"A breed of satin and steel. Pit bulls are a mixture of softness and strength, an uncanny canine combination of fun, foolishness, and serious business, all wrapped up in love."

-D. Caroline Coile

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Are You Responsible?

Responsible Pit Bull ownership:

1. Never allow your Pit Bull to roam free. Dogs are just like human children. When not supervised, the decisions they make are often not for their best interest. When a Golden Retriever runs up to a person, they say, “How sweet!” When a Pit Bull does the exact same thing, people say, “Vicious dog!” The public doesn't wait before calling animal control or even the cops when they see a Pit Bull on the loose. Due to their bad reputation, these dogs are frequently killed by police officers. This is an unfortunate truth. Let’s not make the reputation of the Pit Bull worse than it already is. For the safety of your dog and the general dog population, keep your Pit Bull behind a fence!

2. Always keep your Pit Bull on leash. Even if you believe you have full control of your dog and a good recall, you can't predict his/her reaction if a cat or a squirrel runs in front of him. Keep in mind that those dogs are "Terriers". A high prey drive and urge to chase other animals is an inherent trait of the breed.

3. Take your Pit Bull to obedience classes. In the eyes of the general public Pit Bulls are menacing creatures. The more socially acceptable they are by having impeccable manners, the better the reputation they will have. And remember, once is NOT enough. Ongoing obedience classes are best.

4. Socialize your Pit Bull as much as possible before and after they reach maturity. A shy Pit Bull is a pathetic creature indeed. Not only is being shy an abnormal Pit Bull trait, it also could be dangerous. You want your dog to be able to handle new situations with confidence and pleasure. As with obedience classes, once is not enough! Ongoing socialization will ensure your dog’s happiness by showing him the world is a wonderful place. And please remember, socialization does not mean your dog running around with other dogs off leash! An obedience class in which he may never get to ‘say hi’ to any other dog is socialization!

5. Spay and neuter your Pit Bull. Altered pets live longer, "happier" and healthier life. They are also more stable and easier to raise when not triggered by their sexual hormones. To date, no fatal dog attack by an altered dog was ever reported. It also keeps pit bulls out of shelters!

6. Understand that Pit Bulls may be dog-aggressive. The breed was initially created and developed for the sport of dog-fighting. As a result, Pit Bulls have an important predisposition for dog-aggression. Take precautions and use common sense. Don’t allow your Pit Bull to run up to unknown dogs and never allow unknown dogs to run up to your Pit Bull. Remember, you are the leader! Pit Bull owners should not expect their dog to be friends with unfamiliar dogs. Some Pit Bulls cannot be around any other dogs at all. With Pit Bulls you cannot ‘train out’ the desire to fight another dog anymore than you can ‘train out’ the desire to chase running rabbits in the Greyhound. You can curb this behavior and often control it, but not stop it altogether. As long as you understand this and can love your dog for who and what he is, you’ve got it made!

7. Keep your Pit Bull in an enclosure that is escape proof. Pit Bull proof your fence. Those dogs are very strong and resourceful. Pit Bulls should be kept in the house in crates when home alone. This is the utmost in safety. Just make sure your dog cannot get out to roam. If your dog makes a mistake, all Pit Bull owners pay for it!

8. Exercise your dog everyday. Pit Bulls are high energy dogs that need some way of burning off that pent up energy. Even a short 10-15 minute walk or game of fetch in the backyard will help burn off energy that can lead to behavior problems.

9. Avoid dog parks. Dog parks are a breeding ground for disaster. Young dogs have been killed in dog parks by bigger dogs and taking your dog to a dog park is simply not a good idea at all. A better choice is to enroll your puppy into puppy socalization classes. If you have a rescue dog I would also recommend these types of classes as well. Some trainers do have them for older dogs. Your dog will have a far better chance at proper socialization in one of these classes than at a dog park.

10. Adopt!  Don’t breed or buy while shelter animals die. With thousands of Pit Bulls dying in shelters, don’t be a part of the problem. Be part of the solution! First time Pit Bull owners should think of adopting an adult dog.

"Every negative incident involving a Pit Bull adds to the breed's reputation and jeopardizes our right to own these great dogs - Keep your Pit Bull out of trouble!"
- PBRC.net (Pit Bull Rescue Central)


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