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Responsible Pit Bull Ownership
--Written By Cinimon Clark

1. Never allow your pit bull to roam free. Dogs are just like human children. When not supervised, the decisions they make are often not for their best interest. For the safety of your dog and the general dog population, keep your pit bull behind a fence!

2. Always keep your pit bull on leash. When a Golden Retriever runs up to a person, they say, “How sweet!” When a pit bull does the exact same thing, people say, “Vicious dog!” This is an unfortunate truth. Let’s not make the reputation of the pit bull worse than it already is.

3. Never take your pit bull to a dog park. Even if you think your pit bull is wonderful with other dogs, all it takes is once. If a Labrador starts a fight and your pit bull finishes it, whom will everyone blame? Let’s face it; the pit bull is always at fault in the eyes of the public.

4. You must take your pit bull to obedience classes. Yet again, in the eyes of the general public pit bulls are menacing creatures. The more socially acceptable they are by having impeccable manners, the better the reputation they will have. And remember, once is NOT enough. Ongoing obedience classes are best.

5. Socialize your pit bull as much possible before and after they reach maturity. A shy pit bull is a pathetic creature indeed. Not only is being shy an abnormal pit bull trait, it also could be dangerous. You want your dog to be able to handle new situations with confidence and pleasure. As with obedience classes, once is not enough! Ongoing socialization will ensure your dog’s happiness by showing him the world is a wonderful place. And please remember, socialization does not mean your dog running around with other dogs off leash! An obedience class in which he may never get to ‘say hi’ to any other dog is socialization!

6. Be a responsible parent! Do not allow your pit bull to be subjected to people who are belligerent or cruel. By ‘forcing’ your dog to ‘say hi’ to these types of people, you are being an irresponsible parent! You would never expect your human child to simply take whatever you dish out and like it. Please do not expect this from your dog.

7. Know where your dog is at all times. Don’t leave your pit bull outside unattended. Who knows what is going on in the back yard while you are away. Are children teasing your dog? Is your dog learning to be aggressive by having to defend himself in these situations? Don’t leave the parenting up to others. Responsibility is the key to proper and safe pit bull ownership.

8. Pit bulls need a job. Whether this job is obedience classes, taking a walk with you everyday, sitting at your feet while you are on the computer in the evenings, or something more intense such as search and rescue, a pit bull needs to feel important and needed. They are highly intelligent animals with fine tuned problem solving skills. They need an outlet for this energy.

9. Daily exercise is a must! Playing fetch, hiking or whatever you love to do, your pit bull will be more than willing to participate.

10. Spay and neuter your pit bull. With thousands of pit bulls dying in shelters, don’t be a part of the problem. Be part of the solution! Don’t breed or buy while shelter animals die.

11. Understand that pit bulls are dog aggressive. This is the way they were bred to be. Take precautions and use common sense. Don’t allow your pit bull to run up to unknown dogs and never allow unknown dogs to run up to your pit bull. Remember, you are the parent! Pit bulls are not bred to be friends with unknown dogs. Some pit bulls cannot be around any other dogs at all. With pit bulls you cannot ‘train out’ the desire to fight another dog anymore than you can ‘train out’ the desire to chase running rabbits in the Greyhound. You can curb this behavior and often control it, but not stop it altogether. As long as you understand this and can love your dog for who and what he is, you’ve got it made!

12. Never leave pit bulls alone and unsupervised with other animals. Even though you think they are the best of friends, it’s better to be safe than sorry! All it takes is one time for a fight to break out. This is especially true with multiple pit bulls in one household. Don’t take any chances and remember this saying… Never trust your pit bull not to fight another dog… ever!

13. Keep your pit bull in an enclosure that is escape proof. I always keep my dogs in the house in crates when I am not there to supervise. This is the utmost in safety. Just make sure your dog cannot get out to roam. If your dog makes a mistake, all pit bull owners pay for it!
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