Former Non-Fan of Pit Bulls

by Lisa Bruce
(MD)

I had never been a fan of Pit Bulls. I had always bought into the media hype about their aggressive and mean nature. It's what I'd heard & read.


We recently (August 2012) took in our neighbor's pit bull/boxer mix 10 month old puppy. He didn't have the time she needed for attention, walks, etc. We already have a 5 year old 110 lb yellow lab and two cats.

I was worried about how my other animals would adapt to this new rambunctious, loud, energetic pup. She weighed 56 lbs when when got her, and though she did not appear to ever have been mistreated, she had not been trained and was not well mannered.

We began with crate training her, as I'd done with my lab, who as a young pup, was rambunctious, crazy, wildly energetic, and untrained. And also my first dog. He is now laid back, well-mannered, does not bark, bite, is loving and we adore him as a member of our family.

Bindi, the pit/boxer mix was a shock to our calm household. At first, with the peeing/pooping on the floor, chasing the other animals, and my older kids, running wildly through the house, etc, we thought, 'what have we done?!'

What saved me in those moments was understanding that she was still just a puppy, though incredibly strong & willful. And also, that my 110 lb lab (Sleepy) had been the same way, or worse, as a puppy. Bindi just needed training, love, and LOTS of exercise.

We came to realize that with a good run in the park or jog with my husband, she was much more calm, relaxed, and easy to be with. She requires much exercise every day, and she is incredibly manageable afterward.

Also, she is extremely intelligent and learns very quickly through positive reinforcement. She loves her 'cookies' which she gets for her good behavior. She is very loving and sweet and has a wonderful personality.

She does like to roughhouse and sometimes, she will try to chew on your hand or whatever you have available. It is not aggressive chewing or biting. She LOVES things to chew on. So we have made available to her a large slew of stuffed animals, bones, toys, plastic bottles covered in peanut butter, etc. We learned the hard way that if she is not provided with things to chew on, she'll find her own.

My fear that she would be aggressive toward my cats, whom I adore, was quickly put to rest. The cats dominate her and she never has the upper hand with them. We even got a bunny for my daughter & I warned my daughter to keep 'Bunbun' away from Bindi.

Now, I would not advise this for most, however, Bindi and Bunbun have been allowed to sniff & get to know each other and Bindi is absolutely not aggressive in the least with that bunny. That said, they will not be playing together unattended.

I worried how other people would react to Bindi, given the perception of pit bulls as mean and aggressive attack dogs. We took her to our dog park and were nervous about how she and others would respond. We worried for no reason at all. She played and ran and was chased by other dogs, and she was actually submissive to them!

What I have learned, and have tried to impress on others, is that it is how you raise a dog, any dog, that determines their demeanor. And Bindi is well loved and becoming a great family dog. We love her very much.

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Jan 07, 2013
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just another great story
by: Matthew Miller and Chewy

I love your article and can relate to it completely. When my Pitbull came into my life it was a blessing come true. He was abandened in my yard at about 6-7 months old. He is the greatest dog I have ever known. congratulations.

Feb 20, 2013
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That chewing thing....
by: Anonymous

YES!! They are chewers! LOL

I thought it was because mine had been at the shelter so long but now I realize it is just their nature to want to chew. After a rigorous run in the pasture, I always let my 2-year-old carry her stick (it's more like a small tree limb) back to the house to gnaw on. She is always so happy after that.

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