It’s so much more work to train a Pitbull

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.

One thought on “It’s so much more work to train a Pitbull

  1. This is such a great post, it highlights a number of issues. I think most of us who have bully type dogs or larger breeds can relate, we put so much effort into making sure our dogs have impeccable manners for two reasons; one we know our dogs are powerful and have potential to accidentally do harm but also we know we need to protect our dogs from the prejudices of others, so make sure no one can ever complain or feel threatened. I wish the owners of the small cute and fluffy would do the same, it is unfair to see a bully type dog blamed for snapping at a small dog that is allowed to run off leash and harass other dogs and people and I have seen that happen. The other thing is I think we sometimes forget that not everyone feels save around dogs and dogs running loose can sometimes cause stress. I posted about the importance of control when taking dogs camping and another blogger I admire left a comment explaining how one of her children who is on the autism spectrum can be sent into a panic so severe it leaves him a danger to himself if he is approached by an over enthusiastic unrestrained dog. The comment was a bit of an eye opener for me and has made me even more aware of other people and how important it is for me to make sure we do nothing to upset others. Mostly I do it to protect my dog and because I enjoy the bond that training give us.
    On the positive side maybe when mothers of small children see how well behaved Cherry is they will happily engage and let the children engage with Cherry. I had that happen recently, I was sitting at a table in the park having a coffee and my pooch was on an extension leash but happily sitting and waiting for me. A young mum walked past carrying a toddler and Ada sat quietly but madly waging her tail, so the lady bent to pat her and commented on her polite behavior, she then put the toddler down so they could pat her. Ada is like Cherry a dog of indeterminate breeding but large and with some bully type features but she is as gentle as a lamb and most people feel comfortable around her. Sorry did not mean this to be so long. This is a great post!

    Like

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