This morning I want to discuss Pit Bulls. Yes, a controversial subject indeed but I want to share my feelings on the whole 'Pit Bull' hype. Many people have a fear and hatred for the breed and or mixes. Others adore the breed and stand proud to show the world what a wonderful breed the Pit Bull is. Then there are those in between, not wanting to judge or jump to conclusions. The people who meet each dog as an individual.
In my opinion, deciding to add a Pit Bull to your family is a big decision. Because of this decision you are often automatically shunned from society. This is what has come from all of the Pit Bull hype, so you must know this going in. Once you make the decision to call a Pit Bull your family then it is up to you to go above and beyond to prove people wrong. Obviously the media has had a hay day with all the Pit Bull incidents, they make front page news.
The actual problem with Pit Bulls lies solely with humans in many aspects. Those who do not take owning a Pit Bull seriously; they provide no energy outlets, no training, no guidance. The people who get a Pit Bull to make a point and no matter what their dog's behavior is they consciously let it run free or do whatever it likes just to show people that they are just like any other dog. There are those who fight Pit Bulls and breed the winners to produce even tougher and more intense dogs. There are also breeders do not fully educate their puppy buyers. They do not instill the seriousness of owning a Pit Bull.
Pit Bulls are large, strong and intense dogs. Sadly there are people out there who consider fighting dogs to be a sport. They also breed dogs who are very dog aggressive to partake in these sports and of course some of these dogs end up in the general public. The outcast, dogs that don't make it or are cast off; often breeding with other stray dogs. As hard as good breeders are working to better the temperament of Pit Bulls; there are those constantly working the other way. It is a sad fact.
There are many, many Pit Bull rescues; not all are alike. Some of them defend the Pit Bull as completely misunderstood and happily adopt their dogs out to anyone and everyone. My daughter ran into one of these uneducated type people. She was out on a walk with our Jessie a couple of years ago, it was well into the evening. They came across a couple with a four month old Pit Bull who upon seeing Jessie attacked immediately. The dog latched onto her neck and started shaking her; the dog was four months of age. Upon my daughters return she told me what happened and I jumped into my car and sped off to find these people and I did. They got a very loud lesson that they should not forget too soon.
These people had just adopted the dog; they'd had it for only a few days. Yet there they were walking down the street in the dark with it off leash and on the street no less. Every human in the chain of placing this dog had failed it and now it's owners had failed it as well. No dog at four months of age should be attacking another like this. This was an obvious issue that had been missed or ignored by the rescue folks. That aside these inadequate owners didn't understand the magnitude of owning a Pit Bull. They let the dog down big time.
Do I think that Pit Bulls are bad dogs? No. Do I think that there are bad Pit Bulls? Yes, just like there are bad Dachshunds and poodles. The old saying "no bad dogs," is a stupid one. There are bad dogs just like there are bad people. But there are far more problem dogs because of stupid people. Pit Bulls are large, strong, active, intelligent, utility type dogs. They are pretty much are up for anything sport wise. They are crazy strong and excel at strong dog activities. They love to run and burn off steam and are amazing at obedience and agility. Of course not all will excel at everything but they are a wonderfully utility breed; meaning they love to participate in lots of different activities.
When you have a Pit Bull you must allow them to have early socializing. Lots of positive training is required and energy outlets. If you have a Pit Bull you must understand that they cannot come off leash. You owe it to your dog not to let accidents happen. It is because of all the accidents that stupid people have allowed that the breed has such a bad name. That includes the people who get a Pit Bull because they are cool, tough looking dogs. The ones that think that it's great when their under socialized dog lunges at people and other dogs. People like the owners of the puppy who allow accidents like this to happen, who don't understand what it means to own a Pit Bull in today's society.
Sadly Pit Bulls come from all walks of life, from the very good conscientiousness breeder all the way down to the Pit Bull fighting breeder. Somewhere a long the line the two can merge so all the good that one breeder is doing is being undone by another. All the amazing work that one rescue group does is undone by another. There are those who rescue Pit Bulls solely on the "I'll show everyone," reasoning. Showing society that they are not a bad breed takes a great deal of work, not just owning one.
Acknowledging that a breed has specific traits is the first step to becoming truly educated. Border Collies very often have chase issues and nipping problems. German Shepherds can be an overly guarding breed, Rottweilers as well. Chihuahuas can be very nasty unless largely socialized. Pit Bulls have a natural tendency to be dog aggressive as do Akita's. It is not a horrible thing to say, it is an acknowledgement and with this understanding comes the ability to appropriately live with a Pit Bull. They are a powerful breed, much more so than any other breed and their head alone is awesome.
Pit Bulls are a very different breed, as are Italian Greyhounds. They are about as opposite as you can get. Living with Italian Greyhounds, one must take great care as they are so fragile. Much of their tiny breakable frame is due to over breeding of bad breeders. Just like the bad traits of a Pit Bull are from the bad breeders and until the bad guys can be stopped the aggressive traits will remain for many years to come. People who want to live with Pit Bull must acknowledge this. Just stating that "Pit Bulls are misunderstood," does nothing positive for the breed. People must take their dogs and show society that they are not all bad dogs. But like I said this means that you must go above and beyond what other people are required to do with their dogs. Having a slip up is not an option.
Pit Bulls have had a lot of bad done to them. It will have to be the people that turn it around. The genes have been bred in there for a very long time, it may be possible to change over a very long time, maybe not. Understanding is the first step, working, training, socializing and involving them in extracurricular activities is a big step forward. They are a dog that have been wronged by humans as are many others. Used to be vicious and attack other animals has been their job for far too long. In the wrong hands they can be a very dangerous animal, so sad. If it does go wrong they can do a great deal of damage; owning one takes a huge commitment. Just be sure that you are ready to take on the baggage before blindly trying to make a statement. Do it right or don't do it. 100% or nothing.
The Pit Bull is NOT A BREED FOR NEW OWNERS OR EVERYONE. They are like I said, intense, powerful and need an experienced owner. Sadly for the dog they end up in the wrong hands far too often.
Some great info on Pit Bulls.
Pit Bull Lovers
Pit Bull 411