What is a “Pit Bull”?
Pit Bull Rescue Central has a wealth of information on anything and everything bully breed
related. From what to expect from the breed to training articles, to information on breed
specific legislation. Jump in and take a look around on their website!
The “Good Owners, Good Dog” Theory
Many bully breed owners claim a dog’s behavior is all based on "how a dog is raised" with the intent of helping our rescue and the bully breed reputation. Unfortunately the theory that putting a dog with a "good' owner will in turn make them a “good” dog is not always the case; this well-intentioned misinformation often hurts our rescue’s plight. The reality is that some dogs have a bad start to their life and end up being wonderful family dogs. While others, who seemingly start off on the right foot can end up with behavior problems. The “good owner, good dog” theory is an unfair idea to place on any dog and on dog owners. We are fighting for these dogs to be judged as individuals, not judged by what their pasts were like. Below are links for two great articles that support treating dogs as individuals, and explain why the “good owner, good dog” theory is a misinformed view:
Debunking Dog Training
There are a lot of societal misconceptions that are prevalent in the dog rescue and training world. Cesar Milan is a good example of a common trainer people follow because he is easily accessible and well known. However, his methods are controversial, outdated, and are not based on the science of animal behavior. We do not encourage or support his training techniques. We do agree that dogs need ample physical exercise and structure. Being a positive leader does not need to include any type of “dominant” physical intimidation such as hitting or pinning your dog on the ground. Dominance is an overused, misunderstood term. If
you are modeling your training around the idea that you need to dominate your dog, you may actually be creating behavior problems without even realizing it. If you are using a threatening tone of voice or being physical, you can become unpredictable and scary to your dog. This can create fear which can lead to a dog feeling they need to protect themselves by growling, snapping or even biting. As mentioned above, pinning or using physical force or intimidation is an outdated theory, check out the two articles in the links below to learn more.
We do encourage using a technique called Nothing in Life is Free (or Learn to Earn) to put you in a positive leadership role. The idea is that all good things in your dog’s life come from you, which seamlessly puts you in a higher status position than your dog. DBMB sends this article to every potential foster and adopter. We also encourage using management, structure, consistency, and a reward based training regimen.
If you are a visual learner and would like to watch episodes of a TV show to learn training tips, we recommend Victoria Stillwell's "It's Me or the Dog" as she uses all positive methods.
Professional Training Resources
Any articles you read should be published by a CPDT trainer (Council for Professional Dog Trainers) or a KPA graduate (Karen Pryor Academy). These people study the science of animal behavior and use the most up to date, positive, science based training methods.
Whole Dog Journal publishes great articles from these types of trainers and is a great resource: Whole Dog Journal
Other books and articles from the behaviorists listed below are suggested as they are "top" in their field:
Patricia McConnell Ian Dunbar Karen Pryor Ray Coppinger
Sophia Yin Turid Rugaas Terry Ryan Jean Donaldson
Pat Miller Sue Sternberg Nicole Wilde
Are Bully Breeds Dangerous?
This last section is geared toward fosters and adopters who are interested in learning more about bully breeds and their controversial place in our world today. Why are bully breeds seen as dangerous dogs? Why do they have such a bad rap? Why are people so afraid of them? There is not one single answer, the answer is multi faceted. Becoming a bully breed
owner means that many times you will need to defend your decision to adopt a “pit bull” and knowing the facts can be helpful to educating your friends and family.
One of the best places to get facts on bully breeds is from the National Canine Research Council because the NCRC provides the most current and factual data available. The NCRC base their information on decades of reports which make them the most credible source on controversial information like fatal and non fatal dog bites. Other examples of important information you can get from the NCRC includes: inaccuracy of breed identification, what number of fatal dog bites are committed by resident dogs (dogs that are chained outside without food or water or live in the basement - not as a part of the family that is well taken care of), media bias of breed, etc. Below is a link to the NCRC website.
We hope this resource helps! As always, let us know if you have any questions – we strive to make our adoption/foster process positive, educational, and honest because you and the dogs deserve that!! Thank you for taking the time to dig deeper as you become a stronger advocate for this special breed!
-The DBMB Team