Responsible Ownership

In a perfect world, Responsible Dog Ownership begins BEFORE you get a dog.  It means that you’ve researched the breed you’ve chosen, and learned about all the little quirks inherent to that breed.  It means you understand that some breeds are more prone than others to particular physical, medical or behavioral issues, and are committed to dealresponsibleowner with those issues should they arise. It is an understanding that there is no perfect dog, and that dogs do not teach themselves house manners or not to jump on people or how to walk on a leash. Responsible pit bull type dog owners, however, are held to a higher standard.  In addition to all the above, a responsible bully breed owner must understand that his actions can impact the ability of others to own pit bull-type dogs.  Because the media and the public thrive on sensationalized pit bull type dog narratives, it’s imperative that the owners become breed advocates and model responsible ownership practices in their communities.  Bully breed owners must be responsible owners in order to help overcome the public’s negative views of the breed brought about by the irresponsible and careless owners, as well as the hype driven media.

There is no such thing as being too responsible when it comes to your pit bull type dog, but it’s also important to understand that the following rules apply to basic dog ownership, regardless of breed: NEVER allow your dog to roam freely, ALWAYS walk your dog on a leash, ALWAYS supervise your pit bull like dog with other animals, NEVER keep your dog chained or tethered for extended periods of time, ALWAYS supervise children with dogs.  ALWAYS spay or neuter your pet.

  • Realizing that a pet is for LIFE, and dedicating yourself to the life of your dog
  • Learning all you can about your breed of choice
  • Investing in proper health care throughout your dog’s life and making healthy choices for him or her
  • Training your dog through gentle means to be a good canine citizen and helping him achieve that goal
  • Teaching your children to respect animals and not abuse them through play (Responsible Parenting)
  • Teaching other humans how to interact with your dog
  • Obeying the laws set for your protection and the protection of others, even when your dog “doesn’t need a leash”.
  • Coming to terms with the fact that not everybody likes dogs, and asking yourself, what can you do to ensure that your dog is likable, even to them?
  • Doing your part to help the pet overpopulation problem and keeping your intact dog at home and away from other intact animals, or neutering him or her to prevent future health issues.

6 Reasons Pit Bulls Make Great Pets

1. Pit Bulls are Affectionate Companions
Pit bulls are wiggly, cuddly, affectionate dogs. If you don’t like dog kisses then consider another breed, because most pit bulls love licking.  The same goes if you have children and you don’t want them to be a regular target for face washes. Pit bulls are not aloof – they like to remind you regularly of how they feel about you, and in general this means a lot of tail wagging and kissing.

responsiblepuppy2. Generally Healthy and Easy to Care for
Yes, pit bulls require a reasonable amount of attention. They do not, however, need a lot of care. They have short coats and are normal shedders, and only need to be brushed semi-regularly.  They don’t tend toward genetic disorders like some other breeds, although they should be inspected at puppyhood for signs of hip dysplasia, but this is a good idea for most medium to large breeds anyway. Most pit bulls do not get larger than 50 to 60 pounds, although there are some larger sub-breeds. And as long as you exercise the dog regularly, a pit-bull can be very comfortable in a small dwelling.

3. People-Orientated, when socialized Properly
Pit bulls love people. Although this breed frequently gets a bad rap in the media, if you have ever met a pit-bull that was raised by a loving, conscientious family then you will understand how much they like to be with people. The downside of this personality trait is that they can get overexcited when they meet new people, which is something that needs to be addressed through training and positive reinforcement.

4. Pit Bulls are Loyal to their Owners
Your pit bull will be you and your family’s best friend from the day you take them home to the day they pass away. While they will be naturally protective of their family and their property, because pit bulls are so people-orientated they do not make good guard dogs.  Unless you just want them to smother intruders with hugs and kisses.

5. Eager to Please
A pitbull will always do it’s best to make you happy, as long as you are clear about what you expect from them. Many people will mention the fact that this breed is notoriously stubborn, but once they realize that you are the boss, they will work hard to ensure that you were happy with them. This breed can be challenging, and is not recommended for first time dog owners as you need to be comfortable and confident that you can handle the breed, otherwise they will pick upon the fact that you are less than sure of yourself.

6. High Tolerance for Pain
Sometimes presented as a negative trait, the fact that pit bulls have a high pain tolerance makes them exceptional family dogs. They easily (and happily) put up with the rough play of children without reacting. At the same time, pit-bull owners may have to invest in prong collars, as the shoulder and neck strength of the pit-bull means that sometimes an average collar will not do.

Spay and Neuter

Have your dog(s) spayed or neutered as early as possible. Beyond the benefit of knowing that you will never contribute to pet overpopulation, intact dogs are more likely to show aggression toward other dogs. Females in their reproductive cycles and males that are triggered by sexual hormones tend to be far more reactive. Altered pets live longer and generally healthier lives. It’s just that simple.

Tips for Adopting a Pit Bull

Pit bulls can make very sweet and loyal family dogs.  Adoption is the best option. By rescuing a pit bull, you are saving a dog that needs a home and family. Adopting a pit from a shelter means that the dog will have had an initial health evaluation and should also have already been vaccinated and spayed or neutered for you. More and more shelters use a standardized evaluation to assess the behavior of their dogs. If the dog you’re interested in has been evaluated, ask to see the results so you can get a more complete picture of the dog’s typical reactions to things. Consider adopting an older pit bull. With an adult dog, what you see is what you get. Their personality is already developed, and you’ll be able to spot the characteristics you’re looking for much more easily than with a puppy.

Your Pit out in the Public

You may experience breed discrimination. Legislation may prohibit you from living in certain communities, and homeowners insurance may be harder to find.  Before you adopt, call your local city hall or animal shelter to find out about your local laws.   Check out our Resources page

Do your research. Are your neighbors the kind who might get concerned about a pit bull in the community? Bringing home a pit bull may be tough because many people wrongly associate them as being aggressive. Be prepared with breed facts and history to let people know that it’s bad ownership—not bad dogs—that causes pit bulls to be aggressive.

Set a good example for others. The best pit-bull owners do their best to be advocates for their dogs.  Become a proud parent—be sure to show your pit bull the love and care she deserves.  The first step is to understand the breed and its challenges before you get a pit-bull, and then only do so if you are completely comfortable with handling this breed. The second step is to raise a happy, well adjusted, trained, and properly socialized dog.

You can then show others how great pit bulls can be, and hopefully teach a few people that these dogs are not all they have been portrayed to be. And always let others know what great companions they make!

Know where your dog is at all times. Do not leave your dog outside unattended. Safely tucked inside the house is the only place your dog should be when you are not home or you cannot directly supervise him. You have no idea what is going on in the yard when you are away – children could be teasing your dog or your dog could be practicing escape techniques they tend to perfect oh-so-quickly.

Understand that your dog may be dog reactive. Take precautions and use common sense – do not allow your dog to run up to unknown dogs, and never allow unknown dogs to run up to your dog. You are your dog’s advocate; you should never expect your dog to automatically be friendly with unfamiliar dogs, especially without a proper introduction. Some dogs cannot be around any other dogs at all, and dog reactivity/aggression is not something you will be able to train out of your dog. You can curb reactivity and often control it, but not stop it altogether. The key to dealing with any reactivity is to understand your dog’s particular triggers and work on controlling the behavior, but most of all – love your dog for who he is! This is not a flaw, this does not mean you have a bad dog nor are you a bad owner, it just is. Management, consistency, and dedication are all important.

Never trust a dog not to fight. Even though your dogs are the best of friends, it’s better to be safe than sorry. All it takes is one time for a fight to break out. This is especially true with multiple dogs in one household of the same sex. Crating and/or separating by rooms are both safe options to use when you are not at home.

Do not breed or buy while shelter animals die. Thousands of Pit Bull type dogs die in shelters each year, and bully rescues are often up to their necks with requests for dogs needing to be surrendered. There are many wonderful pets out there waiting for their forever homes, so instead of going to a breeder or breeding dogs for yourself, contact a rescue or shelter and save a dog from certain death. Instead of being part of the problem, be part of the solution.