Often times, when listening to people describe pit bulls to someone unfamiliar with the breed, I hear the phrase, “it’s all about how you raise them.” In the past, I’ve said this to people too. Then I got to thinking.
How many times do pit bulls come into the animal shelter completely broken? I can tell you, more often than I’d like to know. Mama pits who have just been bred over, and over, and over again…so drained that they come into the chaotic shelter and are relieved. Street pits who have been used as bait dogs, with their teeth ground down to prevent them from defending themselves. Fighting dogs so loyal to their owners, who have to be sedated just to be placed safely into a kennel. Pitbulls struggling to breathe, dying of heart failure, simply because an owner didn’t care enough to give monthly heartworm preventative. I know that animal neglect is an everyday occurrence, but pits seriously get the short end of the stick. Most of these dogs were not “raised correctly.” They did not receive the basic interaction and attention others have the luxury of. The majority of them come into the shelter never being taught dog and human social skills.
But surprisingly, most of them also delight in human affection. Most of them pass their temperament tests with other dogs with flying colors. And most pit bulls, no matter what setting they were brought up in, are dogs that thrive with children.
Shocking but, these dogs don’t hit 5 months old and morph into monsters.
Honestly, even more so than any other breed, it’s not “all about how you raise them.” Yes, they do need a strong leader, and their loyalty is unfortunately taken advantage of. But it is a dog who loves its people. It is a social dog, yearning for interaction with other dogs. The pit bull is resilient.
Each pit bull that enters the shelter has a story and a past. But that’s just what it is.