ground and in a firm voice say “NO!”. Here is why this works, what dog including Pitbulls haven’t been told NO by a human before. The attacking dog might realize they are out of line and snap out it right away. What if tried everything already mentioned and nothing is  working?

Fight Back!

When being attacked by a Pitbull or any kind of dog, you might be forced to fight back! You can do so in a variety of ways. The initial way you can fight back is by striking the dog that is biting you. You want to strike a dog in the nose, or their paws. The second way you can fight back is by getting help, yell for help, hopefully someone will be able to hear you cry and offer some assistance. Another thing you can do is protect you critical areas, if possible protect your face and neck from attack. A bite in these areas could be very serious and even result in fatality.

How to Prevent Attacks As a Pitbull Owner

So far we’ve talked about, preventing Pitbull attacks from the perspective of an unsuspecting person. However, let’s look at this topic from the perspective of a dog owner. How can we as owners prevent our dogs from attacking someone? Well, it all starts from puppy hood. Good training and time spent with your puppy can prevent serious problems down the road. It’s important to start with a consistent training routine, this would include Basic commands, like: sit, stay, come, heel, down, and stop.

Socializing your Pitbull puppy is another great way to manage their behavior. The more people you can introduce your puppy to, the more it will be used to meeting people, and the less likely it will be to attack people. If you don’t plan or breeding your Pitbull you can decide to get them neuter or spayed. Tests have shown that these procedures reduce the aggression in most dogs.

Taking responsibility as owners is one of BEST WAYS to prevent Pitbull attacks. The dogs aren’t responsible, as their owners we need to take responsibility and play our part in keeping people and ours dogs safe. Cheers!

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