Pitbulls: Fighting Terror or Lovable Friend
History of the Pitbull
The term Pit Bull is used in reference to multiple breeds of dogs. It includes the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier and Staffordshire Bull Terrier. The most common of the 3 in the United States being the American Pit Bull Terrier.
They were first bred in the 19th century, when breeders in England, Ireland, and Scotland began to experiment with crosses between bulldogs and terriers, looking for a dog that combined the gameness, speed, and agility of the terrier with the strength and athleticism of the bulldog.
They were originally bred for baiting bulls and bears, but were more often used in ratting and dog fighting.
Eventually many pitbulls were domesticated due to their loyalty, loving and gentle nature with their owners. In America, farmers and ranchers used their pitbulls for protection and to help round up cattle, hogs and even hunt. The dog was even used during multiple wars to deliver messages on the battlefield.
The American Pit Bull Terrier is a working dog. They have high intelligence, energy levels and endurance. They are commonly used as search and rescue, bomb and drug sniffing, as well as general service dogs.
Where do owners go wrong?
Multiple studies have been conducted when it comes to dog bites and attacks. Unfortunately, pitbulls of varying breeds are always a high contributor, between 40%-50% of bites. Due to their size and strength, the mortality rate and the amount of trauma caused, are often much higher than smaller dogs.
Other studies have looked into common traits of pitbull owners. They have determined that pit bull owners are more likely to have criminal convictions and are more likely to display antisocial behaviors. These studies shed more light on the actual problem, the owner.
Dog Training Video
- Got K9 Pitbull Dog Training in Las Vegas Nevada - YouTube
In this video, Got K9, a dog trainer in Las Vegas, does some pitbull dog training and shows us how they trained a pitbull.
Basic Tips For Owners
- Early Socialization - Your pitbull puppy should be comfortable around people and other dogs. As soon as possible, normally after shot and vaccinations are complete, get your pitbull puppy to meet many new people and dogs. Dog parks, friends, neighbors and puppy classes are all great starters. Make sure that these are positive interactions!
- Obedience Training - Formal training from a professional would be your best option, however, even you can begin obedience training on your pitbull. They are intelligent and eager to learn. This will also increase your command presence with your dog and help to create an even stronger bond. Some beginner's commands that anyone can teach are sit, down, name, no and even stay/come.
- Potty Training - Do your best to keep a consistent schedule. Letting your pitbull out at the same times everyday will help create a routine which you both can follow. When you can't keep to the schedule, make sure your pitbull is crated to prevent accidents. Make sure the crate is an appropriate size. Dividers are a very good way to keep up with a growing puppy. Also do your best to avoid "rubbing their nose in it." Unless you caught them in the act, they will most likely not even associate the two. POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT IS BETTER!
- Bad behavior and Barking - Pitbulls are rambunctious and energetic, most times there bad behavior and barking will come from boredom, frustration or fear. The best way to handle this problem is to prevent it from even happening. If you and your pitbull go on frequent walks, socialize often, spend time training and play with toys, your dog will be much better behaved and your life will be easier.
- The Perfect Pitbull- Try not to get too frustrated with your dog, remember that although you may have a lot going on in your life, all your dog has is YOU! Don't be too hard on them when they jump all over you after being in the crate all day. Puppies will chew on everything, if you don't want it chewed on, don't leave it on the floor. Close Supervision is key.
The newest member of my household is Lady. She is a 16 week old, 25lb, mostly pitbull puppy. Her age and exact pedigree are unknown to me. She was abandoned by her previous owner, a young man unable to support and provide her. My neighbor brought her to my front door the night I returned from a Vegas vacation. She had been dumped in the bed of his pickup truck, inside his cracked garage. After a grueling day, trying to survive in temperatures of over 100 degrees with no water, she managed to jump out the back off the truck. That was when she was discovered, dehydrated and sick, but still alive.
We immediately fell in love and decided to adopt her.
In an upcoming post, I will share more experiences and keep you updated with her progress.