It’s NOT a Pit Bull Problem

This blog has played many roles over the last year and a half I’ve been writing for it. It started as a way to share my fosters with the world, and now, during my fostering break, it includes stories about my own experiences in sheltering, my progress as an amateur photographer, stuff I learn about dog behavior and much more.  It’s pretty well-rounded in terms of what kind of information I like to cover (in my opinion, at least?).

Someone once said to me, “When I listen to you and your pit bull friends talk about dog stuff I feel like I can’t relate to anything you’re saying,” implying that for some reason we talk about special issues relating to just pit bulls and that they, even as a dog owner, couldn’t relate. At first I stopped dead in my tracks and I thought to myself, “Crap, do I do that? Do I alienate myself from the rest of dog owners because of my love for pit bulls?”

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized very little on this blog or what I focus on in my dog work and volunteering relates specifically just to pit bulls.  The more I considered what issues really matter to me, the more I realized they really don’t have anything to do with pit bulls at all.

When deciding what topics I’ve become hypersensitive about, I came up with the following: dog behavior, being able to communicate effectively with your dog, canine body language, enrichment, dog parks and play groups, keeping a dog happy and comfortable in a shelter, positive training methods, breed discrimination, keeping animals out of shelters, helping pet owners be the best they can be, preventing animal abuse and marketing adoptable animals  – among other things.

All of those items I listed can be applied to any and all dogs. They’re dog issues, not pit bull issues. In the same way that you can apply them to any other dog, I sometimes speak about them in the context of my “pit bull” fosters or pit bulls I know at the shelter – but I would do the same if I happened to spend a lot of time with spaniels or huskies or MUTTS.

On that note, yes – I do have a very soft spot for dogs labeled as “pit bulls.”  Therefore, I do surround myself with them and groups of people who also like them. When we’re together we talk about many of the topics I listed above. Sometimes specifically having to do with our dogs, and sometimes just in the context of all dogs.

I do hope this blog shows “pit bull” dogs in a positive light and maybe even changes some minds about them. But I think (hope) that almost happens naturally as people read my posts and realize that while yes, the dog I’m writing about happens to be labeled a pit bull, it is also just a dog living with a family doing family dog sort of things.  I don’t want to be on here pointing out every negative stereotype about pit bulls and then trying to disprove them because I feel like my dogs speak for themselves through their photos and their stories and their personalities. No two of them have been the same, despite their matching “breed” label – probably because they’re all just DOGS.


31 thoughts on “It’s NOT a Pit Bull Problem

  1. Karen Wagner

    I don’t have a dog but when I do finally adopt one it will definitely be a “pit bull” type dog. You have helped me open my eye’s about pittie’s, though I was never “afraid” of them or anything like that, but everything I have read here make’s me want to adopt one or hopefully two! I do love all type’s of dog’s and your blog is so informative. When I read your blog I don’t just think of pitties…I think of ALL dog’s. This is the best blog to read about ALL dog’s…I just love it! Loved your blog from yesterday, I believe it was, where you keep your hints on the fridge for when you get another foster. THOSE were so helpful and I hope I can print that out and use it for when I adopt. You’re an amazing young lady for ALL that you do. Keep up the great work and helpful hints!! Have a great day everyone! xoxo

  2. I think you have a very smart and non-breed specific blog going on here and I’ve enjoyed reading it for close to a year now. What really drew me in to this blog were the wonderful pictures, how you told stories with pictures and your language was so innocent, It was as if I was learning about these dogs right along with you. As a Pit Bull owner and advocate I enjoy positive, real stories about these dogs so I may be more partial to your blog. But it’s what you do and how you help these animals and your love for them – that’s what I enjoy reading about.

  3. Amen sister!!! About what you wrote on Facebook: A person I knew through a rescue group says she has a Pit bull and kept saying ‘pit bulls are different than any other dog’ and ‘you have to train them differently because of how they will dominate you’. So I finally asked her what makes pits ‘different’ arnt they just dogs? And any dog could possibly be more ‘dominate’ (i hate that word) you than any other dog, my chi mix wants to be the girl everyone respects and my 65lb mutt could care less. I believe that if you keep saying ‘they are different’ that makes you treat them different, and therefore that makes them ‘different’. Dogs have been domesticated so much that it is instinct for them to know you are the ‘dominate’ one (or parent which is what I say). I give out the food, I let them on the bed, I make them do things such as training or tricks, I bring them for rides, and they come to me when called. I also believe that if you have a special relationship with your dog they will want to do things to please you. I say every dog is different because of there personalities not because of their breed. :)
    Keep up the good work with your advocacy and treating all dogs as special, because they are!

    • Oh and by the was this person never tried to talk to me about why she believes pit bulls are different and de-friended me on Facebook. And she calls herself a pit bull advocate, she couldn’t even defend her point. Some people are ridiculous.

  4. You are so wise! All dogs are lucky to have you as their advocates, and I think all of your followers (myself included) are lucky to be able to read your point-of-view. I think that sometimes even the most well-meaning ‘advocates’ can fall into this trap. It really is a fine line, and it is great to read reminders like this.

  5. Trish

    Well said! They are JUST DOGS! Sadly, you and I and so many others are in a constant battle with the rest of the world to get these dogs recognized as such. Every dog is an individual, every dog is different, every dog has positive and negative traits. Every dog is just a dog! And if you keep writing and all of us keep adopting and putting our dogs out there, the world will be exposed and start seeing them for who they are – just dogs.

  6. Pingback: Five Foolproof Tips for Better “Pit Bull” Advocacy | The Unexamined Dog

  7. Lesli A.

    I have a Jack Russell Terrier and I read your blog because of all of your great advice. Thank you for sharing and making me a better dog owner!

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