The Root of the Behavior
Those who insist on the veracity of the locking jaw mechanism in Pit Bulls maintain that dogs of this nature have the ability to snap their jaw into a position that is impossible to be relinquished without the dog's voluntary participation. Many people falsely believe this is part of what makes Pit Bull type dogs, who are often mixes of a variety of breeds as opposed to one purebred faction, predisposed to excel in dog fighting rings. If a dog can latch on to an opponent and lock his jaw in place on a sensitive area like the neck, it is possible for that dog to do immeasurable damage, including possibly killing the dog they are matched against. If this were correct, it would be an invaluable quality to a dogfighter. A ban would then deserve just consideration because dog fighting is both cruel and illegal, but also, a dog capable and programmed for such ferocity would be a potential menace to society at large.
Prominent researcher Dr. I. Lehr Brisbin has stated that, “The few studies that have been conducted of the structure of the skulls, mandibles, and teeth of pit bulls show that, in proportion to their size, their jaw structure and thus its inferred functional morphology, is no different than that of any breed of dog. There is absolutely no evidence for the existence of any kind of ‘locking mechanism’ unique to the structure of the jaw or teeth of the American Pit Bull Terrier.” What does this mean?
Encouraging the Behavior
Another theory suggests that this term is derived from the earlier practice of "bull baiting." Bull baiting was encouraged in breeds such as Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and other "game" dogs. Its sole purpose was the sport, and it was bloody, harmful to the bulls, and cruel. The most successful bull baiting dogs possessed the singular focus to bite down on their opponent and refuse to release the bite until their opponent submitted or died. This was not due to any locking ability but rather to the tenaciousness of the dog. The dog fighter valued the dog's stubbornness highly. This quality earned him lots of money!
Other Solutions and Considerations
Treatment is long term and requires hospitalization for a period of at least a month. If the disease is advanced at the time of diagnosis, your dog may be unable to eat without assistance and may require the insertion of a tube to ensure regular feeding. Dogs suffering from lockjaw become deeply affected by light, noise, and even touch and must be kept quiet and sedated during their recovery period. Asphyxiation is another concern. Your vet will carefully observe your dog to make certain he is not experiencing breathing problems. A breathing tube can be inserted if necessary. As a final preventive measure, your dog will also be given medication to halt the toxin's affect on his system. Dogs can successfully recover from lockjaw if the disease is detected and treated in time. The road back to health is arduous and will require your consistent monitoring and involvement.