I was heading into work the other day and as I rounded the corner onto Hastings Street in Vancouver there was a gorgeous blue pit bull tied by the mailboxes. I did what I usually do when I see a dog – I said hi and presented the back of my hand for him to sniff. He lunged, growling and sputtering. His guy was in the phone booth and came out quickly when he saw me. He apologized and I decided that I would take this opportunity for education. He told me his dog had become reactive with people after a series of bad roommates. The dog was just turning 2 and he was not neutered. Clearly this guy has a problem. He doesn’t want to get him neutered because he could not be a ‘stud.’ He said he had been to obedience. I suggested that the call Hugabull[1] to see if they had some suggestions for him.

Blue Pittie*

Pit bulls can be amazing dogs. However, when people get them they really don’t understand the nature of terriers. Terriers are highly energetic, and they can have high prey drive. When a small terrier demonstrates prey drive or snaps at a person it’s a problem but will not likely end up in someone getting seriously hurt.  When a pit bull type dog does the same thing it can be a tragedy. The myths about pit bulls ‘locking their jaws’ don’t apply however, they can move with speed and they are extremely strong. Unsocialized[2] pit bulls can be a huge problem. Pit bulls who are reactive to other dogs are quite common and their people generally keep them away from those situations. It is a much more serious problem if they are reactive to humans. Any dog who is human aggressive poses a huge risk to the public. These are the kind of dogs who kill people.

A well-socialized pit bull is an amazing animal. The dog is protective but not dangerous; confident but not aggressive. In fact, pit bulls have been considered ‘nanny’ dogs known for looking after children. In the wrong hands, pit bulls can become very dangerous dogs that pose a risk to the community.

Everyone who owns a pit bull has a responsibility to make sure their dog is raised properly. The dog needs obedience training and consistent management to ensure the dogs becomes a ‘breed ambassador.’ I highly recommend anyone considering a pit bull research and get some information from Hugabull.

*Image from Hubpages.

[1] Is a local BC pit bull rescue and advocacy group.

[2] When we talk about socialization in dogs we generally mean exposing the dog to all sorts of situations, new people, new dogs, strange places., loud noises etc. The idea is to have a dog is confident and who can handle situations while remaining calm.


One thought on “Dispatches from the Swamp – the ‘I met a dog the other day’ edition

  1. Well said, Babe. Pit Bulls are beautiful, loving, mushpot dogs. Unless they are not. Humans pervert the awesome natures of pitties for their own warped reasons, and the reputation of an entire breed suffers. It happened, to a much lesser degree, to the Doberman Pincher, the Rottweiler and the GSD, among others, and it is totally unfair.

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