Are you considering adopting a big, bad and scary pit bull? You’re out of luck. In fact, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a pit who isn’t gushing with love on the inside, just waiting to become your trusty companion.
The problem is too many people misunderstand pit bulls. When they look into these dogs’ eyes, they see aggression and danger. They refuse to look any further. After all, they’ve heard the stories in the news.
But the sad reality is there are horrible people in the world who find pleasure in training dogs to fight. “Pit bulls” happen to be the ones thrown into the ring, receiving a bad rap in the process.
If you’re one of the loving few considering rescuing a pit bull, use these actionable steps to ensure you’re prepared for a new pit companion in your home.
1. Check Your Local Laws for Breed Bans
After rescuing my pit bull in New York City, I dreamed of moving to Denver, where we’d be able to enjoy all the outdoor playtime imaginable. That is, until I learned that Denver enforces a breed ban on pits.
Sadly, Denver isn’t alone. Breed specific legislation, or BSL, indicates bans or restrictions on “aggressive breeds” in certain parts of the country.
If you’re considering adopting a pit bull, make sure to research your home city ahead of time. The consequences of being poorly prepared could be deadly. In Denver, for example, the city and county claim that second offenders of the breed ban will have their dog taken from them, where animal control then determines their fate.
2. Talk to Your Landlord
If you’re adopting a pit bull, you’ll likely run into the issue of breed restrictions when it comes to your living space (unless you own a home).
For all the renters out there, make sure your future pit will be welcomed with open arms; if they aren’t, prepare to convince your landlord why they should be. For example, create a dog resume, set up a meeting with your landlord or plan to negotiate a larger pet deposit.
There are a number of ways to give your dog a better chance of being accepted.
3. Plan on Lots of Exercise
Pit bulls are known as a high-energy breed. To keep them healthy and happy, they need exercise.
If you’re rescuing a pit, make sure you can spend at least 30 minutes playing and exercising every day. You don’t always have to take them out for a run or gut-busting hike, but you do need to set aside at least half an hour for fully engaged activity.
If you want to mix it up, try tug of war, agility courses or even Frisbee.
4. Be Prepared to Rehabilitate
Many pit bulls end up in shelters after being abused, abandoned or tied up and left for dead. Every dog will react to their past circumstances in their own way, but most will require at least some sort of rehabilitation.
My pit bull have severe separation anxiety. She also tries to eat anything she could find on the ground as a result from having to fend for herself after being abandoned. Your future dog’s needs could be less or more severe. Either way, you need to know how to handle them.
Here are some tips:
- Give your dog their own space at home. Let them know their bed, toys, food and water bowls are theirs and there to stay. Help them feel comfortable and safe at home.
- Use positive reinforcement when training. Your pit won’t respond well to harsh training methods. Always show them love and affection for good behavior.
- Ease them into new routines and socialization. Never force your pit into anything that obviously causes discomfort or fear.
This adorable pit bull wants to make friends with a flowering plant:
5. Know How to Stand Up for Your Pit
Breed discrimination can feel deeply offensive and hurtful. So stand up for your pup companion in every way you can. Of course, some responses are more efficient than others.
I always try to educate or, better yet, show people how sweet pit bulls can be, although typically, their minds are made up, regardless of how much my dog tries to smother them with kisses.
If your frustration is too much to keep inside, consider volunteering for pit bull rights or helping out at a shelter. What matters most is that other pits out there are receiving the help they need, too.
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