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Talk to Me of Adoption and Pitbulls...

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  • Talk to Me of Adoption and Pitbulls...

    I finally had to put my beloved kitty of 19 years down over the weekend . Already, I am anxious to fill that empty space in my home and heart. My husband has been promised a chance to adopt a dog as long as I approve of said dog and it is short hair with a medium build.

    One of the rescues in the area is very well known amongst our friends with plenty of personal contacts within the rescue. They frequently have new rescues in foster homes which we can meet and greet until we find the right dog. Several of these dogs are Pits or Pit mixes between 1-3yrs of age.

    Both my husband and I do not have a lot of experience with dogs, so we would enlist professional training help if needed. Due to being inexperienced, I'm not sure that I would want a puppy...young adult is perfectly fine with me. We are both very active so walking/jogging occur daily. Would a pit or pit mix be a bad idea for a first dog?

    Any help or advice would be appreciated!

    For the record, we do not have kids, nor plan to have kids in the near future. We currently live in a 2 story town house, so no fenced yard, but there is a park that is great for walking and running 5 minutes from the house.

  • #2
    Go for it! As a volunteer dog walker at an urban shelter, I walk plenty of pit and amstaff mixes. Don't let their "reputation" turn you off. Any breed can be dog aggressive or people aggressive for that matter. I've found them lovely and very people friendly, most just need obedience training to be a well-rounded family member if you adopt from a shelter. And the shelters are overrun with them, at least up here in the NE, and last to be adopted. I'm sure there are plenty pitty owners on here who'll chime in.

    Comment


    • #3
      Thank you for considering a pit mix I have been involved with bully breeds for the past twelve years from rescue to dogsitting.

      Housing
      First and foremost to consider before adopting a pit or pit mix is housing. Do you rent your townhome, or do you own your townhome? If you own, what does your homeowner's insurance policy say in regards to pit bulls or pit mixes? Would you consider finding another homeowner's insurance provider if they had breed restrictions? If you rent your townhome, what does your landlord say about pets? Breed restrictions? Renter's insurance with a liability policy?

      Actual Dog
      For the most part, bully breeds are high energy dogs. Do you have the time and energy level to provide daily walks? Lengthy walks, hikes, or runs? Other enriching activities?

      Bully breeds can also be Dog Aggressive. It's considered a breed trait while in many other dogs it's considered a breed flaw. This does not mean that all pit bulls or pit mixes are Dog Aggressive. Ours, for example, is not Dog Aggressive, but she is selective with who she likes. She LOVES our friend's female German Shepherd, and she tolerates our other friend's female Rhodesian mix. However, she *barely* (we don't put her in these situations) tolerates female bully breeds. They should NEVER be people aggressive. It's great that you said you would enlist the assistance of a trainer!

      Pit bulls and pit mixes are relatively easy to care for although they are prone to skin allergies. They have short hair, and I consider them a "wash-and-wear" breed

      As far as temperament goes, they should be happy-go-lucky and goofy. They should LOVE people. I am sure the rescue that you choose (if you choose a pit bull or mix) will already have done temperament testing to ensure correct temperament and for better placement into appropriate homes. If not, I'd ask about it.

      They can be stubborn with training, or at least people think its stubbornness. What it boils down to is that while one training method may not work for your pit bull, try another, and you'll be amazed. Our girl is a whiz kid (often putting our German Shepherds to shame.)

      Being a Bully Breed Owner
      Bully breed owners need to have a tough skin and always remember that the public will always judge you. Therefore, it's up to you to be a responsible pit bull / pit mix parent. Never let your dog be in situations in which it would cause a stir (unleashed, jumping around on people, mouthing people, etc.) Expect people to automatically judge you for owning a bully breed. It doesn't matter if you're a married, professional, white-collar job female living in Beverly Hills in the largest mansion on the block. Even some Veterinarians will judge you/your dog based on its breed.

      Bully breed owners need to be aware of any BSL (Breed-Specific Legislation) in their area or attempting to be created in their area.

      Summary
      Bully breeds can be great dogs for responsible owners. They are loyal, humorous, and sensitive dogs. Be prepared for some judgment from others, but if you're a responsible owner, you don't have to worry about your dog causing any problems.
      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

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Thank you for your responses! I look forward to hearing from more owners. My HOA does allow "bully" breeds, but I will also check with my insurance.

        I am aware that there may be some discrimination against us from other owners....however, I plan on having a well trained dog. I know far too many people that have untrained, unexercised dogs that are a PITA to be around. My dog will never be allowed to act out in public...I certainly plan on teaching the boundaries early on.

        Also...I have a random socialization question. Provided that new dog is not Dog Aggressive, I want to have a well socialized dog. However, dog parks terrify me (I worry about my safety along with the dog's safety), and one of my biggest pet peaves are when I see people let their dogs run up to other dogs without asking first. I don't even own a dog yet, but when this happens at the county park I cringe. Would I be doing the dog a disservice by not allowing it to play in dog parks and greet random dogs on walks?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by MtyMax View Post

          Also...I have a random socialization question. Provided that new dog is not Dog Aggressive, I want to have a well socialized dog. However, dog parks terrify me (I worry about my safety along with the dog's safety), and one of my biggest pet peaves are when I see people let their dogs run up to other dogs without asking first. I don't even own a dog yet, but when this happens at the county park I cringe. Would I be doing the dog a disservice by not allowing it to play in dog parks and greet random dogs on walks?
          In my opinion, no you would not be doing your dog a disservice to play in dog parks and greet random dogs on walks. Do you have any friends that have dogs?

          Here are some good reads on "safe" places to socialize with a bully breed as well as Pit Bulls and Dog Parks:

          http://www.pitbull-chat.com/showthre...t-bulldog-quot

          http://www.pitbull-chat.com/showthre...-and-Dog-parks

          I have had my nose nearly broken one too many times by other peoples' untrained dogs slamming into me to want to go to another dog park. We used to take our dogs to a dog park near us when no other dogs were around except one or two that they knew. There is always one dumb-you-know-what in the bunch that brings in his unsocialized/untrained dog that ruins the experience for everyone else.
          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


          • #6
            I adopted a pit mix from "animal control" (like the dark side vs the SPCA in the area which was no kill). Bella was around 8 months old and had been a stray (not spayed and possibly never had an owner).

            While it was challenging at first it's been very rewarding. She is the most affectionate dog I've ever had.

            I will be honest and say that she has some dog aggression issues. I really have to watch her around other dogs. Sometimes she's fine, other times she wants to fight. I also can't let her off leash. This probably has more to do with the fact she was a stray but she has no recall whatsoever.

            I'd say do it, especially if you're willing to have a pro help you if needed.
            http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn

            Comment


            • #7
              And if you wanted to adopt from a rescue in Georgia, I know a perfect bunch of hug-a-bulls that are fully vetted, temperament-tested, and ready to go
              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


              • #8
                I know quite a few owners who never go to dog parks, simply because of the idiot owner with the out of control dog syndrome. A few fools ruin it for everyone else, just as with many other situations. You can socialize your dog just fine without allowing other animals to run and get up in their face, and you seem to have very good plans in place for training and responsible pet ownership also.

                However, you do need to look at future housing and living possibilities also. Even if you don't intend to move now, you never know what the future will bring. For example, I know several military families who lived off post, and then were transferred to other areas where they needed to live on post. Unfortunately, there is a universal policy with eight or nine banned breeds on all Army posts, to standardize the rules (and many housing areas are operated by private companies and not the Army so previous rules don't matter) so they had to rehome the dogs. And there are limits on number, type, and size of animals in many condos and other HOA areas too.
                You can't fix stupid-Ron White

                Comment


                • #9
                  I don't own a bully breed nad I wouldn't take my dogs to a dog park. Tucker (the fat corgi) can be too much of a jerk.

                  My concern would be sheer amount of energy. I love Boxers, for example--when someone else owns them. I don't have that kind of energy.
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                  • #10
                    My experience w/ dogs is far from vast, but I've encountered quite a few Pit Bulls/Pit mixes out and about, as well as knowing several people who own one or more. I know they can be dog agressive, but honestly I've never met a Pit/mix that wasn't extremely friendly(at least as far as I saw) toward dogs and people alike. Some of the Pits I know though, while have never having displayed aggression(per their owners), definitely expect to be dominant over other dogs, and I could see the potential for some aggression or a fight if another dominant dog were to challenge that. Others are extremely submissive.

                    A family I was a nanny for last year had a Pit who was wonderful. Very level-headed. Well-behaved and friendly w other dogs. And great w their young boys who climbed all over her and always tried to get her to play rough. The 8-y/o could walk her by himself w no trouble.

                    It's great that you're considering adopting a Pit or a mix. Around here our local shelters are often overrun w them

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I rescued a pit from a kill shelter. Sweetest most docile dog ever. She slept with my chihuahuas and was like their mama bear. However, we had several outside dogs, all rescues, and one adolescent shepherd mix just loved tussling with the pit. They'd run and tackle each other and play the chase game. One night we came home to find the pit had killed her playmate. Accident? probably playing gone too far. But that helped me make the decision that I'd only have a pit if it were the ONLY dog I had. We rehomed Belle to a fellow who wanted her to be his one and only and she is a very happy, spoiled lady now.
                      SPAY/NEUTER/RESCUE/ADOPT!
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                      Comment


                      • #12
                        A pit bull, whether an APBT or AmStaff or a mix or a similar type, is NOT a good choice for a novice owner. They are extremely strong, athletic dogs. and notorious escape artists - I've heard of pits who can climb or jump 6-8' fences. Although many can get along with other dogs, they are mentally and physically equipped to be very, very dangerous if they become aggressive for any reason. Any many DA dogs can get along with other dogs - but when they take a dislike to a particular dog they seriously attempt to kill him. You can't take any dog's friendliness with other dogs for granted, and when you have a breed which is continuing to be bred for high DA, it's a mistake to think there are any which are reliabley non-DA.

                        In short, pit bulls are a lot of dog to handle, and I think a relative newbie to dog ownership would be making a mistake to tackle one unless they're really committed to owning this particular breed. The OP seems to be considering the pit bulls largely because they fit a couple of minor requirements - short hair, medium build - and because they're readily available from people she knows. These are valid reasons, I'm not saying it's wrong to have some preferences for size and shape - but there are more important issues when you're talking about a particularly challenging breed. I like furry white dogs, but if I was a novice dog owner and asked about Kuvasz, I'd hope people would let me know this probably isn't a good idea. It's tempting with pit bulls to encourage people to adopt them, since there are so many needing homes, but this is just going to create more negative issues with the breed. In the last 10 years or so, there's been a rising problems with rescued pit bulls foisted off on newbies who have been fed a lot of propaganda about pit bulls being just like labs. If you really want one, go into it with your eyes open. But remember, you chose the dog. Whatever the dog's image or drives, you took that on and its up to you to face the problems, not brush it all off as prejudice.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          They're a great breed, but I cannot emphasize enough the importance of considering your housing. One of the main reasons dogs are surrendered to the humane society is that their family is moving, and either can't or won't take their dog with them. In this economy, a lot of people had to downsize to an apartment, or to a rented house rather than owning. And the majority of rented housing has a breed restriction list. Ie. No pits, no GSDs, etc. So even if you find a place that allows large dogs, if your dog's breed is on the list you're out of luck. The places that do allow "aggressive" breed dogs will usually requite a pet interview, and you'll be paying at least a couple hundred more a month for rent.

                          In addition, it's very important that you socialize the dog (not at a dog park) and train, train, train. I'm very fond of the 'Say please' method aka Nothing in Life is Free always using postive reinforcement. Depending on your humane society, a lot of them will offer discounted training classes. But just like in horses, make sure the trainer's method works well for you and your dog.

                          I love aggressive breed dogs, especially GSD's and Dobermans. But when I was doing the research, and calling lots and lots of apartment complexes, I decided that I needed to wait until my financial situation had improved to get an aggressive breed dog. Of course now that time has gone by and my lifestyle has changed a bit, I'm in love with Australian Shepherds.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by vacation1 View Post
                            A pit bull, whether an APBT or AmStaff or a mix or a similar type, is NOT a good choice for a novice owner. They are extremely strong, athletic dogs. and notorious escape artists - I've heard of pits who can climb or jump 6-8' fences. Although many can get along with other dogs, they are mentally and physically equipped to be very, very dangerous if they become aggressive for any reason. Any many DA dogs can get along with other dogs - but when they take a dislike to a particular dog they seriously attempt to kill him. You can't take any dog's friendliness with other dogs for granted, and when you have a breed which is continuing to be bred for high DA, it's a mistake to think there are any which are reliabley non-DA.

                            In short, pit bulls are a lot of dog to handle, and I think a relative newbie to dog ownership would be making a mistake to tackle one unless they're really committed to owning this particular breed. The OP seems to be considering the pit bulls largely because they fit a couple of minor requirements - short hair, medium build - and because they're readily available from people she knows. These are valid reasons, I'm not saying it's wrong to have some preferences for size and shape - but there are more important issues when you're talking about a particularly challenging breed. I like furry white dogs, but if I was a novice dog owner and asked about Kuvasz, I'd hope people would let me know this probably isn't a good idea. It's tempting with pit bulls to encourage people to adopt them, since there are so many needing homes, but this is just going to create more negative issues with the breed. In the last 10 years or so, there's been a rising problems with rescued pit bulls foisted off on newbies who have been fed a lot of propaganda about pit bulls being just like labs. If you really want one, go into it with your eyes open. But remember, you chose the dog. Whatever the dog's image or drives, you took that on and its up to you to face the problems, not brush it all off as prejudice.
                            That is what I was thinking, why start dog ownership and the learning curve with a questionable dog, be it questionable because of your lack of experience and the dog needing more experienced management, or the dog coming with PR problems that will magnify any problem?

                            In our area there seems to be still a considerable amount of dog fighting going on.
                            The police just broke up a ring last week, again.
                            We have many, many pit bulls and crosses here and they go to a special section of animal control where the public doesn't go.
                            There are many, many better dogs for the public to choose from, a public we can't really vet well as how suitable they are to adopt.

                            Once someone is an experienced dog owner, then pit bulls are fine and in many ways better than other breeds, just not so much for a first time owner.
                            We get many in our dog club lessons to the public and most are wonderful dogs when managed and trained a bit with some common sense.

                            Then, if that is what appeals to you, why not, especially if you will go to some obedience classes and get aquainted with a bit of dog training and your dog socialized well there, where there is some control of the situation?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              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. She is an absolute snuggle bug and does everything from 'helping' me in the kitchen to going trail riding with me at work.

                              Of course, not all pits have a good background and some of them can be aggressive or skittish (as with any breed). When choosing a dog, it's very important to meet it first and make sure it fits into your lifestyle. In some ways, I think getting an adult is much harder and riskier than getting a puppy. With that said, adults are also harder to place, so you'd be doing an adult dog a huge favor by adopting it.

                              The most important thing I've found is to give the dog plenty of exercise (this is regardless of what breed you get). My girl gets to run around the farm, go on puppy play dates almost daily, and go for LONG walks off leash so she can run around. We also have a fenced yard that she spends hours in when we're home. It sounds like you're very active so that's great.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                On the other hand, with an adult you know what you have, unlike with a puppy, that you won't know until it is two or three years old what it's adult temperament may be.

                                My first serious competition dog was a norwegian elkhound from a puppy mill.
                                That breed is not known for their easy to train traits and it was hard, that is why I even looked for somewhere to train.
                                When my vet saw her, he blurted "you got one of those pain in the behind dogs also?"

                                My second dog was a rescued aussie, the breeder had sold her to someone that put her in a kennel on a farm and practically fogot her.
                                Still, aussies are very easy to train and, even with her baggage of a bad start in life, the difference was enormous, because my first dog had been kind of difficult and I had learned so much, the easier one was a walk in the park then.
                                She was such a super nice dog once trained, that same vet kept wanting us to breed her so he could have a puppy.

                                As the OP can see, there are many pro and con considerations, only you know what will fit your situation best.

                                Too bad we can't tell up front what will happen, can only in hindsight remember and learn from it.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Sorry for your kitty, good on ya for a pitty

                                  I suggest something over 2yrs of age. I believe dogs are not mature until about then. There is one of mannny theories that dogs (ok this theory is pit-specific) may not display true temperament until 2 years.

                                  Get something older whose temperament you know because the shelter staff, then you under staff supervision, have temperament tested it out the whazzu. Lots of pit types have great resiliency and survive shelter life better than others. Of course I am grossly over-generalizing.

                                  Pull tail/ears, show it a cat, small dog, big dog, calm dog, hyper dog, submissive dog, dominant dog, black dog, fluffy dog,... after teching, I'd trust a pit over some others.

                                  No dog parks. It is a bad situation for your dog as it doesn't matter who started it, what happened, or how, the pit bull will be blamed. A pit has to be exceptionally, extraordinarily trained/mannered to be in public -for its safety and yours (liability).

                                  (To qualify myself: had a pit/chow as a teen that was purchased and initially raised to fight. Pup followed me home from the bus stop every. single. day. Spent the night on our front porch. Finally spoke to owners: dog was ours . Very serious dog that required equally serious management.)

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Everyone has given some great advice and information, so I only have a couple of things to add.

                                    1. They usually have a very thin hair coat, which is great because they don't shed a lot but not so great in the winter. Mine has a number of different jackets. She has a rain coat because she hates to get wet; a snow coat for when it's cold but she doesn't really like the snow, she just gets cold easily; a dress coat for when it's cold but we're going somewhere nice; and a polar fleece coat to sleep in (her pajamas) because our house can be a bit drafty.

                                    2. They will literally go until they drop, so be careful during the summer. Make sure you watch them for overheating. They often won't show signs until it's too late because they have so much drive.

                                    3. Don't assume all dogs can swim. Mine is a horrible swimmer. She sinks. I think it's because they have so much muscle. You may want to get a life jacket if you plan on being around a lot of water.

                                    Good luck and remember that they are not called American Pitbull or Staffordshire TERRIERS for nothing. They might not look like a Jack Russel but they have the energy of one. Maybe get an older dog - then you would also know if it was dog aggressive or not (which is manageable). Mine started to calm down at around 6 years old, but even at 12.5 years, a 3-mile walk is what she needs every couple of days to stay sane (or for us to stay sane around her).

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      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.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        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.

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