Saturday, October 27, 2012

Happy National Pit Bull Awareness Day!

Since World War II American Pit Bull Terriers have had a bad reputation in society. They are often painted as a vicious breed with a thirst for the blood of young children and anything on four legs. But this is not true. The breed originated in Europe in the 19th century and was originally bred for bear and bull baiting. Their strong, powerful jaws made them a formidable opponent. But what a lot of people do not realize is that APBTs are actually fantastic family dogs if they are trained and socialized early (like you should do with any dog). If you are hesitant around APBT’s, keep in mind that these dogs were bred to take down other aggressive animals, not people. This is because during fights their owners would need to get into the bear pit to break up the fight and they couldn’t have their dogs turn on them, so any dogs that showed any aggression towards people were usually not bred. This has resulted in a breed that absolutely adores human companionship. This strong-hearted breed is happiest being the class clown and guzzling up affection from their families and everyone else they meet. This breed is energetic, intelligent, and loyal and it strives to please its owners. But because training and socialization with other animals should begin early, this breed would do best with an experienced owner who will stay consistent with the rules of the house. And because APBT’s are in the working breed group, they should be exercised daily. 

All of the APBTs I have trained have been very fond of people, and the ones socialized early were always the bounciest dogs at the dog park. Only one dog that I worked with I would consider aggressive, and that was because his owner's personalities were not a good match for him. This dog was strong-willed and his owners were push-overs so this dog learned that he could get whatever he wanted by bullying them and snapping at them. They also NEVER bothered to take him outside his home, so he developed an intense fear or other people, dogs, and places outside his four walls. It took a lot of hard work and eye opening experiences with his owners to get them to realize they were not a good fit for their dog so he ended up going with another owner who was more capable of raising him. In the end it all worked out. I would suggest that if you are thinking of bringing an APBT into your home, be prepared to begin training and socializing the moment he arrives, and make sure your personality is strong enough to be consistent with your home's rules and your expectations. Think of APBT's as a child who just needs to be shown how to live in our world and what is expected of them. If you want a dog that you won't have to put any work into, maybe get a cute fluffy lap dog instead. But any work you put into an APBT you will get back times ten, they are fun, 
happy dogs that just want to make you happy too.

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