Posts Tagged ‘pit bull’

The Fighting Truth About Pit Bulls

February 7, 2014
Cute Pit Bull

I Love a Pit Bull Smile

I’ve had a number of dogs of various breeds  in my life. One special dog was a Pit Bull/Mastiff named Squash (because of his orange color). His previous owners kept him in the back yard tied with a thick and short chain around the tree. When they moved, they just left him there. So my mom took him in. Squash understandably had a few issues due to his life tied around that tree, but with care and understanding he turned out to be a great family dog. I remember walking him as a girl and everyone being afraid of him. Some people couldn’t believe my mom would let me and my little sister be around such a big, strong, and mean-looking dog. But Squash would never hurt us. Because of his sweet nature, he was one of the most memorable dogs of my childhood.

pit bull terrier puppy

This isn’t a photo of Squash, but you get what I mean about the orange color.

With that being said, let me present to you this article about Pit Bulls. This is an article written by Randi Adams. Randi is a blog-from-home mother of three from California.

It’s easy to see golden retrievers adored as loving, family-oriented companions or chihuahuas as cute accessories that are dressed up and toted around. It’s called breed generalization, and pit bulls are victims of sweeping unfair generalizations such as “dangerous,” “a community menace” and “unpredictably aggressive.” Dog stereotypes and breed generations do originate though somewhere, somehow. Media attention that sensationalizes a tragic story involving a pit bull, or even the Michael Vick illegal dog fighting case disservice the breed that typically has a good nature.

The Fighting Truth

Pit bulls have been historically bred to be a fighting dog, and as a physically powerful, “high drive” breed, they have been traditionally trained to be an aggressive threat against other animals, as the ASPCA reveals. Because of the breed’s long history with fighting, the pit bull has a naturally strong propensity to react to other dogs. Pets for Patriots emphasizes that dog breeds of all kinds can exert aggressive behaviors, but a pit bull can end up inflicting more serious injuries and damage because of its size and strength.

Dog fighting was certainly more common one hundred years ago, and the American Pit Bull Terrier was bred to be a friendly and gentle dog, explains Pets for Patriots. At one time, the pit bull was one of the most popular dogs for American families. The pit bull image was even represented on World War One posters as a symbol for bravery and reliability.

Human Fault

ASPCA, the non-profit organization dedicated to the prevention of animal cruelty, asks “why the bad rap?” First, pit bulls can be a macho status symbol because of their intimidating appearance. Breeders irresponsibly and carelessly breed pit bull puppies for people who excite over the pit bull’s tough image. Dog owners also have their fair share in perpetuating the pit bull reputation. Dog owners may encourage the negative pit bull archetype by raising their puppy to be aggressive and domineering.

Just like humans can reinforce the violent association of pit bulls by using their pet as a tough guy accessory, humans can also negate the fear of pit bulls. The ASPCA describes the breed as “one of the most delightful, intelligent and gentle dogs imaginable.” Like all dog breeds, the dog just needs to be well-bred, socialized and trained. Despite the pit bull’s connection to dog fighting, pit bulls make good dogs for therapy and search-and-rescue. A pit bull puppy can grow to be a well-mannered, beloved member of the family, loyal to their owners. It’s just the owners responsibility to provide consistent training, gentle guidance and good socialization with humans and other animals when the puppy is as young as seven weeks old. A pit bull also needs healthy living conditions, adequate exercise and room to roam. A pet door, for instance, can provide a dog with the independence for exerting excess energy, as PetSafe mentions.

Myths Debunked

Any pit bull lover and advocate will tell you the following:

  • Pit bulls have strong jaw muscles and a determined hold, but definitely not locking jaws.
  • A dog with aggressive behaviors toward other dogs is no more likely to be aggressive toward humans – pit bull or not.
  • Pit bulls are easygoing dogs, but shouldn’t be unsupervised around other animals.
  • Not all pit bulls are meant to socialize at the dog park. Pitt bulls are muscular and high-energy dogs that can get overwhelmed in a dog park environment.
  • Owners who spay or neuter their pit bull can improve their dog’s health and behavior, as well as prevent unwanted, homeless pit bulls. Learn more about spay-neuter surgeries and other frequently asked questions by visiting our Spay/Neuter FAQs page.

There it is, that’s the article. What do you all think? I agree with most of it, although I’m not too sure about some of those myths. How many of you have Pit Bulls who do just fine around other animals? What about the dog park situation? Thanks for weighing in.

Dog Breed Feature – The American Staffordshire Terrier (Pit Bull)

November 18, 2010

American StaffordshireTerrier Figurine

Let us tell you what the American Staffordshire Terrier (or Pit Bull) dog breed is really like.  Most are not the monsters portrayed on the news.  So forget everything you’ve heard on tv and learn the truth.

The American Staffordshire Terrier is an American breed which was bred from old bulldog and old terrier dog breeds.  As you may know, bulldogs were originally used in bull baiting and dog fighting.  And terriers were bred for their tenacity on the hunt.  This may sound like a bad combination, and it can be if the Pit Bull dog breed is trained improperly.  But an American Staffordshire Terrier raised in a loving non-violent home and provided with proper socialization with other dogs can make a fantastic pet.  They are generally very social with people, get along well with children, and can even be friendly towards strangers.

However, due to the bulldog breeding, the American Staffordshire Terrier may not be good with other pets.  If you are considering getting an American Staffordshire Terrier, be sure to utilize proper socialization techniques around as many people and as many pets as possible.  If adopting an older dog, ease into the socialization.  You don’t want to jump into taking your dog to the dog park only to find out that he is very aggressive towards dogs.  Avoid using any negative reinforcement when it comes to being around other dogs.  Make sure that the Pit Bull’s experience with other dogs is a very positive experience.

The American Staffordshire Terrier is similar to the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.  The American Staffordshire Terrier is the American version while the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is the English version.  Both are very similar in looks but the American Staffordshire Terrier tends to be a bit bulkier.  The American Staffordshire Terrier stands about 17 to 19 inches tall, as according to the American Kennel Club (AKC) standards, and should weigh between 57 and 67 pounds.  He can be recognized by his broad head and muscular jaw and cheek bones.  His ears are set high and if uncropped, they are short and pricked forward.  If cropped, the ears are short and pointed.  The American Staffordshire Terrier has dark round eyes.  He has a muscular build but is rather agile and graceful in movement.

The coat of an American Staffordshire Terrier is short and smooth and requires very little grooming.  He can be a solid color or a solid color with white.  Per the AKC standards, he should not be more than 80% white.  While very little grooming is required, the American Staffordshire Terrier needs daily exercise.  A moderate walk or active play is best.

As compared to other terrier breeds, the American Staffordshire Terrier is relatively easy to train.  This is because he is more of a people pleaser and can have a strong devotion to his owner.  However, he can be a bit stubborn at times.  The use of primarily positive reinforcement will get the best out of this breed.

Like most purebred dogs, the American Staffordshire Terrier is prone to a few genetic health issues.  Hip dysplasia is probably the most common (as it is with most big dog breeds).  However, he is also prone to Progressive Retinal Atrophy and Cerebellar Ataxia.  Progressive Retinal Atrophy is an eye disease where the retina slowly deteriorates.  This disease could eventually lead to blindness.  Cerebellar Ataxia is a neural disease that affects the dog’s coordination.

So as you can see, the American Staffordshire Terrier, or Pit Bull, is really a good dog.  He loves people, trains well, and only requires basic daily exercise.  He is not a backyard dog to be ignored.  The more he is allowed to be a loving companion to his family, the better his temperament will likely be.  Most of the Pit Bulls you hear about on TV were either backyard dogs with little social interaction, abused dogs, and/or dogs used in pit fighting.

(Author’s note – As a former employer of an animal shelter, I can attest that we had less trouble with stray Pit Bull dog breeds trying to bite and attack than we did with other dog breeds.  In my two year history at the animal shelter, we never even had a Pit Bull dog breed impounded by the police for biting a person.  We had a number of Pit Bulls dog breeds confiscated by the police from people who had been using them for dog fighting.  Most of those dogs were so loving and eager for human interaction.  Some were scared and some barked in warning, but none were vicious.  In fact, we learned that most of the dogs confiscated weren’t even used for fighting.  They were sadly used as bait and had the scars to prove it.  In fact, most Pit Bull dogs don’t make the cut for being an actual fighter.)