Pit bulls: Hate the humans, not the dog

I would like to take a moment to talk about something that boils my blood–the misinformed hysteria regarding a certain breed of dog.

The pit bull.

What comes to your mind when you think about a pit bull? For many people across the world feelings of fear immediately pop up. But where does this fear really come from? How many of these people have actually spent enough time with a pit bull to judge its behavior?

I own a pit bull mix. I used to introduce her as a lab mix for fear of judgment from the people I talked to. I knew that if she got into one scuffle at the dog park she would automatically be labeled as “that pit bull” by people who know nothing of this dog’s true nature. In fact, once a dog started attempting to mount my dog, she snapped at him as if to say “get off of me” and immediately the owner said, “Oh you hate to see that happen. Is that a pit bull?”  I thought, “Yes, I do hate to see stupid dogs trying to molest my dog.”

My dog is as sweet as can be. She has absolutely no dog aggression and she behaves as many pit bulls I have met over the years-extremely fond of people and tolerant, if not downright playful, with other dogs. Anyone who truly has met several pit bulls will soon learn how sweet they are and what poor guard dogs they can be since they are so fond of humans and crave affection. Yet, when I introduced her to a man from Europe he ran away from her terrified even though he’d never met a pit bull and my dog had what I could only describe as a “love me please” face on and expressed absolutely no interest in him.

The sad truth, however, is that some evil people have trained some of these dogs for violence and that is what people focus on.  Moreover, some people buy pit bulls thinking that they will protect their property or look “cool.” This makes the good dogs and the good owners suffer. The pit bull is not for the weak of heart. Having a dog with such a negative social stigma is not to be taken lightly. There is no doubt it is a strong dog and its capabilities should not be brushed aside. As with any dog, you must take caution when it is in a new environment, with new dogs or new people. You must watch your dog. You must train your dog. YOU must take responsibility for your dog.

I have heard people say we should not keep pit bulls because they are dangerous just like a wolf or lion–it is their opinion that all pit bulls should be euthanized or banned from cities. I wonder if someone of this opinion would then like to ban all domesticated dogs. After all, they are all descendants of wolves and their nature could turn at any moment. In fact, when I am at the dog park I find other breeds of dogs more likely to attack than the well-trained pits.

It constantly amazes me how people are scared of something that they have no first-hand knowledge of and that is statistically never going to affect them. Far more people die from smoking then getting bitten by a dog of any kind. Yet what are we trying to ban?

I say blame the humans, don’t blame the dog. I had a friend that was bitten by a dog (which happened to be a pit)  about a year ago and this is what set me on a quest to right the wrongs against this breed. This dog was euthanized because it was abused by its owners, not properly trained, and then it snapped. This dog could have had the potential to be a great dog but it never had a chance with these horrible owners.

My final message would be this: Know your dog’s breed and train it appropriately. To those against pit bulls, learn more about this breed above and beyond the slanted media stories and you will see a completely different side to the story.

Read an interesting story about pit bulls from Newsweek.

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