An Insight on Pit Bulls as written by Falon

Myth: Pit Bulls weren't bred for anything "useful" because they were used only for dog fighting. Fact: Pit Bulls were originally bred to fight bulls, hence the name. "Sometime during the nineteenth century, dog fanciers in England, Ireland, and Scotland began to experiment with crosses between Bulldogs and Terriers, looking for a dog that combined the gameness of the terrier with the strength and athleticism of the Bulldog. Immigrants brought these bull and terrier crosses to the United States. The Pit Bull Terrier's many talents did not go unnoticed by farmers and ranchers who used their APBTs for protection, as catch dogs for semi-wild cattle and hogs, to hunt, to drive livestock, and as family companions." (from UKC) Basically it is necessary to understand that they are a WORKING breed. For a dog to be dumb enough (no offense) to risk its life fighting for its owner, the breed naturally defaulted a sense of "owner loyalty" and genuine love for humans. EVERYBODY wanted one of these dogs because they could have a dog that protected the farm and farm animals, and still have a family dog that was great with their children (high pain tolerance=more children tolerant). Aside from that was the bull fighting. When the organization of fights with bulls became difficult to arrange, they started fighting dogs with other dogs simply because it was easier. It eventually became illegal with the emergence of animal rights, but small dog fighting "communities" still remained and it wasn't very tightly controlled. A long while later, gangs began to emerge. Obviously the violent nature of gangs and their interest in illegal activities led to their interest in fighting Pit Bulls [insert beginning of intense prey-drive/dog aggressive genetics here]

Myth: -Pit Bulls are unpredictable around humans and other dogs.
Fact: The funny thing is, they are very predictable (probably more-so than very intelligent breeds). Listed below are reasons why. -Dog aggression is not to be confused with Human aggression. By nature, Pit Bulls are VERY "people-soft" and will do ANYTHING to make their owner happy. It is a fact that Pit Bulls have a natural tendency to be Dog aggressive. When people fail to realize this, that's when it gets out of hand. -From personal and second-hand research and experiences, I found that behavior "evolves" like this for a the average APBT: -Age 0-6 months: Just like any other puppy, sociable in the presence of other dogs. -Age 6m-1year: Dog begins to get very excited around other dogs and while very friendly, acts in a spastic, erratic way and takes a steam engine (or prong collar) to get them "out" of this state. Is not aggressive at all. -Age 1yr and on: Dog is bigger and looks very intimidating when it "freaks out" in front of other dogs (even though friendly). Other dogs are intimidated and act out in aggression towards the Pit Bull. This is when it is likely to happen. After many encounters like this, the dog begins going into defensive mode. This "stage" can be avoided if proper obedience training is done at the 6m-1yr phase. -The above constitutes for the Pit Bull's natural high prey drive. This means that anything small and fuzzy (or other dogs) excite them and they don't know why. -Pit Bulls that are given exercise to satisfy these drives, have no natural "urge" to satisfy it in any other way. -For example: 1.) Playing tug exercises the "urge" to use their jaw muscles (they don't have all those cheek muscles for nothing!) 2.) Using a "flirt pole" or "spring pole" allows them to "chase" something and grab onto it, so it satisfies their prey drive. 3.) Going for long walks, swimming, running, doing agility or weight pulling satisfies their high energy needs. -Pit Bulls that are given NO outlet for these drives, have an urge to satisfy them. Just like a Rat Terrier has a natural urge to go looking for rodents will dig compulsively if given no energy outlet. -Situation example: A Pit Bull lives with a family that includes small children. This family is so busy with other things (aka life) that the dog just pretty much stays around the house, doesn't get played with, and only gets let out to go to the bathroom. One day, the kids are at home, playing with this Pit Bull and getting it excited; the parents aren't really paying much attention. This collection of excitement causes the Pit Bull to respond by doing what any dog naturally wants to do, play back! Since dogs don't have hands (yes, I got that memo), their way of playing is with their mouth. The Pit Bull grabs onto one of the children, just like it would another dog if it were play-fighting. Keep in mind the dog was never formally taught how to react with another dog or a child (or the difference). The adults scream and the dog releases, who has no idea what is going on or what it did wrong. A day or so later, you hear on the news "Family Pit Bull mauls son; had dog for [x] years." One of the parents says "I have no idea what happened, he's never been mean before." That turns into the dog being euthanized with the owners reasoning of "he/she just can't be trusted." Now, given that I have explained the "details" behind what happened, would you look at it any differently if you didn't know anything about the situation? Do you think this would have happened if the owners understood the breed and its needs to be socialized and trained it accordingly? Would you call this dog "unpredictable?"

Myth: Pit Bull's have locking jaws, so they can't let go even if they wanted to.
Fact: There is nothing on a Pit Bull's (or any other dog) skeletal or muscular anatomy that can allow this to happen...it's that simple! -The reason why this has become a common myth is because Pit Bulls are bred for endurance and naturally have a very high pain threshold. This natural and incredible endurance is what gives the breed it's tenacity! By that, I mean that if a Pit Bull wants something, it has enough muscle behind it's jaws that it doesn't have to let go if it doesn't want to.

Myth: You can't keep a Pit Bull with other dogs or other Pit Bulls.
Fact: We have established that Pit Bulls have a natural tendency to be dog aggressive if never taught differently. This doesn't meant that they cannot live happily and harmoniously with other dogs. -Decreasing the likely-hood of competitive situations is key to multi-Pit Bull or multi-dog with Pit Bull families. -Examples: 1.) Spay or Neuter your dogs. Absence of hormones= reduction of natural urges. This has been proven through studies done with performance-testing comparing herding breeds that were spayed/neutered vs intact. Showed that the dogs that were intact had significantly better natural "urges" or drives. 2.) Avoid keeping dogs of the same sex, intact or not. If you keep Pit Bulls of the same sex, you are more likely to have a constant competition for a certain status in the "pack." Females have different status than males in packs of dogs, so males aren't going to compete for female's "spots," and vise versa. This isn't to say that Pit Bulls of the same sex cannot be kept together successfully, it just takes much more management and attention. 3.) Treat both dogs equally. Do not give preference towards one dog or the other. If you do so, then the other dog is going to compete for your attention. That means if one has a rawhide, the other gets a rawhide. If one gets a stuffed ball, the other one gets one too. Even if they act like most dogs and think the "grass is greener on the other side," the fact that you have two of the same toy available is going to reduce the chances of a squabble. 4.) Supervise rough play. Never leave them unattended. If play gets too rough or they do something you don't want, let them know! That brings me to the last piece of advice. 5.) TRAIN YOUR PIT BULL! Reprimand unwanted behaviors (positive reinforcement when possible), and reward them when they do something you want. Do this, and I guarantee they will do anything in their power to please you!

From all of this, I hope I have shed some light on the behavior of APBTs. I hope that you can see why disasters can happen when in the wrong hands, and why this breed is NOT for everyone! I don't expect to make you "like" Pit Bulls if you don't care for them, I just hope that I can convince you that they aren't demon monsters who act-out viciously and un-provoked. I do realize that after reading this, some skeptics will say "well if they take so much effort to keep, they need to be regulated." Your exactly right! However, there is a difference between regulation and extermination. If you are going to argue that Pit Bulls are "weapons" in the wrong hands, then they should be TREATED like weapons. Make people register their Pit Bulls like people register their guns. People with certain criminal records aren't supposed to be able to purchase guns (but that's a whole other story), therefore people with certain criminal records shouldn't own Pit Bulls. While I still think that nobody should be told what kind of dog they can or can't have (remember that thing called the Constitution?), if regulating them in some way is inevitable then so be it. For those who still think that banning the breed will help, do you really think that it is going to reduce dog fighting and/or dog bites? NO! Certain recreational drugs are illegal but it is still a HUGE problem. This has already been proven when Amsterdam recently lifted their Pit Bull ban because it showed NO decrease in dog bites.

This was written by a certain Falon on Dogster.
This is the original post: http://www.dogster.com/forums/Dog_Laws_and_Legislation/thread/546725
This is his Dogster page:

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