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Blog: More Pit Myths  


Some of the myths below are just hilarious, but the scary fact remains that a lot of the people who have not had any meaningful contact with the breed will believe that least one of them. Thanks to the media hype and general sensationalism, Pit Bulls have been the most persecuted dogs in the last century.

Here are some of the common myths that you will come across, if you haven't already;

Pit Bulls are inherently vicious

Talk about generalization. The dogs that you see in the media that have reportedly attacked someone are the result of bad breeding and socialization. A well-bred and well-adjusted Pit Bulls is a wonderful addition to any family, but a dog that is a result of a backyard breeder, a dog that has been mistreated and neglected, cannot be considered to be a true representation of the breed. The sad thing is that the general public is willing to believe and accept the worst based on the actions of a few. A Pit Bull that bites is an exception to the rule rather than the norm. The 2004 statistics from the American Temperament Test Association show that 83.4% of American Pit Bull Terriers passed the temperament test. This is higher than the Beagle (78.2%) and the Border Collie (79.6%). The temperament test consists of putting the dog through a series of confrontational situations - if the dog reacts aggressively or fearfully, it fails.

A dog that attacks an animal will go on to attack a human

Completely not true. Animal aggression and human aggression are twp completely different things, and dogs have the ability to differentiate between the two. While it is true that Pit Bulls do tend to have a genetic predisposition towards animal aggression, it is also a fact that they were bred NOT to be human aggressive. Human aggression was stringently bred out of them, and a Pit Bull that bites a human is an anomaly within an exceptionally human-loving breed. Any dog that bites should be taken to a behaviorist to see if they can be rehabilitated.

Pit Bulls have 1600 psi jaw pressure, and they can lock their jaws

This is one of my favorites! Not only is there no device in existence which could measure the strength of a dog's jaw, but if they had the ability to lock their jaws, they would have to be classified as another species. Pit Bulls are known to be extremely tenacious, and will not easily relinquish something that they see as rightfully theirs. However, their jaws have nothing unique about them to distinguish them from any other breed of dog.

Pit Bulls make great guard dogs

Now this one is a whopper! Pit Bulls actually make completely useless guard dogs - because of their love of all things human, they will consider strangers as friends as much as they consider family as friends.

The only way in which the Pit Bull makes a good guard dog is through its appearance and its much maligned reputation, which is not a good reason to get one. Though, in the past, they have been linked with disreputable people, such as drug dealers, this should not reflect on the dog. If a Pit Bull has a natural love of people, consider what these grotesques of human beings had to do to these dogs to make them aggressive.

A Pit Bull can be happy one minute and turn on you the next

I have personally come across this myth more than once. What you have to remember is that what most people are doing is regurgitating what they have seen on the television or read in the newspaper. Very few of them have actually been in contact with one of these dogs, so you have to forgive them for not being educated about the breed.

This particular gem is also completely untrue. A happy, well-loved and well-adjusted Pit Bull will no more turn on his owner for no reason than the average teenager will hack up his family with a meat cleaver. Strong image, I know, but effective!

A dog has to be watched for any physical or psychological changes. Dogs cannot talk to us, so we have to make sure that we keep an eye on them to evaluate them for any potential illness.

Pit Bulls bite more than any other breed

Again, untrue. Bite statistics are notoriously unreliable, firstly because most dog bites go unreported. Secondly, because there are over 10 other breeds of dog that the general public confuse with Pit Bulls. There have been stories on the news about Pit Bull attacks where the picture on the screen is definitely not a Pit Bull.

Thanks to the media and general sensationalism, the Pit Bull is a newsworthy dog. In this country, bad news makes the national papers and sells more than good news, which just tends to make the local papers. The media has transformed the Pit Bull from what it used to be - America's favorite dog - into the devil dog that it is today. No-one wants to see a story with the title 'Man bitten by Labrador' or 'Man bitten by Jack Russell'. Stories involving Pit Bulls are much more newsworthy, and unfortunately their popularity does not seem to be waning.

Posted: Nov 15, 2006 11:55am | (1) | (0) |  
Blog: Pit Bull Myths!  
Promoting A Positive Image

"Pit Bulls have locking jaws." The jaws of the Pit Bull are functionally the same as the jaws of any other breed, and this has been proven via expert examination.

The few studies which have been conducted of the structure of the skulls, mandibles and teeth of Pit Bulls show that, in proportion to their size, their jaw structure and thus its inferred functional morphology, is no different than that of any [other] breed of dog. There is absolutely not evidence for the existence of any kind of ’locking mechanism’ unique to the structure of the jaw and/or teeth of the American Pit Bull Terrier, says Dr. I. Lerh Brisbin of the University of Georgia (from the ADBA booklet, “Discover the American Pit Bull Terrier.)

"Pit Bulls can hold on with their front teeth while chewing with their back teeth." As stated above, the Pit Bull’s jaws are, functionally speaking, the same as all other breeds.

“Pit Bulls don’t feel pain.” Pit Bulls have the same nervous system of any other breed, and they can and do feel pain. Historically, those dogs that would tolerate or ignore discomfort and pain and finish the task they were required to perform were the dogs that were bred and the sort of dogs breeders strove to produce. This is the trait of “gameness” that so many breed fanciers speak of, which may be defined as, “The desire to continue on and/or complete a task despite pain and discomfort.”

“Pit Bulls have more bite pressure per square inch (PSI) than any other breed.” This is pure speculation at best, damaging myth at worse. There have been no exhaustive studies conducted to prove that Pit Bulls have the strongest jaws of any breed. There likely could not be any truly conclusive testing done to measure something like strongest breed PSI. A reason for this lies in the fact that dogs bite with varying pressure depending upon the situation, and what factors are driving the bite at that particular point in time. A dog cannot be instructed to bite down on a measuring device as hard as possible, so a tester could have no way of knowing whether or not a particular dog being tested is actually using its jaws to capacity in any given testing phase. There is also large size variation in any breed, and one must assume strength varies as well. A very large (but not typical or standard) Pit Bull may bite harder than a small Rottweiler, German Shepherd, or other breed, while a standard sized Pit Bull may not have as much jaw power as a larger, typical sized Rottweiler, etc. Also, if one breed is to claim “highest bite pressure”, all breeds would have to be compared. All 500+ of them.

Dr. I. Lerh Brisbin of the University of Georgia states, To the best of our knowledge, there are no published scientific studies that would allow any meaningful comparison to be made of the biting power of various breeds of dogs. There are, moreover, compelling technical reasons why such data describing biting power in terms of ‘pounds per square inch’ can never be collected in a meaningful way. All figures describing biting power in such terms can be traced to either unfounded rumor or, in some cases, to newspaper articles with no foundation in factual data. (From the ADBA booklet, “Discover the American Pit Bull Terrier.)

“Pit Bulls attack more people than any other breed.” Bite statistics are difficult to obtain accurately. Dogs that are referred to as “pit bulls” in statistical reports actually are a variety of breeds and mixes all lumped together under the “pit bull” heading. Also, many people have a difficult time properly identifying a true Pit Bull, so added to the statistics are those dogs that have been misidentified. Considering these factors, the actual number of attacks attributable to American Pit Bull Terriers is considerably lower than represented. Also important to understand is the extreme popularity of the Pit Bull and pit bull-type breeds. By some estimates, numbers-wise they are the most popular of all dog breeds. It is only logical to assume that the breed with the higher number of individual dogs would be represented with a higher number of bites. Viewing older statistical reports for the Center of Disease Control, one will see that trends in breed popularity reflect in the number of bites attributed to a specific breed during a specific period of time.

“The brains of Pit Bulls swell and cause them to go crazy”. Prior to the boom in Pit Bull popularity, the Doberman Pinscher was rumored to suffer from an affliction of the brain in which the skull became too small to accommodate a dog’s grey matter. This would, according to the rumor, cause the Doberman to go crazy, or “just snap” out of no where and attack their owner. This rumor could never be quantified, and indeed had no merit whatsoever. Now that the Doberman fad has run its course the Pit Bull has inherited the swelling brain myth. It is no truer now than it was during the Doberman’s fad days.

“Pit Bulls ‘turn’ on their owners.” Dogs, as a species, do not perform behaviors “just because”. There are always reasons for behavior, and when aggression becomes a problem the reasons can be such things as improper handling, lack of socialization or training, a misreading of dog behavior by the owner, or, rarely, disease. Aggression, when it presents in pet dogs, follows specific patterns. First occur warning signs, then more warning signs, and finally, when those signs are continually ignored or misinterpreted, the dog resorts to using its teeth. When an owner is startled by a sudden, aggressive outburst, it is because they have been unaware of problems that were brewing. This is true of all dogs, not just Pit Bulls. Pit Bulls, indeed no dogs, “turn” on their owners.

“The only thing Pit Bulls are good for is dog fighting.” Unfortunately, a large amount of attention has been brought to the fact that the Pit Bull was originally created for fighting other dogs in the pit. Since the breed was selectively bred for and excelled at this task, there is a common assumption that fighting must be all for which the breed is good. The truth of the matter is that the Pit Bull is one of the most versatile of canines, capable of excelling at just about any task his owner asks him to complete. This breed is routinely used for: obedience trialing, conformation showing, weight pull, Schutzhund (a German sport which requires dogs to perform in obedience, tracking and protection phases of a competition), agility, and have even been known to participate in herding trials, search and rescue work, and a variety of other tasks including police and armed services work. But fanciers will argue that the task this breed performs best of all is that of beloved companion.

"Dogs that are aggressive towards other dogs are aggressive towards people." Human aggression in dogs is entirely different than aggression directed at other animals. Inter-dog aggression is a normal trait of the breed (as it is in many terrier breeds, among others). Historically, humans were always in the pit, handling fighting dogs closely, while the animals were in full fight drive. A dog that was a danger to people and prone to biting was not feasible, and therefore carefully selected against.

"Red or blue nose dogs are: a special type of Pit Bull / rare / worth more than black nose dogs": The answer to all of the above is: FALSE!!! Let's talk color in Pit Bulls.

Pit Bulls are traditionally a performance breed. That means that they were originally bred based on how well they performed a certain task, not what they looked like. Color was probably the least important thing that oldtime breeders of Pit Bulls considered. Today, Pit Bulls remain largely a working/performance dog, and so the old way of doing things as far as looks are concerned largely still holds fast. True, many Pit Bulls today are also bred with the show ring in mind, however color is of almost zero importance even in that venue. No one who really knows Pit Bulls is all that impressed by color. A flashy color does not a good dog make, and although many people have favorite colors, breed-saavy people know that it's what's under the coat that counts.

Pit Bulls come in almost every color that is genetically possible in dogs. Some colors are more common (brindle or fawn for instance); some colors you don't see as often (such as spotted or black and tan). One thing is for certain, however: blue and red nosed dogs do NOT fall into the "rare" category--there are many of both colors out there, especially (at least in my area) the red nosed dogs.

There is, unfortunately, a faction of breeders (all unscrupulous), that are attempting to cash in on the current fad of blue and red nosed dogs. These people produce poor quality animals with no thought to health and temperament, their biggest selling point being coat color. Breeders of this type many times charge jacked up prices for their puppies, justfying the high price tag by claiming their dogs are of a "rare" or "special" color. The unsuspecting buyer is duped into believing their animal is extraordinary simply because he happens to have an "odd" colored nose. Breeders of this ilk are especially dubious because not only are they producing bad stock, but they lure their customers in by making false claims. Do not be fooled by this type!

There are, of course, very ethical breeders that produce blue and red nosed dogs. There are many fine, healthy, stable examples of these color varieties out there. These are dogs bred by people who care about the breed, are knowledgeable about what they are doing, and breed for MUCH more than just a snazzy color. There is nothing wrong with liking one color above another, but one should be an educated consumer. Realize that you aren't just buying a pretty face, but a living, breathing creature that is going to make real demands and require money to care for, time, and patience.

Some people have the mistaken belief that blue or red nosed dogs are a special "type" of Pit Bull. When speaking of such dogs, these sorts are apt to make statements such as, "I have a blue Pit", or "My dog is the red nosed kind". Let's replace "brindle" with "red-nosed": "My dog is the brindle kind." Sort of silly, no? Brindle is just a color a Pit Bull may be, not a "kind" of Pit Bull. Well, ditto red and blue. There is a specific line of Pit Bull known for its red noses; this is the Old Family Red Nose strain. But this was a tight-knit family of dogs bred closely because of their superior ability in the pit. The genetic closeness of the dogs made it easy to pass on certain traits--it just so happens that the traits of the Old Family dogs included not only gameness, but the genes for red noses as well.

Posted: Apr 22, 2006 6:10pm | (0) | (0) |  
Blog: LIfe with Pit's part 2  
Promoting A Positive Image

Life With Pit Bulls, Pg. 2

Bridgette's "Wonder Dog": Thelma was a red and white Pit Bull. She was on the "big boned" side, we called her "Fattie". Thelma always slept with me. When I was ordered to stay in bed with a tough pregnancy, Thelma stayed with me in bed most of the time with her head on my belly. When my baby was born he slept with me and Thelma had to sleep on the floor. She would sneak on the bed every night, only now it was my baby she cuddled up next to. She was so careful not to hurt my son. In fact, if my husband or I got to close to the baby in our sleep she would let us know it.

Thelma did one very amazing thing which earned her the name "Thelma the Wonder Dog". We had a koi pond in the backyard. One day I was working in the garage and Thelma dropped a Koi at my feet. I yelled at her and spanked her so bad her feelings were hurt. Five minutes went by and she comes back in with another. This time she was barking and acting strangely. I went out to the pond and all of my fish were dying. I got the pump running and was able to save 1/2 the fish. If it wasn't for Thelma, I would not have checked on them. I know that dog knew exactly what she was doing.

Jessamy relates life with Ronnie: My boyfriend called me one morning to say that he had found a dog that he just HAD TO HAVE. The dog had been locked in the band room of his fraternity house, not by one of the brothers, and had spent Thanksgiving break without food or water. He couldn't keep him at the house and wanted to bring him by to see if I would like to keep him. He didn't say what kind of dog Ronnie was, probably so that I did not immediately say "NO!" about the decision to keep him.

Yes, I was one of those people who thought Pit Bulls were bad from the news. However, when I saw the dog I was taken aback by how calm and gentle he was. He immediately licked my hands and face. He was the sweetest thing I had ever seen. I WAS IN LOVE! How could I say no to keeping him.

Ever since that day Ronnie has been my faithful co-pilot. Ronnie is the perfect dog. He was house trained when I got him and never messes in the house. He loves to play with other dogs and has never been aggressive. He even lets my friend's toy yorkie sit on his head. Although I always keep him on his leash when I go out in public, he enjoys his walks. Who wouldn't want to flaunt that sweet face? The awesomest thing I must say is that Ronnie has never barked. When my friends complain about their dogs keeping them up all night barking- I laugh.

I had alot of dogs growing up. Mostly all golden retreivers. I thought they were the greatest dogs ever... until I met Ronnie. My mom used to brag that our dogs were so smart. They are no match to Ronnie. He turns on the TV when he is left alone and even changes the channel, he can turn on and off the lights, and even open doors. When he got ahold of my bag of cookies sitting out.... well lets just say he opened the trash and put the evidence inside. I spent all afternoon looking for them and even yelled at my boyfriend thinking he had eaten them all. It was not until we found the bag covered in slobber inside the trash that we realized it had been Ronnie. I almost had to yell at him for the first time but I couldn't help but feel outsmarted. Besides Ronnie promised me he would never do it again.

Ronnie has changed my life. I could never see a life without him. I even chose not to attend law school in the state of Ohio, turning down a scholarships, because of all the breed specific legislation. The hardest thing that I have to deal with his the glares. Ronnie is so perfect and most of the time I get compliments on how beautiful and well-behaved he is. But, the glares from some people make me eerk inside. I even had a big dog, who wasn't on a leash, attack Ronnie who was on his leash. Ronnie just sat on the ground with his tail in between his legs (he is a lover not a fighter). The owner was about to apologize when he realized that he was a Pit Bull and said that it was my dogs fault... after all he is a "pit bull". It made me so mad. But instead I just walked away. My mom likes to say that Ronnie is like Shrek. People judge his outside before the have a chance to know how wonderful he is. I hope to use my law training to work towards banning the use of breed specific legislation.

Deb Coons: As many of your writers, I too got my Pit Bull "Education" from the biased media. Then Savage entered my life. When my husband and I got married, he mentioned that he would like for us to own a Pit Bull. Of course due to my "education" I refused vehemently, stating all the usual myths perpetrated by the media.

Several months later a friend of mine got a puppy (this poor little thing had been to 2 separate homes before she got him) then decided they couldn't keep it. She came to me with the sob story of how she couldn't keep the dog and would have to find a home blah, blah, (you know the lines). Being the big softy that I am I agreed to take the puppy sight unseen (we had one dog a sheltie mix). My friend had told me the pup was a Boxer. Well, I picked the little thing up and brought it home. I was so proud of myself because my husband had been wanting a short haired dog we could keep in the house. I had solved the problem. When he walked in the door that night I proudly showed off my acquisition. He looked at me so funny and said "I thought you said you would never have a Pit Bull". Of course I countered with "He's not a Pit Bull, he's a Boxer". My husband said, "Well, believe whatever you want." Although I didn't want to believe him, he had owned Pit Bulls before, so I knew what we had was a Pit. Apprehensive as I was about this breed, I was determined that this little black faced puppy was at his last home. Good, bad or otherwise, I just didn't have the heart to turn him out of another home.

A couple days later, I noticed symptoms I didn't like. The vet confirmed my worst fear with one word, "PARVO". Standing there with tears welling up in my eyes I took the antibiotic the vet offered and a list of instructions. The Vet didn't give much hope for his survival.

13 years later, he's a happy old dog (some crippled with arthritis). I've seen this dog share everything from a popsicle to a bologna sandwich with a child under the age of 2 (the neighbor's kid). I have gotten up in the mornings and found the dog and neighbor's kid asleep in the dog house together. (Yes, irresponsible neighbors.) This dog has been something else. I've owned all sorts of dogs, German Shepherds, Poodles, Beagles, Spitz, Labs, and countless mixes. There will never be another breed of dog that will capture my heart like this one has. 13 years after my first contact with the victimized Pit Bull, I have breed 3 litters, shown in countless shows, rescued, rehabilited, and successfully placed in loving homes several abandoned or unwanted dogs. If you truly love this breed they crawl right up inside your heart and become a part of you. I can't think of any other way to describe it.

Posted: Apr 22, 2006 6:02pm | (0) | (0) |  
Blog: Life with Pitts....  
Promoting A Positive Image

Life With Pit Bulls

What it's like to share your life and home with one of these amazing dogs...

It isn't uncommon to hear Pit Bull owners utter the words, "You have to own one to know what I mean." Pit Bull ownership is a truly unique experience. It is difficult to express the level of love, joy, and pure magic this breed brings to its caretakers every single day. On this page we offer you a glimpse into this world. Read on to discover why Pit Bull owners wouldn't want any other breed!

Jessie Merrium: My husband & I adopted Maggie, our Pit Bull mix from an animal shelter a few months ago, although we had great reservations about owning the breed. We had heard all the stereotypical mumbo-jumbo. We were skeptical, even weary at times about this cute little pup that we just knew would mangle us one day! Oh please! I now know she would lick someone to death before she would draw blood!

When I originally went to the shelter to look for a pet I saw Maggie and it was love at first sight. She was so loving and cuddley unlike the other dogs. She is still that way with everyone she meets. She craves positive attention and loves to be the limelight of the show. What a ham! And my goodness does she love children! This four year old at the dog park played with Maggie all day once. Maggie would follow her around and do whatever she wanted. Never once did she try to jump or hurt the little girl. She simply would retrieve sticks and shake hands.

Maggie does get kennel trained when we are away from home. We have learned the hard way that Maggie likes her limits and her attention! When she's needing either of them, she chews! She likes her huge kennel though and regards it as her own little area. But at night she sleeps with my husband and I. In the mornings we tend to find her under the covers with her head perched on my pillow. My husband says he can't tell who snores louder: Maggie or me.

We have trained Maggie to sit, shake, lay, rollover, play dead, and stay, and she is only five months old. She is so smart and eager to learn. I don't think I have ever owned another dog that wants to please and be loved as Maggie does.

For all those people that believe that this breed is dangerous, well, I can only put it mildly this way: Are children bad for doing what they are told to do even if it is wrong or is it the parents that are bad for telling the children to do something wrong? All breeds of animals only want to please their owners. It is the owners who are responsible for teaching their pets to behave the way they do. And with any animal or child, when given positive training, influence and attention they will respond in love and giving.

^ Maggie
Stephanie: About a year ago, my girlfriend and I adopted a badly malnourished, beaten and scarred pit bull from a rescue operation in our hometown. She was taken out of her surroundings thanks to a neighbor who called and complained about the mistreatment of the dogs near his home. Luckily, we contacted the rescuer (because we were looking for a dog to adopt) about two days after she'd removed the Pit Bull from her current situation. We absolutely fell in love with the dog. She only weighed about 11 pounds when we took her home, and she had scars and cuts all over her face and front legs. The previous owner had used her as a fighter and brood bitch. She was only a year old and had already been bred several times. She was very shy and nervous, but little by little, she grew to trust us. Now, she's 2 years old, and she is 41 pounds, with few scars left, and she's beautiful and loving. We are so proud to have been the lucky ones to call and have her choose us. We adequately named her Destiny... we agreed it was her destiny to be with us. We took another step in the Pit Bull parenthood direction, we adopted a little boy Pit Bull playmate for her, and they're getting along wonderfully!

^ Destiny & mom Stephanie
Merril tells of a Pit Bull love story! Angel came into our life aged 11 weeks. From the first moment those eyes looked into our soul and she promised a life of love, joy and adventure.

She was posing as a Staffordshire Bull, and was to be our third. I remarked to my husband that she looked a little odd - long legs, bigger than expected - but the affection and instant love captured our hearts and home she came.

Soon after, we were told she was a Pit Bull - a restricted, dangerous dog in Australia. So in came the council to inspect and certify and we passed with flying colours.

Angel is a living, breathing source of love and affection. The intelligence and intuition she posseses far outstrips many humans I have encountered. Her love is strong, unconditional and boundless.

She is a coffee guzzling klutz. She sits at the table to indulge in our evening meal - and can't understand why guests don't share our passion - and their food! She has even mastered the gas heater, and we have the gas bills from hell - as she turns the heater on when we leave home - do we care - not one bit as long as she is safe and happy.

Angel likes to travel - she has her own BMW and car harness and loves to go with dad to drop mum at work - the faster the better as her ears and tongue vibrate in the wind. She smiles and brings laughter to those that see her lolling out the car window - safely harnessed in her own seatbelt.

We have two kids - they too belong to her, the cats are hers, as are the other dogs - she is the centre of the family. Angel is 5 now and I already dread her leaving us. She has had bowel surgery - from eating peaches and swallowing the seed - we don't have stone fruit anymore. Then she did tore the first anterior cruciate ligament in her back leg and sure enough, 6 weeks later, the other! She is the $5000 dog.

Her dad, Adrian, lives for her smile - she lights up his world and makes us laugh, bringing our family together. To me, she is comfort and reason and makes the tough corporate world I work in seem meaningless - well - she would tell you, I only go there to support her in the way she is accustomed.

Angel is the best ad for Pit Bulls you could imagine - the only thing to fear is being loved or kissed to death. She is gentle and patient with children, and recognises her role in dispelling the Pit Bull myth.

Will we ever own another breed other than Pitbulls - no! Can we imagine life without a pittie - absolutely not. In our inner city, urban lifestyle she is the voice of reason - walk me, love me, be with me. She sleeps with us, is the centre of our family and my relationship with her is one of the most unique and special relationships I have every experienced.

^ Angel from Australia

Sabine: Raleigh White Dog came into my life about a year ago. At the time I got him, he was about 3 month old and pink as could be. He was born deaf, which I knew when I got him. The family, who had him before me, couldn't keep him anymore and were about to give him to the pound. So I took him home with me!

He is so smart! It didn't take long for him to be housetrained and to learn signs for “good boy, no, sit, down and stay”. He is so eager to please. He learned "high 5" and “down” after only a few tries. He loves people. At the park he goes up to just about everyone, tail wagging, big old grin on his face. He does just about anything for attention. You should see him rolling in a mud puddle and gets everyone laughing...except for me! I’m the one who has to clean him up. Most people are surprised when they find out Raleigh is a Pit Bull--"A Pit Bull? But he's so cute and friendly!" (duh!)--and even more surprised when I tell them that he is deaf. But that little handicap has not slowed him down one bit.

From the moment I got him, he was exposed to horses, people and other dogs. At this point he has not shown any aggression and I pray it will stay that way. Raleigh is my 2nd Pit bull. After owning Koko, my first, I knew I would have a Pit Bull again. She was such a great dog too, loved people, but wasn't good around other dogs. I got her a muzzle and went to dog beach just about every day, never had a problem. How did Stratton say it? "Once you have owned a Pit Bull, you'll never want to own another breed of dog". Something to that effect, and it’s true in my case. I can't describe the fun I have with this dog. He is so darn cute when he wakes up in the mornings...taking up most of my bed...smiling at me and cuddling, licking my face. He is very eager to go out and do things and he loves hanging out at home just as much.

This is a great breed and it is a shame bad people ruin it!

Rachel D.: Just wanted to send you a recent picture of our Dozer. He's doing great! He's become the neighborhood celebrity, people actually come over our home to see HIM, not us!

^ Dozer, the home security love muffin!

Thought you'd like to know that Dozer saved us from an intruder a couple of months ago. My husband was working the midnight shift. It was about 1 AM and I was up on my couch watching a movie with Dozer. He kept running over to the living room window and crying, and I kept telling him to lay down and be quiet. He listened to me but he was still jumpy. I heard noises, but I thought it was the wind. Anyway, about 10 minutes later, I heard a sound at our kitchen window. Dozer heard it too. He literally jumped OVER me, and ran to the window. Suddenly his hair was standing straight up, and he showed his teeth and began to growl. He lunged at the kitchen window, through the blinds, and began barking incessantly until I went over to him. Needless to say, I was scared. I have never seen our Dozer show his teeth or growl like that. It was just me and my 2 boys in the house, and all the lights were off, so someone must have thought I was sleeping or not home. Anyway, for the rest of the night, Dozer was on guard duty. He wouldn't settle down until a few hours later. The next morning when my husband came home, I told him what happened. He went outside to the kitchen window and sure enough the screen was lifted up on one side! Someone did try to get in. God only knows what would have happened if Dozer wasn't here with us. Steve (the husband) went out to the store that afternoon and bought Dozer about $40.00 worth of toys, he was so proud of him. No one has ever tried to break in again!

Well, I thought you'd appreciate this little story. I would've given money to see the look on the face of the person who was trying to break in when Dozer's big face and teeth came through the blinds at them! He's better than any alarm system. . ADT home your hearts out!

Dozer is so loved, he's completely mommy's boy. He follows ME everywhere I go, and babysits my boys (10 and 11 y.o.) whenever I run out to the store for something. Just think, Dozer was one day away from being put to sleep when we got him. I couldn't imagine life without him.

Anna: Last October we responded to an ad in the paper of a Boston Terrier/Schnauzer Mix. We wanted a Boston Terrier but couldn't afford a purebred. So we went and saw her. She was 7 weeks old, tiny and sooo adorable. She clung to her brothers and cried like crazy when we took her away. She cried the entire way home. We noticed she seemed to itch a lot, to the point of where she would cry while scratching. She couldn't even sleep. We took her to the vet on Monday for her first set of puppy shots and they said she had Mange! It was sarcoptic mange, the contagious to humans kind. Well, we all got it. It finally went away and then she got sick with bloody diarrhea and vomiting. I was so tired of dealing with the sickness that I wanted to get rid of her. But something inside wouldn't let her go. So when I took her back to the vet for a checkup, the vet said to her "You are such a cute little pit bull." He was playing with her and talking to her in silly voices. I said, EXCUSE ME? This is not a pit bull, she is a Boston terrier mix. The vet looked at me like I was crazy and he thought I knew she was a pit. Well, I was one of those people who thought pit bulls were dangerous, and had heard all the stories. Just a month before we got her, my aunt had mentioned wanting a pit bull and I told her if she got one, I'd never bring my son over there again! So, imagine my SHOCK when I found out she was a pit bull! I managed to get over it and now I love her like nothing else! She is 5 months old and can already sit, shake and give high five. She LOVES to play the you-throw-and-I-go-chase-it game with ANYTHING. I can always tell when she wants to play, because she will bring a toy and drop it in my lap. She is also excellent with my 2 year old son. He loves her and calls her "my Niko." She is crate trained and potty trained. She likes nothing better than to sit in my lap and chew on a toy while I rub her belly. She gives lots of kisses and hugs, and likes to sleep with and clean the cat. They sleep together on the couch every night. She is silly, has the "pit-fits" you talked about, and does hang off the couch upside down! I have never in my life had such a good dog, and I am already looking to add another to our family. Thanks for helping me be a pit bull convert. Your website convinced me to keep her instead of giving her away when I found she was a pit bull. To you I am eternally grateful! She is a wonderful dog; without you I never would have known that.

Amanda Creely wanted to share the story of Eve and her family: Eve had a very rough life from the beginning. I met her when she was about a year old. She was a frat house dog. She was totally neglected. The people who owned her didn’t have the time or the money to care for her properly. She was fed frozen chicken nuggets, locked in a small room, never taken out, and beat for messing on the floor. For the year that she lived in the house after I met her I usually bought all her dog food and did most of the walking. When the guys moved out of the house, they couldn’t keep Eve, so they gave her to the guy that they bought her from originally. He only wanted her as a brood bitch. He wanted a male from her bloodline. He bred her, then locked her in a closet and left her there until she had her puppies. She was lost to me until I found her again by chance.

A lady that I worked with was married to the guy that had her. I found out her fate was to be a fighting dog after her puppies were weaned and sold. I couldn’t have it. So I offered to buy her from him and he accepted.

When Eve had her puppies she became very protective. Her breeder couldn’t go into the room without fear of her biting him, even though I think it was more of a threat than anything else. But she allowed me to come in, sit on the floor, and even handle every puppy. She went so far as picking them up one by one and attempting to put them in my car. In her mind she was going with me and taking her puppies with her. The pups were weaned at six months, and I took Eve to stay with my mother and our Corgie, Rocky. There was an instant connection. They are so

close now that you can’t take one out of the room without fear of the other one having a fit.

^ Eve & Mamma

^ Eve & Rocky

I kept a daughter of Eve, Little Mamma (they look so much alike we say she is a little version of her mamma). Little Mamma was initially supposed to go with a friend of mine but that arrangement didn’t work out.

Little Mamma grew up in a house full of cats. To this day I think that she thinks she is a cat. Since she was a pup, these cats have loved her, slept with her, and cleaned her. When strangers come into the house she guards “her” cats like a mother dog would guard puppies. We always keep a watchful eye, but for the most part they are great companions.

^ Mamma & her cat.

These dogs have an innate ability to pick up on human emotion. Mamma knows that when I am in a good mood that she is more likely to get a treat so she will run over by her cookie jar and whine. When I am sad, say plops all 65 pounds of herself on my lap. She thinks she is one of the human girlfriends. When we sit at the kitchen table she will jump up in a chair and sit there so attentively like she is involved in the conversation.

Eve (who lives with my mom and her Corgie Rocky) love to visit with us. When everyone gets together it is a big doggy fest. Eve and Mamma still have that mother/daughter relationship. We keep our eyes on them for aggression issues but the Corgie is the dominant dog out of the "pack" so he usually instigates or breaks up any squabbles. They are big babies. I have a 3-year-old niece who pulls them around by their lips and they just love it.

Pit Bull convert Pam says: My boyfriend brought this stray dog home and called me on the phone and asked if we could keep this dog! Never menitioned that this dog was Pitbull. Hummmmmm? I get home from work and see this baby Pitbull sitting on my couch, as cute as can be. The first thing out of my mouth was, "we cannot keep this dog, there is legislation against these dogs. My homeowners insurance will cancel me!" I was freaking out. Well the dog was freezing, starving, wormy, the whole nine yards. So I decided we would take care of the dog until we found a good home for her. I only knew what the press had said about Pitbull's. I knew nothing else. Well it took a lot of money to get this dog to good health, and I was getting more and more attached. Onyx (well I had to call her something) slept with me, played with me, met all my friends, went everywhere with me. I had to make sure Onyx was healthy before I found her a new home........right??? I had to make sure she was stable........right?? See that took time!!!

Well, I called my vet, found your website 2 years ago and began reading on the Pitbull. I studied the requirements that my municipality had for these type of dogs. I was in love with Onyx by this time and asked my vet if he thought a passive person like myself could own this dog. I couldn't part with her. Onyx is the best dog I have ever had. I began socializing her early on, like your website said, and watched her. Onyx is always on a leash. Onyx is registered with the City of St Louis, and she is microchipped and I had her spayed. Onyx has 2 babysitters, Grandma and my friend Kim. Kim has a dog and they play real well together, but we always stay aware.

Onyx just got her second set of shots, and at the vet's, Dr. Kirka walks in and goes to pet Onyx and it turned into a big hug, and then Dr. Kirka looks at me says, "oh I guess I should ask if she is nice, before I start hugging on this dog" It was so cute. I am keeping an eye on her, your website says even up to 4 years of age Pitbulls can show agression. I will keep contacting your website for advice and how to be a responsible owner. I cannot tell you enough how I appreciate your site, it allowed to me to embark on a new adventure I never would have got to experience if this site would not have been there. I don't understand the gaming thing at all, I am more into visiting friends with Onyx, throwing the ball, tug-o-war is her favorite, and walking on a leash. We go to the vet's office just for socialization and to get their special chocolate cookies!!!! Since I am not a strong person, I am limited to the activities that I do with Onyx. So I hope I am meeting Onyx's needs, the vet says she is happy and well adjusted, so I guess we are doing o.k. I have 2 cat's and then Onyx, they all get along real well, I have to remind Onyx every now and then that Ace my cat will tear her up!!! Onyx and Ace will sleep together it is so cute.

Well I have taken enough of your time, I going to browse your site some more. Thank you again for all the information that you publish to help people like me be responsible pet owners. You absolutely correct, the irresponsible owners should be punished and not the breed. I get angry when people start talking about Pitbulls, do they realize how ignorant they are? The public is missing out on an oppurtunity to have a really good animal. I do not use Onyx as a guard dog, and I will not take her to training for that because of the information you have provided. I could see where that could be a recipe for disaster. Onyx is just the family pet, and extremely spoiled! The best investment I make are those real big bones, and those sturdy chew toys!!! Onyx is my companion, and a good one!

Sara Wales: My APBT is a 2 year old female. We call her Luna. She has brought nothing but love and joy into my life. She was brought home while I was 8 months pregnant. She was so tiny then. From day one she would sleep in my bed, curled up in a tiny ball, right next to my pregnant belly. She now sleeps with my daughter. She is almost 2 and they are best friends. Luna would watch the kids playing on the slide, waiting for them to get off and play with her. One day she climbed the later to the top of the slide and there she went. On her back end down the slide. Now that is one of her favorite things to do with the girls. We tried to crate train her. She got so bored sitting in her crate that she figured out a way to get out. She can open doors, jump 4 foot fences, and just about get out of anything you put her in. She hates to be alone. I fell in love with her, and her breed. I will never go without a pit bull again. I will always own one.

Yet another Pit Bull convert writes: My brother said he could get my daughters a puppy for free if I wanted, but when he told me it was a Pit Bull I told him no way. I had huge reservations about the breed because of all the bad things I had heard. Well, he brought her over one night real late, when she was only 7 weeks old. The people that owned her said they weren't going to care for her anymore and they were going to take her to the pound if we didn't keep her. But as soon as I saw her I fell in love. She was so little and so scared. She was shivering and terrified. I wrapped her up in a blanket and held her like a baby until she fell asleep. I was still kind of worried about how aggressive she would be, especially since my kids were so young. My fiance said we were going to keep her, he had had Pit Bulls his whole life and he loves them. I see why now. Trinity is the best dog anyone could ever want. She sleeps with me every night and she is wonderful with my daughters. It is definitely true when they say once you own a Pit Bull you will never want any other breed. She is so loving and smart and funny and affectionate. She is just like another kid. My kids are rough with her and she goes right along with it, she loves to play with them and she has never shown any indication of aggression. She is leashed trained and plays with the other animals that live by us, although we do watch her closely with them. She is the perfect example of how wrong people are about Pit Bulls. I only wish I could change the minds of more people and get them to help rescue these wonderful animals from the evil people that only want them for fighting and breeding.

Jess has this to say about her dog Ajax: The saying "you dont have any idea until you own one" goes a looooong way. We offered to babysit a Pit Bull for a couple weeks not knowing what we were getting into but we fell in love. We still have have him to this day because we loved him soooo much. He is a wonderful pet and he loves everyone. I wouldn't trade him for the world, or any other dog or breed for that matter!

^ Ajax

Holli's owner says: Holli is a loved family member. I guess I would say she is a teacher. She has taught people who have a stereotyped idea about Pit Bulls that they are not all like what you see on TV. Holli is the most loving and affectionate dog I have ever met. I have had her since she was 7 weeks old. I guess because she has been spoiled rotten she now thinks she is human and has taken on a lot of human characteristics. When watching TV, Holli sits just like us, she only eats food that is bite size, she LOVES to give hugs, and she sleeps with her head on the pillow and under the blanket right in between her Mom and Dad. Besides being with her parents, Holli loves children. Most parents get scared when they see the 62 pound Pit Bull playing with their child, but Holli loves to be around kids.

^ Holli w/her "Daddy".

^ Holli w/her buddy Tyler.

Pit Bull owner Alan, says: Our little Pit Bull Sugar has a very manipulative trick she plays on my wife.

Rachel and I like to cuddle on the couch as we watch movies. Sugar gets a bit jealous since there isn't room enough for her, too. So she'll slowly, slyly sneak out of the living room and slink into the laundry room. She returns shortly with one of my wife's shoes. (Never one of my shoes, only Rachel's).

She'll then parade into the living room, shoe held high, and plop down with it directly in front of the tv. Rachel gets up, grabs her shoe, and takes it back to the laundry room. As soon as Rachel "takes the bait" Sugar claims her spot on the couch. Works every time!

Debra Speir writes: "My Pit Bull mix, Lucky, has two games that he plays by himself..they are hilarious to watch. Game 1 - he takes a large rock from outside (I've seen him do this with 5 pounders!), balances on his back legs, and bats the rock around with his front paws, like he's playing hockey. He can do this for incredibly long stretches of time. Game 2 - he plays "vroom vroom" with my 4-year old's toy trucks. He puts a paw on top of one and pushes it around the floor. Sometimes he gives one a hard shove, then chases it. Are other dog breeds this entertaining?

Pit Bull owner Lynda had this to say about her dog's play antics: One of our favorite games was "The Dance".

The first time we saw it was when we gave Pepper an apple. She loved to eat EVERYTHING, and ate it quickly, so we expected her to gobble up the apple just the same. But she didn't know what it was, and decided it was a ball. She batted it around, and did a dance that looked like a cross between a soccer game, a sword dance, and a Mexican hat dance. There was much leaping, fancy footwork, barking/singing, and joy in this dance. After about 45 minutes the skin of the apple was pieced, and Pepper realized that this might be a food item. The dance continued for at least another 15 minutes, and then a very tired dog ATE her toy. The humans finally stopped laughing hysterically at the show.

This dance was then enjoyed with every other apple, rawhide treats (which could be played with for months before being eaten), and tomatoes she would pick from my garden (tomatoes wouldn't last long, though).

The dance required an appreciative audience, and the more the audience enjoyed it the more amazing it became. Ignoring it was not permitted -- the human would be barked at until sufficient attention was paid, and then the dance would start/resume.

We tried to videotape the dance, but she didn't consider the camera enough of an audience to do more than a small dance for.

April and Dana Bell write: "Harley is our four month old Pit Bull "child". He is incredibly spoiled and of course we think there is no cuter or sweeter puppy in the world! He has several different games that he plays to not only entertain himself, but ultimately us as well. He loves to play tug o' war, except he doesn't actually ever let us get hold of the other end of his rope. Instead every time we reach for it he'll run around shaking it back and forth and acting like he worked really hard to get it away from us. His all time favorite past time though is for us to take him swimming with us at the lake. He will spend all day swimming out to us our floaties, he'll lay around for a little while, and then he'll jump head first off into the water and swim back to shore; only to turn right back around and swim back to get on the floatie again! At night he feels that he has to come and crawl in bed between us a few times before he actually goes to get in his bed with his blankie and teddy. We'll say, "Harley go get in your bed"; and he'll walk to the end of the bed lay there until we tell him to go get in bed again, then he'll inch a little farther down, and wait for us to tell him again to go to bed. We tease him that he's making good and sure we don't want him sprawled out on his back on top of us! But in the end we really wouldn't have it any other way. He has become an indispensable part of our little family, and now we couldn't imagine how we ever got along without him!"

Posted: Apr 22, 2006 5:58pm | (1) | (0) |  
Blog: Pit Bulls && Dog Parks  
Promoting A Positive Image

Pit Bulls & Dog Parks

You say your Pit Bull loves other dogs? That he doesn't have an aggressive bone in his body, and you don't want to deny him of playtime with his buddies at the dog park? Please read the following and than reconsider your view of Pit Bulls and dog parks.

Selectively bred for combat with other dogs, the Pit Bull is genetically predisposed to dog-aggression. The breed was created to be the ultimate fighting machine. Although early socialization and training can make a big difference, it is impossible to erase genetics, and owners must never forget what their dogs were originally bred to do. Not all Pit Bulls will start a fight, but almost none will back down from one. And regardless of who started the fight, you can bet the Pit Bull will get the blame. Because of this, it is imperative that owners always keep their dogs under control and on leash when out in public. It's also important to be watchful when out with your Pit Bull and aware of other dogs that may be loose in the area. Your well-behaved, on leash Pit Bull may be jumped by another (loose) dog who does not quite know what he is getting in to. It's wise to stay away from areas in which off leash dogs are known to frolic.

By their very nature, dog parks are hazardous. A bunch of loose dogs of all ages, breeds, and sexes, romping together merrily may seem like a good time, but dogs will be dogs, and unfortunately, such places are conducive to aggressive outbreaks. Many times, an owner may not even be aware of their animal's proclivity towards dog-aggression until it is placed in the often-times stressful environment of the park. And because of the wide variety of animals usually present--each with individual personalities and temperaments--the possibility of two dogs clashing is high. Placing your dog in a situation in which he may have to defend himself from a challenging, pushy, or outright aggressive dog, just isn't fair. And when we're talking about Pit Bulls, a fight in a dog park could mean more than just some hurt feelings.

Because of the public's misperception of the Pit Bull, any member of the breed involved in a fight will automatically be the bad guy--deservedly or not. Even if your dog doesn't start the fight, it's not likely that he'll back down, and he probably will be the one to finish it. When small dogs are involved, even a fight that lasts only a few seconds could be deadly. And you can bet that sympathy for the "killer Pit Bull" in such a situation will be nill. When breed-specific legislation is knocking on the proverbial front door in towns all across America, every bad incident involving the Pit Bull serves as more fuel. Our breed is in jeopardy, and as their guardians, it's up to us to make sure we keep them out of trouble. Ask yourself: are dog parks really worth the risk? Are you willing to place your dog in a compromising position?

Many people feel guilty about depriving their dogs of playtime with other dogs at parks. The truth of the matter is, Pit Bulls just aren't a breed that is gregarious with other dogs. People are by far their number one priority! A dog's perceived need for canine girlfriends or boyfriends is more a human trait projected onto the animal than any real necessity. Our dogs are well-served by lots of human socialization, and early *controlled* exposure to other animals (at shows, obedience classes, puppy k, on-leash parks, trips to the pet store/veterinary office, etc)--this sort of socializing is much more appropriate and beneficial than romps in dog parks. So keep that dog safe, happy, healthy--and ON LEASH!

A Day At The Park

He is just like other dogs I would always say; He loves to go to the dog park to play every day

Everyone loves him there, so it's ok; My dog won't fight--he wasn't raised that way

But then one day, right before dark, A troubled young man came into the park

He had by his side the biggest dog I'd ever seen, And unfortunately for us, both were quite mean

We asked very nicely if they would just go; The dog answered with a snarl and the man with a harsh "NO!"

Well his dog was a terror, threatening to all; Then he started a fight with a Lab over a ball

They fought pretty hard and the man would not intervene; Then here comes my dog and pushes right in between

He grabbed that big dog and thrashed him around; And with one quick jerk threw him down on the ground

The Lab was able to escape; I heard everyone cheer; But my dog was now in a frenzy and would not let me near

When he finally let go, what I saw stopped my heart; That big mean dog had been torn apart

The authorities were called, the big dog was now dead; But they didn't take the big dog; they took my dog instead

We all tried to explain that my dog saved the day; But because of his breed he was taken away

You see my dog was a Pitbull and they don't get any breaks; One small incident is all that it takes

A dog had died; And though he hadn't started the fight, My dog was held responsible for what happened that night

He was deemed a danger to all and sentenced to death; And I hold him now as he takes his last breath

It's my fault that my dog is being killed today; Please listen for a moment to what I am going to say

Everyone warned me about his potential to fight; I said it won't happen, I am raising him right

And now my dog is paying the ultimate price; Because I was stubborn and wouldn't take the advice

He only did what he was bred to do; Learn from our story; don't let it happen to you.

This poignant poem is reprinted here with the generous permission of its author, Sue Gauthier.

Posted: Feb 25, 2006 2:22pm | (3) | (0) |  
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