Because of their sweet, human-adoring nature, Pit Bull owners often find it hard to stick to just one dog!
However, owning more than one Pit Bull takes work and responsibility. It's twice the food, twice the toys, twice the vet bills. Before acquiring a second dog, it is important to be realistic about your expectations.
Are you prepared to break up a fight, should one occur?
If one day, the dogs decide they don't like each other anymore (and yes, it does happen) - then what? Are you prepared to crate-and-rotate both dogs for the rest of their lives?
These questions require serious thought. If your answer is 'no' to either question, we highly recommend you stick with owning one Pit Bull. However, if you think you can responsibly manage a house with more than one Pit Bull - read further for some tips to ensure success.
Dogs of opposite sexes (male/female) tend to "mesh" the best and have the most long-term success in getting along. And while Male/Male and Female/Female pairings can sometimes succeed, these pairings have a higher likelihood of getting into serious fights. It is also important to note that ethical and responsible Pit Bull rescues will not adopt dogs in same-sex placements (see the Pit Bull Rescue Code of Ethics). And while puppies may be cute, if thinking about acquiring a second dog, it is beset to get an adult, as dogs tend to mature between 8 months and 3 years of age (sometimes older). Genetic dog aggression unseen before, may emerge as a dog matures. Selecting an already-mature adult dog increases the chances that there will be less problems in the future.
Imagine two blind-date scenarios. In Scene A, your date arrives - he gives you a hug and a smile, yet minds his distance and keeps the conversation light. In Scene B, your date runs up to you, gives you a slap across the rear, leans into your personal space, and discusses religion! You'd probably be like "What the heck?", maybe slap him across the face, and probably not want to be near that weirdo again! Well, the same idea goes for dogs. Respectful, managed introductions are key to a successful relationship!
These are two links we love on how to properly introduce two dogs:
Some dogs are very dog-tolerant (usually immature dogs and puppies), but others won't put up with rude or pushy behavior. Know your dog's limits before getting a new dog. Two submissive-type dogs tend to get along best, while two dogs who are equally bossy can be a recipe for disaster!
Before bringing home a second Pit Bull, your current dog should be well-trained and behaved. New dogs tend to feed off of the "vibes" of current dogs and look up to them for acceptable behavior in your home - meaning, if your current dog has any bad habits, your new dog will likely pick those up as well! However, a well-mannered dog serves as a great mentor for a new dog to "look up to". Training classes are highly recommended for newly adopted dogs, and some rescue organizations even require it.
We highly recommend the Two Week Shutdown for anyone bringing home a newly acquired pet - multiple dog home or not. It just makes sense! Read the Two Week Shutdown here.
We cannot stress this one enough - when you're not there to monitor interactions between dogs, they MUST be adequately separated from each other! While under direct supervision, rough play can be broken up before it escalates. But, if left alone, with no humans to monitor behavior, what was once an innocent play session can turn into an all-out battle. Also, fights are not always a result of dog aggression (link here) - sometimes when two dogs are excited, they can redirect on each other. This can be the result of a doorbell ringing, or a person walking down the street with another dog, or if they happen to be naughty and knock over a garbage can full of food scraps. If you're not there to quickly intervene, things can get ugly, and fast. We would rather crate/room our Pit Bulls while we're not able to supervise - just in case something happens - rather than come home to injured dogs, or worse.
Many large fights start off as small scuffles - scuffles that are usually over high-value items. It is very important to not leave "prized possessions" such as toys, rawhides and bones laying about on the floor when not being used. By storing these objects in a location where your dogs can't access them, you can help avoid such scuffles. Dogs should also be fed separately, in crates or different rooms. On the occasions when they get to chew on a meaty bone or rawhide, they should be separated as well. If one dog finished his meal or treat before the other, he may walk over to the other dog to "finish" his meal for him - at which point, a fight it likely to break out.
Accidents happen - a fight can happen under the watch of even the most responsible Pit Bull owner. However, that owner is also well-versed on how to break up a fight, should one occur. When two Pit Bulls get into a scuffle - quick bursts of lunging, lots of vocalization - it may sound and look scary, but in all actuality, this is the easiest "type" of fight to break up. When Pit Bulls scuffle in this manner, they can usually be broken up with a loud, harsh NO, or by being physically pulled apart (grab the back legs and pull!). However, if two Pit Bulls are in a full blown fight, and have "latched" onto each other (note: NOT the same as "locking jaws"!) no amount of yelling or dousings of water will stop them, and they can't be pulled apart without doing major damage to one or more of the dogs. In this case, a breakstick is needed. Complete instructions on how to use a breakstick, and to purchase one, is available on PBRC. We highly recommend that every Pit Bull owner own one of these invaluable tools!