There is a lot of propaganda out there concerning Pit Bulldogs and the very first piece of it is that there is a breed of dog that is called a Pit Bulldog, or merely a Pit Bull, or just a Pit. What this all refers to is the American Staffordshire Terrier which general is a pure bred as most humans you’ll find. We are a species of mutts. We are a people mutted over several times over and honestly, we’re much better off for it. King George the Third is a pretty good example of what pure bred people can do and that scares me more than any breed of dog.
But you and I both know what I am speaking of when I talk to you about the Pit Bull. They’re usually short, stocky clunky-headed dogs with short muzzles and they are incredibly trainable. They are on the high end of dogs an owner has to spend time with. You cannot tie one of these dogs to a tree and just leave it there with a bucket of water in front of it and expect this breed of dog to turn out well. But that can be said for just about any dog of any breed, can’t it?
Mistakes made in raising a dog have consequences. This goes for any breed of dog, but you don’t want to make training mistakes with powerful dogs. Pit Bulls are powerful dogs, but then again so are Huskies, Chows, Dobermans, GSD’s, and mutts that weigh in over fifty pounds. If you do not train a dog then the dog relies on instinct for judgment. You cannot allow a dog, any dog at all, to start make decisions for you. But let’s talk about the dog that everyone else is talking about. Let’s talk a little about the problem with Pits.
The reactionary news media reports nearly daily of someone being mauled by “Pit bulls” and you would be led to believe by the state of Maryland that these dogs are “inherently dangerous”. What you will not hear is any of this nonsense coming from someone who is a responsible owner who loves and trains their dogs. Oh, and you will never hear of a well loved and well trained dog of nearly any breed acting aggressively without good cause.
Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about here. My dogs are trained to stop whatever it is they are doing when I yell “No!” I can toss Lucas, my largest dog a treat and he’ll catch it in midair. If I tell him, “put that down” right when he catches it, Lucas will drop the treat. If I reach into his mouth after a treat he’ll let it go without me saying a word to him. If I feed Sam, the oldest dog, right next to where Lucas is sitting then Lucas will watch, perhaps drool, but he won’t try to take Sam’s food away from him.
Lucas is part Pit. It’s very easy to tell that he is. Lucas is extremely easy to train. He’s loving and gentle. Lucas wants nothing more than for me to guide him through the day and nothing makes him happier than for me to be pleased with him.
Lillith, my youngest, is nearly pure Pit, in as much as any dog can be. Most of what she has learned, and pay close to attention to what I am about to say, she has learned from watching how Lucas and I interact. Lillith can do almost as much as Lucas because being around a well trained dog makes her easier to train. Training them both at the same time takes some doing but they are beginning to understand one command goes to one dog and another to the other. I never hit them or yell at them when I train them. There is no reason to do either. Repetitive voice commands and positive reinforcement is really all I have ever needed with these dogs.
Pits are different. They are easier to train. They are more willingly shaped into whatever who loves them wants them to be. But they are high energy dogs. They need to play hard. They need to zoomie. They need for someone to get down on the ground and wrestle with them. They need physical contact with their family. They need to feel loved. But that can be said of nearly every breed of dog, can it not?
Pits are different. They are exceptional. They are what everyone really wants in a dog when they get what they want from a dog. You will never miss a moment of sleep when a Pit on your pillow. They play hard, love hard, and inside those broad chest beats the hearts of dogs who will never allow harm to come to those they love. But that could be said of your own mother could it not? Are we to ascribe the defense of loved ones to motherhood as the unselfish behavior of a saint then condemn a breed of dog who wants no less than for the family to be safe and protected? Your Pit will share your values. Your Pit will share your judgment. Your Pit will reflect more of who you are than any child you will ever raise. These are hard loving dogs whose souls are tied to their owners with a bond only death can break.
The problem with Pits is people. Human beings bastardize the very essence of a Pit and turn it into some cheapened and ugly, much as those people who neglect and abuse children do to kids. The ruin and harm wreaked upon the Pits by irresponsible and downright evil human beings cannot be laid down at the paws of the Pits in blame. They are who and what we make them.
My life has been spent loving these dogs. It has not been wasted or idle time. I sleep with a Pit and a dog that is part Pit, on my bed at night and I have never felt safer. My confidence in how I have trained them is absolute. My trust in these dogs is total. Our love is unconditional.
Do not speak to me of these dogs unless you have lived with them. Do not speak to me of their nature unless you have made the attempt in training one. Pits are advanced dog ownership and they are not for everyone. You have to deserve a Pit. You have to be ready, willing, and able to give a Pit a home and a family.
But that can be said of nearly every breed of dog, can it not?
Take Care Of Them,