Pit Bulls are the best. As someone who has worked with hundreds of dogs through the years, including a massive amount of pitties, I can genuinely say they are amazing and wonderful creatures. Not only do they have the cutest blocky heads, huge grins, and extremely wiggly butts, but they are full of love, personality, and depth. Obviously, pit bulls don’t have the best reputation in society right now. In the United States and Canada, the media portrays them as vicious, child hungry dogs that will attack for no reason and use their lock jaw to squeeze the life out of anything that gets in it’s path. Is this true? No. Not even a little bit. What does this have to do with compassionate women making the world a better place, you ask? Read on and I will tell you!
Before I begin, I have to dispel the rumors that I mentioned above. Pit bulls aren’t naturally vicious creatures, not even with children. In fact, pit bulls make great family dogs. They score better in temperament tests than Labrador Retrievers! Any dog is capable of biting a child if provoked, the problem is that the signs of provocation can be extremely subtle, but they are always there. It it also a rumor that pit bulls can lock their jaws. It’s false. No dog is capable of “locking” their jaw. This was something made up to give pit bulls an even worse persona. Just like any dog, pit bulls are shaped by the people that take care of them. So if a pit bull is never socialized, never trained, or not treated well, then he’s probably going to have behavioral problems. This goes for any breed of dog. And if the dog does bite someone, especially if it looks like a pit bull, then the dog is punished instead of having the owner* take responsibility.
*On a side note, I do not normally like using the term “owner,” because I do not believe animals are inanimate objects or property that can be owned. I like to use the term guardian instead of owner.
Back in 2008, the journal of Applied Animal Behavior Science released statistics on a study charting the 3 most aggressive dog breeds. Who topped the chart? Well, dachshunds, actually. Were pit bulls second? Nope. Chihuahua. Okay, pit bulls must be number three then, or if not them, some other aggressive breed like a rottweiler, right? Not even close. It’s the Jack Russell Terrier. Surprising, right? After working with dogs, this makes sense to me. Small breed dogs got returned to the shelter all the time for snapping at the kids or biting them. Growing up, I remember my best friend’s dachshund chasing me around the house growling and scaring the daylights out of me. I was never bitten by a pit bull at the shelter I worked at, but I was bit by a very old male chihuahua. And my pit bull Josie has never bit me or even snapped in my direction, but my Jack Russell mix straight out bit me on the hand once, and he’s growled and snapped at me several times.
Yet it’s the pit bulls that are banned in several states (also called breed specific legislation) and are often the first to be put down in the shelters. What does this say about our society that we target one kind of dog and don’t stop until we create as much hatred as possible surrounding them? Is it really about the dogs anymore? I don’t think so. But it’s easier to blame a third party, especially one that doesn’t have a voice, than to face what’s actually going on. Animals are not the problem. They never have been and never will be. The problem is us. It’s not that pit bulls are bloodthirsty monsters. It’s that humans decided to use them for dog fighting. Humans decided to over-breed them. Humans decided to abuse them. Humans decided to target them. Humans decided to neglect them and not socialize them or train them. Before them it was the rottweiler, and the German Shepard, and the bloodhound. When we get tired of the pit bulls, what unfortunate breed will be our next scapegoat?
Pit bulls, and all animals for that matter, need our voice. When we speak up for them and demand kind behavior, we speak up for mankind and for this planet as a whole. We set the standard that all creatures deserve respect and kindness. All creatures deserve to live on a peaceful Earth. When we begin with those that cannot even speak up for themselves, we do it purely because we care and expect nothing in return. Imagine if people treated each other this way as well. It would be a wonderful world, wouldn’t it?
Dogs have become such close companions of humans, they are an extension of ourselves. That is why the way we treat them says so much about us. And that’s why when a dog misbehaves or bites a child, it is more a reflection on the guardian than the dog. If we want dogs that are kind and gentle, then we should raise kind and gentle dogs and not judge them for the way they look on the outside.
What do you think? I think all of us compassionate ladies should band together and stand up for the pitties!
I will have more posts in the future about the topic of pit bulls and breed specific legislation. In the mean time, here are some my favorite monsters.
http://gtpifilm.com/ ⇐Check out this website. Guilty Til Proven Innocent is a fascinating documentary about breed specific legislation and the role that the media has played in demonizing pit bull breeds.