Socializing a new pit in town

Submitted by rebeccajoshuaoshea on Thu, 07/01/2010 - 15:41
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Hello! My husband and I have had our pit bull for a month now, been taking him to obedience classes (he has 3 weeks left), and in the short time he has been with us, he's learned sit, stay, lay (down), off, and stand. We continually work with him walking on a loose leash; although he doesn't always like it, the Gentle Leader works amazingly well with him.

We knew from the get-go that our number one priority would be to socialize him in our town with other people, kids, and animals (especially neighboring dogs). O'Shea loves everyone he meets--men, women (although he's fond on the ladies, lol), children, and other dogs. But when we do take him on walks, and others see us coming down the sidewalk, many will whisper to each other and walk the other way (especially if they have a dog of their own they are walking). How do you best deal with this situation? We have been having him sit/stay when people are walking by, or if a dog is approaching, he'll sit/stay, and we'll allow the other dog to approach first, if the owner so chooses. I'm just really tired of those who see him, judge, and don't even give him a chance. Any thoughts? THANK YOU

Whatever you do don't give up. Keep walking your dog in public and letting people see your dog is a wonderful pittie. I have a German Shepherd and my pittie and I do the same as you. When people walk by I have my dogs sit and wait paitently for them to pass. When people make comments I smile and I think to myself how they are so unlucky to miss out on a wonderful breed based on stereotypes and horror stories.

The best way to promote good pittie's is to be a great owner. Maybe try your local SPCA. Ours has obidience classes which might be fun to go to just to meet new people and since alot of pitties are put up for adoption might meet some great owners doing the right thing like yourself.

Good luck and don't let those people let you down. Often when people try to debate me on why I own such vicious type dogs I smile. Then I politely reply, " I refuse to argue with you on this topic because no matter what I say or my argument you are to narrow minded to look outside your viewpoint." then I wish them a good day and move on.

What ever you do don't let their judgment affect you . = )

Great advice. I get those looks from time to time, and it's frustrating. Some people are simply afraid of dogs in general, and some are definitely breed biased. I've seen people pick their dogs up, etc. However, I've had lots positive response as well. We do lots of walks through downtown, and people know my dog by name now. It's great!

Walking your well mannered dogs in public is a fine way to be an ambassador to the breed. I do the same sit/stay when other dogs are approaching. If it's just people, I simply smile and keep moving, as if there's nothing to worry about. Because there isn't! Keep up the great work, and ignore the ignorance. Good luck!

PS -

Not that I'd ever say this to someone on the street, but I love this quote from a review of badrap.org found on yelp:


two choices:


1) you can feed into the fear mongering media frenzy and stay a scared little bitch for the rest of your life,


or


2) you can really educate yourself about the breed by talking to veterinarians, animal behaviorists, dog trainers and bad rap.

ball's in your court.

http://www.yelp.com/biz/bad-rap-san-francisco#hrid:kWjtvDP6Z-UceeAbq3gI_Q

Thanks for the great advice! It's amazing how well he's doing when we go on walks (the rabbits and squirrels still excite him a bit, lol). He stops/sits before crossing a street (he's almost to the point of doing it without being asked), and doesn't pull as much when approaching new people to meet. At least once or twice a week, we meet someone new in town who meets him and says, "He's so sweet. Yeah, I know people who have pit bulls, and they are the sweetest dogs I know." Just makes my heart soar.

More and more when we walk by and people see how well behaved he is: when he sits/stays, and especially while we're walking and he's smiling, they smile back. I have to say I couldn't have wished for a better dog. He adds so much to our lives, and no one will take that from us...no one. :) Thanks again! And yes, the ball is definitely in our court, and we're here to play!

I agree....be a good breed ambassador and walk your well mannered dog in public. I was walking Bully at the Riverwalk the other day and a 6 year old girl saw him and screamed and hid behind a tree. Her mother was standing there and I told her that Bully was trained and if she wanted to pet him I would help her. Long story short....the little girl was so infatuated with Bully that she had her Mom take a picture of her hugging Bully to show to her classmates. Positive experience is a great teacher.

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