Introducing your Pitbull to concerned Family Members
Hello fellow pitbull owners!
I have a tough question to ask all of you. I have adopted a rescue dog and he's a little over 1 year old now. We rescued him at about 4 months old and we didn't know he was a pit until he got bigger. For my boyfriend and I, this wasn't a problem because he was still our puppy.
I am having trouble, however, with my family. They were very concerned when they discovered he was a pitbull. I live in another city, so they weren't exposed to him as much as I was. Luckily for me and my dog, his training has shown them how handsome and well behaved pit bulls can be!
That being said, my sister is still very afraid of my dog. She has a two year old, and she is worried that between my dogs size (54 lbs) and his puppy tendencies that he will hurt her son (even if it's by accident). I can't help but agree with her to some extent, because he can get hyper and he's the same height as her son now.
That being said, I've put a LOT of time into training him and it shows. He'll listen to me when I tell him not to do certain things. My sister has a dog and my parents have a dog, so my nephew has learned pet manners as well.
I have tried to get my sister to be more exposed to my dog so that she can see he's not a bad dog, but the progress is very slow. She makes a lot of excuses as to why she doesn't want to see the dog or why she doesn't want her son to meet him. This is stressful when I visit because I have to worry what I'll do with my dog (we always bring him with us but have to keep him separated).
As much as I respect her wishes my dog is part of my family too.
I was just curious if anyone has had this much trouble with a family member, and what they did to resolve the problem. I finally confronted my sister on her fear, and she said she knew it wasn't justified but it's how she felt. She's never had a tramatic experience with a dog before.
Thank you!Gale's Reply:
It's a great question! I haven't encountered this level of resistance from a friend or family member myself. If I'm reading what you've said correctly, it sounds like she doesn't even want to meet your dog. That would be tough. It's hard to show her how well behaved your pit is if she won't even be in the same room with him.
If you haven't already, I'd be pretty direct with her about what it's like for you always having to make arrangements for your dog when you visit her. And, I would ask her if she would be willing to approach getting to know your dog in small increments in the service of eventually having more relaxed and enjoyable family visits for everyone. Assure her that this can be done in baby steps--a few minutes at a time until she is comfortable letting your dog meet your nephew.
If she simply refuses at this point, try to take the long view. Your pittie will grow out of puppyhood and his hyper-ness will level out. Meanwhile, your nephew will be getting taller. I suspect at some point down the road, it will become a non-issue. But, it would be nice if it were sooner rather than later.
I hope other folks will weigh in and share their thoughts on this too.
For more information on obedience training, visit our Pit Bull Training
For help with behavioral problems, check out our Dog Behavior Training