“Pit Bull” is NOT a breed!

  Everyone that knows me knows that I will voice my opinion.  I am not concerned about being politically correct and I certainly welcome anyone to a good debate.  That being said, this post is strictly written because of all the ridiculous hype recently about the breeds I love the most; the bully breeds.  I too have in the past called them “pit bulls”, but I vow to take a stand and no longer do this.

   That’s right, I will no longer call them “pit bulls”. Why? Because my friends, unless a dog has been put in a fight ring, they are NOT “pit dogs”!!! Any dog can be classified as a “pit dog” if has been in a fight ring.  Today so many people misidentify a bull breed; thousands of dogs are killed because they LOOK like a bull breed in some states.  The bull breeds I am discussing here: American Staffordshire terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers, Bull terriers, American Bulldogs.  I strongly think if we the bull breed lovers truly want to help the breed we need to STOP calling them “pit bulls”.  To the breeders out there that breed what they call APBT’s you truly need to take a stand and call them American Staffordshire terriers. I know it is a pride thing but really, are you putting your dog in a fighting ring??  If you are you should be arrested period.  If you stand behind people that fight their bullies, again you should be arrested. Period.

  I have seen more TV shows pop up lately about bully breeds, “Pit boss”, “Pit bulls and Parolees”, etc.  I love that they are helping the bull breeds and my hat is off to them, but seriously stop calling them “pit” dogs.  It only strengthens the fear people have.

      The term “pit dog” has been around for thousands of years and if you dive into history archives, “pit dogs” were mainly Molosser breeds, not just one type of dog.  You can find more information about these dogs here: http://www.bulldoginformation.com/molossers-mastiff-type-dogs.html .

  Even the Humane Society refers to the label “pit bull” as just that, a label.  Many people misidentify dogs; they see a short, stocky, bigheaded, muscular dog and call it a “pit bull”.  Unless they have been in a pit ring fighting this is an inaccurate name.

   Tremendous amounts of people out there think ALL bull breeds are dog-dog aggressive. This is also not true. Do they have the tendency to be dog-dog aggressive, of course; but so do other breeds. Any dog can be dog-dog aggressive, it depends on how they are handled and trained.  I have hundreds of cases of herding breeds and small breed dogs that are highly dog-dog aggressive.  I am called for more Australian cattle dogs (heelers) and Great Pyrenees, with dog-dog aggression then any bull breed.  These breeds are tenacious when it comes to their attacks.  These are also the two breeds of highest percentages for resource guarding issues. 

  So why are so many bullies in the news and not other breeds?  Many owners that have contacted me for their herding dogs killing or attacking their pack members make it a point to keep their dogs away from other dogs.  Unfortunately irresponsible owners own the bullies you read about.  The majority of bully attacks on humans and dogs happen because they are taught how to be persistent and are “resident” dogs, not pets.  What’s the difference? Karen Delise, founder of The National Canine Research Council has the facts on her site: http://nationalcanineresearchcouncil.com/resident-dog-vs-family-dog/  I suggest anyone interested in bully breeds take the time to read her site.

  I urge all the bully breed owners, rescuers and lovers to STOP calling their dogs “pit bulls”. Lets see if we can truly make a difference for the breeds we love so much!!

Can A Bully breed be with other dogs?

So I was asked how I can have two bullies in my pack, especially with the small dogs.  I felt I needed to share a picture with everyone.

  This is our bully Shelly showing her true nature of keeping our Chihuahua warm.  Bull breeds can live peacefully with other dogs, Shelly and Axel are proof of this.  They both had come to us with a bad past and yet they live happily with our entire pack, our resident cat included. 

  If you take the leadership role in your house and practice simple boundaries your bully can become calm and accepting of all animals.

Tara and the “pack”

“Pit” Bulls and Common Owner Mistakes

  As many of you know, I am dedicated to educating people on how to stop aggression in dogs.  I love my bull breeds and misunderstood dogs and I will not call them “pit” bulls as this is a term not a breed!  I always have and always will stand up for them when everyone else gives up.  As an advocate for the “bad reputation” breeds, I have spent months researching breed specific boards and discussion groups trying to get a “feel” for an average owner and what their views, beliefs, and the training methods are. 

  Any person who owns a computer can jump online and find a discussion forum that is dedicated to the breed they own.  This can be helpful in many ways; for example: learning about breed specific health issues, diet, and personality traits.  At the same time, this can be very dangerous for the breeds I love the most!

  Recently, I have read disturbing posts regarding making bully breeds more “persistent” by using cloth hang toys and flirt poles.  I am a firm believer in letting a dog release their mental frustration with a good game of tug, but you also need to teach them how to turn “off” their prey drive; NOT how to be more persistent.  Bull breeds have a naturally high prey drive as do many working breeds; this is why we see them in the papers so often!  Too many owners forget that teaching a dog “persistence” leads to unwanted aggression.

  These same owners/breeders post comments about how they cannot get into a good game of tug because their dogs will incidentally get “out of control” and it results in a bite to their hands during play!!  They have essentially taught their dogs to “explode” when using their mouths!

  I have been barred from quite a few boards because I have voiced my concern about this and it makes me wonder how we can protect a breed that so many people already choose to ban if we are teaching them how to be aggressive! How can you say you are an “advocate” to the breed if you are admitting your hand in your dogs’ aggression? 

  Yes, you can use a flirt pole or play tug with a dog, but you must remember to teach control of their mouths as well.  If you own a “bully breed” or any other “misunderstood” breed, you must harness that behavior in a good way; not by teaching them how to be persistent with their mouths.  Use their natural power to pull, use their brilliance to excel at obedience, and use their mouths to retrieve and release not grab and hold!

  With all the “misunderstood” dogs I have rehabilitated, I have never seen a need to teach an average dog how to grab and hold.  You are conditioning your dog to not release when their bite is engaged.  The only cases where a dog should be taught these traits are for k-9 security officers, military, or police dogs.  There is a reason police and military personnel are so diligent in picking the right dog for the job.  Not every dog can be turned off when taught how to bite.

  Help promote the breed by being an ambassador by educating your dog and your neighbors on how intelligent they are instead of how “tough” they are.