“Shh!…Don’t talk about it: the taboo of Pitbull fights”

About two weeks ago, I shared a story about my pit bull Biscuit. He and my husky-lab Jordi got into a really bad fight.  Since coming home in August of this year, the two have had snipped and strutted around each other occasionally before in an effort to determine alpha status. There were only a few micro incidents that quickly dissolved in response to my chiding them.

What happened that week was different. It was serious, violent, and bloody. I still can’t put my finger on the trigger of this event, so I’ve kept them separated both inside and outside. One hangs out in the garage while the other is either in-house with Koba, or in the backyard and vice versa.

I shared the incident with my mother, but haven’t talked to the rest of my family about it. Mostly to avoid the “I told you so’s”. You see, my family like many people already have a negative opinion of the breed that is known as the pit bull.

Upon hearing that one of my three dogs was a pit bull mix( the other two are husky-lab, and german shepard mix), one of my aunts stepped on her soap box, and grilled me through the telephone on why I would bring “something like that” into my home, and around my daughter at that?

She retold me many accounts of dog attacks she had seen on the news and asked if I knew that “these kinds of dogs turn all the time?” Well, I didn’t. Because I choose not to watch the news (I may blog about the reason why another time), my mind hadn’t been inundated with scores of gruesome stories of dogs attacking owners, children, and babies.

I didn’t think, and still don’t think that Biscuit is a threat to either my daughter or to me. But I am starting to think his preference is to be around an only dog, and particularly not around other male dogs. I make this distinction because of Koba, my female German Shepard.  His interactions with her are very different than how he behaves with Jordi, a male. Also if I could do it again, I probably wouldn’t have adopted him into a house full of cats.

Full disclosure: he bit my oldest cat on the paw while following me to the front door to take out the trash.  He had been in my home for barely a month then, and I hadn’t established many house rules for him then. A week later he cornered her in a room that I had left open for her and bit her paw again.

Now, he and the other dogs are trained to stay in the back of the house and out of “Kitty City”.  This helps the anxiety in the cats and the “instincts” he may be harboring. Biscuit has calmed down considerably around the cats and is nearly nonchalant when I’m in the same room with them. But I don’t think I’ll ever leave him alone with the cats. I am not naïve to think he can fully accept them as not being prey, but I am hopeful that as time goes by he gains more self-discipline and accepts them as part of his pack.

So this is it, me talking about a Pitbull/Bully breed in an unfavorable light. This is an issue that I am only now realizing is a very controversial and sensitive topic.  I question my own intentions from time to time as to why I haven’t returned him to the shelter, which would be an easy solution for me but a likely death sentence for him.

Am I out to prove a point that he can be trusted to be a safe and loving animal in my home? If so, to whom am I trying to convince: others, or myself? There are concerns that I have still, but none that influence me to “get rid of the problem” that is Biscuit.

I will continue to practice methods that will both protect my other animals, and hopefully, retain him to become a trusted and cooperative part of my family. I will update on progress and regress. Keeping my fingers crossed, I encourage you to keep the harmony.

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