Owning a pit bull is a big responsibility – more so than owning a less controversial breed.
Your pit bull, whether you like it or not, represents every other pit bull in the world. If you are responsible, and your dog is a good example, your pit bull can be an ambassador for his breed, changing people’s minds every day. But remember, any negative interaction the public has with your pit bull reflects badly on the entire breed. Here are some tips to help you and your dog become good ambassadors. Educate yourself and others. Be ready to produce facts to anyone who questions you
Know when to walk away
Some people won’t like your dog, no matter how many facts you produce.
You want a pit bull who will cause people to say, “Wow, what a great dog! What kind is it?” The easiest way to accomplish this is by socializing and training your dog from day one. Make sure you find a dog trainer who uses behavioral science – not outdated punishment and force-based methods.
Your pit bull should only be off-leash in well secured fenced in areas – not because he is dangerous, but because people will assume he is. If another dog were to attack yours, the pit bull will always take the blame.
No dog parks
Dog parks are a tragedy waiting to happen for pit bull owners. Any scuffle between dogs will result in the pit bull being blamed, even if he was on the other side of the park. Also, pit bulls tend to play best with close friends, not large groups of strangers.
Listen to your dog
Know the signs of fear or stress in your dog. If at any point, in any situation, you see that your dog is uncomfortable, remove them from the situation and reevaluate. If necessary, call a professional trainer to help you. The last thing you want to do with a large, powerful dog is push them to the point where they feel the need to defend themselves – no matter the breed!
Please, please spay or neuter your pit bull. As rescuers, we see thousands and thousands of unwanted dogs – a huge percentage of them pit bulls – put down every year. If there were fewer unwanted litters, there would be fewer dogs looking for homes, which would mean less being put down due to lack of space.
One of the things we love about pit bulls is their intelligence and tenacity. Unfortunately, if these traits aren’t put to good use, they will be used to get into trouble! Pit bulls can climb, jump, and dig their way out of your yard if given half a chance. And don’t get us started on electronic fencing! These are a huge no-no for pit bulls. They are not magic force-fields! Clever and tenacious dogs learn that if they run really really fast, the shock only lasts a second, and then they are FREEEEE! Not only that, but there’s nothing stopping loose dogs, wild animals, and people coming into your yard.