Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner
1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,550 Posts
I am by no means an expert, but I can share my experience with my own dog, Tyler. I smile just saying his name, and I really love sharing his story and our life together with others, so if you have any questions or want to know more about how we got to where we are today, feel free to ask! (my answers in Bold)

1. How often are there smaller ones around 30-35 lbs (probably up to 45 is alright)? That's probably the size I'm looking for as my next dog. If you look on Petfinder you will see a LARGE variety of sizes in 'pit bulls'. I have fostered Pit Bull mixes that vary from 35-85 pounds. There is also a trend right now for 'mini pits' which I do not condone at all. My dog, Tyler, is what I believe to be an APBT X. He is 77 pounds, which would be considered too large if he was a purebred APBT.

2. How biddable is your particular dog?
I think this varies a lot depending on the individual. Terriers were bred to work independently and to be able to think on their own, so they are not particularly known for being biddable. However, Tyler is the most biddable dog I have ever had. Previous to him, I've had Cocker Spaniels, Shar-Peis and Bloodhounds. Compared to the Retrievers that I work with, Tyler is very difficult. He definitely has a mind of his own, but he really does aim to please and gets enjoyment out of 'working' for me. Tyler is CGC certified and we do Rally and Agility. We are hoping to start competitive obedience soon. I use a lot of positive reinforcement in my training, and Tyler has been a star in every class we have gone to. So don't be convinced into believing that you need to use harsher methods with a 'bully breed'. I should mention that at our training center, out of 4 demo dogs, 3 are 'bully breeds'.

3. I keep hearing they can be DR/DA and it's quite common, is that an exaggeration or is DR that common? I kind of want a dog that would be alright going to the dog park, it's really not necessary but I hope I can find a dog like that. I think a lot of the issues with DA are blown out of proportion. However, I believe it can be a problem and should be closely monitored from the very beginning. Are Pit Bulls more prone to DA? That is a topic of contention, for sure. IME, Tyler has been great. From day one he went to dog parks and up until he was 3, I never had a problem. Now that he is older, I am starting to see some DA issues. However, I have other factors that I believe are contributing to it. I believe you must be proactive with any 'bully' breed to ward of the potential of DA. Are Pit Bulls Dog Park Dogs? No, most really aren't. IME, they prefer people over dogs. Does that mean that its out of the question? No but you need to do proper socialization, training and exposure.

4. Reliability off leash?
Its all in the training. Tyler is my hiking buddy and I trust him to be off leash for days at a time in expansive wilderness. Do I trust him to be off leash in a downtown area? No. But this is more an issue of my faulty training than with him. If you start early, there is no reason why you should not be able to achieve a reliable recall.

5. Exercise requirements? Tyler was a crazy man as a puppy. I spent at least 2-4 hours a day wearing him out. I did 1-2 hours at the DP, then another hour walk with an hour of ball/chase play off leash. Then lots more playing at home. Now that he is an adult, his energy levels have decreased substantially. He will stay in bed until noon if I let him. He is quite the couch potato and has an amazing 'off' switch. However, if he sees the hiking gear or off leash collar come out, he is ready to go! I would describe his energy level as 'medium'. Now we take an hour walk followed by another hour or so of tug, each day. A few days a week we will do longer off leash walks as well. There have been days when he wasn't able to get out for a walk, and I did notice a difference. However, it wasn't like he was bouncing off the walls or chewing the furniture. He was just more fidgety. For the vast majority of the day, he can be found on my bed or on the couch.

6. General health? Are they a healthy breed? I realize there are a few different bully breeds but are they all pretty healthy? Its a crap shoot. I am pretty cynical about health in general though. Tyler has been completely healthy. No issues, not even small ones. Besides regular check ups, we have been to the Vet twice. Once for a split nail and just this month he was diagnosed with hypo-thyroidism. The Vet told me that it was pretty UNcommon to see this in his breed type and age.

7. Are they prone to SA? Not that I know of? I have never had an issue with Tyler and admittedly, have not been overly proactive about it. As a pup, he rarely whined or cried and never caused any trouble when I left him. Now as an adult, he might whine for 10 seconds after I leave but then he will settle down.

8. Are they more confrontational dogs or like to avoid conflict? Hmm... IMO, because of the traits they were originally bred for, they should not back down easily. This doesn't mean they are confrontational though. We pass by barking/lunging dogs regularly on our walks and he ignores them completely. We also deal with yapping puppies in classes sometimes and he does a very obvious head turn away. Tyler doesn't start trouble, but he will finish it.

9. Would you ever leave your bully breed unsupervised with another dog at home, provided they are about the same size. I do and I don't worry. Ozzie is about 20 pounds heavier than Tyler but not quite as agile or athletic. They stay at home, with an open doggie door, unsupervised. I have never had an issue. I should also mention that Ozzie and Tyler have never, ever, ever had a fight. Not even a disagreement. I can leave them alone with a Kong or bone for each. They respect each other (or at least thats how I interpret it). I often have several dogs at my house as well, and I completely trust Tyler to be alone with them. His best friend is a 25# Boston Terrier X and they are left alone together with no worry.

10. Anything else you think I should know?I didn't think much about the bully breed bias, breedism or BSL before I got Tyler. I thought it was nonsense and stupid and it didn't really seem to effect the population around me. I should have taken it a lot more seriously because I have moved 3 times since getting Tyler and breedism is prevalent and rampant. I surely do not notice it when I am out without Tyler, but as soon as I take him out, its apparent. Unfortunately, this is a reason why I am considering not owning another APBT. Tyler has been blamed for actions that he could not possibly have done. There are too many examples to list, but one sort of funny story is: Ozzie got into a scuffle at the DP. A dog attacked him and he has a small bleed from his lip. I was checking him over when a woman came up to me and said, 'I bet it was that Pit Bull! I don't know why he is here, but those things are dangerous!' She was pointing at Tyler. :doh:

Another thing is that all the Pit Bulls I know are super human friendly. Tyler is definitely a social butterfly. He loves nothing more than when people tell him how handsome he is and rub his belly. He is also really good at reading people and if someone looks happy to see him, he will go up and give them a big kiss. I get asked if he is dangerous a lot, and I tell people he is only dangerous if you are allergic to kisses. He gives the best, most exuberant, kisses!

One last thing, start training early. If you decide to get a Pit Bull, realize that he will be incredibly strong by the time he turns 1. Stronger than you could imagine! I know I was shocked by the sheer pulling strength Tyler has. Also, I never recommend tie-outs for these guys because of their strength. I have gone through a lot of really good collars!
I also love sharing pictures of him, so without further ado, I introduce Tyler J
Dog Dog breed Canidae Mammal Carnivore
Mammal Canidae Dog Dog breed Snout
Dog Canidae Dog breed Lurcher Galgo español
Dog Mammal Vertebrate Dog breed Canidae
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,550 Posts
I understand your point, Zim+Darkmoon. However, I can think of few things sadder than having dogs who always need to be seperated and cannot interact without human interference. I have never heard of a Pit just suddenly, one day, deciding to hate every other dog and never being able to socialize again. Usually these things happen with some clue.

I have definitely had foster Pits who had to be supervised 100% of the time and be crated/rotated. I also have had ones that I trusted 100% with smaller dogs, larger dogs and cats. Perhaps I am lucky, but I have never regretted my decision to trust a certain dog. I do not make the decision easily, and the trust is earned. But again, IME, no, not all Pit Bulls have to be seperated, crated and rotated.

If I were new to the breed and didn't know better, I'd read Darkmoons and Zims description of the breed and run the other way. I would think that even the owners of Pits think their dogs are dangerous. The opinion they gave is their own and I am not discrediting their experience. However, I know of many, many, many examples that prove otherwise.

I do agree about most of the points made about DPs, but maybe to not an extreme extent. I do believe that owners need to be very cautious when deciding whether or not to bring their dog to a DP, and owners of commonly feared breeds (Rotties, Pits, etc) really need to think doubly hard. In the end though, it is the individuals choice. I know many Pit Bulls who love nothing more than the dog park. Should they be allowed to go? Yes! Should they go? Well, probably not. I say not because of ignorant humans. Everyone who has mentioned that the finger gets pointed first at the Pit Bull is correct. Its happened to me with my own dogs and with foster and friends dogs. If society as a whole was different then my opinion would change.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,550 Posts
Dangerus ? ...how so ?...to people or possibly to other animals?
"If I were new to the breed and didn't know better, I'd read Darkmoons and Zims description of the breed and run the other way. I would think that even the owners of Pits think their dogs are dangerous."

If I were looking into getting a dog and heard that Pits should NEVER be left unsupervised with other dogs or animals and that they should NEVER go to a dog park, then I would, as a new dog owner, assume that they were unsafe.

This is not my opinion (as stated in my reply) but the opinion I would form if I had no other experience and was just going on the replies of others.

Laurelin... I agree. Bully breeds do have a very rough and tumble style of play that does not suit many other dogs. I agree that in your case, it is best to keep them separated when unsupervised or not able to attend 100% of the time. Tylers play style has been misinterpreted by a lot of other dog owners because he likes to play so rough. When he does find that other dog that likes to play like he does, its really fun to watch though! I can understand how some dogs are put off by it.

I have heard that about BCs as well... that they have a very particular style of play and don't get on well with other dogs who don't play the same way. I have absolutely no idea though, I've only ever met one BC and never saw him play. BCs are rather uncommon in my area.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,550 Posts
now is this going to happen 100% of the time?...no ....but its happens more often then it dosen't...and that is why it is the unaffical motto of the true pit owner " never trust you dog not to fight"

and if you want to own the breed and be a good owner its something that you deal with and manage if need be
Excuse me, but I do consider myself a "true Pit owner". I have one of my own and I foster. This is not my "unofficial motto" and I don't think its fair. How about all the wonderful Pits who are TD or do SAR work? They should never be trusted to not fight? Really?

And seeing as I do own the breed, and I am a good owner, I do manage. Do I leave Tyler unsupervised with an unknown dog? Nope, absolutely not. But I wouldn't do that with ANY dog, regardless of size or breed. BUT, seeing as I DO TRUST MY DOG, there are plenty of his 'friends' that he does get left alone with. Some are rather small (under 30#) and some are bigger than he is. He also is unsupervised with a cat as well. Do I ever worry? Nope. If I did, then I would change the situation.

I try to imagine what my life would be like if I had to separate my animals every time I left the house or room. I've had to do it before with foster dogs and it was extremely stressful and sad. I imagine that it would be doubly as sad to have to do with my own dogs.

I think it is misleading and perpetuating the stereotype to say that most Pit Bulls are unsafe to leave with other animals. IME, most of the Pit Bulls that I have worked with have been safe with other animals. It was the vast minority who weren't.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,550 Posts
if you don't believe me then go onto any number of pit bull forums and ask......and while your there ask them how sad they think there lives are LOL
There is no need to be rude. I did not laugh at your opinion or tell you you were wrong.

You have 3 dogs who you crate and rotate, which is a decision you made for your dogs for good reason, I'm sure. That is your decision and I am sure you are a good owner and do the best that you can by your dogs.

I never said your life was sad.

I also don't understand what you assume I "don't believe" ?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,550 Posts
No, they shouldn't. I don't care what task they're trained for, those are with people. A pit bull ALWAYS has the propensity to start or end a dog fight, no matter how kind they are to their owners. I know TOOOONS of pit bulls that are therapy dogs that are single-family dogs or are in multi-dog households that are crated and rotated because they will kill another dog given the chance. You wouldn't know that snuggling on them in their cute bandanas though. You just can't trust these dogs not to fight after so many decades have been dedicated to making them and breeding them to fight.
Then, IMHO, they should not be therapy dogs. TD, SAR and SD dogs should not be DA at all. They should be able to work side by side with other dogs and not be reactive. They should not 'kill another dog if given the chance'. With that being said, should they be trusted to get along with all dogs? Nope. But they should show enough self control and trust in their handler that they do not need to act out aggressively.

(this went really off topic, I see)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,550 Posts
They should be able to work side by side with other dogs and not be reactive. They should not 'kill another dog if given the chance'. With that being said, should they be trusted to get along with all dogs? Nope. But they should show enough self control and trust in their handler that they do not need to act out aggressively.
I don't see how we disagree? It actually sounds to me like we are saying the same thing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,550 Posts
What I am saying, actually, is that they should not be overly reactive and act out aggressively. I stand firm in my statement that DA/DR is not acceptable for a TD/SD/SAR dog when they are in a working environment. Does this mean that they aren't DA in other environments? No, certainly not. But again, they should show enough self control and trust in their handler that DA/DR is a non issue when working. As DM stated, if her SAR dog becomes dog aggressive in the future, it will (should) not hinder her work because the dog knows its job. DA/DR should not influence a dog when working because you are putting a dog in a situation where they may encounter other dogs and will still need to be able to work in the presence of those dogs.

Your right, reactivity and aggression are not the same thing.

Do I agree that *many* DA/DR dogs can be TD? No, because most handlers are not experienced enough to handle a DA/DR dog in a working environment and frankly, some dogs are not able to cope in an environment where they may be forced to be in close proximity to other dogs.

I think that the Michael Vick dogs (as DM pointed out) are a great example of this. With the right training and rehabilitation, these dogs can make a wonderful contribution to society. Are all the Vick dogs capable of TD work? No.
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top