Canine Behavior/Pitbull


cocoa and her pup
cocoa and her pup  
I've raised my female pit bull cocoa since the day she was able to leave her mom which was about two years ago. She also has been raised with my pug dog from about the time I got her. Last night she viciously attacked the pug she had a good grip on his neck and nothing we did could get her off. He wasn't majorly hurt but at the moment we weren't quit sure. She had her first litter about eight months ago and has been acting a little different ever since. Shes never had this problem. Is this an issue that can be handle or will I have to get rid of her?

"Get rid of her...."  What does this mean?  You're passing a bitch who should NEVER HAVE BEEN ALLOWED TO BREED to whom, exactly?  SANTA CLAUS?

The bitch in question is now responding to hormones released upon whelping and your "pack" (Pug and Pit Bull???) is failing in social structure.  Why: I can't see anything from here but I can see one thing (and this will not make me popular):  YOU ALLOWED a breed type, whose breeding line is no doubt totally inaccessible to you, whose temperament most likely has never been realistically assessed, to BREED in the presence of another dog in your home (male Pug. Neutered????)  You have no experience in breeding dogs.  You have no experience in owning a breed type that is well known for dog to dog aggression.  Your bitch may have been attempting to protect her neonates from some obscure body language of the Pug.  If your bitch had intended to kill your Pug, HE WOULD BE DEAD NOW.

Keep these two separate right now.  I am unable to determine what set her off but it was not sudden, it was oncoming.  Her hormonal status is questionable: she needs a titer evaluation of estrogen and progesterone and SHE NEEDS TO BE SPAYED as soon as the veterinarian thinks it appropriate.

YOU require a certified applied animal behaviorist to evaluate temperament, observe interaction between the two dogs, determine course of behavior modification.  GETTING "RID" OF A LIVING CREATURE who depends upon you and trusts you IS NOT A MORAL OPTION, DO YOU UNDERSTAND?

Find a CAAB at one of the following sites or call the veterinary college in your geographical area:

I could EASILY have sent you a response with "no answer" except in the body of the email as I have begun to do when the question just seems to me to be so out of the range of common sense and perhaps even a set up.  I did not.  You can leave me all the negative feedback you want.  You have allowed a breed type that should only be allowed to carry a litter based upon TEMPERAMENT and CONFORMATION to breed a litter of puppies who might very well have acquired her fear of other dogs (due to her response to your Pug).  This is inhumane, this is unconscionable.  Your bitch will NOT survive re-homing.  She will end up dead in a kill shelter under terrifying circumstances UNLESS YOU DO SOMETHING NOW.

Canine Behavior

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Jill Connor, Ph.D.


I have spent my entire professional life rehabilitating the behavior of the domestic dog and I can answer any question regarding any behavior problem in any breed dog. I have answered more than 5,000 QUESTIONS on this site in the past (almost) eight years. If you are a caring, committed owner and need advice, I'm here for you. I am personally acquainted with my colleagues (Turid Rugaas, Ian Dunbar, etc.) who were members of an elite group in EGroups that I founded: K9Shrinks. THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES for serious behavioral issues; not only is it unprofessional to offer same, it is also unethical. IF I ASK YOU SUBSEQUENT QUESTIONS, I NEED YOU TO INTERACT WITH ME. More information equals more credible answers and a more successful outcome. If you want ANSWERS THAT WORK, participate in any way I request. I'm quite committed to working on this site for YOUR benefit and the benefit of YOUR DOG. Help me in any way you can.


30 years of solving serious behavior problems in domestic dogs; expert in dog to human aggression; Internet columnist for for 5 years; former radio talk show host, WHPC.FM, Garden City, NY "Bite Back" (1995 through 2000). List owner, international animal behavior experts, Seminar leader: "Operant Conditioning and Learning"; "Aggression in The Domestic Dog"; "Solving Problem Behaviors" -- conducted for various training facilities on Long Island from 1993 through 2000. Former clinical director of "Behavioral Abnormalities" in conjunction with Mark Beckerman, DVM, Hempstead, New York.

Member, APDT (UK); Psychologists in Ethical Treatment with Animals

Harcourt Brace Learning Direct: "The Business of Dog Training" "The Fail Safe Dog: Brain Training, not Pain Training"

Ph.D., UC Berkeley

Past/Present Clients
Board of Directors: Northeast Dog Rescue Connection; The Dog Project; Sav-A-Dog Foundation; etc. Pro Bono counselor: Little Shelter Humane Society My practice is presently limited to forensics. I diagnose cause of dog bite, based upon testimony before the Court, for attorneys and insurance companies litigating dog bites, including fatal injuries. I also do pro bono work for bona fide rescue organizations, humane societies, et al, regarding such analysis in an effort to obtain release for dogs being held for death in municipal shelters in the US.

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