I am a volunteer at a humane society and there are constantly individuals coming in not willing to adopt a pit bull because of the reputation they hold for being agreesive, fighter dogs. No matter what I tell these individuals they seem to walk away from the cage quicker than a dog could run. I find myself constantly trying to persaude these individuals that pitbulls are some of the biggest lap dogs/ lovers out there but I can't seem to get through. I don't know how else to portray to these individuals how kind these pitbulls are besides through my own interaction with them. Do any of you have suggestions as to how we as volunteers and all around dog lovers can stop the negative reputation being spread?
I wish I could help, but I can't. I'm one of those people who would run away. Why?
Our family adopted a retired racing greyhound. You know -- those giant, quiet sweethearts. Well, the one we got was the sweetest thing -- except to our young daughter. The dog bit her in the face and sent her to the emergency room -- not once, but twice. When it came to adopting another dog, I tried to keep an open mind, but my husband said "absolutely not." You see, he was the one that had to speak with a police office at the emergency room each time. He could handle answering the questions when if the breed was "greyhound." He said he could not handle having to answer "pit bull."
We base so much of our thinking on personal experience. I realize it's nothing a pit bull did, but we can't ignore what other pit bulls have done, given our own family's experience.
I have had pitbulls for about 20 years. I do not breed them because I did not like the people that wanted to buy them. I will always have one as a house pet. It is sad the label that they have. That comes from bad owners and breeders. You can not breed two fighting dogs and sell the puppy to a pet home and not have trouble 99% of the time. I do not think there is much that can be done to change peoples minds other than being around one like mine that is gentle as a baby. Also most homeowners insurince will not let you have one and another draw back for people looking to adopt is that they did not raise them and if they bite they can go to jail for it just because of the breed. It sucks that a lot of good dogs are paying for what a few dogs with bad owners do. But as long a the media says they are bad that that is what most people will believe.
Unless you can stop the media from portraying them as horrible, nasty creatures, you are out of luck. I am a pit bull lover, and you can talk til your blue in the face. People just don't want to get it. Rotties, german shepherds, and dobies all went through this when I was a kid. Now the pits are going through. There will be another breed down the line.
I don't think it is right, but new is only bad things. You will never see the service pit, or the hospice pit on the TV making headlines. That isn't news. Heck most of the time they don't even show the dog, so I wonder how often is it a pit.
All I can say is keep info on all the good pits, and show them off to potential people. You have to remember though, a good number of people (me being one), don't own a pit becuase of homeowners insurance. No mine will not cancel, buy will not pay damages done from a pit. How do you prove it was or was not your dog? Or it was the pit, not the other dog in the house? It isn't worth the headache for me.
When perceptions become reality, facts no longer matter...
The American Pit Bull Terrier is one of the most people friendly dogs in existence. I can offer numerous studies and bucu research to back up my claim but it does no good if you don't have an open mind.
I have bred and promoted the American Pit Bull Terrier since 1987. There is no other more intelligent and persona deep breed. Every dog is as unique as is every grain of sand on a beach.
When discussing my breed, I don't even try to "educate" someone that has no capacity to learn. But I will talk for hours to someone with a genuine interest.
You can't win if you don't play the game -- Me!
All cruelty stems from weakness -- Seneca
Sometimes a dog is as good as any man -- Bell/Houser
I have no idea what you could say to change people's minds so I don't even know why I am replying. I have met more wonderful pits in my line of work than I have met bad ones. However, even the nicest of breeds can turn ugly when a needle is aimed at them =)
I can just tell you a few of the reasons why I would personally never own one. 1 reason is, I enjoy a multi-animal household. I know many pits live in multi-animal households however, it is no guarantee that when they mature, they will still see the others in the home as friends. The 2nd reason is that many homeowner's insurance companies will not cover them. In this day and age, any dog bite, from any breed, is a potential lawsuit and frankly add that it was a pitbull, and you are guaranteed a day in court. I'm not really willing to take on that type of responsibility. I think that they are wonderful dogs, however many people I have met are not and that is what keeps me from having one.
I grew up with German Shepherds, I know what is said about them and what has been done to that breed. It sickens me knowing the stigma that follows them around when our dogs were fantastic.
Unfortunately people are always going to be afraid of things they do not understand and no amount of education will change some people's minds. Sad fact in this instance.
To be fair, most of the pit bulls that are in the shelters are there for a reason. they done something to make their owner dump them, and more often then not, it was not something benign that can be over looked. unfortunately, when some turn in a dog, they don't always disclose the true reason out of fear or guilt. Without knowing the true reason, people are not willing to take the risk. It is already risky enough to get any adult dog from the shelters with out knowing anything about its background and history.
The essence of hypocrisy is the tendency to make an exception of oneself.
With all due respect I fully disagree that pit bulls were "dumped" at the shelter for doing something wrong. Or anything dog did something wrong for that manner. Esp. in times like these many dogs are brought to a shelter due to foreclosure or a change in a living situation that is not condusive to owning a dog as well. There are individuals that have to move out of their homes into condos that don't allow dogs or families who have new born children that can't handle having a grown dog and a small baby under the same roof. It deeply saddens me that this is your viewpoint on shelter dogs as some of the best dogs I have ever met have come from a shelter. They are the dogs that will lay in your lap, are eager to be trained and overall respect the individuals that come to their cages. I hope that this viewpoint of "dumped" dogs isn't widely accepted. I wish that you would go to a shelter and spend the day there to truly get to know the dogs there.
There is one quote that I read that I absolutely love and find so true, " Dogs are never bad, they are just being dogs"
Dogs aren't humans and can't expect to have the same capacity and understanding for their actions.
I totally disagree about pit bulls being dumped for a reason. I volunteered at the SPCA for a year and there were many pitbulls, two of them that came in were Vick's dogs. None of them were aggressive. I believe it is the owners. Many people want a "tough" dog, and a status symbol and don't really understand what the responsibility is for owning a dog. They were the wrong buyers and unfortunately, passed through the breeder without a red flag.
A cute pit bull picture could say a thousand words. If the shelter could take a picture of the pitty playing with a child, laying on his back, smiling, something that would attract the attention of an owner. I used to play with the pit bulls during my breaks and they were SO affectionate. I believe the reason they have such a bad reputation, is they are so faithful and committed to their owner, they will do what the owner asks. But most, even if harshly trained, will turn around with love and compassion. By the way, it is a falacy that their jaws will lock. They have the same jaw structure as any other canine.
I am glad to see that your experience with shelter dogs is a good one. Though I am sure you have heard about many that did not end so well that some how managed to slip your mind. Over the years I have met many people who ended up at my door step after regretfully trying the shelter route first. If you heard the stories I have, you would know why I have my views, and why they are not as unique as you may believe. I could fill this post with horror stories, but I will spare you all the gruesome details.
But you are right. Dogs are never bad, they are just being dogs. Dogs aren't humans and can't expect to have the same capacity and understanding for their actions. They donít get why it is wrong to bite an annoying kid. They donít know what is so wrong in reaping another dogís throat out when they get on their nerves. They donít know why they are not supposed to bark all night. They donít see a reason not to mark their indoor territory and they donít know why their owner gets so mad when they chew on their couch. They donít know anything. They are just acting on their instincts. They donít know any better unless they are taught otherwise.
For whatever reason, their original owners or even breeders did not do a good job raising them and messed them up, and then when they did something their owner consider "bad" or do not live up to their expectations, they are getting dumped. Right or wrong, that is a fact. They are just being who they are. But that is enough for them to get dumped and become someone elseís problem. The shelters are full of those dogs from all breeds. It is sad, but you canít deny that. That is why people are not willing to deal with second hand used dogs, especially one from a breed with a bad rap. Too risky. They prefer to get a puppy and mess it up in their own special way all on their own.
The essence of hypocrisy is the tendency to make an exception of oneself.
That is why people are not willing to deal with second hand used dogs, especially one from a breed with a bad rap. Too risky. They prefer to get a puppy and mess it up in their own special way all on their own.
Juno's comments above might strike you as callous and offensive, but it describes our family's experience pretty well. It went like this: (1) Adult dog from rescue - bit family member twice and relinquished within a month (2) Puppy from shelter - died from blood disorder in less than a month
After that, we decided to go straight to a breeder. I'm glad that so many people have positive experiences after adopting from rescue/shelter, but we found we couldn't do it. You can call us ignorant or uncaring if you want, but we are simply trying to do what is best for our family given what we've learned in the past.
Let's face it. Many irresponsible pitbull breeders breed for animal-aggressive traits. So there really isn't a misconception, just an ignorance between what a responsible breeder breeds and what an irresponsible breeder breeds.
Once animal aggression is bred into a line, it's hard to get it out (some people WANT it there, unfortunately), regardless of how the dog is brought up. IMO, nature will overcome nurture almost every time. I don't know any responsible pitbull breeders, but I'm sure they're out there. I don't know any irresponsible pitbull breeders, but I'm know they're out there. The responsible breeders are the ones who are trying to educate people and make their breed one to be proud of. Sadly, the irresponsible breeders appear to outnumber them.
I think too many people base their opinions on only 1 thing. IE..if you had one bad experience, they ALL must be bad.
For example...if you buy a Chevy and have problems with it, you say Chevys are junk and you'll never buy one again. But to put it in perspective, I have owned several brand new Chevys over the years. There was one that I had major problems with. All the others were just fine. If the one I had problems with had been my first, I may not have bought another. But just because one was bad doesn't mean they all are.
Same thing with airlines...when I worked in the travel industry, I would have people tell me that so and so airline lost their luggage and they would never use that airline again. Well guess what, folks....ALL airlines lose luggage! And just because that one lost your luggage once-what are the chances it would happen again? Sure, it COULD happen. But it's unlikely.
I used to work in a shelter, and I can't tell you how many idiotic excuses I heard for people relinquishing a dog or a cat. And you have to consider at least half of the time, they are probably not even telling the truth.
I have heard of more people having problems with puppies than with dogs adopted from shelters (of any breed). People get a puppy from a store or a BYB and the pup has all kinds of health problems. Or they don't take the time (or don't know how) to work with training a puppy-the housetraining, the chewing, the jumping on people. So they give the dog up saying the puppy can't be trained when the truth is...they either couldn't or wouldn't take the time to work with the puppy.
As someone now involved with breed rescue, I also take offense when someone says that adopting a dog from a shelter or a rescue is taking on someone else's problems.
I have to agree, and disagree. Maybe where you guys are you have good shelter dogs. I can tell you here, most DO have issues. They usually are dumped because someone either screwed up there training, or they behavioral issues. Most old dogs with medical probles(another issue we see is rescue and our shelter) are put down, as 99% of people don't want to adopt them. The good dogs are listed in papers, or on the internet. Owners try to find them homes. I have rehomed dogs with problems, and yes it can be done. I DO volunteer for my local shelter, poodle rescue, pit rescue and aussie rescue. I DO know what kind of animals come through those doors.
Granted, as far as cats and small animals go, most are perfect. The dogs on the other hand, I would say 90% have some sort of problem. Alot are simple behavior issues where the owners screwed up there training, but it is still a problem dumped by a stupid owner. We also have alot of puppy mills here, so we see a ton of health sticken dogs that come from puppy mills, and pet stores.
I know that most shelters put pit bull through alot of temperment testing before allowing them to even be considered for adoption, but this breed is not for everyone. I also believe alot of people get them not understanding how active of a dog they are. I do foster(very short periods of time) them for them pit rescue, and I had no idea how active they were. I had considered adopting and older female from our shelter, but she found a home before my husband had a chance to come home and see her(he drive a rig).
Are there good shelter dogs? Yes, there are a good many who just are the victims of owners circumstanes. Unfortunatly, it is a fact of live that alot of shelter/resuce dogs have issues. On another note, I for one believe in mandatory spay/neuter laws, unless you are a breeder. I don't not think that would solve the problem, but truely believe it would help. I also believe, that breeders should be responsible for each and every dog they sell/give away. Not like it is really possible, but each breeder should be given a code that goes in a computer chip in the dog. If that dog ends up in the shelter, the breeder is responsible for removing it. (I know my own perfect world lol).
To the Chevy person, glad you like them. I had 2. My '96 S-10 died at 45,000 miles. Needed a new trans and engine, so I purchased a '99 blazer. It needed a new engine at 100,000, I purchased a brand new crate motor from Chevy, had it installed, and it caught fire at 40,000 miles. My husband is lucky he got out in time. I will NEVER purchase another chevy again. My 94 ford explorer had almost 200,000 miles for it was totaled, and my 06 Subaru forster has 185,000 miles. My Subaru has NEVER had one single issue, and runs like a champ. (sorry off topic, but had to ad)
So I guess the gist of this thread is, let's sell puppies to ignorant people who haven't a clue how to raise a puppy properly, then when they get rid of it, tell all the rest of us with a clue not to go to the shelter and adopt it. Frankly anyone with a little dog knowledge and half a brain of common sense would have no problems adopting an older dog from a shelter and fixing those training mistakes.
NDY I am sorry you had two lousy experiences. Having owned a fair number of displaced pets in my lifetime, my good experiences severely outweigh your bad. And I believe that would be the case for just about anyone. I do alot of petsitting as a side job and all my clients have rescues. So add those dogs to my list and the percentages of bad dogs out there goes down even further. The last little guy we adopted came to us with a severe case of pneumonia. Then because of that he developed demodectic mange. Vaccines and drugs hit him hard and we have to be extremely cautious what he gets and how much or he may die from one one day. His baby canine teeth fell out and the two upper adult canines never grew in. He doesn't have them period, it's not like they were up in his gums and just wouldn't decend. Is he the healthiest specimen of dog, probably not ... but the love and spunk that he shows us and has, far outweighs any issues he has. I cannot imagine life without him. He brings us that much joy and laughter each day and what we went through with him in the first year of his life just makes him that much more special.
I concede that a rescue dog may not be the choice for everyone. but the tone of this thread is all about bashing them and saying how bad they are and that is doing a huge disservice to all the wonderful ones out there! Our dog Salty came to us nearly perfect. i could tell she was raised by someone who had a brain and did what they should have. Was it her fault the owner was deployed and had no one to take her? Her only issue was animal aggression. Considering I don't care for everyone I meet, I don't expect her to like every dog she meets. As long as she got along with our existing pets was all I asked of her and she obliged. My dogs are not perfect, I'm sure some of their behaviors would drive an adopter nuts, but given their capacity to learn, if someone is not willing to put the time in then maybe they don't need a dog, or puppy for that matter.
Thanks, and BTW... I owned 2 chevy's. Best cars I ever had. Got both of them to 200,000 miles and even then no engine or transmission issues at all. Wish I still had them and will probably buy another Chevy when this crap Pontiac I have dies lol.
Scout, I think you missed the point. You definatly hit the nail on the head though. The OP was taken offense to someone saying shelter dogs have issues, and are dumped. I have to agree. If anyone is droping a dog off at a shelter, they are dumping it, I don't care what the reason is. I never said that we should all breed and allow our pups to go to a shelter. Did you miss point in my post where I stated every breeder should be responsible for there pups?
you got 2 shelter dogs, both of which have an issue. I have a resuce poodle, she can not be around small childern, she will bite them. There is nothing wrong with getting a shelter dog, if you can handle whatever issue that have if they have one.
The gist of this post is some of us feel alot of shelter/rescue dogs have issues, and until someone proves me wrong, I will believe what I see. I think if people can adopt, they should. I have recommend a couple people to rescue who were interested in a puppy from me.
I am sorry if I offend people on this one, but if you are active military you need a plan for your animal or don't get one. I am so tired of seeing animals in shelters or paper becuase the owner is getting deployed. The fact that some of these dogs end up in shelters is disgusting to me.
Great discussion everyone, great points made all around and it's commendable that we can express our opinions and positions remaining civil, these things can flare up and become personal quickly.
I think the key is trying not to rush to judgement and to put yourself in everyone's shoes, including the dogs, who's main intent in life is to please us. They don't understand that they shouldn't fight with other dogs, or if they have difficulty grasping toilet training as quickly as other dogs might. They are simply being dogs, they need guidance and structure, not to be given up on and abandoned.
There are justifiable reasons and situations when surrendering is truly in the best interest of all, but for the most part, people are lazy, ignorant/inexperienced. They don't do their homework, put the hard work in, get dogs where they are not supposed to have them (ie renting) and their dogs (and kids in those sad cases) pay the price. Of course, I am not speaking of NoDogs situation and heart breaking decision, but when the problem is less serious, such as digging, jumping, barking etc.
Some people don't deserve the company of animals.
"You know, I've given the matter some thought, and I think I'd be willing to be a house pet to a race of super intelligent aliens."