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Talk to Me of Adoption and Pitbulls...

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  • #21
    Originally posted by LauraKY View Post
    Smooth coat collie instead. There's not a mean bone in a collie and they have short hair. They LOVE everyone. I lost mine (a rough coat) in February. I'm planning on adopting a middle aged model in the next month or so.
    Smooth coated collies shed more than rough collies.
    They have that thick undercoat and short guard hairs like GSD, corgis, ACD's have and they shed all the time, big time.
    The rough coated ones tend to shed twice a year, the rest of the time little.

    Smooth collies are not at all comparable with a short single coated dog, that also shed those little bitty hairs all the time, but so much less of it.

    Comment


    • #22
      Bluey, I had no idea that smooth coat shedded all year. I guess it's like our lab who sheds WAY more than the collie ever did. I'm planning on getting another rough coat girl.

      I do have to agree a newbie dog owner might want to really think about the more aggressive breeds. Of course, if you have a difficult horse and manage to keep him/her in line, a dog might be easy.

      Comment


      • #23
        The love of my life is my shelter pit, Molly Ringwald (or just Molly to her friends). She's hands down the BEST dog I've ever had/met/interacted with. Pure love, a complete mush, and extremely driven to please pretty much anyone that will make eye contact with her. She came from animal control about 24 hours before she was due to be euthanized, and immediately got along fantastically with her "brother", my corgi/retriever mix. Here are a few things to consider, if you'd like input from my POV:

        1. I've had all types of dogs, and of them all, she is the most dependent on me by FAR. I grew up with 2 labs, had a beagle and a JRT, and have my other mutt dog, but she is something else entirely. When I am doing things around the house, she follows me, and is completely content to stand and watch me fold laundry or vacuum. Her favorite place, however, is curled up next to me on the couch, or in a tight ball up by my pillow where she sleeps at night.

        2. She is relatively high energy, but not in a traditional sense. She gets worn out to contentment running around the yard for an hour or so, but I get the same result from doing obedience work with her. She LOVES learning new things, and while she's not particularly smart, she tries really hard, and focuses well on commands once she knows what she's supposed to do.

        3. Dog aggression will come up A LOT when discussing pit bulls or pit bull mixes. Compared to the other dogs I've lived with, I would say Molly is probably the least "aggressive" in that I've never seen her react aggressively (either provoking, or reacting) to another animal. She regularly plays (SUPERVISED) with a female JRT, a female mini-dachshund, a female Chesapeake bay retriever, 2 male goldens, my neighbor's male beagle, my other neighbor's male bichon, and lives happily with my male mix-breed. I haven't taken her to a dog park, but have no plans to do so for the same reasons others have given on this thread. She has, however, participated in leashed group walks with LOTS of other dogs, and has always done so in a happy, relaxed manner.

        4. Keeping in mind all of the positive things I've listed above, she is NOT a dog that I would leave unsupervised for long periods of time. I work from home, so she goes outside several times per day, and spends most of her time with me and my other dog. She thrives on human companionship and is everyone's best friend the second they look at her- literally, a quick glance in her direction produces massive body wiggles and tail whips that rival a dog twice her size.
        Here today, gone tomorrow...

        Comment


        • #24
          [QUOTE=LauraKY;5640191]Smooth coat collie instead. There's not a mean bone in a collie and they have short hair. They LOVE everyone. I lost mine (a rough coat) in February. I'm planning on adopting a middle aged model in the next month or so.[/QUOT

          It's not good to toss out blanket statements like this. I've seen aggressive Collies. I work as a behavior evaluator at a large shelter. Some of the sweetest dogs we get are Pits or Pit mixes. I see all breeds and mixes of each. Each dog has to be taken as an individual, even though each breed has it's own bred in behaviors. Some of the worst dogs at the moment are Labs and Lab mixes. I would take an adult Pit or mix over a lot of other breeds. But I agree with whoever said they might not be the best dog for a beginner. Lots of energy and drive, plus the responsibility. If you have an at risk breed you have to be twice as aware of what and where your dog is at every moment in public. Being the owner of Rottweilers, Dobermans and now a Bull Mastiff I would not advise anyone to choose a breed like these (Pit Bulls included) without weighing all the pros and cons.

          Comment


          • #25
            Everyone has made some good points on here regarding the pros and cons of a pit. I'll throw my 2 cents in for the heck of it = )

            I have never met a pit bull that wasn't an insane love bug with basically all people. Granted, I doubt I have anywhere near the experience with the breed that some on here have had, and there are no doubt very difficult ones out there. Still, the ones I've met have been super tolerant of children (maybe it's because they've been bred to ignore pain and don't mind the occasional tail or ear tug, haha) and just wonderful with people. Smiley and happy all the time.

            I think where some people get into trouble is assuming that because their dog is a docile love bug around people that that same behavior should be expected around dogs. No way. As others mentioned, you should probably never go to a dog park or let your dog off leash in an area where other dogs are around. Your pit will be considered at fault probably 100% of the time if anything bad happened.

            I will also jump on the side of the "don't get a puppy" folks. I would instead encourage you to work with a group that regularly deals with pit bulls and understands them. As a first time owner, I would also try to find a dog that has lived in a foster situation or in a home previously. This way you will have a much better idea of what you are getting into. A brand new puppy might be a better choice than a dog with a very difficult history, but in general, an adult dog minimizes the uncertainty.

            From my recent experience of getting my first ever dog (been around them all my life, but this was the first time I could have one that was all mine), I can't tell you how pleased I've been with going the adult already lived in a home route. The adoption group was able to pick a dog for me that was most compatible with my lifestyle. I know that someday I'll probably be pretty capable of dealing with a more difficult dog, but right now I'm not. Not enough time, not enough resources, and I didn't want that kind of stress right now. Plus the guilt that goes along with feeling like you've failed a dog... Not good!

            I had always wanted a doberman, but they were not allowed at our building, so we decided on a greyhound instead. She has been an absolute dream, and I'm thankful for all the hours of research I put in = ) (Speaking of short coats that don't shed much and almost never smell... Also they tend to be very quiet and require minimal exercise! Just throwing out options if you're undecided, haha.)

            Comment


            • #26
              Originally posted by LauraKY View Post
              Bluey, I had no idea that smooth coat shedded all year. I guess it's like our lab who sheds WAY more than the collie ever did. I'm planning on getting another rough coat girl.

              I do have to agree a newbie dog owner might want to really think about the more aggressive breeds. Of course, if you have a difficult horse and manage to keep him/her in line, a dog might be easy.
              Our vet used to breed and show both, rough first and then added smooths.
              They are lovely dogs, the smooths a bit more reserved maybe and he also initially thought smooths would need less coat care, but realized that was not necessarily so.

              Very short single coated dogs also shed, our rottie, that did have a bit of undercoat and especially dobies did shed, although not as much as a friend's dalmatian, her car was white.

              When we started training border collies to work cattle and herding trials, we had the leggier, shorter haired ones, similarly coated to the smooth collies, but with less undercoat, because they overheated working in our hot contry less than the heavier coated ones.
              For someone living in town without a yard, I would think a short coat and less active, smaller dog would be easier to manage.

              I agree, our animal control has seen many labs and crosses in the last years and of course also more than their share are of questionable temperament.
              That probably is why they were dumped.

              I would say to the OP, get the dog you like best, then manage for what is less than ideal and train it to be what you want.

              Comment


              • #27
                Originally posted by MtyMax View Post
                nor plan to have kids in the near future.
                this is a relative statement. is your near future 5 years from now? 10 years from now? if it's in that range, i think you should do some more breed research.

                there's a reason that pits and pit mixes are not popular with homeowners insurance companies, and while much of it can be due to irresponsible owners, not all of it can. they are an aggressive breed dog, and as a newbie dog owner, i'd pass.
                * trying hard to be the person that my horses think i am

                Comment


                • #28
                  Originally posted by jacksmom View Post
                  this is a relative statement. is your near future 5 years from now? 10 years from now? if it's in that range, i think you should do some more breed research.

                  there's a reason that pits and pit mixes are not popular with homeowners insurance companies, and while much of it can be due to irresponsible owners, not all of it can. they are an aggressive breed dog, and as a newbie dog owner, i'd pass.
                  Actually pits are good with kids. In England they (as in the Staffordshire Bull terrier and mixes b/c "pitbulls" are banned) are called Nannie dogs. They don't mind if you pull their tails or poke them in the eye. My family has had numerous rescue pits and all of them have been great with kids, even the nutty dogs. My young nieces fall on them, run up and grab them around the neck, and chase them. And before you say the dogs know those kids, my dog rarely sees any children but the two or three times they've met (in the 6 years the kids have been around), she's been great, and my brother's dogs were good with the kids from day one.

                  They have been bred for generations to be dog aggressive and not human aggressive. In an old-time pitbull fight, I would take your dog and give him a bath and you would take mine (to make sure we hadn't put a poison on its coat), so they couldn't dislike strangers. Then they would fight and when it was obvious that one dog was backing down, we would both have to go into the pit and separate them. Any dog that turned on a handler would be culled, even if it was a winner. These dogs would live with the family (including kids) during the day and fight at night.

                  Check out the Pitbull Rescue Central website. There's a wealth of information there.

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    Regarding dog parks, I would stay away from them no matter what type of dog you eventually decide on. There is a significant element of risk in getting a whole bunch of dogs who do not know each other together and letting them all run loose and play together. It would be best to find someone you know with a dog, carefully introduce your new dog to that dog, and let them play together regularly if your new dog is amenable to it. I know that a lot of people now love dog parks and the like, but I think that it is best to stay out of them. A lot of times, dogs just get into it.
                    If you are committed to working with a trainer, look around a bit and you might find a trainer that can help you evaluate and pick out a dog that suits your lifestyle. I do not agree the idea that a pit bull could never live with children. As two active adults willing to work with a trainer and put time into the dog, I think that you could hardly go wrong. Dog experience isn't the end all be all of what you should look at. Some people have had dogs for years and still have a lot of inaccurate information.

                    ETA: With any dog, if you are thinking of having kids, I honestly think that it is better to wait until the youngest is old enough to interact well with the dog. The truth is that most experts (in dogs as well as pediatricians) will tell you that young children and dogs need to be supervised 100% of the time. Not just, "You need the kind of dog who will tolerate anything!" because you don't know when that dog will get an ear infection or grumpy with age and not tolerate anything that day.
                    Last edited by Casey09; Jun. 1, 2011, 08:56 PM. Reason: To add a thought

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      Since you live in a townhouse without a yard I would either get a small dog, or another cat. Remember the 4 a.m. I-gotta-go with a dog isn't negotiable, and though it may not happen often it's still a concern. And how about the day that you don't feel like going for a walk or you have a lot of other obligations? Are there local dog walkers available? And is that an investment you want to have regularly if you get busier than you are now? Do you have a large area with pee proof floor for at least the first while until the dog is reliable? And don't assume a dog is reliably house trained just because it's older. Would a dog fit your schedule and vice versa? Do you have reliable boarding facilities for when you have to leave town? Some places have terrible options for this. And if you get a dog with a coat that needs grooming will you do it yourself or are there pro groomers with schedules and locations that fit for you?

                      I had dogs for many years, but after my last boy was put down I haven't planned on getting another until I retire and am home a lot. I always worried about my dogs since I only lived two places that could have outside access during the day, and I couldn't do that here unless I fenced another part of the yard off to allow mowing and other services when I can't be here. And since I live out of town my schedule would make it unfair to the dog to have one. Plus the boarding options here are not good, and would only be cages at the vet's office, and I don't like that for more than a day or two at a time-so that's another factor that made me decide not to have pets right now.

                      And don't forget that some of the reasons that animals are given up either to a breeder, shelters or rescues is that they aren't housetrained reliably, and some are not properly socialized which in the view of a bad owner somehow becomes the animal's fault, and not the owner's who never devoted time to an animal that needs it. Many animals do end up for adoption because of other reasons, but even with an adut rescue you might have to devote a lot of time to retraining.
                      Last edited by JanM; Jun. 2, 2011, 07:51 AM.
                      You can't fix stupid-Ron White

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        I agree with the 'consider an adult dog' comments, but want to specify I think of an adult dog as one who's past not just puppyhood but adolescence. That's around 3-4 for a medium-sized dog. My last two dogs were adopted as adolescents, and while I love them both, you could lose your mind dealing with dogs this age. They're full of energy, full-grown, and endlessly thinking at this point - they're puppies dialed up to nuclear. My first dog was adopted as an adult; she moved into the house and adapted nearly instantly. The next two came in as adolescents, and I ended up redesigning the house to thwart those trash raiding, toilet drinking, rug soiling, couch sleeping bandits.

                        Originally posted by harnessphoto View Post
                        When a two month old pit puppy in need of a home landed in my lap in January, I decided to go for it. She is my first dog and she has been PERFECT. Easy to train, obedient, loving, and just so much fun. She loves dogs, kids, cats, and horses and doesn't have a mean bone in her body.
                        Not to disregard your experience, but don't forget your dog is still sexually immature. Even with neutering (and for female dogs, there is some evidence that spaying actually increases aggression) sexual maturity usually means a dog becomes less 'little friend to all the world' and more serious; it's also when less attractive personality traits - aggression, territoriality, etc. - often begin to show themselves. A pup will often be deferential to others, then begin to assert herself around 1-2 years.

                        [QUOTE=xQHDQ;5640528] They have been bred for generations to be dog aggressive and not human aggressive. In an old-time pitbull fight, I would take your dog and give him a bath and you would take mine (to make sure we hadn't put a poison on its coat), so they couldn't dislike strangers. Then they would fight and when it was obvious that one dog was backing down, we would both have to go into the pit and separate them. Any dog that turned on a handler would be culled, even if it was a winner. These dogs would live with the family (including kids) during the day and fight at night./QUOTE]

                        This may be quite true, but it's not how 99.999999% of pit bulls are produced and trained and treated today. They're bred by large producers who keep them in kennels and shoot them if they don't work out (a la Vick) or by individuals who value their appearance and threatening behavior toward other people. The 'pit bulls aren't HA cuz they were bred to be handled by people in the pit!' story is very common, but about as accurate as saying that you could trust the average rescue Collie mix to herd a flock of sheep because her ancestors were bred to drive the woolies over the moors.

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          Originally posted by JanM View Post
                          Since you live in a townhouse without a yard I would either get a small dog, or another cat. Remember the 4 a.m. I-gotta-go with a dog isn't negotiable, and though it may not happen often it's still a concern. Do you have a large area with pee proof floor for at least the first while until the dog is reliable? And don't assume a dog is reliably house trained just because it's older.
                          You raised some excellent points, but I have two words that solve most of the above: crate training.

                          Crates are a beautiful thing, and work wonderfully. As the above poster mentioned though, just because you get an adult dog doesn't mean that it's housetrained. In fact, most dogs who have been in the shelter will take a little time to readjust to be housebroken. For the past few days, weeks or months, these dogs have been in a small run in cage where they eat, sleep, and poop in the same place. When they suddenly move from that environment to a house, where it's not acceptable to poop in the same place you eat it can take some readjusting. It won't last nearly as long or be nearly as hard as housebreaking a dog for the first time, but be prepared to do lots of potty walks at first to avoid accidents. Just like you would do if you had a puppy.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #33
                            Wow....there are a lot more responses here than I expected! I appreciate everyone posting both sides, and all opinions both good and bad. I think I agree that one of the 'aggressive' breeds may not be best for a first time owner such as myself. However, if a dog of those breeds happens to land on my doorstep, I probably won't turn it away

                            To clarify, I am not necessarily looking at pits, there are just an abundance of them in foster homes that are ready for their permanent home. Luckily, the rescue that we want to work with will help in finding a dog that is MOST compatible with out lifestyle, regardless of the breed.

                            Housing shouldn't be an issue, as I only have plans of moving further out of the city with more land. However, no one ever INTENDS on downsizing...but with the economy nothing is certain.

                            Thanks for all of the advice, all points will be considered. I think that my doggie shopping will be based on temperament and energy levels, so who knows what I will end up with......

                            ,

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              Originally posted by xQHDQ View Post
                              One more thing to add...

                              You MUST get it fixed. An intact pitbull is an accident/tragedy waiting to happen. (an intact any dog, really)

                              If you don't plan on getting it fixed don't get one. Period.
                              Uh well if she plans on getting one from a rescue group, a rescue group that does spay/neuter before adoption isn't a rescue at all. Many states (I believe NC is included) has a mandatory spay/neuter for rescue groups adopting out dogs as well.

                              Also, OP, whatever rescue group you consider, prepare for an extensive adoption process. If the group doesn't have an extensive adoption process, consider someone else. By extensive, I mean in-depth application, interview, home visit, reference check, etc. They want to be 100% sure all bases are covered and everything has been thought about (including housing.)

                              To the OP, if you are considering an older pit bull that needs a home, has been temperament tested, fully vetted, and comes with 100% rescue support, here are some guys to consider:

                              http://www.petfinder.com/pet-search?shelterid=GA645
                              If wishes were horses then beggars would ride...
                              DLA: Draft Lovers Anonymous
                              Originally posted by talkofthetown
                              As in, the majikal butterfly-fahting gypsy vanners.

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                1) "Adult" - definitely agree with looking at a dog that is 3 years old and up unless you have a lot of free time. You can go a bit younger, but you will still get some of that puppy-ness in some individuals. Another good reason to try to get one that has lived in a foster home for a bit so you have more info on them.

                                2) Living in a townhouse or somewhere without a yard - I live in an apartment, and it is 2 hallways and an elevator before we are outside. Then there is a lot of pavement because we are downtown, so you have to walk a bit to find good bathroom spots. It is definitely enough of an inconvenience that my (new) husband and I are thinking a yard might be worth me not being able to walk to work (maaaaaaybe, haha.) But it's not that bad. Our girl is good with 2 short bathroom walks a day and then another longer one thrown in.

                                Because I knew I wanted a dog in my life but didn't have a perfect lifestyle for one (apartment, job, social life, etc), I researched breeds endlessly. There's nothing worse than feeling like you're failing a dog because your lifestyles don't mesh. That's why we went with a greyhound. They LOVE to sleep all day in the regulated temperature on their soft beds. She gets really excited about going places with us, but she's pretty content to sleep at home too if the weather isn't to her liking, haha.

                                She had also lived in a home before we got her (not straight off the track) and was 4.5, so we knew a lot about her personality going in.

                                Anyway, she has been completely content with apartment life and no yard. We are lucky to have a small dog park nearby that is rarely used during the off hours when we go, so she can get her zoomies out if she chooses (rare, honestly). I know a lot of yardless people that set up emergency puppy pads in some out of the way location so the dog can go if it really needs to and you aren't home and they don't have a doggy door.

                                Just pointing out it is completely possible to be happy with no yard and a dog if you get the right one to match your activity level. One of my very good friends has a pitt in an apartment, and she is happy as a clam.

                                Oh, and throwing out my pitch again if you're still looking at other breeds, a LOT of retired racing greyhounds need homes, and they tend to be very good dogs for first time owners = ) Most of the adoption groups work very hard to make a good match and are always there for support. Our local group is wonderful, and we do meet & greets at least once a month with them. It's been a fun community to belong to. And I like telling OTTB people about my OTGH, haha.

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  Originally posted by bort84 View Post
                                  Oh, and throwing out my pitch again if you're still looking at other breeds, a LOT of retired racing greyhounds need homes, and they tend to be very good dogs for first time owners = ) Most of the adoption groups work very hard to make a good match and are always there for support. Our local group is wonderful, and we do meet & greets at least once a month with them. It's been a fun community to belong to. And I like telling OTTB people about my OTGH, haha.

                                  ^ Great point A friend of mine's mom used to do Greyhound rescue before she became ill. It was always "fun" teaching them how to go up and down stairs, but they are, indeed, great dogs.
                                  If wishes were horses then beggars would ride...
                                  DLA: Draft Lovers Anonymous
                                  Originally posted by talkofthetown
                                  As in, the majikal butterfly-fahting gypsy vanners.

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    I think it's quite wise of you to work with the rescue organization. They should know the individual personalities they have available and be able to match your needs. Just be honest with them and with yourself. I like to think that having a high energy dog would encourage me to start running, but let's get real As a beginning owner I'd look for somewhere in between on intelligence: too smart and they start entertaining themselves (), too stupid and they're impossible to train.

                                    As a sidenote on the breeds, I agree that the pitts I've met have been lovebugs but require a more experienced owner. And add my vote to greyhounds!
                                    "Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out." ~John Wooden

                                    Phoenix Animal Rescue

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                                    • #38
                                      I saw this on-line article today and thought the OP might like to read it. I have experience with only one pit and she is the doggie love of my life. Her name is Sweetie and a lot of folks on this board convinced me she needed to stay with me when she arrived as a stray on our farm. Those same folks even helped me pay for medical necessities including surgery to her eyes (entropian surgery). She has been here almost two years now and she loves both me and my husband but it took her a little while to accept my husband. She's funny, has a face only a mother could love, and is devoted to me. That being said, I have always remained cautious about other dogs being around her as well as strangers. So far she has never given me any cause for alarm - she's friendly to any and all.
                                      Susan N.

                                      Don't get confused between my personality & my attitude. My personality is who I am, my attitude depends on who you are.

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                                      • #39
                                        We just finished SAR training with a pittie, but they aren't dogs for everyone. I do, however, love elderbulls *swoon*
                                        If wishes were horses then beggars would ride...
                                        DLA: Draft Lovers Anonymous
                                        Originally posted by talkofthetown
                                        As in, the majikal butterfly-fahting gypsy vanners.

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                                        • #40
                                          I just returned from a lovely walk with my pit, my neighbor, her (tiny- 9lb) Italian Greyhound, and her 2 kids (one on a scooter, one on a bike). It was so nice- the dogs were relaxed, Molly got lots of love and kisses from the little girls (her FAVORITE), and now she's laid out on the floor, taking a nap.

                                          FWIW, getting a pit from a reputable all-breed rescue that's NOT a no-kill shelter will usually increase your chances of getting an even tempered, good-natured dog. The organization I adopted mine from has absolutely no qualms about euthanizing dogs, and puts down a LARGE number of pits every year for having temperament issues. They CANNOT adopt these dogs out into homes, as they take on far to great a liability to the organization to take the risk involved in placing an aggressive (either dog/animal or human aggressive) animal in a home. As such, my dog went through extensive behavior testing in many different public and private settings over the course of a few weeks before being placed up for adoption. Finding an organization that works with PROFESSIONAL, REPUTABLE animal behaviorists that can provide good references is CRITICAL in adopting a pit. My dog spent about 4 months in a shelter that has a limit of about 8 weeks because 2 of the volunteer behaviorists swapped taking her home on many occasions when "her time was up".

                                          It's important to keep in mind that most shelter pits are not "pure bred". In fact, the AKC considers the "pit bull" to be "type" rather than a breed because they've been crossed with so many different types of dogs over the past few decades. As such, the temperaments of these dogs will vary VASTLY from dog to dog. I'm still not sure I would warn a novice away from considering a pit because it's really, truly possible to find a great, stable dog in a shelter setting. The key is not falling in love with the first dog you meet, and taking it home because it made "pittie eyes" at you. Believe me, they're manipulative animals that will weasel their way into your heart in about 30 seconds!!

                                          Here is Molly Ringwald making "pit bull face":
                                          http://image72.webshots.com/172/2/9/...2Nkdmwp_ph.jpg
                                          Here today, gone tomorrow...

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