thinking about adopting a female pit bull - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-03-2008, 11:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I walked into the pet store to get some gecko chow and happened to come upon the rescue organization that brought me my corgi. They were having an adoption day. I was hoping to run into the woman who had fostered my dog -- I've had him for 4 years now and I was pretty grateful. Anyway, I was walking along the line of crates and ran across this six month old pit bull puppy. I instantly fell in love. I can't explain it, it was just something about her manner. She isn't really even all that attractive, physically, compared to some other pits I've seen. Here is a picture of her. I chatted with the woman who is fostering her -- she is living with a female german shepherd and has taken a somewhat submissive role to her. I think that she would need to be a somewhat submissive dog because my corgi thinks he rules the roost. I need to work with him every single day (though he is pretty responsive to me). She says that she is very sweet and I agree after just spending a few minutes with her. She is very affectionate but calm. She seemed unperturbed by people and other dogs moving around the pet store.

I didn't ask, but it looks like the rescue has had her since she was pretty little.

Any pit bull owners have any advice or caution? I have two boys, who are respectful of dogs, but obviously I worry about bringing any new dog into their space.

I have been thinking about a second dog for a while, but had not really considered a pit bull. It does fit my requirements, though, for a non-herding dog (I cannot take any more herding dogs and their crazy barking, though I love the one I have) who is not too huge (small house).

One more thing -- we don't have a fenced-in yard. Instead we run the dog 3 times per day around the neighborhood and take him swimming in the local river.

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Old 05-03-2008, 11:31 PM
 
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We have a 6 year old male pit that we adopted as a puppy. Couldn't have made a better choice. We love our guy and have never had any trouble with aggression from him. He is well trained and wonderful with DS. We live in a house with a fenced yard now, but for the first 3 years we had him we lived in a townhouse community and walked him 3 times per day. He was fine with it. Pits are very smart and I think that the more intelligent breeds tend to stay in the 'puppy stage' for longer, but they turn out to be wonderful dogs. I say go for it!
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Old 05-03-2008, 11:44 PM
 
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my mom works at the animal shelter and from my experience with her foster dogs i would say go for it. pits can be really awesome dogs and it is just SO hard to find people that are willing to take them because of all the bad press.

they can be super SUPER active but it sounds like you already have a decent exercise schedule so that shouldn't be a problem. the picture just finished loading...what a cutie!! and it's great that she is already crate trained.

eh. who needs a signature?
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Old 05-03-2008, 11:45 PM
 
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She's adorable!

I don't have any experience with pits, but my friend has a 5 month old puppy and he says she's the best dog he's ever had.
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Old 05-03-2008, 11:51 PM
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My brother has 2 pits at his house, and they are wonderful dogs. He has an 11 month old and they have never been aggressive to him at all. I say go for it.
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Old 05-04-2008, 12:19 AM
 
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The only issue from my point of view is whether you have the physical ability and emotional tolerance to separate the dogs should they begin fighting. That's just a fact of life with pits--because they have been bred to be dog-aggressive, they are not a breed that you can take on while imagining that it will always and forever be good with your other dog. It MAY--some people may never see the pit ever do anything--but in my experience the most common reason that pits are given to rescues is that they begin to not be able to control the interactions with their other dog(s), months or even years into ownership.

You should never buy or adopt a pit without being ready, if necessary, to consistently separate it from other dogs or cats in the family.
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Old 05-04-2008, 01:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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No other cats, but the dog aggression could be a concern. I feel like it would be pretty easy to separate her from dogs in the greater community, if necessary, but I would hate to have to keep one of them separated from everyone else in the house. The corgi is a lot older than she is (he's 9).
It is something I had thought about. I thought that it might help to do some socialization work like group training, flyball, or even the dog park with her. Do you think that would help?

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Old 05-04-2008, 03:21 PM
 
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I would say go for it, only if you are prepared to deal with agrression from the dog.. I think this should a consideration for any dog, not just pits. There is always a chance a dog you adopt will develop behavior problems even if they aren't evident.

I adopted my Shepherd mix three years ago. While in most ways he's a good dog, after a time of living with me and recovering his confidence, he developed severe leash aggression towards other dogs. He can't walk with me off lead because I cannot get him to understand about cars and streets, and on the lead, if we see another dog, he gets out of control. He's not really vicious - he's never seriously bitten dogs who have approached him on the leash, he's mostly all bark and snap, it's defensive - but it's still a big problem. I got an Easywalk harness for him so he can't drag me down the street, and I am working with him using reward based training to try to get him to focus on me for a treat instead of obsessing about the dog on the next block, but it's an uphill battle.

Is it a major inconvenience to me? You bet, and it decreases his quality of life because he can't go to the dog park, etc and I don't take him places with me as much as I like because there are always other dogs around, and I can't keep him from barking. However I work around it!
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Old 05-05-2008, 12:27 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Defenestrator View Post
I thought that it might help to do some socialization work like group training, flyball, or even the dog park with her. Do you think that would help?
Socialization is great but dog parks are a BAD idea. Here is a good link you should check out http://www.badrap.org/rescue/owning.cfm

No matter how much socializing you do and how sweet and wonderful she seems now with other dogs once she hits maturity things may change. You can not socialize or train dog aggression out, however you can train them so it is manageable.
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Old 05-05-2008, 12:36 AM
 
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I say go for it, too. In my experience (I have had several Pits) your greatest likelihood for dog aggression is with same-sex dogs, especially same-sex Pits. Especially 2 female Pits. The bitchiest of the bitches! They generally don't do well together. I would not be overly concerned about her with a male Corgi, although if she does want to be the dominant dog once she hits the age of maturity, you could have a problem.

I do have two male Pits right now, but one is around 2 years old, while the other is 14.5 years old. The old one can barely walk up the stairs, much less get into a fight. And actually, he never has been dog-aggressive his whole life. Socialization is great for Pits. The more good experiences with other dogs, the better. I would not really do the dog park though.

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Old 05-05-2008, 12:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, I've been researching like crazy and come across a couple of anti-dog-park articles. To be fair, the dog park near me is really huge and not very heavily used, so it is more like a couple of football fields with a dog or two playing frisbee with their owners than a place where lots of dogs go and run around like a crazy pack. But I can see how even that environment could be fraught with danger for the dog and for other dogs.

One new wrinkle -- I think there is a small possibility that we will move to Ontario in the next few years and when I was researching I found out that the whole province has banned pit bulls. I don't believe in adopting animals that I can't keep for life, so I have to weigh the likelihood that I might move there.

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Old 05-05-2008, 01:26 AM
 
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I am another dog-park hater. Properly utilized, they could be GREAT--if people would exercise the dogs before they get to the park, releasing relaxed, calm, loose dogs to play together. But that never happens; dog parks become a replacement for useful exercise. So you have a whole bunch of pent-up, underexercised, socially awkward dogs, and a whole bunch of owners who think that normal behavior is wrong.

I strongly encourage the use of puppy playgroups, supervised play, daycare, etc. But the typical dog park is a nightmare.
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Old 05-05-2008, 01:28 AM
 
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I would say no if your children are young, but probally ok if you have only teenagers and adults in the house! We had one, who we spent alot of time training and she was still wild and sketchy acting. She was extremely hyper, even in the house. She charged (my at the time 10 year old daughter and knocked her down flat on the ground. She also did not like my other daughter who was a newborn at the time. The dog acted very nervous and strange around the baby, i stopped allowing the dog around her. Though she was ok with my teenage son. The dog would just walk over anyone or anything she percieved as weaker. She also was very bad with our small dog. She scared him so much he was constantly hiding under things to avoid her. The dog also didn't like the cats and used to terrorize them when she was outside with them. We gave her to a friend of a friend and he ended up getting rid of her too. I also know other people who have gotten rid of their pit bulls because they were too rough with their young children. These are very strong dogs , who have been bred for a long time to fight. Yes, they do just snap sometimes. I know a vet who said every time he has, had to put a pit bull to sleep for attacking someone, the owner always says the same thing, i can't believe it the dog never showed any signs of doing something like this before!

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Old 05-05-2008, 02:58 AM
 
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Oh for the love of god. That is ridiculous. What you have described is not normal behavior for a Pit Bull. With proper training and exercise, they typically are not wild (once out of the puppy stage...), sketchy, nervous or strange-acting. The proper Pit Bull temperament is calm and stable around human beings. They're very, very trainable. Yes, they are strong, but that doesn't make them automatically dangerous to your family. I don't know your dog's background, but it sounds like she was very poorly bred. And you know what, even though they're mostly backyard-bred dogs, most Pit Bulls would still pull through some really horrific living conditions with a lick and a wag for anyone who gave them a kind word. Ever watch Animal Precinct?

And no, they don't 'just snap'.

OP, good luck with your decision. I hate breed-specific legislation.

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Old 05-05-2008, 11:12 AM
 
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I just want to chime in on two things...

1.) Most terrier breeds can have issues with dog-dog aggression, more so then other breeds, and it's lot harder to predict. With other breeds you can really follow the triggers that lead up to fights, but with terriers it can come on seemingly totally unprovoked. Terriers living in a house with other dogs are not "auto pilot pets". While I'm not discouraging you from getting the pup (she is cute!), this is certainly something to be aware of, and as was pointed out above, you have to have your ducks in a row before you get her. Set up crates, get gates, have a "plan" in place in case they don't get along (and that would include the option to bring her back to the rescue).

I would absolutely be more worried about dog-dog problems, then her being a suitable dog for a family.

2.) I absolutely detest dog parks. I can't take my dogs to dog parks for what Thekimballs pointed out above as being normal dog behavior. Especially with Rhino because he's so vocal. He makes people nervous, so everyone jumps in, they never get to properly introduce each other, and for the rest of the time we're there the dogs are all on edge. It's not very enjoyable. (I'm actually in the process of organizing a JRT meetup group.)

There is one park here who has a group of labs that go in the evening and sit around the picnic table with a few drinks (not the labs, the owners..lol), and that's where I used to take Kali before she injured her leg. They're a group of very knowledgeable people and it's s refreshing. They have no problems asking someone and their dog to leave if it's going to cause problems.

I would either organize a play group, or choose your dog park carefully.

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Old 05-05-2008, 03:44 PM
 
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there are a lot of very sweet pits in my neighborhood (seriously like six on my block alone) but there is a huge stigma associated with them. One guy was asked to leave the dog park (but seriously his dog is a spaz. he said it was just because he was a pit but there are tons of pits at the dog park and they do just fine. this dog cannot walk on a leash and does not respond to voice commands and goes nuts when it see other dogs.) and they seem to be associated with a lower class. I am not saying I feel this way but people make assumptions about pit bulls and the image they project.

But if you love this dog and will put in the time and effort to care for her and love her and train her (a dog this big it is essential they remain submissive, obedient and display good leash manners and respond to voice commands if you take them to an off leash park, really this is essential for all dogs but people don't freak out when a weenie dog approaches) and if you can accept that people will make unfair assumptions about your dog than I say go for it.

I can't believe all the problems everyone has with dog parks. ours is fabulous! There are a few dogs who get aggressive but their owners take them out if they are being naughty. owners stay close by their dogs (or at least aware of and ready to step in if need be) while still allowing the the freedom to do their things. I suppose it just depends on the park and the people there.

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Old 05-05-2008, 08:44 PM
 
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For anyone who is considering a Pit Bull, i would recommend instead a Cane Corso. Especially if you have young children. As they are very gentle with them! They are also Great with all other pets! We have 2 and they are Awesome family dogs and also Great Guard dogs!

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Old 05-06-2008, 04:28 PM
 
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Ooh I love Cane Corsos, beautiful dogs. However, they aren't readily available, and they're much larger and more expensive to feed than pit bulls.

I live in Philadelphia and this city is just full of pits. God knows how many are put down every day. There's a ton of rescues around here and a ton of dogs to choose from!
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Old 05-06-2008, 06:52 PM
 
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I researched CC's several years ago, all the good breeders (ones that showed,worked, and did health testing) I spoke too readily admitted the breed is plagued with health and temperament issues.
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Old 05-07-2008, 01:23 AM
 
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Old 05-07-2008, 03:12 AM
 
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This may be interesting to you:
http://www.canecorsoinfo.org/surveyresults.htm

Especially hips (Cane Corso median Penn Hip is .63 or so, where .3 represents little or no risk of degenerative joint disease and .7 represents a very high risk of degenerative joint disease) and scroll down to temperament.

There have been at least two recent threads on purebreds and health; I invite you to explore them.
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Old 05-07-2008, 05:07 AM
 
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Old 05-07-2008, 05:34 AM
 
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Well, i'am aware of some of these stats, but its not just Corsos that are prone to the hip and joint problems, all large, big boned dogs are! With all dogs there are pros and cons some more than others though. We have, had our 2 Corsos for 3 years and are crazy about them. I have had so many different breeds of dogs, (especially large breeds) and none have compared to the Corsos! We are planning on getting two more soon! We were looking for really great guard dogs, who would fit into a family with people of many different ages! They are a perfect fit for us, but not right for everyone! Their sooooo smart, the kind of smart that you really have to see to believe. We also have 2 pugs and 2 english bull dogs and they all get along great! Though we have spent an extreme amount of time and energy to have it this way. I will say Corsos do need a tremendous amount of attention and exercise! We live on several acres of gated property, so they have alot of room, though we also have them inside alot! We also take them on walks, jogs and hikes alot! They love it!
Please post pictures of your crew!

Not all large-boned breeds have dysplasia problems; Great Danes have an average joint laxity of about .4. Great Pyrenees, Afghan Hound, Doberman, Irish Wolfhound, Ridgeback, Anatolian--all have very good hips as a breed.

Corsos have twice the dysplasia rate, according to the OFA, of Golden Retrievers; they even "beat," by a substantial margin, Bassets and Bloodhounds. They're in the top 10 (or bottom 10, depending on how you look at it) of dysplastic breeds.

I am glad that you've had such good experience with the Corso; when they are bred as intended they're a unique, valuable, and fascinating breed. However, would I advise that anybody buy one bred in the US? No.
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Old 05-07-2008, 10:36 AM
 
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I say go for it! I have a 4 year old female staffordshire/apbt mix and she is a great dog and has been wonderful with my babe. As long as you are ready to work with her and are aware of what the breed's needs and temperment is like, then I think you are making a great choice. Good luck!

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Old 05-07-2008, 08:07 PM
 
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Thats absurd, there are some Awesome Corso breeders in the US!

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Old 05-07-2008, 10:33 PM
 
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My mother works for a vet, and the vast majority of pitbulls and rottweilers are marshmellows and just wonderful.

I did have a ad experience with one when I was babysitting, she was hyper, didn't know her own strength and was a bit of a bully. She was to dangerous to play in the yard, we had to go inside.

As I said, most are wonderful, but keep in mind that if they do act out, they can do ten times more damage and injury than another dog. Study her personality really hard before you make a decision, and have her for a trial at your home, and take her to a trainer to get an evaluation of her personality. A good trainer can usually see signs of future problems that could be worked on, but the one incident can be devestating.
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Old 05-07-2008, 11:38 PM
 
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Thats absurd, there are some Awesome Corso breeders in the US!

There are some, but few and far between unless things have changed dramatically in the past several years.
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Old 05-07-2008, 11:43 PM
 
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Personally I'd never choose to home a pit with a corgi especially without a fenced yard as it makes it so much harder to seperate the dogs if you need to.
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Old 05-07-2008, 11:45 PM
 
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This may be interesting to you:
http://www.canecorsoinfo.org/surveyresults.htm
Wow just looked at this link, the survey was done roughly around the time we were considering getting one and talking to breeders and owners and is consistent with what we were told and why we didn't get one. Very poor results for a breed so few in number. I think if you get a good one they would be a great dog to own. I have dealt with my share of health an temperament issues in other breeds and no desire to deal with it again. Maybe in 10-15 things will be different for the breed, it would be nice if it was.
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Old 05-08-2008, 12:09 AM
 
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I really don't want to make any assumptions about Nadia, but it looks to me that she would be very, very hyper/excited. Super cute though

The Ontario thing is a huge consideration too. Since we have Beka, there is really no chance of me moving back home until she's passed--and I don't even want to think about that.
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