My Fear of Pit Bulls.

Updated on May 02, 2015
S.R. asks from Kansas City, MO
28 answers

Huge issue! Our neighbors just purchased a pit bull. He thinks he is around 6 months old. Got him from a rescue. Right now he is very timid and really didn't like all the kids trying to pet him, i am pretty sure he was scared. Our neighbors have no fenced in backyard, so i asked "Dave" if he was going to be outside with him while he went and did his business and he said yes either he will or his wife will. And he asked me why i was asking so many questions. I said well for obvious reasons Pit Bulls do not have the best reputation and then i told him about an incident that happened when i was about 12 years old (im 40 now). My parents friends bought a puppy pit bull and he was a friendly dog, never really showed aggression until he was about a year old. He was constantly around kids so i would have thought he would be used to loud kids running, screaming, playing....etc.... One evening we were over their house (parents friends) for a BBQ and us kids were doing the usual, playing in the backyard while the parents were drinking beer and visiting. "Champion" (dogs name) was laying in the grass a few yards away just watching us.... all of a sudden he got up and starting charging Phillip (homeowners youngest son) and jumped up and bit him on the cheek. He didnt bark, he didnt growl, he just charged. Phillip's mom immediately got up and grabbed Phillip, poor kid was screaming and blood was just pouring from his cheek. (omg Im getting goose bumps telling the story bc i remember it so vividly). My dads buddy got up, went inside, came back out and took the dog around the house and all we heard was a shot. All of us kids started crying by this point bc we were like what the heck just happened. Phillip had to go to the ER and he got like 15 stitches. Someone had already called the police bc of the gun shot and when they got there my dads friend told the police what happened and that he shot the dog. My brother and i were crying and all shook up we decided just to leave. My dad did ask his buddy why he shot the dog and he said because when they bite once, they will do it again. He never questioned him, i suppose it is because it was his house, his dog and his choice. Every since that day, i have had a huge fear of big dogs and also pit bulls. I know every dog is different and they say that pit bulls can be the nicest, tamest dogs and it depends on the dogs owner but ever since that day i just dont think it is true. i know pit bulls have fighting DNA in their blood and yes i know all about them being "nanny dogs" but that is because their bloodlines are also meant for protecting. I do not like this and i know it is not my house or my dog, but i just do not trust this breed of dog. I dont know if there are city ordinances for pit bulls in KC, i have not looked yet but i do know that many cities and states have a ban on the dog. our neighbors are nice but oh my god, my anxiety is high and i dont know how to handle this. What do you think? i do know one thing, i will be so scared to be outside alone with my kids now. i often wonder if i need counseling to get over this big dog fear and pit bull fear. we have several big dogs in our neighborhood that are nice and friendly but it is to the point that when i see them approach me, i just walk the other way. I never run, i just will turn around and start walking the opposite direction. please no negative comments, i am going to try and handle this the best way i can. i dont want to make my neighbors feel bad for a dog they decided to purchase but i am also thinking of my kids.

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So What Happened?

Thanks Fuzzy, i think i meant to say they are bred to fight, not fighting DNA.

Patty K, so sorry this happened. We do have a fence in the backyard. our neighborhood covneance only allows for a four foot high fence, im pretty sure that will not stop a pit or any large dog from getting in the back. i just need to go talk to neighbors. i dont think they got the puppy from a rescue either. that is just what he told me. thank you everyone for making me feel a little bit better. i am def going to seek some therapy for my fear. i know it wont take it away completely, but i hope it helps.

Featured Answers



answers from Miami on

You didn't say what his reaction was when you told him this. What did he say?

I don't know what I would do. So sorry.

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answers from Columbia on

I agree with TF that it might be wise for you to speak to a therapist in order to differentiate between a healthy level of cautiousness and irrational phobia so that when you do have to deal with a dog-related situation, your anxiety doesn't take over your thought processes.

I love dogs. And I wish I could say that pitties are not a danger, but the fact is that the statistics don't lie. These big, strong dogs overwhelmingly cause the most damage, have significantly more recorded bites, and cause the most deaths due to bites. Yes, little dogs also bite, and can be more aggressive, but little dogs do not inflict the damage that bigger dogs do. I don't think you have cause to have a phobic level of anxiety regarding this situation, but I do think you have cause to be alert and cautious.

Of course there are wonderful, sweet pitbull dogs out there that don't bite and never will. But I also understand that you are unwilling to take chances with yourself and children. I can respect that. If you don't want your children to be around someone else's dog, you certainly ought to remove your children. You cannot control someone else's choice to have a big dog. The best you can do is stay away from them and hope for the best.

If they are violating local ordinances such as leash laws, I would first gently make your neighbor aware of the ordinances and your concerns. If they continue to violate them, make a complaint to your local law enforcement officer so that the situation can be rectified.

Good luck to you.

15 moms found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

I don't agree with what many people have written below regarding the safety of Pit Bulls in general, & this dog in particular. Here's why - Pits are the only dog breed known to CONSISTENTLY attack without provocation, to the extent of breaking through barriers in order to do so. They will attack without discrimination - owners, strangers, adults, children, dogs. They attack with full abandon, and as a result the amount of damage they do can be catastrophic.

Yes, I'm aware that any dog has the potential to attack, but in almost every case, the dogs will display some type of signal (whether the people present are aware enough of body language to recognize it may be a different case). Pit bulls seem to be the exception to that rule, on a generalized basis. All too often, the reports of a dog attack are that it was a Pit bull, & that the dog attacked "out of the blue", even to the extent that the dog charged out of nowhere.

Does this mean that every pit bull will attack? No. Does this mean that you can always tell when a different breed will attack? No. But the statistics are heavily in favor against Pit bulls.

In your case with the new pit bull next door, you already have a bad situation that needs attention immediately - the dog is ~ 6 months old, TIMID & NERVOUS with children. Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you allow your children to go to your neighbors, pet the dog, etc. Preferably they should be playing in their yard, behind your fence, any time that dog is outside.

Chances are you cannot influence the neighbors much regarding how they care for their dog. If it were my dog, I would have a fence up, go out with the dog on leash as well, and have it in serious behavioral training with a professional. And then never trust it completely for the rest of it's life. And I say this as a dog fancier who breeds, shows, trains & mentors others.

I know you already have a fear of dogs, and I am not going to tell you that you need to get past that. What happened in your past was traumatic, it was real, and it is a perfect example of what happens with this breed - wonderful, affectionate dogs that turn for no known reason, with no warning. And it happens over & over again. I hate that this is the case, but there's no point sugar coating reality.

I suggest you have an up-front honest conversation with your neighbor, express your concerns about the dog & your children's safety based on how the dog has already demonstrated a questionable personality & temperament. Ask if they would be willing to fence their yard to offer protection/peace of mind. Make sure they know that you are not OK with their children having contact with the dog. And also let them know that based on your past experience with a dog (specifically a Pit), that you just will never be comfortable with this breed, & that you don't have a personal issue with them.

I'm sorry if the information I provided has upset anyone, but everything I have read & heard from people who were involved in Pit attacks supports this. And as a dog lover, I tried SO hard to find a way to refute it, but could not find anything substantial to support an opposing view. Again, it's not that Pit bulls attack & other breeds don't, or even that Pits might attack more. It has everything to do with the way they attack, & the lack of any factors to initiate it. In good conscience, I cannot say that they are a safe breed, especially THIS dog, with the behaviors already displayed, and the young children involved.

My only request to you S., is that you find a way to talk to your children about not playing with that dog, in a way that does not instill a fear of dogs. There may be resources available @ your local Humane society about how to educate children to be responsible around strange dogs.

Best of luck with this difficult situation. T.

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answers from St. Louis on

I would just be vigilant. Even though you never saw it I am sure your neighbor's dog did show signs of aggression. My experience with pits is they are the best dogs and the worst dogs and the difference lies in the owners. My old neighbors had two, I would have trusted them with my children. My neighbors understood and loved the breed.

My brother's old neighbors kept their daughter's boyfriend's dog when he was in trouble with animal control because of biting. Did some nasty damage to my brother's arm and pretty much caused my brother to move.

Two extremes but I actually do believe that they are a dog of extremes. So if you have good neighbors assume they will be good owners but watch to make sure you are right.

I have to disagree with the comments about pits not being aggressive. The breed never started out aggressive but there is a faction that breeds only the most aggressive pups and that does mean those dogs are hard wired to be aggressive. You cannot tell the difference just by looking at them. Does not mean the whole breed is bad but acting like they are fluffy little bunnies?

I also agree with others that you should be upfront with your neighbor about your experience as a child. No one is going to be upset because you have a very valid fear and at least then they know why you are scared and can help shelter you from the dog.

Oh, you did tell him, guessed I missed that.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

If you are really in or around KC, here is a website that summarizes the pit bull specific laws:

I would simply make sure that the owner keeps his word, and that they always have the dog on a leash when they are outside with him. And educate your own children that the dog doesn't like kids - which you've already noticed - and that they should never approach him. Not all dogs (regardless of breed) are friendly.

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answers from Reno on

This is a tough one and I want to word this the best I can. I will not try and change your feelings and I will not get into a Pit Bull debate however I think this all stems from the bite you witnessed and I totally get it. I have a fear of Austrailian Shepards as I was bitten in my arm. I have friends that have them and I just can not be around them so I get it.

I agree with Fuzzy and TF Plano/Allan on a few notes.

Yes they are bred to fight they are strong and loyal to a fault however that being said they like other dogs can be good dogs.
I would be honest with your neighbor about your fears, that way they at least know. For me I have a friend who is deathly afraid of Pits and for a long time would hesitate coming to my house. I never brought the dog inside out of respect for her. I let her decide when and if she wanted to meet my Roxy, she did and they did fine. Is she still scared of Pits, she is and that is okay (although she does like my dog) but her being honest made me more aware.

What you saw was horrible and to be honest if it was another dog that would be the dog you would be afraid of. On a side note you need to teach your children not to run up and pet any dog. You never know what that dogs reaction is going to be.

Good luck to you and Many blessings

ETA: he really should fence his yard and I am really sad that a rescue would allow a dog to go to a home with no fenced yard but I am not sure how that works in your state. He should have that dog leashed whenever it is outside.

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answers from San Francisco on

I wonder if you can call the Pit Bull rescue and find out why this dog was a rescue dog to begin with. A lot of these dogs end up at the shelter because of problems previous owners had with them, or even because the dog was the bait dog in a fighting ring. Either way, that wouldn't be a dog you would trust around your kids. But if, for instance, this was the pet of an older person who was put into an assisted living facility, and this dog has only ever known love and adoration (but just hasn't known any kids or loud environments), then that dog might be fine, given some time to adjust.

I will say, though, that when you read the news around here, and there's a dog attacking kids, it's never a Beagle or a Pug. It's always a Pit Bull. :-/

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answers from New York on

I would not be able to relax. My husband and his friend were walking our dogs. English Springer Spaniel and Schnsuzer/Jack Russell mix. Friend said "oh Sue your flowers are beautiful" Pit charged my Springer. 60 stitches in and on her abdomen, 10 neck and cuts. She was in hospital for 3 days. Had it been the schnauzer/JR he would have been killed. A child, I shutter to think. Oh and the bus stop was on the corner where pit lived. So that's my story. Find out the laws.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I have two pits. I also had a neighbor several years ago who was afraid of pits. We introduced him to ours when they were very small, so they were less intimidating. We built a relationship so he could get to know our dogs over time, and they knew him. I adore my dogs and do have a level of trust with them. However, I would never let them run loose, ever. It's dangerous for so many, other dogs, bikes, strangers, etc. That is a bad idea for ANY dog.

And I have to add a correction to the debate...pit bulls were in fact bred to be dog aggressive, which has been exacerbated by increased breeding for fighting in the past few decades. They are NOT bred to be people-aggressive, though some become that way. A fighting dog that turns on its owner is put down, the owner has to be able to lay hands on it when it is totally keyed up without getting attacked. I have personally taken prey out of my dogs' mouths on multiple occasions and they have never even growled at me, much less tried to bite.

I suggest that you try to build a relationship with the dog. Get to know it and you will be better able to determine your comfort level with your kids. Maybe the dog does have to be kept away at all times, maybe controlled contact is ok.

If you are having true phobia issues, contact a local shelter and see if you can visit with a small pit bull puppy, then work your way up.

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answers from Phoenix on

You are right in your feelings and I would make them known to the neighbor. Small dogs may "bite" but it's more of a nip. Pits, rotts, chows and other like dogs do not bite but "attack" so the damage is much more serious. You can't compare pit bites to Chihuahua bites. You hear stories all the time of families that had a pit for 10 years and "never had a problem" until that one day they flip out and attack someone, even their own family members. So if I were you, I would have a chat with the neighbor, tell him you are concerned for your kids, and you would appreciate it if he was not let loose in the yard. Better safe than sorry. JMO. Good luck.

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answers from Springfield on

I think you are afraid of pit bulls because pit bulls are very dangerous. There may be some friendly, gentle pit bulls, but there are many, many that can be extremely dangerous.You can't change their DNA.

If your neighbor isn't planning to put a fence around his yard, why not put a fence around yours?

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answers from Boston on

Your experience as a child was horrible and traumatic for everyone involved. Any dog can react in a crowd especially when it feels that it's family is threatened - which is what a dog may feel when there's lots of running around. You, and everyone else, was thoroughly traumatized when the immediate reaction was to take the dog around the corner of the house and shoot it. Good Lord, what were the adults thinking in doing this and in not dealing with the children on the premises???

There's no "aggressive" gene. Dogs do have innate strengths by breed for things like herding (sheepdogs, collies), retrieving (various retriever types), digging (terriers) and so on. But most of the aggressiveness associated with certain breeds is because the people who buy them train them a certain way (or fail to train them). You should arm yourself with the facts, and not be misled by rumors and urban legends. I think you could easily make a case against any type of dog, from thoroughbred to mutt, because somewhere, someone was bitten by that sort of dog. Pit bulls got a lot of bad press through the dog-fighting horrors, but the fact that some pits were used in this way does not mean that other dogs raised and trained by different people should be blamed for those situations. (Would you generalize about people this way? Of course not.)

Here's an article on pit bulls that references a lot of reports and studies, and further references several associations that recommend AGAINST breed-specific bans.

My deep concern with you is that you have never been taught how to deal with dogs in general. There are certain behaviors that are absolutely required in dealing with ANY dog. When I was a kid, we always went door to door selling Girl Scout cookies and light bulbs for the Boy Scouts and that sort of thing, and we went alone. So we all were taught how to approach a dog, how to evaluate its behavior and so on. I honestly feel you could benefit from this sort of instruction, and so could your kids.

Adopting a rescue animal has another set of issues. Many of them have been abandoned suddenly, and some may or may not have abused - but they do have a certain amount of trauma and insecurity in their past. This is not in their DNA - it's "nurture" vs. "nature." We adopted a twice-abandoned terrier from a shelter that did an excellent job of matching dog to family based on family make-up. For example, our dog had a certain amount of food aggression, not because of her DNA, but because she'd been moved around so much and felt insecure. So we were a better match than others because we had no small children in the home - small kids make sudden moves, often think a dog is a "toy", and don't respect a dog's space. With love and consistent training, our dog has come a long way and is very much dominated by her loving spirit and deep need for affection and praise.

You should call your animal control department and find out what ALL the laws are in your town - breed-specific bans (if any), leash laws, containment laws, waste pick-up requirements, licensing, etc. Information is power. You can also talk to some local pet stores and training/boarding facilities to find out if there are places you can go to get dog handling training even if you don't own a dog. You can also volunteer at a local shelter and learn proper techniques for dealing with any and all dogs you may encounter. This is important, not just because of the neighbors' dog, but because you actually are afraid of many dogs, and you will pass this on to your kids. I've only been bitten once in my entire life, and it was by a dachshund! My neighbors have had rottweilers, huskies, Newfoundlands, border collies, terriers (which is what a pit bull is), and even a leonburger (biggest dog I've seen outside of a beauceron and a great dane). The older rescue dogs that have been traumatized sometimes have issues, but we have 2 labs in that category on our street and they have far more issues (contrary to their reputations) than the rottweiler and the pit bull.

So I'd say to base your feelings on actual information, not rumors and erroneous news reports, and to learn how to develop skills to minimize risk everywhere. The ocean is dangerous too, but we give our kids swimming lessons. Cars are horribly dangerous, so we send our kids to drivers' ed. No one ever helped you through your traumatic experience, and that's a shame. You really owe it to yourself to take that on now. You must arm yourself, and your children, with facts.

And your neighbor should be commended for taking on a rescue animal, and should be vigilant and consistent in training ANY new animal - not because it's a pit bull, but because it's young, untrained, and a little disoriented because it's been re-homed. We have to supervise our kids when they are young, and we have to supervise our dogs as well, regardless of breed.

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answers from St. Louis on

after 40 years of dogs, "it's not the's the owners" is a true statement.
"They're not human, they're animals" also true.

I've had purebreds & mutts. Both can be sweethearts. Both can be assholes who'll take your arm/face off. Both can flip out without warning. I've had beagles who were the worst. I've seen little sneezes of dogs attack anything which moves. & I've seen a springer spaniel just go after any/all moving targets. All different fact, I had a yellow lab grab a child's face. As a teenager, I had a cocker spaniel grab my face....simply because I was shifting in my chair. smh. I truly believe you cannot trust any animal...

But my OES/pit/rott/multi mix mutt was the sweetest dog. I miss him dearly, & he was excellent with children. I currently have 3 dogs, & would take another in a heartbeat. I really like the suggestion that you seek help in facing your fear....& I hope your neighbor stands by his responsibility in providing for his dog. Good luck!

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answers from Houston on

I have been attacked by a pit bull. The pit bull was in the process of tearing my dog apart and when I attempted to intervene, it turned on me. I cannot describe what it was like to watch that pit bull shake my 65 lb dog like a rag doll. About 400 stitches later in my dog and some damage to me, I came away with a few firm rules which I enforce without qualms with my children.

1. Dogs have teeth; all dogs can bite. Hence treat all dog with respect and caution. If in doubt of the dog, stay away.
2. The bigger the dog, the bigger the damage. Again if in doubt of the dog, stay away.
3. Even with the best known dog (family dog for instance), caution is my watch word. Thus, I never ever leave my kids alone with any dog, period. I am there at all times to supervise. Just in case.
4. When I am outside, I have a defensive object on hand (broom, shovel, etc.). Just in case. Fending off an attacking dog is no joke and being prepared is the best first step.

I have seen firsthand the split second decision of a dog to attack. The aftermath has left me with a different opinion on dogs in general. I love dogs but... An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

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answers from Santa Barbara on

I am friends with a reconstructive surgeon. He will NOT get a dog because of all the children he sees in the ER. Never fail, the bite is around the face of the child and by a very familiar dog (their own, good friend's or neighbor's dog).

You do not need to make friends with this dog. You also do not have many rights. My advise is to do your best to avoid this person and dog.

I think an analogy is like seat belts. They really do not help much when you are not in a crash, but we use them incase we are in a crash. The odd of every person getting bit by a dog is low, but it still can happen. This pet owner needs to be responsible. If you notice the dog is out and not properly contained (on a leash if required) then you have a right to report it.

edit: I do not see what this surgeons sees, so I do not have a problem getting a family dog. I respect and understand their family decision.

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answers from Boston on

I understand. While I don't have a Pit, I do own a German Shepherd. Recently my pup was on his run, and scared a kid from our neighborhood who rode down our driveway. Luckily he just scared him and didn't do any damage. The kid said he scratched and jumped on him and he turned out to be fine. Thank God! took extra precaution and moved my dogs run so that it wouldn't go near my driveway.

As a responsible pet owner, I have always ensured to keep everyone safe. Including my dog. Most people know my dog has issues with strangers and unfamiliar animals. For that, I have recently started working with a behavioral trainer. To ensure that I can prevent any future problems.

While I do know my pup, I am always aware that these kinds of things can occur. If you have a fear of Pit bulls, that is understandable, however, I would also encourage you to attend therapy and work on this, as you may find it easier to handle when dealing with your neighbors pup.

My own MIL had a HUGE fear of German Shepherds. since my pup knows her, it is easier for her to be near him. Recently I worked with her on this fear. Now my pup and her are best buds. She even got him up on two legs to dance with her! Now when she comes over she isn't paralyzed.

My pup is fine once he knows someone. I encourage you to work on your fears. I also would ensure that your neighbor is aware of this, and could work with you so that you aren't fearful every time you go outside.

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answers from Baton Rouge on

There is no such thing as fighting DNA. Pits are not naturally aggressive. Little dogs such as chihuahuas are generally more aggressive and more likely to bite than pits, but pits get bad press because they are large terriers (they bite and hold, rather than bite and release), making their bites much worse than chihuahuas or even other large non-terrier dogs.
The worst dog bite I've ever had was from a cocker spaniel (not my dog - untrained and undisciplined beast belonging to idiots) who laid my hand open for no reason, and I've had four pits/pit mixes in my lifetime.
I think counseling would actually be a very good idea.

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answers from Houston on

We got into a huge fight with our back neighbors over their pittbulls. Their dogs kept getting out of their yard. They did try to keep them in the yard but these dogs are strong and will just chew/ram through the fence. Eventually one made it in our yard and attacked my dog and I just happened to be out there and my dog was able to run to me. He almost lost an eye and has an ugly scar above his eye from it. They did not take responsibility and long story short it was ugly. My dog is large but he is a very docile breed so he never stood a chance. These were dogs that were treated right and never fought but man they are so aggressive it's scary.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

Christy Lee laid it out exactly.
Therapy for you.
Due diligence regarding the laws, and informing your neighbor if they are not following them.
Caution as needed per individual circumstances.
And I agree that once you seek therapy for your personal issues due to the trauma from your childhood, that you seek out opportunities to be around lots of dogs. Read, read, read, and ask for help learning the proper way to be social with a dog. The Humane Society is great about that sort of thing. I can't count the number of times I have wanted to scream at someone who wants to pet or play with my dog (a GSD) and they approach in completely the wrong way. Or they crowd, or they try too soon (like the second they walk up). They just don't know that what they are doing is wrong. They don't understand dog behavior.

So educate yourself, and practice!

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answers from Las Vegas on

ETA: My friend sent me photos this morning, and I was sickened when I saw the extent of her dog's injuries. I can't even bring myself to write in words how gruesome his injuries were. He is so lucky that immediate access to emergency veterinary care was available. My friend was also bitten in the attack. She is also going to be okay, thankfully, but she is truly shaken by this attack, and she's not the kind of person who is fearful or anxious about anything.

I'm not anti-dog--- I love dogs! I write this, again, just to present a picture of the realities of being in proximity to dogs that have the potential to do great harm very quickly.

As a neighbor to someone who has a pit bull, you have a right to know what the plan is to ensure that this dog stays within the confines of his yard unless he is safely leashed with his owner.



I'm not writing this to add to your fears, but I do want you to know that your concerns are not unfounded, not just from your own experiences as you know so well, but from those of others. Earlier today, I received a message from one of my best friends. She lives in Miami and was out Sunday night walking with her dog, a min pin.

As she was walking through the neighborhood on the sidewalk, two pit bulls managed to break out of the crates or kennels in their yard and viciously mauled my friend's dog.

She was able to get help, thank goodness. The owners of the pit bulls were very apologetic. However, her dog had to go to the emergency vet, and he has undergone extensive treatments to save his life. He is expected to recover, although he was severely bitten and gouged and is being treated with antibiotics and painkillers.

I think you should continue the conversation with your neighbor and get some assurances that the dog will always be leashed and under direct supervision when out in the yard.

Also check with your city ordinances regarding pets and leash laws.

I do feel for you. It would be tough to feel completely comfortable in your own yard not knowing if the neighbor's dog is out or has somehow gotten out of the house, unknown to his owners.

Best to you and your family with this. I truly hope your neighbors will put safety above all else when dealing with their pet and allowing him outside.

J. F.

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answers from Muncie on

Personally, I have only ever been bitten by small dogs. Been knocked on my butt loads by big dogs though.

I say you need to start at home. Teach your children how to properly behave around dogs no matter the size. Teach them to come inside if the dog is ever outside and alone. Teach them to always ask the owner first if they may pet the dog.

Good luck.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I love dogs and don't have an experience like yours but get it. I won't let my kids pet pit bulls and I advocate petting almost every other dog we see. The risk just doesn't seem worth it. They do seem to attack more and the way their jaws are make it next to impossible to break their grip. I feel badly as I know there are plenty of good ones but I'm just not risking my kids. But what I would do is talk to your neighbor so hopefully this will be one of the good ones. I would carefully have your kids get to know the dog to lessen the chance the dog reacts badly bc he doesn't know them. Lots of treats maybe? Ask a trainer yourself. Then I would offer to pay for a fence. Two four foot fences will be a hindrance. We have a big dog and I think our little back fence is about four feet and he's never jumped it as excited as he's gotten. And he's way taller than the average pit bull. Therapy probably will help you since this isn't exclusive to pit bulls for you. I think large dogs in general are less apt to bite than little dogs who get defensive and nip. But your experience is skewing things for you now. Perhaps have a water gun outside in case the dog ever does charge. Again I'd ask a trainer what may ward off an attack. Seems extreme and silly yet if it's simple, why not?

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answers from Omaha on

Traumatic experiences make your fear totally reasonable. I'd be shaken up too. I have some stories that might help! I do hope you get a chance to read these.

Wanna know what I am afraid of? Chihuahuas, I am so serious. It sounds silly but most I have met have always enjoyed trying to snap up my legs, hands, and fingers.

But! Of course I think to myself 'not all are like that!' but trust me that doesn't help when one is in front of me. I will attempt to avoid them at all costs.

On the other hand, I have grown up around pitbulls who I trust more than any other breed. They have always been my best friends and are wonderful when raised by a good owner with a strong will. I get heart broken when I meet people who have had bad experiences with them or claim they are bad when I can shove my whole hand into my mom's pitbull's mouth and get her tongue, she'll stare at me like I am a weirdo, and I can take her bone and she will patiently sit and wait for it back or go find something else to do.

NOW see my mom was attacked by a German Shepard, with bad owners, not the dogs fault it never is normally. It jumped a fence and they trained it that way, to guard, but improperly. She tried to attack my pitbull, they were on a walk, and she didn't fight back, she did cower, and cried and even she, a dog, has a fear of other dogs now too!

BUT I also love German Shepards! But my mom is terrified of them because of her experience. My pitbull is afraid of dogs in general because of her experience, and I am afraid of Chihuahuas because of my experience. And there will always be someone who thinks it is ridiculous and will lecture you on 'how not all of them are bad and to get past it' as if it is that easy.

I suggest seeking a therapy, to come to terms with your experience and fear and maybe seeing if you can set up a time to meet pitbull puppies to begin with. It sounds silly, but seeing them as a puppy first and getting to play with them in that innocent stage in their life when they are wobbling, goofballs might help relax you a little.

You had a bad experience, a scary one at that. You just need time to heal, take a breath, seek some therapy I strongly suggest it, meet some pitty puppies when you feel ready to begin with and take your time. I love pitbulls, but I also understand your scary moment. I hope things get better! Now I need to work on my Chihuahua fears....

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answers from Washington DC on

My parents have a pit rescue, my brother has a pit/lab mix, my sister has a pit mix, and my other brother has 2 blue pits. Aside from our the lab we had growing up, there are hands down the BEST dogs I have ever known. They are all over a year. The Blue Pit female took some training, but she is the most docile, sweet animal you will ever meet in your life.

Please don't teach your kids to be afraid of this dog. All animals have the capability to be nasty and not just pits. I really hate the generalization with these.

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answers from Indianapolis on

I'm like you scared to death of big dogs, Pit bulls and Rottweiler's especially. I don't know if you need therapy for this fear but I can understand your fear. I would try to stay away. Does your housing division have an association? If so I would check the rules on dog ownership so that you can know what to do if your neighbor isn't following the rules. You told they owner why you are afraid so I hope he will understand and respect your reason for not wanting the dog lose or around you. Good luck!!!

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answers from Chicago on

Over the years I've seen kids hurt by a golden retriever, chihuahuas, cocker spaniel and a poodle. Any dog can bite and cause damage. My ex-husband's boston terrier bit his nephew (who was taunting him) and he needed stitches. My daughter was bitten by her grandparents cocker spaniel. I am much more wary of small dogs than large because I've seen first hand the damage even little teeth can do.

That being said, I never was a fan of pit bulls until my daughter got one. This dog is so awesome I ask her about once a week if I can have him. The answer is always no. It's all about how dogs are raised and trained and how you behave around them. Any dog can bite. It's silly to be afraid of a breed. Any dog can be dangerous and most dogs are good. There is also no such thing at fighting and they are not bred to fight, they are trained. A pit puppy is the same as any other puppy. It doesn't want to fight.

If your neighbor had a german shepherd or a doberman would you be more or less afraid? What about a lab or a golden? My neighbors daughter was bitten in the face by a golden and it required stitches.

My point is, you need to learn not to be so fearful, but also to know how to behave around dogs for your own sake and your children's. Therapy might be a good idea. And talk to your neighbor about his dog. Is it fenced in? Can you pet it while he is there to see if it's a nice dog? Who knows... you might even learn to like it if you get to know it. It worked for me!

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answers from New York on

Your phobias of large dogs requires couseling. Part of the process will probably involve being exposed to large dogs. You can't conquer your fear until you face your fear. Counseling will help tremendously especially since you have fed your fear for almost 30 years.

Aren't you tired of being so extremely afraid. Dogs can sense your fear and they are not good in their responses toward fear. Being victorious will be so much better than you can imagine. I say go for it.

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answers from Atlanta on

My husband was walking on a sidewalk in a neighborhood when a pit bull "puppy" (10 months old) crashed through a glass storm door and attacked him. My husband was a good 50 feet from the front door going away from this house. This dog was not provoked. Many dogs have issues but little ones that have small teeth, that don't have the strength to break a door and you can wrestle to the ground should not cause fear. Your concern is well founded. Be careful and be aware. I'm sorry that you're dealing with this...

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