If you are thinking of adopting a dog or a puppy, consider a pit bull. Despite the stereotype that many prospective adopters have, pit bulls make very gentle and loyal family dogs. In fact, the pit bull is considered one of the friendliest dogs.
There is no such thing as a bad breed. Pit bulls get a bad response from many people, but more often than not, they are the victims of irresponsible and abusive ownership.
Bully breeds score better on temperament tests than the general dog population.
In December 2010, the American Temperament Test Society showed the American pit bull terrier scored an overall temperament rating of 83.9%, compared to the 77% score of the general dog population.
Pit bulls are actually bred to be affectionate towards people. They have been bred for hundreds of years for strength, agility, high pain tolerance and absence of aggression toward humans. Pit bulls are extremely intelligent dogs and take their cues from the humans who raise them.
Only humans are capable of knowing the difference between “right and wrong,” and all dogs are bred, raised and trained to behave the way they do.
There are many pit bulls in shelters. This is partly due to over-breeding and the misconceptions and misinformation that the general public has about the breed.
Here are some helpful tips to take note of when adopting a pit bull, part of a vast array of information that is available both in your local library and on the Internet.
Socialization is the key to a happy and confident pit bull. All pit puppies should be enrolled in a puppy class where part of the time is devoted to off-leash play with other dogs.
Pit bulls are enthusiastic learners. They enjoy trick training, and many graduate at the head of their obedience classes. There are many pit bull rescue groups that can recommend training classes.
It’s play time! Pits are moderately active indoors and extremely active outdoors — be prepared to spend a minimum of 20 to 30 minutes twice a day engaged in aerobic-level activities with your dog.
You may experience breed discrimination. Legislation may prohibit you from living in certain communities, and homeowners insurance may be harder to find. Before you adopt, call your local city hall or animal shelter to find out about your local laws.
Do your research. Are your neighbors the kind who might get concerned about a pit bull in the community? Bringing home a pit bull may be tough, because many people wrongly associate them with being aggressive. Be prepared with breed facts and history to let people know that it’s bad ownership that causes pit bulls to be aggressive.
Adoption is the best option. By rescuing a pit bull, you are saving a dog that needs a home and family. Adopting a pit from a shelter means that the dog will have had an initial health evaluation and should also have already been vaccinated and spayed or neutered for you. More and more shelters use a standardized evaluation to assess the behavior of their dogs. If the dog you’re interested in has been evaluated, ask to see the results so you can get a more complete picture of the dog’s typical reactions to things.
Consider adopting an older pit bull. With an adult dog, what you see is what you get. Their personality is already developed, and you'll be able to spot the characteristics you're looking for much more easily than with a puppy.
Establish house rules for your new pit that everyone will stick to. Consistency is the key to training pit bulls. Decide on the behaviors you find acceptable and those that you wish to discourage, such as:• Is she/he allowed on the furniture?Set a good example for others. Become a proud owner — be sure to show your pit bull the love and care it deserves. And always let others know what great companions they make!
• Is it okay for her/him to bark in the backyard?
• Can she/he play with toys in the house?
• How do you want her/him to behave when guests come into the home?
Understand that pit bulls are large and strong dogs. If they aren’t used to being around small children, they may unwittingly knock them over while playing. Some pit bulls do best in a home with children 12 and older.