Say what?? You are thinking about adopting pit bull dogs?
Your curiosity must have gotten the best of you if you are here. You are wondering if you are the right fit for an American Pit Bull Terrier, right?
We polled our fosters, directors and fans to come up with ten very important things anyone who is interested in adopting pit bull dogs must know.
TOP TEN FACTS ABOUT OWNING PIT BULL DOGS
1. THE STIGMA
If you’re ok with people crossing the street when they see you coming, keep reading. If not, STOP HERE.
The American Pit Bull Terrier evokes fear in many people due to decades of exploitation and one-sided reporting. When owning this breed, it isn’t a matter of if you’ll be discriminated against but when, and it’s important to know how to handle that. Better start planning now, because all eyes are on you!
Are you going to be the epitome of what society thinks a Pit Bull breed owner is or are you going to shock people with your decorum and grace? The choice is yours.
Here’s an example of what to expect:
- parents not allowing their children to come and play at your house
- ex-spouses threatening to take your children
- your families refusing to come visit
- your dogs not being invited to family functions
- no day camps or group playtime at Petsmart
- home insurance dropping you
- neighbors calling police simply because they’re afraid
- walkers crossing the street to get away from you
- home owners associations forcing you to move or get rid of your dog
- landlords changing their minds due to tenant complaints
2. THE ENERGY
A terrier is a terrier is a terrier, and there’s a reason those who love terriers affectionately call them “terrorists”.
They have 2 speeds: sleep and go. When they go, they GO and you need to be ready to go with them, because if you don’t, they’ll go alone and often times, this behavior gets them into trouble.
The American Pit Bull Terrier must have an outlet. They do not typically slow down until they hit 5 years of age, and sometimes, not even then.
We recommend: daily running, climbing, agility, weigh pulling, tire swinging, hiking…you get the gist. Any kind of strenuous activity will drain a Pit Bulls energy. A tired “terrorist” saves your sanity.
3. THE SHEDDING
Pit Bull Dogs shed – horribly. While they shed year round, there are 2 times of the year that they tend to shed the worst: late winter going into spring, and late fall going into winter.
If you like having tiny hairs stuck in your clothing, bedding and eyes: read on. Pit Bull hair isn’t for sissies. Think: rogue eyelash you can’t find, sometimes, for days…
4. SKIN AND GASTROINTESTINAL ISSUES
Two words come to mind: high maintenance. These dogs fart and they itch.
End of story.
Pit Bulls require a high quality food to prevent this from happening, so you must be prepared to invest in it.
5. DOG INTOLERANCE
It is, in fact, true that Pit Bulls have a tendency to be dog intolerant. This, however, is not a “breed” trait, but more so a terrier trait.
Think of that “nasty” little Jack Russell Terrier down the street… now look at your beloved bully. See the correlation? Not fun.
It is imperative to keep your APBT socialized from day one. This means you must find, or organize a play group, and allow them to be social as often as possible. This keeps them happy, friendly and well balanced.
Pit Bulls also have a tendency to “clique” up just like the cheerleaders in school. It is important to keep them social with a well rounded group of different sizes, breeds and temperament of dogs. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a snobby dog who will look down their nose at other dogs. And where’s the fun in that?
6. SEPARATION ANXIETY
You will never meet a more family oriented breed of dog. Pit bull dogs will love you, and they will love you HARD. Because of this, they can sometimes start to exhibit separation anxiety and can become destructive.
We strongly suggest utilizing a containment system that works best at keeping them safe: crate, airline carrier, or a “jail cell” (specialized crate used for K9’s found online) from the moment you bring them home until they have proven that they can behave when you’re away. Set yourself, and them, up to succeed by keeping them away from the destruction of your home.
7. EMOTIONAL WELL_BEING
The American Pit Bull Terrier is a very emotional dog. They are very human like in their feelings, and day to day interactions. A simple break from routine can screw up their whole day, and life is rarely the same from one day to the next.
Keep them guessing by switching things up on the daily, and you will have a dog who can cope when your car breaks down and you’re 2 hrs late. Otherwise, they’ll spend that 2 hours in a full on panic, complete with the destruction of mind and body, and that my friends, is no fun to come home to.
While it varies from one dog to the next, it is in fact, a farce that the APBT is not good with people. The APBT is awesome with people.
They are natural social butterflies and tend to thrive being in the middle of a group of people. They are natural clowns and if you laugh at their antics once, they’ll continue to do whatever it was that caused it, so be very careful what you laugh at.
There’s a reason this breed was once used in the movies and in TV. Training them is easy. However, if given a choice, they will choose wrong, so be clear in what you ask of them and always follow through.
Nefarious behavior is the norm if given the window of opportunity. Even a sliver of a break in your façade is enough to send them skipping into the sunset sans following directions. Kind of like that 3 year old who knows he has 12 chances before mom loses her <you know what>, and listens at request #11.
As long as you mean it, and they know it makes you happy, they will do it.
This ease is what caused the demise of their reputation, as this was also exploited by dog fighters. It doesn’t take much to manipulate them to do what you want, and often times, people inadvertently reinforce the wrong behavior. Be very aware of what you’re rewarding them for, because they will do it again and again. Sometimes at the expense of losing their homes.
10. THE NANNY DOG
These dogs are NOT “nanny dogs”.
PEOPLE OF THE WORLD: Do NOT leave them alone with your children. They’re simply dogs, and just as you would not leave your children in the care of a Poodle, do not leave them in the care of a Pit Bull.
Being an awesome family dog doesn’t mean they’re fit to babysit. Just don’t do it.
BONUS: LOCK JAW
Unless you’re behind on your tetanus and step on a rusty nail, there is no such thing. Just stop.
In conclusion, the American Pit Bull Terrier (Pit Bull Dogs) were bred for a dual purpose: to work hard and be an awesome family dog.
It is very important to remember to:
- work your bully often to make sure they’re stimulated
- give them NOTHING for free (see our House Rules for Dogs)
- keep them socialized
- prepare to be a breed ambassador
Owning this dog comes with an extra dose of responsibility, because all eyes are on you at all times. You MUST work hard, daily, to make your dog the very best they can be.
This means proper behavior – AT ALL TIMES – in public and at home, as the world is simply an extension of their home environment. Their behavior is a direct reflection of you.
Please don’t let them down.