There’s an old saying that pit bulls are like potato chips—you can’t stop with just one. The first one steals your heart, and pretty soon, you’re thinking about getting another one (pit bull, that is—not heart).
Pit bulls can be addictive, but they aren’t the best candidates in a multi-dog household. As with many terriers and several other breeds of dogs, pit bull-type dogs are not always dog-friendly. They are people-dogs, not dog-dogs.
This isn’t to say that once you have one pit bull, you can’t have any more dogs. Many, many people do have multiple dogs, including two or more pit bulls! But you need to be aware that multi-dog households, especially a multi-dog household with one or more pit bulls, are an enormous amount of work and require an extraordinary amount of management. The amount of work required increases with each additional dog.
Before you get a second dog, seriously consider the following:
If you have answers (serious answers) to these questions and you’re ready to make the leap into multi-dog ownership, you will need to do the following:
Thinking about getting another dog? Pit Bull Rescue Central’s page on adopting a second dog lists considerations before you adopt, with additional pages on introductions and crate-and-rotate routines.
BADRAP’s “Living Peaceably in a Multi-Dog Home” contains a wealth of helpful information and tips, whether you’re still thinking about getting a second dog, or you’ve already got one.
Perhaps you have had the second dog for a while, and are suddenly experiencing trouble in paradise. Perhaps your dogs have started fighting with each other. This may be especially surprising if you got the second dog as a puppy, and things seemed fine for almost a year. Why are they fighting now?
As dogs mature, they can become less tolerant of other dogs. Usually, this applies to strange dogs, but some individual dogs also grow intolerant of familiar resident dogs.
For pit bulls, maturity can hit anywhere from eight months to two or three years of age. So you could bring home a cute little pit bull puppy, have no problems for months or years—and then the puppy becomes an adult dog and starts getting snippy with other dogs.
Also, adult dogs tend to be more tolerant of puppies than other adult dogs. So it is possible that once your puppy becomes an adult, your original dog will become more aggressive toward it.
If one or both dogs start behaving aggressively toward each other, doing nothing is the worst possible move on your part. It is important to put a stop to aggressive behavior immediately, before the dogs have a chance to rehearse fights. Aggression is a learned behavior; don’t give your dog(s) the chance to practice!
Crate and rotate is the best option for a household whose dogs are getting into fights. Crate and rotate keeps the dogs separated so they do not have the opportunity to get into fights. This can be a temporary solution if you intend to get professional assistance from a behavior counselor or trainer, or it can be a permanent one if you are unable to resolve the aggressive behavior.
You can read more about crate and rotate on PBRC’s Crate and Rotate page: http://www.pbrc.net/rotate.html