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Pit Bulls going to dog park

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    Earlier today I was on another dog forum asking about something else about my 2 year old pit. I mentioned about the amount of exercise he gets and how we go to a dog park for an hour to an hour and 1/2 every day and how he loves it and playing with other dogs.

    This person who identified himself as a pit bull owner started to TEAR into me about pit bulls should not go to dog parks and about how I know nothing about my breed and need to educate myself.

    This is the only open place in the city to take my dog. There are tons of pits and boxers and my dog plays well with all breeds. He has never had a fight or a scuffle. I am constantly up and watching him and making sure he doesn’t cause trouble (he tends to do that haha).

    I think dog parks are the best socialization he has ever received. We have done other activities with other dogs but nothing seems to satisfy him more or has changed him more than going to the park. He used to be intimidated by other dogs when I first got him 8 months ago but now he instantly becomes friendly with every dog he meets.

    What is your opinion on taking pits to dog parks?


    Well hi there “CG.”

    As I have told you many, many times (even after you insulted me) Pit Bulls do NOT belong at dog parks! They are NOT dog park material.

    I provided you with many links to prove my point. Did you even bother to read them?

    Stop by Pitbullforum.com, and pitbull-chat.com and they will tell you exactly what I have told you.


    I agree with bullypaws. Dog parks are no place for pitbulls. It is an accident waiting to happen even when you are watchful of your pittie. It only takes a second for something to happen. It may not even have been started by your dog but it will be blamed on the pittie. You will never know when or if your pittie will develop DA until it happens. Even if he hasn’t shown signs of it yet, that doesn’t mean tomorrow will be the same. Long walks, controlled pittie play dates with responsible owners are a better avenue.


    Thanks, Taana. You are right, your Pittie doesn’t have to START a fight, but he’ll finish it! The Pittie will ALWAYS be blamed, no matter what. Your dog is SO handsome by the way! 🙂

    Shadow Girl

    We’re new pittie owners, so forgive my ignorance. What is DA?


    I think a better way to explain this is: it isn’t that dog parks aren’t for pit bulls: dog parks are not safe for ANY breed of dog, period.

    The sad truth is that there are irresponsible dog owners for *every single breed of dog* and because of this, your dog, whether or not it’s a pit bull, is NOT safe at a dog park.

    There are numerous stories of dogs getting into violent fights at dog parks because people do not have control over their animals. And this occurs with every breed of dog, period.

    I own a non-aggressive (but extremely passive and submissive) Aussie Shepherd and I wouldn’t bring her to a dog park (I did once and I was extremely nervous) because it’s not her I worry about: it’s other dogs and their ignorant owners. Regardless of breed, dog parks are extremely unsafe.

    A better way to exercise or socialize your dog is to find people to meet up with and have one on one doggy “play dates”. If you’re extremely concerned about their “activity level” or “exercise” they’re receiving, your dog should be given regular walks anyway. There are also numerous activities, such as weight pulling, agility, and other things that you can enroll your dog in to not only get physical exercise, but mental exercise as well.

    I think the best thing in this situation wasn’t to bluntly say “pit bulls don’t belong” but “dog parks are dangerous for every dog, period”. Sometimes wording things different helps to defuse an argument or fight 🙂

    Also, I’m pretty sure DA stands for “dog aggression”.


    It’s the other dogs at the dog park that we have to worry about . If something was to happen it would be the pitt that would get blamed


    Its ignorant people like yal that keeps the pit bull breed in a negative light. Pit bulls are terriers who love to run, chase, and play and for many people the only area they get to do that is at the dog park. People shouldn’t be frightened of pit bulls, they are a loving breed. If the dogs are brought up right in a loving and caring enviroment and trained well you have nothing to worry about at the dog park. Not everyone is Mike Vick.


    Of course people shouldn’t be frightened of them. But they are, and that’s the reality of the day. The other reality of the day is that if something does happen, even if it’s another dog’s fault, the pit bull will always be blamed.

    It shouldn’t be that way. You’re right. But it is. And until that changes, it’s probably not a good idea to let your pit bull run free anywhere, even if it is at a dog park.


    I don’t know what kind of dog parks you guys go to, but they sound a lot different from our local one. There, all the dog owners talk amongst themselves, but they’ve always got an eye on their dogs.

    Daisy, our Pit, is well known there – in a GREAT way. People ask what breed she is, we tell them, and they’re surprised because of how well she plays and how friendly she is with the owners. But you know, it’s opened a lot of eyes. Nobody leaves when she’s there, everyone accepts her. So I think socializing your Pit at a park is what you SHOULD do as an owner. Don’t keep your dog away, because THAT makes them look unfriendly. Let them interact, keep YOUR eye on your dog – and make sure your dog is TRAINED and dog-friendly. That’s the key, I think.

    If you set the example by being responsible for your pet, people might take notice and pay more attention themselves. Stay close by and watch, the way you’d watch your kids playing at a park. Let’s give people something GOOD to talk about in the name of Pits.


    Did you say dog park?

    More often than they should, pit bull owners wonder about the dog park issue, finding themselves explaining to others that their dog is not a “killing machine,” it is not “one of those pit bulls” and there is no reason that their dog can’t enjoy off leash time with unknown dogs. Some will even insist that “you only add to the misconception toward this breed when you don’t allow your friendly pit bull to go to the dog park.” After all, these people argue that it is all about “how we raise them” and providing socialization is the key to no problem dogs. Unfortunately, that’s not true.

    Dog aggression in our own dogs should not be a problem. Good management and knowledge prevent trouble. Responsible and caring pit bull owners have done their homework and know what to expect from the breed. This breed’s genetic traits involve dog aggression, to varying degrees. Even the most well socialized pit bull can one day decide that other dogs are not play buddies. It happens most often when the dog reaches maturity between two and three years of age, and it can happen without apparent reason.

    Here are some good articles for basic breed information:


    Because of the breed’s background, it is unfair to expect dogs to behave the way we want them to when it comes to dog aggression and dog to dog relationships. We set our dogs up for failure when we decide to let them off leash in a public place and allow them to romp with other dogs. Dog parks are a place where people like to chit chat with each other, paying very little attention to what happens around their dogs. Posturing, body language, subtle looks and even vocalization are often misunderstood or overlooked by dog owners. Even when dogs let us know what is about to happen we might not see what is happening until it is too late. Most dog owners have no idea of what body language means, and don’t know how to intervene if things go wrong. They panic, scream, yell, and hit the attacking dog; all of which often just makes things worse. A fight between two dogs can be hard enough to stop; now imagine a fight among 4 or 5 of them. In fights like these, pets and even people can be seriously injured.

    Dog parks are also a place where unknown dogs are present. We don’t know if they’re fully vaccinated or in good health. They can be sick and our dogs can get ill as well.

    We don’t know if they are truly friendly dogs or if they may be aggressive. Everybody’s dog is friendly, according to their owners. When the “friendly” dog decides to snap at ours, a fight starts.

    Who is going to be blamed for that fight? Will it be the pit bull or the cute little fluffy dog? The answer is obvious.

    Here is the story of one accident at a dog park, involving a pit bull.:


    Below is an article about a pit bull named Nettie that attacked a police horse, in San Francisco, in 2003. Nettie was let off leash at a public park by her irresponsible owner. The dog did nothing wrong, but she was set up for failure by the person who should have protected her. Nettie belonged to an SPCA volunteer and she was often taken to senior centers to comfort the elderly. Nettie was a good dog. This pretty pit bull female paid the price for her owner’s ignorance and irresponsibility with her life. Many dogs have lost their lives the same way, due to the same kind of irresponsibility. It took her life for her owner to “get it.” Like most situations of this sort, the events that ultimately resulted in Nettie’s unfair death were totally preventable.


    Each time a pit bull is allowed to harm another pet all pit bull owners and their dogs suffer. One common defensive reaction of dog park lovers is “the dog is mine and it is nobody’s business where I take it.” This is not true. It is every pit bull owner’s business as well. We are surrounded by BSL (Breed Specific Legislation) all over the Country. The news media report dog to dog attacks or dog to cat/cow/horse/sheep attacks almost every day, and with the same attention as if Osama Bin Laden had been captured. Reporters often compare human aggression to animal aggression. How many times do we hear “it was a dog but it could have been a child”?

    It is ridiculous but it happens every day. “There goes another vicious pit bull attacking an innocent dog or cat!” What happens after a pit bull attacks another dog in the neighborhood or at the local dog park? It is like we suddenly own wild animals that have no right to exist. Our friendly neighbor suddenly stops talking to us and no longer lets her children come around our dog. The person we used to walk our dog with is no longer available because she fears for her pet. The two men down the street no longer come and pet our dog when we walk by their homes or rush into the house if they have their dogs with them. People ask for a ban. We did not change and our dog is the same as always but this is the result of one mistake, caused by someone who obviously did not care about the rest of us. It is a sad situation to be in.

    This breed doesn’t need any more accidents, we can’t afford them. We are in this situation thank to those who failed their own dogs. When a whole breed suffers because of someone’s action it is our business as well. No doubt on that.

    Vet bills aren’t cheap, emotions can be overwhelming, the guilt stays, so why to risk it? It isn’t fair that only one breed is targeted when dogs of other breeds have killed or attacked other dogs. Today, a dog behaving like a dog has become a sin. Fair or not that is how the situation is and every pit bull owner needs to understand it.

    The point of socialization is for a dog to have positive experiences with other dogs. When people take their dogs, perhaps puppies, to a park and something happens, they are responsible for the consequences. A young dog that is attacked for no reason won’t be so willing to be friendly the next time it meets an unknown dog. An experience like that is a bad start and can often lead to problems in the future. There are no guarantees on what can happen at a dog park because dog parks are often full of different dogs with different personalities and tolerance levels. Even an easy going adult dog can change its approach after an attack. It is hard enough for a dog of this breed to tolerate other dogs and it is a big mistake to contribute to bad experiences. Dogs should always rely on us to defend them–the trust factor is important. We are responsible for protecting our dogs from harm. A dog that has no choice but to defend itself loses its trust in the owner and knows that in the future it needs to take care of itself. It then becomes fearful of other dogs and not so willing to behave like a well-balanced dog that was socialized in the appropriate way.

    How can we socialize around other dogs then? Good question. Socialization is a must but it has to be done with common sense and in a controlled environment. Perhaps a friend has a mellow dog of the opposite sex and he/she is willing to let the dogs play together. Both owners should know that there is the possibility of a scrap and will intervene immediately and with the appropriate tools/techniques. Both owners will watch their dogs closely and never leave them unsupervised.

    Every pit bull owner should have a breaking stick available, even when on a walk, hidden somewhere. It is a quick and effective way to break a hold.

    What is a breaking stick and why it is an important tool to have:

    Some information on how to break up a fight:

    Obedience classes are an option too. In obedience classes, the dogs are leashed and can learn to control themselves in the presence of other dogs. It is not necessary for a pit bull to be dog friendly, but it is necessary for us to help them learn to control natural behaviors. Dogs that are exposed to this kind of environment can learn to behave with some time and work.

    The local feedstore/petstore is another way to socialize our dogs, because they are another place where dogs are leashed. It’s important to remember that it doesn’t mean we don’t need to pay attention to the surroundings. Respect the comfort level of your dog and move away from other dogs if necessary. Face to face interactions can quickly end badly, even when both dogs are leashed.

    Those who are still convinced that a pit bull belongs to a dog park would benefit from reading these links. Their dogs and all of us will benefit as well.Please, don’t set your dog up for failure.



    EXCELLENT post Marty! Thanks for the links, I have another I’d like to share: http://ourpack.org/dogparks.html

    NOT taking my dog to the dog park is NOT the end of the world, it does NOT mean she is not socialized, and it does NOT make people think she is “vicious!” I don’t know where some people get that stuff from, but none of it is true!

    Dog parks are NOT a place for socialization.

    And as one person pointed out, they are “Terriers” who “need” to chase things – EXACTLY – That’s why they should NOT go to dog parks because of their prey drive! Please do some more research.

    Pit Bulls are just not dog park dogs.


    Well Chris since it seems that everyone on HERE wants to bash you for taking your dog to a dog park which you asked not to do I will say that I myself take my two pits to the dog park and I live in OHIO!! Yeah Ohio! I know my dogs in and out and if other dogs are in the park they have to be mussled BY LAW!! Most of the time we go there we are the only one’s there. They have a blast running and just playing together. This dog park is at the dog wardens in our county. The manager there met my two pits and they loved him. He told me as long as no one else was in there that hey could be unmussled but if I seen someone coming with their dog to be safe they needed to be musseld. I know the things that can happen and all the hoopla about how vicious and mean and lalalala it goes. But these dogs need exercise and if no one else is there then who give a damn. If you treat your dog like others who are idots see them then what good are you doing other than proving them right. You hide your dog from the real world because idoits have made them so MEAN! Yes they can turn on other dogs and I’m not saying it won’t happen. It is smart to want to avoid those situations but how good is it to harbor them from a life like normal dogs? If you have your pit a park then you need to keep constant vigulance over them. You are ther for them not for you to socailize. Just like kids. You don’t or at least shouldn’t just let your kids loose in a park and go talk with other moms and ignore you child like he or she isn’t there. Same rule applies! If you don’t like what I said then sorry I’m a responsible own and they are my children. Don’t do anything that might get them harmed in any way!!!


    Amber, I never bashed and no body else did either. Disagreeing does not equal bashing.

    I, for one, certainly said that dog parks are dangerous for all dogs, not just pits. All it takes is one other person to have a dog they cannot control and it rips into your dog. That is a risk I’m unwilling to take, with any of my dogs of any breed. I have an Australian Shepherd and we do not bring her to dog parks. There is too much risk and other people are too ignorant and irresponsible.

    Paityn the Pittie

    my trainer suggested that i don’t, but i think that if ur dog has been well socialized to play well with other dogs it should be fine. i’ve only had my pit since last october and she’s 2 years old, i’ve tried to have her play with other dogs but she has shown some anxiety around larger dogs, and bullies the smaller dogs. i prefer to exercise her by taking her on walks and i take her to forest preserves where i know she can have fun and usually avoid dogs. my thing is that i know she has had issues with other dogs so i try to set her up for success. but once again if ur dog doesn’t show any of those issues i don’t see why not, it’s mostly all aabout knowing ur dog, and controlling the environment as much as possible to have a happy fun trip to the park.

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