The Pit Bull
A Pawsitive Approach to a
Kind, Loving and Sensitive Dog
When I was a young child, I was bitten by a friend’s dog and a neighbor’s dog. I went home and my Mom cleaned out the bite and that was it. Although the owners were notified, no police report was made, no lawsuit ensued. I don’t even remember what preceded each bite. When I think back about it, I most likely tried to give them a hug and they bit out of fear. Surprisingly enough, these two events did not make me fearful of dogs. Incidents such as these can make people fearful, for life, of all dogs
I never had a family dog, nor a cat. My parents did not want any animals in the house. Even though they said “no” to every request, I made an full faith effort every birthday and Christmas to ask for one (and many other days as well). So, I was naturally drawn to other’s dogs and cats. I am drawn to them and will hang out with someone’s dog or cat when I am in their home or at a party. You will most likely find me sitting on the floor with them. I have been told that I have “puppy vision”. Whether I am driving or in a crowd of people, my eyes always find a dog that is walking down the street or nearby.
And as I was growing up, I remember that the dogs most feared were Dobermans, Rottweilers and German Shepherds. I do not recall hearing of the term “Pit Bull” until I was a little older. A friend of mine owned two Pit Bulls. I remember going over to his house and having a sense of fear when he let them out to greet me. I braced myself. What came out of the door were two loving, sweet dogs that I had no reason to fear; two dogs that I enjoyed spending time with.
Several years ago, I started volunteering at a no-kill animal shelter. At the shelter, I Each and every one of them warmed my heart. was exposed to all kinds of dogs, both large and small. I worked with a lot of Pit Bulls. The dog pictured above, Phantom, was one of the students at the school I attended, Triple Crown Academy for Professional Dog Trainers. Phantom was a great, loving and intelligent dog. Every Pit Bull that I have met has warmed my heart. And I can honestly say that I would choose to own this breed in a heartbeat.
At present, the Pit Bull is the most discriminated against dog in society. The news is filled with stories of Pit Bull incidents. When I first started my education at Triple Crown Academy, one of the first things we were told was that “any dog can bite at any time”. There are other dog bites that are caused by other breeds of dogs, but these incidents almost always go unreported. When is the last time you saw a news story involving a cocker spaniel biting someone?
The term Pit Bull is a generic term used to describe dogs with similar physical characteristics. The term “Pit Bull” is considered one of several breeds including the American Pit Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Bull Terrier or any mix thereof. In some parts of the world. The American Bulldog is also in this classification as well. All this in spite of the fact that these different breeds have major genetic differences. They are also classified as “bully breeds”. Many of these dogs share certain physical characteristics such as a square shaped head or a bulky body type,
Many people feel they are unpredictable and dangerous. Their appearance can also be intimidating to some people. Yes, they have teeth and powerful bodies. So do a lot of other dog breeds. Most people tense up, get nervous and experience fear and anxiety when they see a Pit Bull walking down the street with its owner.
There are numerous myths circulating about Pit Bulls, some invented by people who are afraid of the breed. Many of these people have never met a Pit Bull. Realize that these people, especially those who have heard media reports proclaiming the Pit Bull a dangerous animal, might be afraid of this dog. And, as soon as this dog bites someone, no matter how minimal, there is media coverage and a lawsuit ensues. Some lawsuits involving dog bites involve other breeds.
Some landlords won’t lease a property to someone that owns a Pit Bull, and some insurance agencies refuse to offer homeowner coverage to Pit Bull owners. Several jurisdictions have enacted breed-specific legislation against Pit Bulls, ranging from outright bans on the possession of Pit Bull-type dogs, to restrictions and conditions on Pit Bull ownership. More discrimination. Research indicates that breed specific legislation is ineffective because it is not the breed of dog that is dangerous; rather, it is unfavorable situations that create dangerous dogs.
What a lot of people do not know is that some Pit Bulls are registered therapy dogs and spend time visiting hospitals and nursing homes. Others work in search and rescue and worked tirelessly at the World Trade Center during the aftermath of September 11th. Others work in narcotics, explosives detection, protection and police dogs. However, the majority of them are cherished family members.
All Pit Bulls are strong, energetic and athletic. With their impressive stamina and staunch work ethic, Pit Bulls enjoy a variety of activities, including agility, disc dog competitions, flyball, freestyle and competition obedience. They often excel in weight-pulling contests and schutzhund. Some Pit Bulls work cattle in herding trials, and some still function as hunting dogs.
Owning any dog is a big responsibility. Owners of Pit Bulls have a larger responsibility. They have the power to educate the public and change people’s minds about this breed. The best way to accomplish this is through education and to have a well-behaved dog at your side (as all dog’s should be). It’s hard for people to make the argument that a dog is vicious when they see a peaceful, gentle pet. I don’t understand how people can look at a specific dog breed and not know anything about the dog itself and feel as if they have the right to judge that dog.
Befriending a Pit Bull can be immensely rewarding. They have such a wonderful spirit and a zest for life. They are faithful, fun-loving, affectionate companions. They become very attached to their people, and most love cuddling with their owners. A well-socialized and well-trained Pit Bull is one of the most delightful, intelligent and gentle dogs imaginable.
It is time for people to stop judging and discriminating against this breed. People need to become better educated about Pit Bulls and this begins with education and in spending time with them. It is truly a shame that the media and the public continues to portray such a bad image of this beautiful, loyal and affectionate breed. Pit Bulls are misunderstood. How would you feel if you were judged negatively by other people for no reason at all and no one wanted to be around you? It would not be a good feeling. The only difference between you and a Pit Bull is that you have a voice and can handle the situation to remedy it. The Pit Bull, as well as any other animal, does not have a voice. We need to be their voice, their advocates – to speak on their behalf and to defend them.