Red nose pitbulls have a special beauty, with their reddish-brown coat, nose and toenails, and their light-colored eyes, but people incorrectly think they are aggressive and more likely to "turn." As with all breeds, red nose pitbulls are the product of genetics and environment. Genetics provides the potential, but environment -- how you raise your pitbull -- determines how that potential is used. In the article "Socialization and Parvovirus Risk," by Sheila Segurson, DVM, of the UC Davis Shelter Medicine Program, Segurson states: "The primary socialization period of puppies is...critical for development of...social relationships with humans and other animals. Puppies that are confined during this period are...more likely to develop behavioral problems (primarily fear and aggression) than puppies that are provided a socialization program."
Things You'll Need
- Training treats
Take your red nose pitbull pup to the veterinarian as soon as you adopt it, and keep up with all recommended appointments and vaccines. Neuter your puppy at the age the veterinarian recommends, as that will improve its health as well as possibly prevent hormonally-triggered behaviors as the pup matures. Pitbulls are particularly susceptible to parvo and demodex. Parvo is a contagious, deadly virus that kills a large percentage of its victims, but can be usually be prevented with a careful vaccination program and proper cautions. UC Davis' Shelter Medicine Program recommends vaccinating every two weeks, up to the age of 18 weeks, for shelter puppies because of the increased risk of these illnesses. It is wise to follow the same protocol for pitbull puppies and other high-risk breeds.
Socialize your puppy daily. Socialization includes positive exposure to all kinds of situations, people, animals, noises and places. From about three weeks until 12 weeks, puppies are particularly impressionable, both negatively and positively, so a bad experience can make the pup forever scared of specific situations, types of people or animals. If the pup has no experience with the world, it also becomes fearful or aggressive, because this socialization period determines the pup's view of the world. Positive, gentle experiences with other dogs, cats, small animals, children and adults, crutches, wheelchairs and loud noises are all a part of a solid socialization program.
Take your pitbull pup to puppy kindergarten and then to obedience classes. Your pup will grow up to be a very strong and active dog, so it must be under your control at all times. Puppy kindergarten and obedience classes also provide safe, structured interaction with other dogs, which is very helpful since the breed can be aggressive to other dogs when mature. Allow your pup to play with adult dogs that you know are vaccinated and healthy. Unless you are certain of a puppy, it may be best to keep your pup away from other young puppies, except in class.
Avoid large dog parks and doggy day care if your puppy exhibits signs of dominance or aggression toward other dogs. Ask the trainer's advice if you are unsure about your puppy's social skills with other dogs. Some pitbulls, socialized with other animals at an early age, can socialize and play in small groups for their whole lives, while others cannot. Some can do well one on one, but not in a group. The breed is wonderful and loving, but the dog aggression in their history cannot be completely ignored.