There are so many articles online about Pit Bulls.
Some label them as aggressive, bloodthirsty dogs…Others describe them as loving family pets, eager to obey and please their owners.
Love or hate them, Pit bulls are one of the most popular dogs in America. And with so many families adopting one of these handsome dogs into their pack, the question arises - Are they protective of their owners?
The answer is yes: Pit bulls are incredibly protective of their owners. But there’s more to it than temperament alone.
Pit bulls are loyal and protective of their owners because they are loved and cared for. Even an untrained Pit Bull can be a protective dog. Training simply enhances their natural protective inclinations and elevates them to a whole other level.
One that few intruders would want to mess with! So, let’s look closer at what makes these dogs so protective and how you can harness their potential.
What Makes Pit Bulls Protective Of Their Owners
As mentioned earlier, a Pit Bull will be protective of its owner when it feels love and care within a family unit.
This means that responsible dog owners want to do whatever they can to care for their dogs. Taking your dog for walks, feeding them nutritious food, and ensuring they have a clean, cozy bed makes all the difference.
You should check the tone in which you speak to your dog. They’re sensitive animals, and feeling loved makes them all the more endearing to their owners.
But besides these things of an external kind, there are a few qualities or attributes that make this breed extremely protective of their owners by nature.
Consider just a few of their outstanding qualities:
Pit Bulls are very loyal to their owners.
Like most service or working dogs, these pups show strong loyalty to their owners. They have been known to stick to their owners' side through thick and thin, even when faced with danger.
But loyalty needs to be nurtured. A little later, we’ll speak of various training methods to help you cultivate the protective side of your Pit Bull, and most of these exercises would help foster their loyalty, too.
So keep reading to see how to do it!
While they’re known as a goofy, fun-loving breed, Pit bulls also show fearlessness in the face of danger.
Unlike many other dogs that will run when a situation escalates, Pit bulls are known for standing their ground and taking the fight to the aggressor. That fearless attitude is just what makes them irreplaceable family members.
If you have young kids at home or perhaps need a protective dog to look after your significant other, look no further than the Pit Bull.
Pit Bulls are also a very intelligent breed.
Training can start very early and they are keen on learning new commands. Many owners have trained their Pit Bulls to act on command only. So they know to listen out for a specific word or phrase, and how to act on it!
A brief call or scream will have your dog spring into action in no time.
They’re also quick to sum up a situation and can understand when one of their pack is being threatened - and how to respond. For example, this breed has the ability to learn how to open a gate latch or how to escape from confined spaces.
A combination of all these attributes makes them very good at protecting their owners.
Top tip: Make the most of your Pit Bulls' inherent intelligence by starting them on a regular training program from about 8 weeks old.
Pit bulls are medium-sized dogs with very strong and well-defined upper bodies. They also have long, muscular legs that help them run really fast!
Their athletic appearance aids in their confidence - they know they can back up their bark.
And that confidence shows when faced with danger. Unlike other breeds that will choose the flight option when faced with a dangerous situation, Pit bulls are keen to stand their ground and defend their loved ones when needed.
Their athletic ability allows them to out-sprint, jump, and even swim most other breeds their size. All of these attributes add up and help the pit bull protect its owners when called upon.
Training Your Pit Bull
Being an intelligent dog breed, capable of picking up new commands and reactions at will, you’ll need to train your Pittie in the art of protecting but not being overly protective.
You don’t want your dog to lash out at your houseguest, do you?
So consider speaking to a professional trainer who can create a custom program for your training sessions. You want to strike a balance between personal protection and socialization.
If you don’t feel like going the professional route, simply train your dog to the best of your ability at home.
Teach them to react to safe words like attack, danger, or help. A helpful tip would be to train them to only act on those words after they hear their name called out, as this would help avoid any confusion.
Age Appropriate Training
Training your Pit bull can start from a very young age. Pups as young as 8 weeks are intelligent enough to begin taking onboard basic instructions and being potty trained.
So get them into a regular schedule of training and they will get accustomed to listening to commands when they start with their protection training when they’re older.
Again, a large part of this will be their socialization. So don’t train your puppy only when they’re alone at home with you.
Spend time in the park, while out on a walk, or even when out and about on social events. This will help them to learn to focus on you from a young age when there are other distractions around.
Best Training Methods
We’ve always been a big fan of positive reinforcement in dog training.
So, keep a snack nearby when doing protection training with your pup. Reward them for obeying a command exactly as desired and this will act as an added incentive to react accordingly in the future.
Training doesn't have to be overly complicated, either.
You could, for instance, secure your pup on a leash at home and have someone else approach you slowly. As they come closer, simply point to the person and use the safe words spoken of earlier to get your puppy worked up.
Keep raising your voice as the person gets closer until, eventually, you try to ward off the person with a loud shout or command.
This will cause your pup to get excited, and they will learn to mimic your energy and confidence. Teach them to bark aggressively and have the person move away when they do so.
This will also teach your dog to use its voice rather than its teeth as a first option when protecting you. Again, reward them if they join in with your enthusiasm with a bark or a grunt.
Another method would be to take them on a walk but keep the leash nice and short. This will teach them that the ‘space’ they need to protect isn’t only their home but their owner.
Then, use those same safe words while a friend or someone unknown to your pup approaches. This will help reinforce that natural instinct to obey their owner when threatened.
But as we use positive reinforcement to reward our pups when they do something right, we also need to correct them when they do something wrong.
Never smack or beat your dog into submission - ever! Rather than stop the exercise, have them sit down and show them that the person they lashed out to unnecessarily is a friend of yours, not a foe.
This way, your dog will realize that you weren’t in any immediate danger and learn to act friendly, not aggressively, towards your friends.
Use The Best Collar or Harness During Training
Pit bulls are a strong breed that likes to pull and yank on their leashes.
So, you can imagine just how powerful they become when they try to get to an intruder and protect their owner.
Whatever you do, use a robust and durable collar to control your dog during these training sessions.
A tactical collar is perfect for the job. Sparkpaws offers one of the best tactical collars on the market. It’s made from durable material and has been triple stitched, so there’s no way that even the strongest pit bull could break free from an owner's grip.
They’re a bit wider than standard collars, meaning your dog will have enough padding and support around its neck during training sessions to feel choked. The sturdy handgrip on the back is just another fine example of how well thought out the design of this tactical collar is.
Another great item you might want to use during training sessions is an anti-pulling or no-pull harness. These harnesses are designed to prevent your dog from pulling hard on its leash while walking, but I’m sure you can see the value it brings to training sessions, too.
When your dog is fired up and ready to attack the person you’ve asked to help with training sessions, you will be glad to use this well-designed harness.
Like the tactical collar, these harnesses have also been designed with a heavy-duty mindset. Strong neoprene material, triple stitched, gives you all the confidence in the world when entering any situation, no matter how strong your dog is.
It’s a good idea to get your dog used to these items as soon as possible, and seeing as both are adjustable, you don’t have to wait for your dog to be fully grown before getting them.
Are Pit Bulls Good Guard Dogs?
Well, yes and no.
All the attributes of a good protection dog make for good guard dogs. But a lot is up to the training of each individual dog.
Guard dogs are often left to their own judgment whether or not they should guard their property, which means that you (the owner) won’t necessarily be around when they are asked to spring into action.
So, training any dog breed to be a guard dog is an entirely different thing.
And that’s where some Pit bulls have come short. Underneath the hard, mean-looking exterior often lies a big old softy. Ask any Pit bull lover and they’ll tell you that they’re actually very affectionate dogs, more likely to attack with licks and kisses than their strong jaw muscles or canines.
But yes, with extensive and careful training, your Pit bull will learn to be a good guard dog, capable of warding off any would-be burglars that make their way onto your property.
Further Reading: Are Pitbulls Good Guard Dogs?
A Final Word
Some people see a Pit bull and immediately think dangerous dog.
And yes, there are a few bad owners out there who don’t take the time to socialize and train their Pit bulls. They even mistreat their dogs and use them for unnatural and disgusting purposes like dog fighting.
These dogs can be dangerous as they have been exposed to improper training.
It’s really up to individual owners to show love, affection, and patience with each dog. With proper training, Pit bulls can be like a four-legged bodyguard, ready to protect those they love most.
FAQs about Pit Bulls and Their Protective Nature
Are many Pit Bulls more protective than other breeds?
Yes, Pit Bulls are often recognized for their protective nature, but it's important to note that not all dogs within the breed exhibit the same level of protection.
While Pit Bulls do have inherent protective traits, individual personalities can vary. Some may naturally be more vigilant and defensive, while others lean towards gentleness.
Evaluating each dog's temperament and nurturing its protective instincts through training and proper care is crucial.
Can an average pit bull be a great protection dog?
Absolutely, the average Pit Bull possesses qualities that can make them an excellent protection dog.
Their extremely loyal and fearless nature, combined with their intelligence, makes them well-suited for protection roles. Even an untrained Pit Bull might show protective behavior towards their owners due to their inherent loyalty.
However, to maximize their potential, training is essential. Proper training can elevate their natural protective instincts and teach them to respond effectively.
Are Pit Bulls more loyal and protective than other breeds?
Pit Bulls are known for their extreme loyalty and protective tendencies towards their owners.
While not all dogs display these traits to the same degree, Pit Bulls are often praised for their unwavering loyalty and fearlessness in protecting their loved ones.
Their strong bond with their owners and natural instincts make them stand out as excellent protection dogs. Proper training can further enhance their protective abilities, ensuring they are dependable companions and guardians.