It’s no secret that owning a dog comes with responsibility. But in many ways, owning a pit bull requires even more responsibility. Pit bull owners face some tough challenges, like breed stigmatization, discrimination, and bias. It’s not for everyone, but being a pit bull or bully breed owner can be one of the most rewarding experiences you could have.
Ask yourself the following questions before you adopt to help you decide if a pit bull is the right dog for you:
–What are you looking for in a dog? Consider what traits or characteristics are important to you. Pit bulls are loyal, intelligent, silly, affectionate, and sometimes stubborn creatures. They need moderate daily exercise and ongoing socialization. Every dog varies in his/her specific requirements, however, so be sure to ask as many questions as you can and obtain us much information as possible about the particular dog you want.
–Are you ready and willing to be a responsible dog owner? This means having your dog spayed/neutered (if you adopt from a shelter, they require it), training your dog, making sure he/she is always wearing up-to-date identification, and keeping him/her socialized. Being a responsible pet owner requires time and money, so be sure you are at a stable point in your life in order to make this commitment.
–Do you have other pets? Make sure your existing pet(s) and the dog you hope to adopt will be
able to coexist. While many dogs can live comfortably with other animals in the house, not all can. It is important to introduce the animals (and human family members!) prior to adopting to be sure everyone gets along. Check with the rescue or shelter staff to see if the dog has been evaluated for compatibility with other animals.
–What are the federal, state, or local laws pertaining to pets in general and pit bulls specifically? Do some research about the area where you live to ensure there is no breed specific legislation in place, which bans dogs who look a certain way, regardless of their actual temperament or behavior. If you rent or have a homeowners association, make sure a pit bull-type dog is allowed under those terms. Also be aware that if you own a pit bull or other bully breed dog, finding housing in the future may be difficult. Creating a pet resume can help.
–Are you willing to stand up for your pit bull? If you’re thinking about adopting a pit bull, perhaps the most important thing for you to understand is that once you do, you become a breed ambassador. Being a breed ambassador means separating yourself from the stereotypical pit bull owner and proving to the public that pit bulls are not the scary, violent dogs they are so often perceived to be. You must peacefully and patiently combat the negative stigma surrounding pit bulls on a frequent basis. You are your dog’s advocate from now on.
Above all else, understand this: if you adopt a pit bull, you will have a loyal, loving companion for years to come. Yes, owning a dog is sometimes hard work. And yes, being a breed ambassador can be hard work, too. But the joy of sharing your life with a canine companion is unparalleled, and for the right person, a pit bull is the perfect fit.