Whether you get a pit bull or pet of any kind that will be around children, their safety is primary concern. Is it safe to get a pit bull when you have small children? The attention given by the media regarding pit bull attacks would make anyone concerned.
Your biggest fear is leaving the child alone for a moment with the pit bull and he attacks the child. You’ve heard stories like this. But why do pit bulls do this? Are they born to be aggressive? Is there something innate that would make a pit bull turn on their owners or attack children?
It’s really important to get all the facts. There are many myths about pit bulls that still exist. Once you have all the information you can make a better decision for you and your family.
Lets start with some basic guidelines.
Any interaction between a child and a dog should always be supervised, especially young children. Children may not understand what may irritate a dog or try to put their hands in its mouth. Any breed can snap even as a reflex. Children are unpredictable and may sit or step on the dog, punch, poke or pull its hair. Regardless of breed, at some point a dog is going to become annoyed. Supervision is to teach the children what is and isn’t okay as well as teaching your pit bull that regardless of what the child does an aggressive response is not to be tolerated.
Before your pit bull interacts with small children, you should teach your pit bull obedience training. If your pit bull hasn’t been trained to follow basic commands, when he is in a situation where he becomes aggressive you will have little control for him to obey you. The owner must be respected as the leader and when you have that respect, you have the most important part of all training completed and all else will follow. It is very important when a pit bull begins to become aggressive to immediately calm him and get him to be completely relaxed. Using commands such as sit, stay or lay down and letting a child pet him will not work effectively without that respect.
Make sure the environment in which the pit bulls and children interacting in is as safe as possible. Pit bulls are strong playful dogs. Just by turning around they can accidentally bump a toddler and knock them over. Make sure there’s nothing hard or sharp to land on. Also avoid mixing the child’s toys with the pit bull’s. A child may grab the pit bull’s toy and the Pit may not like that so it’s best to not mix them. It probably won’t be the cleanest thing in the world either.
If for any reason your pit bull is uncomfortable in the situation, remove him from it. Don’t force the issue. For whatever reason, the pit bull may not be comfortable around the children or adults who are present. It can feel threatened or be fearful, a combination of both or something completely different. If your pit bull is in a nervous state and cannot be relaxed, he can end panicking and biting someone.