Dogs have become irreplaceable members of many people’s families and personal lives. The rumors are true, a dog is a man’s best friend. Bringing a dog into your home changes your life in more ways than you can imagine. It allows people to see the world with a whole new perspective. 

Canine companions teach humans how to love and be loved without conditions, and to journey through life with an always grateful and joyful heart. 

However, just like everything else, it takes time, effort, and dedication to keep a pet. As any pet owner can tell you, all of that effort is worth it. Any dog, no matter the breed, is deserving of the uttermost care and commitment from its human parents. In this case, if you are a first-time Pitbull parent, the road ahead will surely be challenging, but rewarding. 

To set you and your very first Pittie up for success, we give you this compilation of the breed’s characteristics, needs, obstacles, and roles. In this guide, you will discover more about the ins and outs of raising a Pitbull and the environment and best practices that will help him thrive.

Pit Bull Breed History and Background 

First-time pit bull owners can sometimes get overwhelmed. This is why it is important to understand the background of your dog’s canine family. This way, you will be able to educate yourself on why they possess certain traits and behavior. Understanding your dog’s background jumpstarts your ability to give them the appropriate management, care, and stimulation they need. 

Descent

Pit bulls were created by interbreeding terriers and bulldogs to produce a dog that combined the strength of the bulldog with the agility and endurance of the terrier. In the United Kingdom, they used pit bulls in fighting sports such as bull-baiting and bear-baiting.

Physical Appearance

Dogs categorized as pit bulls share similar physical characteristics, but the variation of the structural features among bully breed dogs makes it difficult for even experts to identify them as visually distinct. Mixed-breed dogs are often labeled as pit bulls if they have specific physical characteristics, such as a square-shaped head or muscular body type. 

Engagements

Pit bulls are highly energetic canines. They bred pit bulls for their fighting prowess. This breed constitutes the majority of dogs used for illegal dog fighting in America. 

Also, law enforcement organizations report that these dogs are used for other heinous purposes, such as guarding illegal narcotics operations, use against police, and as attack dogs. On the other side of the law, pit bulls are also used as police, military, and service animals. 

Pit Bull Care Guide 

With adequate information on your dog’s background, learning about their needs is the next step. You must master the basics of dog care. Every dog needs proper grooming, a good diet, training, and social interaction. Once you can cover the basics, you’ll be on your way to giving your pitbull an amazing life. Don’t worry, firsts are always the hardest. But, we’ll help you get through it. 

Grooming 

Pit bulls require very minimal grooming. Their fur is naturally not foul-smelling, so they are very low maintenance, and they do not need to take baths too often. They can take showers once a month, or even every six months. Their short coat does not require regular brushing nor get haircuts. 

Diet

An essential element of any dog’s diet is protein. This diet is especially true for large, high-energy dogs like pit bulls. Wheat, corn, and potatoes are allergens for many dogs, and pit bulls are especially prone to skin and coat problems. Adult pit bulls can eat once or twice per day. 

Most dog owners feed their pets store-bought food. Choose a high-quality diet with meat, rather than meat by-products as the first ingredient. Some owners choose to make their own food for their dogs. It is best to visit your veterinarian before making a homemade meal to ensure that their diet is complete and balanced.

Training

Early socialization can prevent problems like behaving aggressively toward other dogs as pit bulls are highly prone to that behavior. Socialization is most effective when it takes place between six and 16 weeks. Expose your dog to different types of friendly dogs in a variety of environments, and reward them every time they meet a new dog. 

Take your dog on short walks as a puppy, and give your dog a treat when they walk close to you. If your dog begins pulling on the leash, stop walking. Use a head halter or anti-pull harness to discourage pulling when you go on walks.

House training begins right away. It is easier to train them when they are puppies. Take them outside every two hours and give them treats when they eliminate. If your dog accidentally pees or poos inside the house, immediately take your dog outside. Taking them out teaches your dog to associate elimination with being outside. 

Ideal Environment 

A pit bull is, first and foremost, a house dog. They want to be around their humans and don’t do well outdoors for an extended period, especially in cold weather. Their moderate energy level makes them great companions for a variety of living situations, as long as you can spend plenty of time with them because pit bulls don’t like to be left alone. 

Pit bulls tend to have a modest energy level, but they have a strong drive to do what comes naturally to them: jumping and chasing. As long as their owners make time for daily walks and play with them at least an hour every day, they’ll be happy as long as they’re with their humans.

Temperament

When people hear pit bull, they also hear vicious. But when the American Temperament Testing Society tested their temperament, they came to what some might consider, a shocking conclusion. 

They have examined different aspects of attitude, such as stability, shyness, aggressiveness, and friendliness, as well as the dog’s instinct to protect its handler and their self-preservation in the face of a threat. 

The ATTS tested 870 pit bulls, and 755 passed the test, while 115 did not. They ended up with an 86% pass rate. Golden Retrievers came in second with an 85.2% passing rate. 

Pit bulls were less likely to show aggression than beagles, bulldogs, basset hounds, bichon frise, corgis, chihuahuas, german shepherds, poodles, yorkshire terriers, and so many more breeds that it would be impossible to list them all here.

However, attitude toward other canines is another story. Sometimes, their dogfighting ancestry dictates a particular, dangerous kind of dog who does not take kindly to being challenged by other assertive dogs. Most pit bulls do not start fights, but if confronted, most will readily engage.

Health Risks

Pit bulls are very prone to skin problems. They are likely to have several skin disorders ranging from allergies, tumors, or even skin cancer. For some reason, Pit bulls are very prone to allergies than other breeds. It can range from grass, pollens, to fleas or ticks. They are also very prone to food allergies, especially to products with wheat or grain elements. 

Their thin coats are also prone to skin irritants. They usually get rashes, sunburn hotspots, and allergies. Hip dysplasia is also one of the typical problems a pit bull might have. Pit bulls with hip dysplasia will have lameness on their back legs or difficulty running and climbing the stairs. 

One last thing that pit bull owners should watch out for is their eye problems. Pit bulls may develop cataracts earlier than other breeds. This breed has a high chance of experiencing this health issue, with a 50/50 chance no matter where they got them. It can be hereditary or a developed condition.

Interaction With Humans

Pit bulls thrive on human interaction and are amazing snugglers. They are very warmhearted, and the emotional bond between a pit bull and its human is unrivaled. The fun-loving, spunky, and affectionate attitude of the pit bull terrier is what most people come to love most about these dogs.

The pit bull has been bred for hundreds of years to be a human-friendly dog. They are not a guardian breed, and that is why they do not display suspicion towards strangers or see them as potential threats. On the other hand, pit bulls are extraordinarily loyal and become very attached to their owners quickly. 

This means that a pit bull will protect their owner if they sense that they are in danger. 

Interaction With Other Animals

Prey drive is a genetic quality that makes dogs driven to chase or kill animals. Obedience training is a must for all dogs but can be very helpful for the owner of a highly prey driven dog. Having a dog that responds to general obedience commands like “leave it,” “heal,” “off,” “sit,” “down,” and “drop it” or “out” can help the owner keep other animals safe from their dog. 

However, many pit bulls get along very well with other animals, but it is essential to understand them fully before bringing a new puppy home. It takes a lot of willingness and ability to make adjustments if your pitbull does not tolerate other animals. 

Proper socialization, meeting their needs as they grow older, adequate diet, and responsible ownership all play a role in preventing dog fights. All dog fights are preventable. Socialize any dog, pit bull, or other, slowly with new dogs.

A Pitbull’s Roles In The Community

Owning a pit bull is just like owning any other dog. Pit bulls form powerful bonds with their owners. Their personality type makes them excellent service dogs. If there is one advantage pit bulls have over other breeds, it is their muscular bodies. They can push and pull wheelchairs with ease. Pit bulls have a great need to protect. 

Once they give their loyalty to a person,  they will defend them no matter what. However, proper training is needed to prevent this from bordering into aggressiveness. Pit bulls are adaptable and intelligent dogs. They are easy to train. If they go through intense training since puppyhood, they can be reliable medical alert service dogs. 

This type of service dog is responsible for detecting the onset of low blood sugar, low oxygen levels, and even seizures. They are also favorite service dogs for soldiers who have PTSD. Some of them are rescue dogs trained to be emotional support animals.

As a first-time pitbull owner, people might not see their dogs as the heroes they can be to others that need them. Their love doesn’t have to be contained inside your homes. It can be shared with other people by giving your pitbull a chance to volunteer and make other people happy the same way they make you happy. 

These dogs may look tough and intimidating, but they have hearts of gold. They can sense emotional distress, and they will be loyal companions. Dogs, especially pit bulls, can help lessen a person’s anxiety. 

What To Expect From The Community 

First-time pitbull owners are facing a judgmental world. There are still plenty of misinformed people when it comes to pitbull-type dogs. Admittedly, there is still a long way to go when it comes to convincing people that they are wrong about the breed. As a first-time pitbull owner, it is best to know about the stigma other people have put on pit bulls. 

All of the negativity surrounding pit bulls has caused tension among their advocates and rivals, especially when that reputation’s origins are a bit murky. One of the reasons is that “pit bulls” has gained the reputation as dangerous dogs are their relentless breeding and conditioning to be fighting dogs. Their history as fighting dogs dates back more than 1,000 years. 

Also, news reports often provoke the public image problem of “pit bulls.” Reporters are the ones who usually identify ​the dog’s breed. They may ​categorize​ ​​dogs​ ​into​ ​the​ ​”pit bull”​ ​category if the dogs have​ ​a​ ​square,​ ​blocky​ ​head​ ​, and a muscular​ ​body.​ 

There has been intense criticism of the media for underreporting dog bites from other breeds while neglecting to report crucial information in stories that involve “pit bulls.”

What The Future Looks Like For Pitbulls 

Dogs categorized under the label “pit bull,” a term used to describe American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and mixes, face an unbelievable amount of discrimination. 

They have been unfairly stereotyped as dangerous or aggressive, are banned by entire cities through breed-specific laws, and are put through horrific abuse at the hands of those who exploit them for the dogfighting industry.

This article is for first-time pitbull owners to recognize the challenges pit bull-type dogs face in a world filled with misinformed, judgmental people. There are ways to help your dog. There are communities you can join who are working to eradicate the misconception surrounding pit bulls.  

Thankfully, advocates are working to break these stereotypes, promote change through programs and advocacy efforts. They provide resources that help keep pit bulls and their families together. The American Pit Bull Foundation is working to help change the stigma and give people the tools they need to be responsible pet guardians and advocate against discriminatory breed-specific legislation. 

Animal Farm Foundation’s mission is to break stereotypes by helping people see dogs as individuals, instead of defining them by breed. They are committed to rescuing, re-homing through the shelter, and advocating for pit bull-type dogs. BADRAP helps dogs dying in shelters. 

They work with rescue organizations across the U.S. to provide educational resources that can help with training and behavior, both of which are an essential part of dogs finding adoptive homes.

To Wrap It All Up…

There are indeed plenty of benefits with these dogs, but the media tries to underestimate them by making them seem like all pit bull-type dogs are bad dogs. But once people get to know them and have done enough research, they’ll find out that pit bulls are just like any other dog. They become how people treat them. Show them love, and love comes right back at you, a hundred times over. 

Pitbulls have received a bad reputation over the years due to barbarous people using them for illegal dog fighting rings. These dogs are victims of animal abuse like any other helpless canine that finds themselves in the hands of a shady individual.

This bad reputation, alongside a sensationalistic media, has created a terrible thing for this beloved breed. As a result, a lot of misunderstandings happened. As a first-time pitbull owner, when you walk around with your dog, you will encounter people who will be afraid or who may give you trouble for having a pit bull.  

When taking your well-trained pit bull out into the world, you will have the opportunity to talk to plenty of people from different walks of life. Proudly showing off your well-behaved bully will allow you the opportunity to engage in interesting conversations and help dispel the myths about pit bulls. You will start making friends while changing their minds. 

It should never be about the breed. It should only be about the dog. So if anyone is thinking of owning a pit bull, one must do the research, and when you finally have one, you must do the work. And if you can, adopt, don’t shop.

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