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Posted in: Dogs

Can Pitbulls Lock Their Jaws?

Pitbulls are among the dog breeds with the worst reputation. Many childcare experts say that Pitbulls don’t belong in homes with young children because they are dangerous. So parents wonder: can Pitbulls lock their jaws, and will this harm their kids?

Pitbulls are controversial, to say the least, and their appearance doesn’t help them too much. This dog breed has medium size but is particularly muscular and powerful.

Don’t let the Pitbull’s look deceive you. There is a good reason why their families absolutely love them.

Keep on reading to find out can Pitbulls lock their jaws, and why are they not dangerous.

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Have you ever looked up the personality traits of the Pitbull?

A quick online search will show you that a Pitbull is:

  • Loyal;
  • People-oriented – they love their human families very much;
  • Affectionate with both adults and children;
  • Determinate and resourceful;
  • Strong and energetic.

Pitbulls also have a hilarious and goofy side, which makes them a great match with kids. Socializing the dog around children starting at a very young age is necessary. An emotionally-stable and well-trained Pitbull can be a great companion for your family.

Did you know that Pitbulls are among the most tolerant dog breeds when it comes to children? According to the American Temperament Testing Society, Pitbulls have the second good temperament rating after the Labrador Retriever.

Pitbulls and kids have one thing in common: very high levels of energy. This dog is always ready to play and will never say no to a game of fetch.

They put so much passion and energy into playing that they need lots of sleep. An adult Pitbull sleeps between 12 and 14 hours a day to restore its strength!

So far looks like a lovely dog breed. But why do they have a reputation for being vicious killers?

A little bit of Pitbull history

The Pitbull was created in early 19th century England to fight with bulls and bears. Such activities were deemed illegal soon after.

So Pitbulls were next encouraged to fight against each other. People bred dogs which had a tendency to be aggressive to other dogs.

On the other hand, those early Pitbulls were bred not to bite humans. Handlers had to be able to separate dogs in a fight without endangering themselves.

An important moment in Pitbulls’ history came when they were adopted by America as farm and family dogs. Many famous people such as Fred Astaire or President Theodore Roosevelt kept Pitbulls as pets.

This can be observed in popular culture as well. Petey from the 1994 comedy film The Little Rascals was a Pitbull.

But at some point in the 1980s and 1990s this dog breed became popular among drug dealers and other criminals. They obviously trained their dogs to be aggressive. Had they preferred another powerful dog breed, that breed would have gotten the same bad notoriety.

Today, the Pitbull has a mixed reputation. One camp claims the Pitbull is not more dangerous than other dogs. The other camp considers it unpredictable and aggressive. Who is right?

It’s the owners’ fault!

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It is generally considered that an aggressive dog is the product of its environment.

Proper training and socialization are vital if you want to make your pit bull puppy a family dog.

Training a Pitbull is not necessarily more difficult than training other breeds. However, this dog breed has high energy levels and strength and is not for everyone.

If you are not up to training a pit bull the right way, better choose another dog breed.

Neglect, lack of affection, and aggressive correction make the recipe for disaster for any dog breed. If a Pitbull has been abused and neglected by people, it may become aggressive towards humans.

Pitbulls were originally trained to be able to fight with other animals. They were not trained to be aggressive to humans.

Unfortunately, some nefarious dog owners have trained their dogs to be aggressive to humans. This can happen with any dog breed.

It is preferable to own a Pitbull from an early age so you are able to educate it yourself. An older dog can come with unwanted baggage from a previous, irresponsible owner.

Pitbulls are more powerful than other dog breeds

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Some dog owners report that the dog breed that bites the most is the innocent-looking cocker spaniel.

Pitbulls, on the other hand, like playing and cuddling very much, which is great if you have children. You would be surprised how much these dogs love to give kisses!

However, Pitbulls are different from smaller dogs due to their stronger physique. Pitbulls are very energetic and are not aware of their own strength. So, if they do attack, they can cause a lot more damage than a tiny yet aggressive lap dog.

But you will be surprised to find out that the Pitbull actually doesn’t have the strongest bite. The force of a Pitbull bite is 235 PSI, while other breeds bite with even bigger force, such as the Rottweiler (328 PSI) or the Great Dane (669 PSI). [1]

The truth is that dangerous dogs come from all types of breeds, shapes, and sizes. If the dog is not socialized and someone provokes it, the result can be a Pitbull attack.

But, can Pitbulls lock their jaws, or is this just another myth?

Truth is, Pitbulls don’t have any special mechanism that would allow them to ‘lock’ their jaws. This is easy to see just by looking at their skulls. They have the same bone structure as any other dog breed!

However, what makes Pitbulls stand out is their determination. Whatever these dogs do, they do with the desire to please you, and they’re very enthusiastic about any activity.

This is why, if they bite onto something, they might not want to let go. This led to the myth that Pitbulls have locking jaws. Still, this is just a stereotype that doesn’t have anything to do with reality.

The media is to blame for the massive coverage of Pitbull attack

The Pitbull is not the only dog breed that people fear. Other large breeds have been the target of the media hype in the past, such as the Doberman, the Rottweiler, or the German Shepherd.

Unfortunately, in the 1990s some people started to cultivate the less positive attributes of the Pitbull. This generated the Pitbull’s current bad reputation.

There is a media bias regarding the Pitbull. For instance, attacks by dogs that are not Pitbulls are rarely covered. This is because attacks by unremarkable dog breeds are not considered newsworthy. They will be covered in one or two newspaper articles.

The situation is different for Pitbull attack. A Pitbull attack from August 2007 was reported in more than 236 articles in national and international press plus major news television channels. Sensationalism sells better than objectivity.

Tips to keep kids and pit bulls safe while playing together

The following pieces of advice will prevent unfortunate incidents such as Pitbull attack. These guidelines are however helpful for any dog breed:

  • Ensure supervision at all times

Never leave a child alone with a dog, even if it’s a puppy. This is intended to ensure the safety of both the child and the dog.

  • Make sure the child is gentle with the dog

Most dogs will not bite without a reason, and children can be quite harsh on pets. So, if the child pulls the dog’s ear, the pit bull can attack in defense.

Teach kids the right way to behave around dogs. For instance, not touching the dog’s food while feeding and not teasing it.

  • Put away the dog’s favorite toys and treats

If the kid takes the dog’s bully stick, the Pitbull may want to recover their prized possession. During the process they could bite by accident.

The best is to put the dog’s favorite objects away when children are around.

  • Watch for signs of uncomfortable situations

Most Pitbulls are people-oriented, but there are cases when the dog can become weird around a certain person. If this happens, never force the dog to interact with the human.

  • Allow the dog to escape

When the Pitbull is done playing or needs rest, it will prefer to leave. The situation will not escalate as long as the canine has an escape route available. Ensure an area that is off-limits to kids – it is the kind of thing that event parents need!

  • Pay attention to kids’ behavior

Don’t allow kids to be mean to the dog or tease it. No dog breed will tolerate improper behavior for too long!

  • Ensure obedience training

A dog is a huge responsibility, especially if it is a powerful breed like the Pitbull. Teach the dog how to obey and maybe do a couple of tricks to ease nervous parents. Having an obedient dog always helps when children are around.

  • Get the dog spayed and neutered

Unless you are breeding dogs, a neutered Pitbull is preferable because they are calmer. Neutering also helps preventing health issues.

  • Offer plenty of attention to your dog

Pitbulls can get jealous of kids and babies, if you are not affectionate enough with the dog. Getting a loyal and people-oriented dog breed means you need to spend quality time with them. Otherwise, the dog may act out.

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Getting a crate for Pitbull can help

A crate for Pitbull may not even be necessary if the dog is obedient and well-behaved. This kind of product helps more with the stigma attached to owning a Pitbull.

A product like a heavy-duty dog crate can help if your dog is an escape artist.

It will also ensure the comfort of guests who are don’t feel comfortable around Pitbulls. Owning a dog crate surely makes you look like a responsible dog owner. No one will refuse to visit if the dog is temporarily accommodated inside a crate.

However, the real way to demonstrate you are responsible is by taking good care of the dog and training it properly.

A shock collar is a good option for Pitbull with behavioral issues

While many animal rights activists are against them, sometimes shock collars can be a good option – especially if you have a Pitbull with behavioral issues.

You can adjust the intensity of a shock collar. This way, it won’t hurt your dog in any way, but it will teach him what not to do.

Shock collars are a great choice for Pitbulls with serious temperament issues such as aggression and anxiety. If you think they might be cruel – keep in mind that such problems can lead to a Pitbull attack. Once your dog bites someone, even if it was in self-defense, that is game-over for him.

Because of this, it is better to use a good shock collar than to risk the life of your pup, and the life of people around you.

Just keep in mind that you should always adjust the intensity to your dog’s limits. If it causes him pain rather than discomfort, you are doing it wrong.

Also, never use shock collars as a means of punishment. Your dogs won’t understand anything but positive reinforcements, and this could only make things worse.

Shock collars are a tool for controlling an aggressive Pitbull, and you shouldn’t use them as anything else.

Bottom Line

As you’ve seen, Pitbulls can’t really lock their jaws. Their skull is made the same way as that of any other dog, and a Pitbull can’t ‘lock’ it in any way, shape, or form. However, they are extremely determined breed, and they aren’t eager to let go once they’ve bitten something. This is what most likely led to the locking jaw myth.

When it comes to the question of Pitbulls being good with kids, the answer is yes, as long as the dog is properly socialized and trained through positive reinforcement. The Pitbull does not carry a genetic tendency towards human aggression. It is not a dog inherently dangerous to people and kids. Be that as it may, supervise all interaction between kids and any dog – it is a rule, not a recommendation.