IWAPBO #2

The American pitbull terrier was first recognized by the United Kennel Club, the breed was rightly seen as the perfect “nanny dog”

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To continue the series on Pit-bull ownership, I offer another account of a dog owner and his bully breed. The Interview with a pit-bull owner series (IWAPBO) is my attempt at offering a more balanced story of a new world I’ve become a part of: the Pit-bull world.

My guest in this Interview is Gary C. from Kansas City, MO.

Catsdogsharmony: What makes Pitbulls (PB), so special?

Gary C: They’re unique. They’re smart. Historically they were bred to watch over children. That’s why they are good with them.

I did some brief research on this after the interview to verify this information. According to two different websites that I will quote below, this seems to have some merit. The first is from Alternet.com. Link here.

“For most of the 114 years since the American pitbull terrier was first recognized by the United Kennel Club, the breed was rightly seen as the perfect “nanny dog” for children because of its friendly nature, loyalty and stability. As the ASPCA notes, the pitbulls were “once considered especially non-aggressive to people.””

Apparently there are multiple types of PB breeds, and 2 strains in particular that can give either the more “aggressive” type that are trained to attack,  or the “friendlier type, according to the excerpt below from Pethelpful.com. Link here.

Unfortunately, the wrong kind of people are still finding the first strain of the pit bull dog attractive as guard dogs for illegal activities. They are stout built dogs with square heads and firms jaw lines and a very ominous appearance. In the wrong hands, the pit bulls are trained to protect their owners during illegal activities such as drug deals. They are trained not to let ANYONE come near their owners or their property. Many of them are not being trained to warn their owner or to keep the stranger at bay, they are being trained to attack and kill whoever or whatever comes near. They are being trained to be aggressive.

Now, back to the Q&A:

CDH:  Have you always liked PBs?

GC: Yes, I’ve always liked them. I like Pitbulls, and German Shepards.

CDH: So what made you decide to get one?

GC: I always knew I wanted one.

CDH:  How many PBs do you have? Names? Male or female? Purebred or mixed?

GC: I have one. Its a male, his name is Apollo. He’s a purebred, blue-nose.

CDH: Did you adopt or buy? How long have you had him?

GC:  He was bred. I picked him out of a litter of 7 when he was a puppy.

CDH: How old is he now?

GC: He’ll be 2 years old in December.

CDH: Is he an inside or outside dog?

GC: Inside, only goes out to go to the bathroom.

CDH: What personality does your PB have?

GC: Crazy! He just likes to look at me funny and smile at me. He loves to ride with me. He doesn’t tear anything up when he’s in the car, he just jumps in the car and looks around, ready to go.

He doesn’t like to be inside the house. When I let him out he really doesn’t like to come back in. I’ll call him, and he hears me but he looks around everywhere but at me, then when I call his name louder he eventually comes in. (Gary demonstrates by lowering his  head and looking left to right as if he’s trying to avoid looking at me).

Sometimes when me and my wife will be relaxing on the bed. If he’s up on the bed too he’ll try to wiggle between us if we getting too close, like he don’t like seeing us hugged up. (I laughed at this).

He can break out of his cage somehow too. I don’t know how he’s opening the door but he can.

CDH: What brand of dog food do you feed him, and how much does he eat?

GC: He eats 3 times a day. About 1 1/2 cup in the morning, then 1/2 cup for lunch and dinner. I feed him Purina One, Adult. I feed him dry food, but he gets wet food mixed in on the for breakfast and on the weekends. And sometimes I put in a raw egg too, to keep his fur looking shiny.  There’s a special shampoo I use for him too to keep his white coat from looking dingy. (He couldn’t remember the brand, but I did a quick search online and found that Walmart carries a brand called Healthy Breeds Pit Bull Bright Whitening Shampoo. This may be it.)

CDH: Do you feed him scraps?

GC: No, not really, only rib bones.

CDH: Is he allowed on the furniture?

GC: He’s not allowed on the couch, but we let him on the bed. My wife doesn’t mind, she treats him like a big baby. He likes to try to sit on my feet though! I’m like “get off my feet, your’e too big”, then he gives me a look when he walks away.

CDH: What kind of toys does he like to play with?

GC: He likes to chew on the rope and he likes (empty) water bottles. I’m looking for some other kinds he might like.

CDH: Have you had any bad experiences with any PBs?

GC: No.

CDH: How about other peoples negative opinions of PBs? Has anybody ever given you flak for having one?

GC: Nobody personally said anything, its just some places that don’t allow you to have them. Some apartment complexes won’t accept them, saying that they’re aggressive. My thing is, you’ve never met my dog. How do you know he’s aggressive? I can always put him up in another room if someone comes over or if maintenance needs to come in my apartment.

CDH: What about stories where a PB supposedly attacked someone?

GC: They might have been abused, used as fighting pits. The way they were raised makes a difference. With shelter pets you never know what their past was. And some dogs just don’t play well with others.

(I can attest to this. When my daughter and I were looking through the shelters there were some dogs we looked at that were NOT Pitbulls or any Bully breed that the shelter people turned us away from saying they were were aggressive or not suitable for households with other pets.)

CDH: What about attacks on kids/babies?

GC: Maybe the kid was grabbing on it in a way it didn’t like. Sometimes kids play rough. A dog can’t talk and say “stop”, it has teeth so it might bite if it feels threatened or in danger. Its only trying to protect itself. Also, I think the media puts too much attention on this breed. There are other dogs that bite and attack people, but you never hear about that. I’m sure somewhere a miniature schnauzer has hurt somebody, but you won’t hear about that in the news.

As for babies, there’s the noise.  Dogs don’t like certain noises, it gets them nervous. And certain (sporadic) movements.

CDH: Any advice for anyone thinking of adopting a PB?

GC: Go for it. Don’t believe the hype. I’m planning on getting another one myself. A girlfriend for Apollo. I want the same coloring. When they have a litter I’m hoping for a solid white puppy.

One thing you can try when they are misbehaving is to put some pennies in a empty water bottle or can and rattle it when they are doing something wrong while you’re saying ‘no’. They don’t like that sound, and they’ll stop whatever they’re doing.

End of Interview

So here is another point of view from a PB owner. I am continuing to educate myself about this breed and my dog’s particular quirks and needs. I always learn something new from hearing how other PB owners live with and take care of their dogs.

Hope you enjoyed this post. Don’t forget to check out my Youtube channel and Instagram page. You can also follow me @catsdogsharmony on Twitter.

Until next time, Keep the Harmony!

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“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.

Interview with a Pit Bull Owner (IWAPBO #1)

Be mindful of the environment you’re bringing your dog into. Know your dog, his likes and dislikes, triggers. Know your place as an owner.

This blog will mostly revolve around my cats, my dogs, and my experiences. But since becoming a pit bull/ bully breed (BB) owner to Biscuit and getting mixed opinions from my family and others, I’ve started talking to other BB owners to get some insight and advice.

I’ll be presenting some of that insight here in the form of Q&As from interviews with current or former PB owners. Welcome to my Interview with a Pit Owner (IWAPBO).

*I frequently interchange PB/Pit Bull and BB/Bully Breed to represent either a mix or purebred dog.

In this first interview, I am speaking to DeAndria G. from Flower Mound, TX.

This is Chaos, a 9 yr old Pitbull and his brother.

 

CatsDogsHarmony:  How many Pitbulls (PB) do you have? Names? Girl/Boy? Breed-type?

Deandria G.: One. He is a boy and his name is Chaos. He is a purebred PB and he is grey in color.

CDH: How old is he and how long have you had him?

DG: He’s 9. I’ve had him since he was a puppy.

CDH: Have you always liked PBs? If not, what changed your mind?

DG: Yes, I’ve always liked them.

CDH: What made you decide to adopt/raise/breed your PB?

DG: I saw him at the shelter and I fell in love. When I saw him it was like he said “Take me home.”

CDH: What is your dog’s personality?

DG: Goofy.

CDH: What’s the funniest thing he’s done? Most embarrassing?

DG: Chaos is scared of bugs. Once he was sniffing the ground at a bug and when it moved he jumped back about 3 feet in the air! Most embarrassing thing was when he met a new neighbor’s dog. He went to sniff its butt and the other dog wasn’t in the mood. It swung around and bit him.  There  happened to be a police officer nearby and we didn’t want him to think anything serious was going on so we tried to play it off.  (Both dogs were ok).

CDH: What brand of dog food does Chaos eat? How often? Do you give him table scraps?

DG: We buy Pure Balance, Bison flavor. He eats 3 times a day. 2 cups a serving. No scraps.

CDH: What kind of toys does Chaos like? Is he a chewer ?(serial/destructive)

DG: He loves stuffed animals. Also squeaky toys. Yes he is a chewer.

CDH: Is he and inside or outside dog? Is he allowed on the furniture? The bed?

DG: He’s an inside and outside dog. Not supposed to be on the furniture or bed..

CDH: Have you personally ever had any bad experiences with a PB?

DG: No.

CDH: Have you had any negative experiences or opinions from other people about your PB?

DG: I once had a neighbor who was an older lady. She didn’t like PB/BBs. She threatened to shoot my dog. Other than that, most people I encounter are friendly towards him.

CDH: If you could speculate on the stories where a PB/BB has reacted badly (attacked or bit someone) what would you say was the cause?

DG: When it was towards an adult I’d say it was from not staying the alpha (leader, top dog in charge). Some people stay on the same level as their dog [CDH offers an example of a parent trying to be their child’s friend instead of the parent and ultimately losing respect]. You have to be the one in charge.

CDH: But what about cases where a baby or little kid got hurt?

DG: It could have been a kid pulling its tail or doing something it didn’t like. With babies…there’s that noise factor. The crying. The jerky unpredictable movement. It can make dogs nervous. Some dogs just don’t like certain noises. They react badly.

CDH: Any advice for a new PB/BB owner?

DG: Be mindful of the environment you’re bringing your dog into. Know your dog, his likes and dislikes, triggers. Know your place as an owner.

END INTERVIEW

I appreciate the time DeAndria took to talk with me. I agree with her insight on knowing your dog, which is good advice for owners of any dog breed. Individual dogs have individual personalities and individual needs. Even dogs with so-called mild temperaments can have environmental triggers or social situations that can make them nervous, scared, or annoyed resulting in reactions from withdrawal, growling, or biting.

I hope you enjoyed this post. There will be more interviews to come in my IWAPBO series.  If you want to stay current on posts about the rest of the gang please consider subscribing. Also check out my Twitter feed, Instagram, and YouTube channel all under the name  Catsdogsharmony. Until next time, keep the harmony!