THE “NORMAL” PITBULL
I’ve heard “experts” say that Pitbulls are not like other dogs. From the old myths of locking jaws to the breed-confused idea that Pitbulls give no warning signs before they bite, Pitbulls are too often the victim of misinformation. This is even sometimes true among otherwise dog savvy people.
So what is a “Normal Pitbull”? I like to call Pitbulls “Dog Plus” because they are just a little bit more than your average dog. They exhibit similar behaviors and learn the same way as other breeds, they communicate using the same language as other canines. So what about them is different?
LOW AROUSAL THRESHOLD Pitbulls usually have two speeds, “off” and “full on.” The normal Pitbull can go from zero to sixty in no time flat. This is not uncommon in terriers. The secret to having dogs who can recover from arousal is very simple – basic and ongoing obedience training.
LATE BLOOMERS Pitbulls tend to be late bloomers. They are highly intelligent and learn quickly, but at a year old will exhibit the playful nature of a younger pup. Most Pits are “puppyish” until 18 month to 3 years.
HIGH ENERGY If you are looking for an exercise buddy, a Pitbull may be the one for you. Most Pits are brimming with energy. Seniors aside, most Pitbulls will do best as part of an active household.
GAMENESS Gameness is something that truly sets Pitbulls apart. This piece of Pitbull temperament is rooted in an ugly and violent history, but it is something that cannot be ignored. Gameness is the willingness and ability for a Pitbull to keep going (fighting) when other dogs will pack it in and go home. It is a determination to “play through the pain.” Pitbulls were created to be game dogs. You cannot take the game out of the dog. At some level, it exists in all Pitbulls.
VERSATILITY Pitbulls are tenacious and can excel at many things. This tenacity, combined with their athleticism and willingness to please their handlers make Pits excellent competitors in agility, obedience, and weight-pull competition. They are also known to be wonderful therapy and service
dogs. There are exceptional search and rescue bullies. And of course, they are amazing companion dogs.
PREY DRIVE This is another aspect of being a terrier. Most Pitbulls have a very strong prey drive. They have been known to escape secure yards at the sight of cats and other small animals. They are often squirrel crazy. While there are Pitbulls who are happy to share their lives with small animals, most consider them prey.
HIGHLY PEOPLE FRIENDLY In the Pitbull world, we like to joke about the “technical term” for this – the Wiggle Butt. It is the single most important component in Pitbull temperament. The sight of a human being should bring about such happiness, that the tail wags the dog. Pitbulls make lousy guard dogs for this reason. When evaluating Pitbulls for adoptability, this is the deal breaker. Any Pitbull who shows aggression towards people should not be adopted out. It goes against everything Pitbulls were created to be. It is a part of the code of ethics of Pitbull rescue that Pitbulls who are human aggressive should be humanely euthanized. Please note, that the next topic, dog aggression is completely different from human aggression.
DOG AGGRESSIVE All dogs have characteristics that have been bred into them for many years. Just like it is normal for a Beagle to track and a Labrador to want to retrieve, it is normal for a Pitbull to exhibit at least some degree of dog aggression. Some may exhibit these tendencies openly toward any dog they meet, while others will just not back down when another dog challenges them in some way. The majority of Pitbulls will be okay with some dogs, but not others. Some can live with another Pitbull of the opposite sex, but they must always be crated or separated when they are not supervised. In the right hands, many Pitbulls can be social in controlled environments. This is probably 80% of the Pit population at varying degrees. About 10% of Pitbulls are highly dog aggressive but can live with experienced owners as only dogs. The last 10% splits into two extremes. 5% of Pitbulls are so dog aggressive that they are unsafe for adoption and must be euthanized. 5% of Pitbulls are highly dog social and are unlikely to ever show aggression towards another dog. Having said that, a key in Pit Bull ownership is NEVER TRUST YOUR PITBULL NOT TO FIGHT. Yes, your highly social Pitbull is great with other dogs – until the day that he is not. You can not predict when that day will come. Owners, please love and respect your dogs for what they are. It’s unfair to try and make them into something
they are not.
© Hello Bully www.hellobully.com
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it's an interesting article. i put the parts in blue that reminded me of gilly. as i type this, she & griffin are playing and wrestling around. they play rough, but never aggressive.
i think this would be a decent article to give to someone thinking about adopting a pitbull. it gives a good overview.
ok, that's it for now.