Ways to love, train, educate, share information, and revel in being a Pitbull Parent.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

BSL: What Is It and Why Should You Care?

Some of you may have heard of Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) and wondered what it was, but never seriously looked into exactly what it is. Others reading this may already be advocates to ending BSL. And if anyone reading this is in favor of BSL, I hope this article can help persuade you towards changing your mind.

BSL is a form of legislation that bans, or restricts, certain types of dog based on their appearance, those which are generally characterized as a “dangerous” looking breed.  These bans, or restrictions, are typically applied to dogs that look to be part of the pit bull, shepherd, or Rottweiler families.

The website gives readers a wonderful overview on what, exactly, BSL is. If you’re not 100% up on the facts of BSL, you should give this website a once-over to beef up your knowledge.

Some people might think, “hey, let’s get rid of every dog that we think could be dangerous to ourselves and our children”. What a great idea! Let’s keep the neighborhood safe!

In response to that great idea I would have to ask a few questions. Who gets to decide what dogs are dangerous? I think Chihuahuas are vicious little beasts, does that mean I get to ban them from my neighborhood? What happens to the responsible dog owners who already own Chihuahuas? Do they have to put their dogs down in order to stay in this neighborhood? What do we do about a vicious dog who may not meet the BSL requirements? Does that dog get to stay while other, more well behaved dogs have to go?

Those are just a few holes that can be poked into BSL. I’m sure those of you reading this could come up with quite a few more. If so, please post them in the comments section, I’d love to read them!

Communities across the US should know the facts about BSL before they consider enacting it. Much independent research has been done on Breed Specific Legislation, and it all points towards one glaring fact: It just doesn’t work! And as that fact is slowly gaining momentum, neighborhoods across America are throwing out their BSL restrictions and bans.

The ASPCA, The American Humane Society, and The Humane Society of the United States have all come out against BSL, recognizing that it is an ineffective tool when dealing with dangerous dogs.

Recently, even President Obama made public comments against BSL, stating that, “it’s a bad idea”, and a “waste of public resources”.

I understand that some people harbor a fear of certain animals. But instead of trying to ban those animals, perhaps they should attempt to understand them instead.

It wasn’t too long ago that some people feared other cultures, and their perceived effect on our society. If we had allowed that line of thinking to dominate our country, our world would be a much different place today.

Let’s stop that fear from turning our communities into a place where poor legislation punishes responsible dog owners. It’s up to people like us, those who understand and love the breeds that BSL targets, to educate as many people as we can about BSL and why it’s not right for our neighborhoods, or any neighborhood in America. Let’s get our voices out there. Together we WILL be heard!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Being a Pitbull Ambassador

One of the many things that pitbull owners have to deal with is prejudice against the breed, and towards the people who promote the breed.
SI Angry Pit
How many people see pitbulls

Some of you who are not already pitbull parents may question that statement, they haven’t yet felt the hatred, ignorance, and prejudice some people have for an innocent dog, and for those of us who love them.

For those of you who are pitbull parents, you’ve likely experienced:

  • stinging, and untrue, remarks about how “vicious” your dog is
  • the warning that, “One day your dog will “turn” on you!”
  • people crossing to the other side of the street to avoid you and your dog on a walk
  • endless lectures on how wrong you are about the breed and how right “they” are about it
  • horror stories of a friend of a friend who had a pitbull and was attacked by it
How to deal with these prejudices is one of the things that can make you and your dog ambassadors for the breed. Being polite and friendly is an important part of responding to people who have such prejudices.
But the best way to become a breed ambassador is to make sure your pitbull is up to the challenge. Well trained and well socialized dogs make the best statement on what a great breed pitbulls are. The website, Bad Rap has a wonderful list of things you can do to make sure you and your dog are breed ambassadors. 

Three pitbulls drinking from a water bottle   
Socializing your dog is a great way to become a breed ambassador!
 Remember, for every person out there who displays a prejudice for pitbulls and their owners, there are people like you and me who are ready and willing to educate them on how wrong they are! It’s important for us to keep spreading the word on what great pets pitbulls make.

If anyone would like to share their experience with prejudice, and how you handled it, or a time when you were able to change someone's mind about the breed, I'd love to hear about it! Let's teach others how to be wonderful Breed Ambassadors!
A service pitbull laying on ground with his service gear on
Pitbull Service Dogs Make Great Breed Ambassadors

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Myths vs. Reality

When it comes to the breed known as pitbulls, there are many different points of view. People in general tend to form an opinion on any given subject, and when that subject happens to be controversial, like being a pitbull parent, those opinions can get formed quickly and be hard as granite. And while people are certainly entitled to their opinions, I feel that it’s important for those opinions to be based on facts, not myths, no matter how often they may be repeated.
I once was a person who believed some popular myths about pitbulls. Really, it’s true! Before I educated myself on the breed, I believed that pitbulls:
  • had locking jaws
  • would more often than not turn on their owners no matter what their upbringing was
  • were in general a vicious, dangerous dog
Now, of course, I know better. But the sad reality is that there are many, many people who believe those same myths. So let’s take a look at some of those myths and the reality behind them.
  • Myth #1: Pitbulls have locking jaws. Heubach_dog_skull
    • This is a myth that is somewhat surprising in it's popularity.
  • Reality: There is absolutely no way a pitbull can "lock" their jaws. Their skulls, including the jaw bone, are identical to all canines. If pitbulls really did have locking jaws, they would have to be classified as an entirely different animal!
  • One of the reasons for this myth is that the pitbull has a tendency to grab hold of an object and hold on with determination. The ASPCA website does a good job of describing this.
  • Myth #2: Pitbulls “turn” on their owners.
  • Reality: Pitbulls are loving, loyal dogs. They are no more likely to become aggressive towards people than Butt%2520cuddle%2520again%2521any other breed.
  • As the website Bad Rap reports, healthy, happy pitbulls do not become aggressive towards their owners. The dogs that do, no matter what the breed, are usually the result of bad owners, not bad dogs.
  • Myth #3: Pitbulls are aggressive and dangerous dogs.
  • Reality: As I’ve reported in earlier posts, the American Temperament Test Society, or ATTS, puts about 240 different dog breeds through temperament testing each year. The American Pitbull Terrier scored an 86.8% and the Staffordshire Terrier scored an amazing 90.7%. Now, compare that to the:
    • Chihuahua at 69.8%
    • Dalmatian at 82.7%
    • Golden Retriever at 85.2%
    • Border Collie at 81.5%
Surprised? Many people are when they read those statistics, but it’s a good example of myth vs. reality!
  • Myth #4: Pitbulls have a bite pressure of 2000 pounds.
  • Reality: The pitbulls bite pressure has been tested extensively, and as Hello Bully reported, they were found to have an average bite pressure of 320 pounds.
  • This is less than the average bite pressure of the German Shepherd and the Rottweiler.
  • Myth #5: If a pitbull attacks another dog, it’s only a matter of time before it will attack a human.
  • Reality: It’s imperative to understand that dog aggression and human aggression are two completely separate issues. Dogs are pack animals, and a certain amount of aggression towards other dogs can be normal, though if it’s a seriousSharing the water bottle problem with your dog you should seek help from an expert.
  • The best way to avoid human aggression in your pitbull is to socialize them extensively while they are still young. The bottom line is a properly trained, well socialized dog from a loving, responsible home should never become aggressive towards humans.
I hope that the facts provided here will result in more people being educated regarding the truth about pitbulls. Knowledge is power, and the more you know, the better an advocate you can become!
The next time you hear someone spouting ridiculous information about pitbulls, hit them with the facts, and only the facts!
Let’s keep spreading the word about what great pets pitbull terriers make!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Pitbull Fact Sheet

I wanted to share with everyone this wonderful fact sheet I saw posted on Goggle+ today. It’s a great educational tool, easy to share, and from a trustworthy source! Let’s keep getting this information out to the public so we can spread the word about what wonderful pets pitbulls make!
Pitbull Fact Sheet