Pit bull.....yes or no?

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by ecteach, Jun 26, 2014.

  1. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    My son really, really wants a pit bull. We don't have any other animals. He's 9 years old, and I think a dog would be good for him. I, however, seem to have this weird fear of pit bulls. (I am sure it's from the media coverage of bites/attacks.) I am a total dog lover. I used to dress my childhood dog up in outfits and take her for walks in a baby carriage. (She was a large lab.) She was such a good dog and had a very long life. Honestly, losing her did something to me, and I never wanted another dog.

    Anyway, I think I'm ready for a dog, and I hate stereotyping all pit bulls. Please share your experiences (good or bad) with this breed of dog.
     
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  3. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    There are so many other breeds that are good with kids. I don't have a problem with pit bulls, I have had friends with them and know they can be good companions. But I would be hesitant to get one for a child. Even if you train it well, the way those jaws are made-it just takes one incident of aggression (and that could be it protecting it's food or a bone) to do real damage.

    If you do end up getting one, consider a rescue-there are tons and tons of them in shelters-even puppies!
     
  4. 4815162342

    4815162342 Companion

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    I've seen really good ones who are gentle giants, and really bad ones that ripped a 2 year old's face off ("The left side of her face is pretty much chewed up. And she has a cranial fracture. Her scalp was lacerated. Her shoulder was broken and lacerated as well. As well as her upper leg" from a news article about the story).
    I don't think I'd ever have one personally (just because I don't think they are cute dogs), but I do believe its much more in house you raise them. So I think if you get a puppy and raise it in a loving environment, the chances of an attack are smaller.
     
  5. K1teach

    K1teach Companion

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    I can't speak specifically to pit bulls, but I am a strong believer in how dogs are trained and raised is how they will behave. We have a big dog and she is half Rottweiler. I know when we got her, my mom was very nervous as rottweilers had gotten a bad name a few years ago. But she is as gentle as they come. From outside our home, she sounds fierce, but with our young boys, she is loving and gentle. Our youngest (almost 15 months) LOVES her, but doesn't understand gentle at all. He climbs on her, hits her (rough petting), and I know has bitten her (he is going through a biting phase and almost daily I tell him not to bite the dog), but she is so gentle and often turns to lick him or will get up and move when she has had enough.
    At 9, your son is old enough to work with the pup and help to train him so the pup responds to both of you! It might be helpful to do some research in your area and reach out to a nearby vet or rescue group to find a pup that would be a good fit for your family. (I know one of my girl scouts is involved with a rescue that fosters pit bulls. They had several pups that they helped find forever homes and then adopted one of their foster pups.) Whatever you decide to do, good luck!
     
  6. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Something to consider is that your homeowners/renters insurance might not cover pit bulls (and a few other breeds). If an incident were to happen you would not be covered. Any dog breed could possibly be involved in a biting incident under certain circumstances. If your son has friends who will be playing with your dog, you may want to get breed that you can cover with insurance.
     
  7. 4815162342

    4815162342 Companion

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    Out of curiosity, why does he specifically want a pit bull? We got our dog from the SPCA and didn't go in with a specific breed in mind, we let the dog choose us.
    We ended up with the dorkiest half german shepherd/half rottweiler ever to live, but she's a really good dog.
    Maybe if you take him to a rescue shelter, he'll find another breed of dog that he loves (win for him) that doesn't give you the heebie jeebies (win for you).
     
  8. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    It depends on breeding and household, but I'd back off of pit bulls...there are other terriers that are more user friendly....
     
  9. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    I agree with 481. There are a lot of part-pits in shelters who need a good home!
     
  10. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    My baby boy has some pit traits but he is mostly black lab. He is a sweetie. I agree with going to the pound or a rescue. Most likely, your boy will see a dog who touches his heart. My baby picked me and even though I wanted a much smaller dog, I wouldn't trade him for anything.

    I don't have experience with full blooded pits, but one of my childhood friends has three and two kids under ten. She is always posting pictures of her kids crawling all over the dogs and the dogs look like they love it.
     
  11. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    Never. Chalk it up to paranoia, prejudice, whatever. I don't care. I've even warned my father who considered getting a pit that I would never leave any grandchildren at his house if he did.
     
  12. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    There are a lot of pit bull mixes that you might want to consider. The problem is that a lot of shelters refuse to put those pups out for adoption because they LOOK like pit bulls, even if they're bulldog mixes. There are pit bull specific rescue groups who have monitored the dogs and their behavior. Look for one in your area.
     
  13. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I've raised two adopted (abandoned) pit bull mixes who were sweethearts. One was a pit lab mix. The other was a pit coon hound mix.

    I love dogs. I've been bitten by two dogs. Both were cocker spaniels. They were very, very aggressive.
     
  14. teach1

    teach1 Companion

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    I had a pit bull growing up. I HATE how people stereotype certain types of dogs, and I don't think that it's fair to say some dogs are better for kids. If a dog is raised properly, they will love the family and will do everything they can to PROTECT the family, especially children.

    I'm not an expert, but I would say that if your son wants a pit bull, don't let your fear be the reason to go with a different breed.

    My parents got our pit bull about 2 years before I was born. She had a huge litter of puppies and was the most loving, gentle dog I have ever had (since then I've had a variety of different breeds for pets and feel comfortable comparing them). However, my parents knew babies would always be around and they trained our dog very well. There was never an issue of our dog "protecting her food" .... I could crawl right over to her dishes no problem. Same with all bones, toys, etc. There was never a reaction when I was too rough either... all this pit bull did was love me unconditionally.

    If you teach a dog the difference between right and wrong, and the dog knows that they are loved, there won't be any issues, regardless of breed, IMO.

    I will say this though: there were a couple of parents that wouldn't let their children come over to play unless our dog was separated from us (aka... paranoia) & my parents had to have an insurance company that allowed pit bulls (so you might have to switch depending on what you have). Oh, and yes, the jaw of a pit bull is obviously very, very, very strong. But, I think that point is pretty ridiculous because a loving dog will not bite its owners (or anyone!!)
     
  15. live

    live Companion

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    The pit bulls I've met have been so sweet and the biggest babies. That's because the pit bulls I've met had excellent owners. As long as you raise a dog respecting it's dogness and giving him/her the necessary training, your pup will be a well-socialized member of your family.

    The pit bulls we usually hear about in the news were trained to be fighters. A number of them, after rescued, are rehabilitated (if placed in the right, loving hands). In fact, look up the pit bulls seized from Mike Vick. Some of their stories are incredible and actually changed my perception of pit bulls.
     
  16. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    I have no idea why he wants a pit bull. I've tried to talk him into a different type of dog. I love a yellow or black lab. But, he really, really wants a pit.
     
  17. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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  18. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Pit Bulls could be the most docile dogs ever, but there are simply many other breeds I'd much rather have w/ the physical appearance I prefer.

    As a child, I've had a German Shepherd, Lhasa Apso, Lab, & I believe Doberman mix (just roamed into our backyard back in the 80s & we kept her).

    My only dog I had as an adult so far (that I got to solely choose myself) was a Boston Terrier, the best ever! I appreciated him more than the dogs I had as a child because he was my baby & I spoiled him.

    Next, I want a French Bulldog aka Frenchie!
     
  19. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    The jaws of pit bulls are just like any other dog. There is nothing special about them.

    It makes me sad that there's so much pittie hate/fear here. A pit bull is not the right dog for everyone, but neither is a chihuahua.
     
  20. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    I agree with everyone who said it's mostly in how you raise them. Just like people there will be some dogs who just have a bad personality. That's for every breed. One alternative to consider are a few of the mastiff breeds. English mastiffs and Bull mastiffs are the easiest of the mastiff breeds. I have a Brazilian mastiff. They are the smallest of the mastiff breeds (my fully grown male weighs 125 pounds). They are also one of the more difficult ones to handle. They are actually more highly regulated world wide than pits, however, as several members of atoz who have met my dog can attest, he's a great family dog, who's sweet and loving, but still quite protective. I've spent a lot of time and effort training him, and his behavior reflects that.

    With both my dog's breed and pits, plus any of the other breeds who can be aggressive, I will say that if you're not VERY comfortable training alpha dog types, they might not be a good choice for you, personally. You might consider another large breed dog that isn't quite as difficult to train as a first dog, then move up to a pit when you're more comfortable with that type of dog personality.
     
  21. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    Just go to the SPCA and pick the one that picks you and your son, then it will be a joint agreement.
     
  22. donziejo

    donziejo Devotee

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    Someone mentioned checking with homeowners. Pit bulls are banned in my town of 26,000. My son has a sweet pit bull that has many neighbors nervous. Some won't let their kids have sleepovers at his house. He and the family love Petey, but they won't ever get another pit. I wouldn't get a pit for the above reasons.
     
  23. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    It's just not worth the risk when there are so many other breeds that have a better reputation. There are two people with pitbulls in my apartment complex and they don't seem very skilled and handling them. I think the average person thinks of pitbulls as being ''tough guard/protection dogs'' so they don't socialize/train them to be friendly family pets. Then when the unsocialized pit bites off some kid's face, the owner acts shocked.

    IF I just had to have a pit, I would talk to a vet and animal trainer (like at petsmart) about my concerns and how to raise a well behaved, safe, family pet. But again, doesn't seem worth the risk.
     
  24. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    My daughter is a vet tech and she says they are sweet dogs. I'm a parent and say it isn't worth it when there are so many other dogs you could love.
     
  25. geoteacher

    geoteacher Devotee

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    No.way. We just had another incident where a pit bull attacked another pet and killed it - without provocation.
     
  26. teach1

    teach1 Companion

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    OP, I would recommend only talking to people who know pit bulls personally(NOT people that "have heard a story" or "have a neighbor" or anything like that). I also recommend researching legitimate articles (not ones written by paranoid parents or people who breed dogs to fight for their entertainment). Talk to vets, talk to different specialists.

    The main problem with pit bulls is the misinformation that has been spread about them. Even the simple "there are so many safer/ better/ more likable dogs out there, why risk it??" comments, which seem well-intended, help fuel this terrible fire.
     
  27. allaragallagher

    allaragallagher Comrade

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    You hear about pit bull attacks because people own ten pit bulls that they keep out in the yard, or one pit bull that they haven't neutered and keep chained to a pole in the yard, or they don't supervise their child around "family pets" and allow the kid to climb around the food bowls, take the dogs bone, torment the dog, etc. I recently saw a Youtube video of a little two year old girl taking a bone from a dog. It was not cute at all -- a good way to get your little girl mauled -- yet too many of the comments below read: This is a training tactic. If you trained your dog that you are dominant, he will never attack that little girl. ANY breed might attack your kid if he/she doesn't learn respect and boundaries and you don't supervise them.

    I have a blue Great Dane. She is the sweetest, most gentle dog I have ever owned, and that's saying something because my Golden Retirever/Irish Setter mix set the bar high. However, her sheer size makes my neighbors nervous and her breed is recognized as one of the top ten most dangerous. Recently, I tried to switch owners insurance and found out a lot of companies wouldn't cover us because we own a Great Dane.
     
  28. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    To me it's not just how the dog would be with your family. Your neighbors could have problems with the dog. A coworker just took in her sister's Pitt because the neighbors made it miserable for them. Every time the dog barked they complained. They call animal control all the time. The son couldn't take the dog walking on a leash because the neighbors were so ugly. Some people can't see past the name. The dog is a big softy, by the way. My coworker has fallen completely in love with him.
     
  29. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    I agree with a previous poster about checking your homeowner's insurance or asking your landlord. We didn't realize they were banned and when the insurance company did an inspection for another matter, they told us our renters had to get rid of the dog or we would lose the insurance. They won't cover any incidents with quite a few breeds of dogs.
     
  30. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    I stand corrected. After googling it I found that this is true. Learned something new today. ;)

    I do think that how you train them has a lot to do with how they act. I also think though that like kids, dogs have different personalities. The way some breeds are higher energy and others lower, I also think there are dogs with traits better suited to homes with children.
     
  31. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    I have ONLY met incredibly sweet pits and pit-mixes. I find that little dogs- chihuahuas, small terriers, small poodles, dachshunds, etc; are FAR more aggressive and poorly behaved that pits or any other larger breed. It's almost like these owners think that because their dog is little it's okay for it to be yippy and jump on people and bite. I'm always far more nervous around yippy little rat-dogs than I am around large breeds.

    As someone who lives in apartments I would be worried about finding a place to live. Unfortunately because of prejudices, pits and pit mixes are usually not allowed in apartment complexes which I find extremely unfortunate. If you have your own home, then you shouldn't have a problem.

    I would personally recommend not buying any dog, but getting one from the shelter. You could get a pit-mix and I bet it would be a great dog for you. :)
     
  32. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Actually, research bears out that one of the most aggressive dog breeds out there are Chihuahuas. They bite far more often than every other breed of dog, and when they bite the don't let go if they can help it. They don't have the bad reputation that larger breeds have bigger breeds have because they don't do much damage when they bite, on account of their size.
     
  33. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Lol I almost posted something about chihuahuas. My dad had one and he was a cranky little bugger. Definitely not a kid friendly dog.

     
  34. live

    live Companion

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    Thanks for sharing this!
     
  35. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    Cute video...thanks for sharing.

    But, why are they letting the baby play with pills? :/
     
  36. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    It depends on how dogs are raised and how they are trained. If you are looking for an "easy" dog, then maybe don't get the pit bull. Every pit bull I have ever met has been sweet and silly. But I don't meet the ones chained up in back yards. I meet the ones who are well-socialized with other people and dogs, and whose owners have worked training them.

    Some breeds are easier and require less training (though are harder to train.) We have a Basset Hound, and he is great with children and needed almost no training.

    I would look into getting a shelter dog. Particularly a black one. They are euthanized at a higher rate than other color dogs. You could likely find a pit mix, and save a life!
     
  37. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    I agree with the PPs who have said things about insurance. When we switched insurance companies they asked us if we had any pitts, chows, rotts and maybe a couple of others. I think they would have insured us but at a higher rate.
     
  38. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    My neighbor lets their 1 year old feed their pit bull. He eats out of her hand (usually her food) and they said so far he's gentle with her. The keep him leashed but I don't know what he'd do if he got loose and came into my yard where my small dog plays. If my dog is outside (on a run) I am always watching him because of this. There's also a pit bull up the street and when I was walking my dog he came running towards us and started sniffing my dog. I tried to walk away but he kept following us trying to put his paws on my dog. I definitely got nervous but the owner came out pretty quickly and apologized. I guess that could happen with any dog but it did make me more nervous because it was a pit bull. I would hope owners would keep their dogs leashed no matter what the breed.
     
  39. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    It is interesting, that the people who are saying they wouldn't get a pit-bull because of pre-conceived notions (i.e. anecdotal), are expressing attitudes that would be considered racist in the human world.
     
  40. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Yes but ... Different dog breeds are better suited for different people. For example, a Boxer is an athletic dog who does best with an active family. A Bull Dog may have breathing issues and might be best placed with a family who can afford specialized care. I had an Aussie and they tend to do best with owners who want to do extensive training and activities with their dog. My current dog is a Cattle Dog and she definitely has different needs than my sister's King Charles Spaniel.

    So, with dogs, some amount of profiling is a good thing since adopting one is commitment for the lifetime of the dog.

    If an owner is going to be nervous having a Pit Bull, then getting one just because it's a child's wish is not a good plan. A Pit Bull needs a confident owner who can manage a large dog.
     
  41. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    So, did the OP decide to get the Pit pup?
     

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