It’s so much more work to train a pitbull than a small, cute, fluffy dog.
Not because pitbulls are vicious or have a difficult personality but simply because people expect more of them. I have been fostering a small dog who is very cute but has basically zero training, while my own dog (Cherry) has completed advanced dog school, took agility classes and is a very smart, eager-to-learn type of dog.
Cherry isn’t a pitbull per se but definitely has a high % of bully breeds in her, which is obviously noticeable right away. Due to the reactions I get from people when she even so much as looks at them, I have grown to become very careful when walking any dog. Regardless of what dog I’m handling, I tend to cross the street or stop to the side rather than chance the dog sniffing someone’s leg who walks next to us.
This weekend, I let a potential adopter walk my little foster dog and I just quietly followed behind. She was letting this puppy run up to young children, jump on old ladies walking past and do pretty much anything she wanted to do. I didn’t interrupt because I knew the situation wasn’t dangerous and I wanted to see how she would handle the pup once I’m not there.
To my surprise, mothers of toddlers were happy to have a random dog run up to their baby and old ladies laughed with excitement when she almost jumped on their lap in their wheelchair. I can’t even begin to imagine what would have happened if Cherry were to sniff that child or wag her tail at the ladies.
This is not to say everyone is scared of pitbull-type dogs or that you should let your dog run up to strangers without having control. I was just thinking how easy would it be to just teach my dog to always return to me and then let her roam free in the park saying hello to everyone and play on the beach without a care. I always see small dogs’ owners letting their dogs roam and I can never imagine being able to do that.
So much hard work has gone into training Cherry to ignore people on the street, and I can’t afford to do any less training simply because of her appearance. I’m sure she would love to say hello to everyone but unfortunately I can’t imagine that ever being an option for her, at least in our neighbourhood.