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So You Want a Pit Bull?

Updated on May 31, 2014

Real life experience!

I am not going to sit here and lecture you on why you should not get a pit bull. In fact, if I wanted I could give you a novel of reasons why you should have one. They are loyal, loving, trusting, high energy, happy, protective, and most importantly they are the biggest babies! Everyone has heard the horror stories about pit bulls, and I have some of my own. That doesn't change the fact that these dogs are truly one of the best family dogs out there.

As much as I want every pit bull out there to have a happy and loving home there are things that need to be made known before anyone goes out and gets one. That is part of the reason there are so many pits in the shelters, not because the media has painted a bad picture of them. People go out and get a pit for the wrong reasons or without doing an research on the breed. Later on they decide it is too much to take on or they don't have the time to invest in the dog. That is why I am writing this, I want people to have real information from someone who has pit bulls and still has them.

Before we get into any detail about anything, if you have never had a dog before go find another breed. This breed is intelligent and will test you, they will push you to see how far they can go before they get in trouble. They can sense if you are not confident in what you are training them to do or if you are not confident around them in general.This breed requires someone who can handle them with confidence, and who is not going to be pushed around by the dog. Pit bulls are not the type of dog you can expect to magically know everything, while they are intelligent, they require training. In order to properly train a pit bull you have to be confident in what you are saying, teaching, and doing.

Unconditional Love

Why?

First thing you need to ask yourself is why you want this breed. Do you want a dog that is loyal and wants nothing but love and praise? Or do you want a dog that looks mean? Hey, maybe you are one of the cool kids who wants one because everyone else is getting one.

Stop and ask yourself why you want this breed. If it because you want a dog that you will spend the next 12 years with. An unconditional love from a creature that ask nothing of you, except to protect it. If your answer resembles that, then continue reading, if not a pit bull is not for you. And here is why, these dogs require work, love, and devotion. If you aren't willing to do any of that plus more, this breed is not for you.

Pure Bliss

A little love goes a long way.

Now, if you are continuing to read this then you are seriously considering getting a pit. Great, there are hundreds in shelters in need of homes. First, you may want some information on what you are getting into.

They love to chew, chew, chew, and chew some more. These dogs are high energy and active dogs, they require at least an hour of pure exercise a day. I have two pits, and I wouldn't trade my time with them for anything in the world. However, when we brought home Dixie, the youngest and female, I almost pulled my hair out every day. She wasn't bad, but she was a puppy with the puppy energy. If you don't exercise these dogs they will begin to act out, and they usually do so by chewing on anything and everything they can put their mouths on. If you cannot take an hour out of the day to take the dog in the yard and play or go to the park, somewhere they can legally be off a leash and run, then consider another breed.

That brings me to the next important thing that I learned the hard way with my male, Rocky. When Rocky was eight months old he got hit and drug for two blocks by a car. It wasn't because he is a bad dog or not intelligent, it is because he is a pit bull and they can be sneaky. He found a way out of the yard, like most pits will if you don't make sure you have an eight foot privacy fence and something to prevent them from digging under it. It took three surgeries to remove the gravel from his scrotum and ankle, he lost his tail and can't run for longer than thirty minutes before his ankle starts to swell and hurt. He got up after being hit, came home and waited for us to take him to the emergency clinic. This breed is intelligent and sneaky, if there is a way out of the yard they will find it. If you are going to put let the dog be outside, supervise it. If you aren't going to be home for hours at a time I recommend investing in a kennel so you actually have a house to come home to.

Yeah but can you afford it?

There are the typical cost associated with getting a pet. You have the cost of food, vet bills, toys, replacing chewed items, essentials. The one thing you never really see on those list is training, if you how to train a dog properly, be my guest. The thing with training a pit is, it is a lifetime training program. These dogs are constantly learning and growing, they respond best with praise, not negativity. Personally, when mine act up or do something they aren't supposed to, "cage up", they know they are in trouble when those words are said. But, what if an unexpected illness comes up, can you afford a lifetime of treatments? Pit bulls are usually very healthy dogs when taken care of properly, but they can have medical conditions such as hip dysplasia, puppies are prone to parvovirus type 2, or allergies. Rocky has Atopic Dermatitis, where he has to be on steroids for the rest of his life or he will scratch non-stop. Keep in mind, with every breed you look at there is going to be a list of potential health problems. Dogs are living creatures, so they do tend to be a little expensive, none of that includes the cost of the dog itself. Personally, I think everyone should rescue instead of paying someone $2000 for a papered puppy.

Forget about the money for a second. Can you mentally take the comments, questions, and looks you will get for having a pit bull? Since pit bulls are he current target in the media for aggressive dogs, you will get people who have an opinion about your dog. Can you handle that situation calmly, without making you and your pit bull look bad? The second you bring that dog home you are an advocate for the breed. You are standing up and saying that not all pit bulls are aggressive and not all of them are fighters. By owning a pit bull you represent an entire breed of dog, and that can be a lot of pressure. Your dog needs to be well trained, healthy, socialized, and most importantly not aggressive.

A little more information

Time for some fun

Okay, we have gone over training, possible medial problems, expenses, and the reactions people may give you for owning one of these dogs. Assuming, you have gotten this far you are very interested in this breed. So lets talk selling points about this breed, they make amazing family pets. There have been studies that show an abused pit bull with a rough background can change and be a great addition to your home. Personally, if you have small children and other animals I would look into a younger pit. My male was raised with my younger brother, who would try to ride him like a horse, and he would still let him try three years later. I have two and a smaller dog, they all get along, not so much with the cat though. Many people will tell you they do not make guard dogs, I slightly agree with that.

They are very social dogs, they love people and when socialized properly other dogs. You want to take the time and introduce your pit bull to other humans. This is will prevent it from getting aggressive with people at the home. Also, socializing the dog with other dogs is always a good idea. Don't start by taking it to the dog park on day one, I have seen too many fights happen that way. People bring a dog that isn't socialized dog to the park, it gets spooked and starts behaving aggressively. Start small, introduce your dog to your friend's dogs, or take it to Petco one day. The more it gets used to being around other dogs the better it will act around them.

If you want this dog because you want a good guard dog to protect your house and belongings when you are away, go look for another dog. These dogs want to please people, they are very social dogs. Don't get me wrong, if my dogs sensed I was scared I know they would protect me, but that is not why I got them. That is not a reason to get a pit bull.

You want something to go running, hiking, camping, play at the park, or the unconditional love that is in their eyes, then this is the breed for you. These dogs love to play, get attention, and most importantly please their owners. If you are an active person, and want a dog that can keep up with your active lifestyle this is the breed for you.

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Still considering it?

Take a trip to your local shelter, pay attention to the pit bulls, you will probably see a lot of them. Look into their eyes, I promise you won't see pain or even anger. You will see hope and love, because despite what some of the dogs have been through they still trust people. That is one trait I don't even have to try to sell people on, because these dogs are all about second chances. They won't judge what color you are, how rich you are, if you're male or female, they don't even care what kind of food you feed them. They thrive on praise, that hour out of the day that you spend running with the dog or taking it to the park means more to them than any toy or bed you can buy them.

Like any breed they do have their flaws. The media has painted these dogs to be monsters that are only out for blood, that couldn't be further from the truth. If you think you can dedicate the time to train your dog, keep it healthy, and give it the love and life it deserves, then this is the breed for you. These dogs require time, dedication, work, and love if you cannot provide that for them, then don't get one.

I truly hope this helps you decide on if this is the breed for you or not. Even more importantly, I hope this saves a few lives in the shelters. Keep in mind, a pit bull is a lifelong commitment, from the second you bring that dog in your house until the day it dies. It can be the most rewarding experience, but you have to go into it not expecting everything to be prefect all the time. They are dogs, they will make mistakes, it is your job to correct those mistakes and mold your dog into a better version of itself.

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