Who’s the real bully?

A couple of months back I wrote an article on a fight that broke out between my now one year resident Husky and the newly adopted bully pit. Because of his breed type, a lot of finger pointing defaults to the pitbull. I, being a novice dog owner, aligned myself with that philosophy and was determined to keep an extra careful eye on him and discipline him as necessary.

I’m so misunderstood

It’s become a regular routine for me to rotate the dogs. While I’m out of the house, one dog will be in my room while another is out back in the yard, or one will be in the garage while the other is free to run the house (usually Jordi, my Husky who has a very low prey drive and doesn’t bother the cats). Sometimes two are in a kennel and one is given free time. While I’m at home all three dogs are out and about with the cats in the mix. Cat and dog incidences are virtually non-existent, but I’ve continually been experiencing incidents between my two boy dogs about every other week. Biscuit, my bullypit just keeps bumping heads with Jordi. What could I do to get him under control, I thought? I’m always careful to give them individual treats and to separate them with this much territorial space as possible so they don’t feel the need to protect their food or themselves. But, even without the temptation of a treat to fight over, from time to time when my back was turned a scuffle would break out. It lasted no more than two to five seconds with me intervening with a shout or clap of my hands. Jordi my supposedly goofball would always look casual and innocent, while Biscuit was noticeably worked up with tense face muscles and keen ready eyes. The front of his muzzle was even flushed red. He was obviously keyed up and ready to rumble. But was he really the instigator?

Who, me? A bully?

One day Biscuit was confined to another room and Jordi and Koba, my German Shepherd-mix we’re free to roam in the living room.


I heard the tell-tale snap and growl from the adjoining kitchen. I quickly looked over and saw Koba cowering from Jordi as a leftover bone was being guarded on the floor. No doubt about it this time. Jordi, being bigger, older, and the alpha male of the three was showing his dominance and claim to the chew treat. Would I have come to the same conclusion if it had been him and Biscuit? Probably not, “Got to watch those pitbulls” you know? Fast forward to the next incident… I was laying on my bed with Koba and Jordi at my feet. I was checking my email on my laptop and my daughter was beside me playing on her phone. We heard a vicious snap and growl and both looked up expecting to see Biscuit, but he was in the garage. Koba again was on the receiving end of a show of Jordi’s dominance. Apparently she was too close to Jordi as he snuggled beside my feet. I’ve been noticing more and more lately Jordi becoming somewhat possessive which I hadn’t noticed in his character before. Of all 3 dogs, Biscuit has definitely been the most affectionate but since his arrival Jordi seems to be getting jealous? Or am I just anthropomorphosizing him? He’s definitely been trying to get closer to me, and sometimes physically blocks Biscuit from getting to me when I’m giving out pets.

Koba showing rare affection

In any case, the final show of aggression came when all three dogs were in my presence and I clearly saw Jordi bite Biscuit on the top of the head. I think there was a rawhide cow ear involved this time. But Jordi was the aggressor. A few days later and Biscuit has a small red scar on his muzzle where Jordi has bitten him over an unknown cause.

Everybody on my bed, as usual

The triggers are not always consistent and sometimes they’re not identified at all, but I have definitely discontinued my automatic blame on Biscuit as being the aggressive one in the bunch. Whether it’s jealousy, or instinctual need to dominate, or fight for something else other than attention, I am definitely seeing Jordi as less of a goofy get-along pal with paws and more of what he is. A dog. A complex and multi-faceted animal with unique needs and personality. Intelligence and primal instinct all rolled into one. As a side note, I’ve even caught Jordi snapping at one of the cats who approached to eat from one of their bowls while Jordi was eating from it. (some nerve!) That earned him a couple of hours of time out in the garage as well as ingraining it in my mind that my lovable blue-eyed,brown-eyed dog was no innocent angel pup.

Jordi and Tulip enjoying (?) each other’s company.

So the truth is out. There is a bully in my home, and it’s not Biscuit. It’s Jordi. This is an issue that I will continue to watch and intervene in as necessary. I will make sure that all the dogs get as much equal attention as possible and that their needs are met. It is my goal to do more research on dogs as a whole so that I can do more training for myself as an owner and give more personalized training and conditioning to my dogs. At the moment I’m reading Cesar Millan’s Be The Pack Leader * which is giving me helpful insight.

*Purchases made through affiliate link gives me a commission.

Because of the difference in their build and breeding I am still aware that one dog may have more capacity to cause damage but that doesn’t make him the more dangerous dogs. In order for them to live together in harmony, and show mutual respect for each other I’ve got to put in the work. I’ve got to make sure that Jordi and the other dogs recognize that there can only be one alpha. Me. And as far as everyone being so quick to caution me on watching out for the unpredictable Pitbull, I say don’t believe the hype. Open your eyes and open your mind and look at what’s really going on. The details are in the dog.

Getting used to each other day by day.

Thanks for reading, be sure to check out my uploads at YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter. Also check out my affiliate sponsored pet store at www.catsdogsharmony.com till next time keep the harmony!

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IWAPBO #2

The American pitbull terrier was first recognized by the United Kennel Club, the breed was rightly seen as the perfect “nanny dog”

To continue the series on Pit-bull ownership, I offer another account of a dog owner and his bully breed. The Interview with a pit-bull owner series (IWAPBO) is my attempt at offering a more balanced story of a new world I’ve become a part of: the Pit-bull world.

My guest in this Interview is Gary C. from Kansas City, MO.

Catsdogsharmony: What makes Pitbulls (PB), so special?

Gary C: They’re unique. They’re smart. Historically they were bred to watch over children. That’s why they are good with them.

I did some brief research on this after the interview to verify this information. According to two different websites that I will quote below, this seems to have some merit. The first is from Alternet.com. Link here.

“For most of the 114 years since the American pitbull terrier was first recognized by the United Kennel Club, the breed was rightly seen as the perfect “nanny dog” for children because of its friendly nature, loyalty and stability. As the ASPCA notes, the pitbulls were “once considered especially non-aggressive to people.””

Apparently there are multiple types of PB breeds, and 2 strains in particular that can give either the more “aggressive” type that are trained to attack,  or the “friendlier type, according to the excerpt below from Pethelpful.com. Link here.

Unfortunately, the wrong kind of people are still finding the first strain of the pit bull dog attractive as guard dogs for illegal activities. They are stout built dogs with square heads and firms jaw lines and a very ominous appearance. In the wrong hands, the pit bulls are trained to protect their owners during illegal activities such as drug deals. They are trained not to let ANYONE come near their owners or their property. Many of them are not being trained to warn their owner or to keep the stranger at bay, they are being trained to attack and kill whoever or whatever comes near. They are being trained to be aggressive.

Now, back to the Q&A:

CDH:  Have you always liked PBs?

GC: Yes, I’ve always liked them. I like Pitbulls, and German Shepards.

CDH: So what made you decide to get one?

GC: I always knew I wanted one.

CDH:  How many PBs do you have? Names? Male or female? Purebred or mixed?

GC: I have one. Its a male, his name is Apollo. He’s a purebred, blue-nose.

CDH: Did you adopt or buy? How long have you had him?

GC:  He was bred. I picked him out of a litter of 7 when he was a puppy.

CDH: How old is he now?

GC: He’ll be 2 years old in December.

CDH: Is he an inside or outside dog?

GC: Inside, only goes out to go to the bathroom.

CDH: What personality does your PB have?

GC: Crazy! He just likes to look at me funny and smile at me. He loves to ride with me. He doesn’t tear anything up when he’s in the car, he just jumps in the car and looks around, ready to go.

He doesn’t like to be inside the house. When I let him out he really doesn’t like to come back in. I’ll call him, and he hears me but he looks around everywhere but at me, then when I call his name louder he eventually comes in. (Gary demonstrates by lowering his  head and looking left to right as if he’s trying to avoid looking at me).

Sometimes when me and my wife will be relaxing on the bed. If he’s up on the bed too he’ll try to wiggle between us if we getting too close, like he don’t like seeing us hugged up. (I laughed at this).

He can break out of his cage somehow too. I don’t know how he’s opening the door but he can.

CDH: What brand of dog food do you feed him, and how much does he eat?

GC: He eats 3 times a day. About 1 1/2 cup in the morning, then 1/2 cup for lunch and dinner. I feed him Purina One, Adult. I feed him dry food, but he gets wet food mixed in on the for breakfast and on the weekends. And sometimes I put in a raw egg too, to keep his fur looking shiny.  There’s a special shampoo I use for him too to keep his white coat from looking dingy. (He couldn’t remember the brand, but I did a quick search online and found that Walmart carries a brand called Healthy Breeds Pit Bull Bright Whitening Shampoo. This may be it.)

CDH: Do you feed him scraps?

GC: No, not really, only rib bones.

CDH: Is he allowed on the furniture?

GC: He’s not allowed on the couch, but we let him on the bed. My wife doesn’t mind, she treats him like a big baby. He likes to try to sit on my feet though! I’m like “get off my feet, your’e too big”, then he gives me a look when he walks away.

CDH: What kind of toys does he like to play with?

GC: He likes to chew on the rope and he likes (empty) water bottles. I’m looking for some other kinds he might like.

CDH: Have you had any bad experiences with any PBs?

GC: No.

CDH: How about other peoples negative opinions of PBs? Has anybody ever given you flak for having one?

GC: Nobody personally said anything, its just some places that don’t allow you to have them. Some apartment complexes won’t accept them, saying that they’re aggressive. My thing is, you’ve never met my dog. How do you know he’s aggressive? I can always put him up in another room if someone comes over or if maintenance needs to come in my apartment.

CDH: What about stories where a PB supposedly attacked someone?

GC: They might have been abused, used as fighting pits. The way they were raised makes a difference. With shelter pets you never know what their past was. And some dogs just don’t play well with others.

(I can attest to this. When my daughter and I were looking through the shelters there were some dogs we looked at that were NOT Pitbulls or any Bully breed that the shelter people turned us away from saying they were were aggressive or not suitable for households with other pets.)

CDH: What about attacks on kids/babies?

GC: Maybe the kid was grabbing on it in a way it didn’t like. Sometimes kids play rough. A dog can’t talk and say “stop”, it has teeth so it might bite if it feels threatened or in danger. Its only trying to protect itself. Also, I think the media puts too much attention on this breed. There are other dogs that bite and attack people, but you never hear about that. I’m sure somewhere a miniature schnauzer has hurt somebody, but you won’t hear about that in the news.

As for babies, there’s the noise.  Dogs don’t like certain noises, it gets them nervous. And certain (sporadic) movements.

CDH: Any advice for anyone thinking of adopting a PB?

GC: Go for it. Don’t believe the hype. I’m planning on getting another one myself. A girlfriend for Apollo. I want the same coloring. When they have a litter I’m hoping for a solid white puppy.

One thing you can try when they are misbehaving is to put some pennies in a empty water bottle or can and rattle it when they are doing something wrong while you’re saying ‘no’. They don’t like that sound, and they’ll stop whatever they’re doing.

End of Interview

So here is another point of view from a PB owner. I am continuing to educate myself about this breed and my dog’s particular quirks and needs. I always learn something new from hearing how other PB owners live with and take care of their dogs.

Hope you enjoyed this post. Don’t forget to check out my Youtube channel and Instagram page. You can also follow me @catsdogsharmony on Twitter.

Until next time, Keep the Harmony!