Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Central Coast of Cali
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My advice may not be appropriate for you. That's ok. You are just fine how you are and I am the right kind of me.
I am anything but an expert on this topic, but I have two very conflicting experiences that I will share. When I was five years old a pit bull "attacked" me and bit my face. I needed 117 stitches to repair the damage, several teeth were ripped out, and my jaw was pushed seriously out of alignment. The dog had never bitten anyone before. Now, as a more reasonable adult, I can say that my behavior towards the dog was probably seen by the dog as aggressive. This was a neighbor's dog. Our family dog had dealt with small children for more than 10 years and tolerated little kids getting in his face and being pushy. The pit bull was not so flexible. This established more than a little hesitation in me towards pit bulls.
As an adult I have two friends who own pit bulls. One friend constantly works with and socializes his dog. This pit is incredibly friendly and docile with humans, but he requires constant supervision to maintain this state. My other friend was super good about socializing/working with her dog for years but then slacked for a little while because she got really sick. Now her dog is behaving in more dominant ways with other dogs and occasionally being pushy with humans.
I believe at this point that pits are not evil dogs. But I think they require a lifetime of care and attention that is much higher than many other breeds. I would hesitate to bring a pit into a household with young children, not because pits are evil--but because young children are going to push the boundaries of a dog. So if you want a pit, it would be best to wait until you don't have little kids (I don't know if you do or not) and be prepared for how much effort it is going to take. It wouldn't be fair to the animal to take it in and then not give it all the attention it needs.
I wanted to comment on the temperament issues above, because I think that a lot of people perceive the pit breeds (of which there are many) as being Ok with people if you're really careful with them.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Any former fighting breed should be notably MORE tolerant of people, children, and physical pain/insult than the average sporting or hound or whatever breed. The proper temperament of a pit breed would allow a child to dance on its head, and the dog should just gently wag throughout.
Please, please, please do not worry about bred-in aggression. It is just another pit myth. If a pit is rasied in a bad environment then yes, it can grow to be agressive but that is simply environment. A pit is just as likely to have naturally agressive tendencies as ANY OTHER BREED! Here is the problem (and I believe the only problem) with pits. They are very strong dogs with a powerful jaw and instinct to use their lock jaw in conflict if rising to physical level. When and if they do become aggressive or find themselves in a fight with another dog they often times get the bad rap because they are so strong and can so easily cause serious injury. SO be aware that in case of flighting you are dealing with a very powerful dog. This is why you see them in the news so much for attack against humans. When they do bite they have the ability to cause injury, unlike breeds that actually bite more often (small breeds... not that they are bad or more aggressive). No one wants to watch two chihuahuas fight in a back yard brawl and that is why you don't see them in the news for fighting rings. Pits just have the disfortune of being a solid, very intelligent, and loyal dog. They will fight to survive and do as their horrible owners force them in those aweful cases.
For all of those reasons pits who have not yet been introduced into a bad environment need loving homes. People need to stand up for the breed and highlight the fact that in the scheme of things, a very low number of family rasied (in a loving home) pits are reported to attack people or other dogs.
But again, be aware that they aren't a chihauhau... if they bite, they have a lot of massive muscles behind those jaws. Like aggitating a 6ft tall body builder as opposed to a wheelchair bound little person. You have to hope the body builder had a good upbringing and can keep their cool when under attack or pressure.
Make sure it's the right pit for your household and go for it! If for what ever reason you don't think that pit is right (just as you would with any other dog) keep searching. I steer people toward pits simply because there are so many due to cheap pure bred pricing from over breeding and breeding by the wrong kinds of people. Be very careful if adopting an adult pit (or any adult dog) as you don't know what their home environment has been like. No different than people and what people you would accept into your home. Introduce them to other people, dogs, and environments early on and continue to socialize them. Helps keep nervousness and fear out fo their world.
Good luck and good on ya for turning to the pit popualtion for a pet!
momma to 8 yr old dd. Furmom to our menagerie: 2 , 1, 2 , 2 , and 1 silly rabbit.
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