Pitbulls are not your average pet. Due to the perceived dangerousness of the breed, it is the duty of every pit bull owner to ensure that they are always responsible, and that their dogs are never out of control.
By being a responsible pit bull owner, you can prove that this breed is as good of a dog as any other.
1. Always Leash
Gone are the days when dogs were allowed to roam free. Although some dogs can get away with off-leash activities, for the pitbull owner there is the responsibility of ensuring that their dog is always in control.
All it takes is one incident with a fussy poodle owner to paint your dog as the “vicious” type. Whenever your dog is outside in a non-fenced area it must be leashed.
2. No Unsupervised Play
Along the same line, whenever your dog is interacting with other dogs, no matter how socialized they are they need to be supervised at all times.
One unfortunate characteristic of the pitbull is that they have incredibly strong jaws and sharp teeth (and can be stubborn with them), meaning that a chance encounter with the wrong type of dog could be disastrous.
3. Always Spay or Neuter
Any type of dog is more volatile when they still have their reproductive organs. Females and males alike become aggressive and have a tendency to escape when it is time to breed, whether you want them to or not. Responsible pet owners should spay or neuter their dogs before they can cause any damage – generally at around six months old.
The only exception is for responsible breeders, who should take precautions to ensure that their females do not interact with other dogs when they are in heat, and that their male dogs are always under control.
4. Socialize with Care
When you have a dog, the first thing you want to do is run down to the closest dog park to let your canine have some fun. Unfortunately, more incidents involving dogs fighting happen here than anywhere else. People tend to be perfectly comfortable with letting their dogs run wild at dog parks and don’t take any notice of poor behavior.
The majority of the time because dogs are worn out and get frustrated with the antics of another dog, which results in an altercation. You are better off attending a class that focuses on good dog behavior, and sticking to long walks and the occasional play date with other well behaved dogs.
5. Exercise Daily
A tired dog is a happy dog, and the pitbull is no different. Since this is considered a high energy breed, owners can expect to spend approximately one hour per day exercising their dogs. Failure to properly exercise a pit bull can result in anxiousness, increased aggression, and destructive habits – such as destroying your favorite pair of shoes.
If you find that walks alone are not burning off significant amounts of energy, then consider enrolling in dog in an agility or fly ball class, or introducing them gently to a treadmill. You will find that with regular exercise your dog is more relaxed and fun to be with.
6. Confine with Confidence
Whether your dog is in your backyard, your basement, or another room of the home when you are not around, you need to ensure that they are safely and securely confined.
Pitbulls are quite intelligent, and if left to their own devices will attempt to open the door or dig under fences. Before you leave your dog at home alone they should ideally be crated, unless you are sure that they will not get into trouble.
In most cases a dog will be happier and safer in a crate when you are gone.
7. Be their Advocate
The best pitbull owners do their best to be advocates for their dogs. The first step is to understand the breed and its challenges before you get a pitbull, and then only do so if you are completely comfortable with handling this breed. The second step is to raise a happy, well adjusted, trained, and properly socialized dog.
You can then show others how great pitbulls can be, and hopefully teach a few people that these dogs are not all they have been portrayed to be.
8. Be Prepared to do the Right Thing
Sometimes, no matter what you do or what type of breed you have, you end up with an unstable dog. Part of being a responsible pitbull owner is knowing when your dog is no longer fit to be around others.
Many adolescent dogs become aggressive for no good reason, and you need to watch for signs that perhaps your dog is one of them. If you have any concerns about your dog you need to take steps to ensure that it cannot hurt anyone. This may mean a muzzle, professional behavioral training, or in severe cases euthanasia. This may be a difficult decision, but it is one all owners of potentially aggressive dogs need to be prepared to make.