Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Pooches: On Meeting Pitbulls and Responses

I never imagined I would one day own a pitbull.
When I was originally looking to adopt, I too believed everything I heard from the media.
I didn't want to adopt a pitbull.
I didn't want a dog that possibly looked like a pit bull.
I didn't want a dog who possibly had any trace of a pitbull.
That is...until I met my first pit bull. And my second. And Miss M became mine.
I suddenly realized, I had never met a pit bull-type dog before. And it became my mission to allow other people to meet our pit bulls, so they could have these same realizations themselves. 
While we have had so many positive experiences where people can't believe our dogs are so different from the terrible stories playing across the media, we have also had some conversations where I'm not sure how to react.
Sometimes after meeting our dogs, people will say "It's all in how they're raised".
Which we all know isn't true (especially in our case since we adopted Mr B when he was already 5. Miss M was 2.)
Or people will say "They're great dogs...until you have kids".
Most of the time this is said by people we just meet on the street, and I know we don't have enough time to really explain why this isn't true, or whether they would really listen to a drawn out explanation.

Does anyone have any good, short 1 sentence responses for when you hear these types of comments?

Also:
If you do own a pit bull-type dog....
How much do people really love pit bulls?
The reality of pitbull owners

24 comments:

Janet Johnson said...

my response:
All dogs are individuals.

Uji, Izzy, Ziggy, Missi + Hiro said...

I prefer my dogs to children

openid said...

For it's "all how they're raised", I say something along the lines of:

"Dogs aren't defined by their past. It's really how they're managed in the present that counts."

Or: "It's all how they're managed. Dogs are only as successful as people set them up to be."

Still haven't come up with just one sentence ; )

Christina Held said...

"There is no genetic evidence that one breed is more or less aggressive than another."

"In the early 20th century, pitt bulls were considered the #1 breed for family dogs."

http://www.dontbullymybreed.org/StopCourtRuling.php

~MT said...

” Actually, pitbulls are considered one of the best family dogs.” And then if they want more info, lay it out for them!

Maybe even find some pics of pitbulls and their families and print a few copies out-pocket size version-and put a copy of the pic in a few different jacket pockets so that you always have one with you no matter what jacket you wear OR attach a pic to the dogs' leash somehow.

Then you can show these people a pic AND say the line!!

Luv My Rosie said...

I always say "does she look like vicious dog to you?"

Katie Hejtmanek said...

"I like to think it's best to question our prejudices and open up our hearts and minds to something or someone before we judge them."

Debra@Peaceabull said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Debra@Peaceabull said...

A quick, blanket response, "That's not true."

PS we are featuring a familiar face on our blog today. :-)

SherBear said...

"she'll only bite you if you're a tennis ball. or a fly, she doesn't like flies in the apartment"...the comments I hear are so few and far between I usually just ignore them or make a lighthearted remark - I'm never going to change someone's opinion with a one line sentence, so I just let Nala's and my behavior and attitude speak for itself!

Taylor G said...

If we are at large events or festivals I like to have Shannon walk Mugsy. He looks more approachable when a little 4'11" girl is handling a 65 lbs staffie. My typical response when someone says something is " he is the biggest baby I know" or "he is a 65 lbs lazy lap dog". But as someone mentioned above I just let his behavior and our overall attitude speak for itself (as long as he is minding his manners). My hope is that they have a positive interaction with Mugsy the next time they see a pit bull type dog they are less reserved and more willing to interact with it. The more positive interactions the better for the breed. That way they are using their own interactions with the breed instead of the media to see that they are just like every other dog.

Froggy said...

"Really? I birthed my pug and they get along great" ;)

Sarah said...

I don't think the specific words matter as much as the delivery. Being non-judgy, non-preachy, casual & with a smile on your face go farther than transforming into that "pit bull advocate" and flooding them with facts. I would say something like "oh we didn't raise them. They're rescues & have always been so friendly."

Two French Bulldogs said...

You guys give a whole new meaning to pitbulls
Benny & Lily

k9conundrums said...

My favorite response to "It's all in how they're raised" is a sort of musing-tone "Actually, that's not true at all- some of the nicest dogs come out of the worst situations." And people usually respond with 'Hey, yeah, I didn't think of that.' And then if you get to use a second sentence you can add that it's a testament to the breed's good nature that they are treated so poorly and remain so sweet.

Dog Foster Mom said...

I run into the "it's all in how they're raised" comment a lot too - it is frustrating to hear it, but at least the people aren't saying "it's a pit bull and should be shot". :-)

Fabiola Ferral said...

They were originally called the "Nanny Dog" for a reason. :-D

Second City Pet Care said...

I agree with letting the ambassadors speak for the breed by interaction but someone here posted something like.. "Dogs are only as successful as their humans help them to be." I really think that is true of every dog!!

Pocket Pittie in the City said...

I just show pictures of Maggie and Nigel passed out and cuddling. The best is seeing JLo, a dog in the walking/training group here that is often walked by one of her 8 year old owners!! They speak more than I ever could.

Olya Z said...

Each decade has a breed that is targeted: In the 80's it was German Shepherds, in the 90's Dobermans, and now it's Pitbulls. Pitbulls were once considered to be "nanny dogs" and babysitters to young children. When and why did that change?

ohmelvin.com said...

I don't have a pittie (yet!) but with both my rescued boys, I always say "they were born to love".

adventuresofadogmom said...

My response to the comment about children: "Have you ever heard of Nanny Dogs?"

Maggie said...

In Emmett's capacity as a therapy dog, we work with a lot of kids who have had bad experiences with dogs, especially pit bulls. Whether I'm talking to the kid or the parent, I always say something like, "Pit bulls are just dogs, and all dogs are individuals." If I have lots of time, I use Emmett's story to illustrate my points, but my goal is to get them to think of pit bulls as just an ordinary dog!

K-Koira said...

Depends on the person you are talking to. I took my dogs to get pictures with Santa, and while waiting our turn, a little boy (maybe 4?) asked to pet my dogs. I said yes, as long as it was okay with his parents. They nodded, and he started petting both dogs.

Then the questions came. He first asked their names, then asked what kind of dogs they are. When I said Koira was a pit bull, he replied "don't those dogs get mean?"

I was struck a little dumb that such a young kid would react like that (while still happily petting both dogs, he obviously was parroting something he had heard, since he wasn't in the least afraid of the dogs). Because of his very young age, I just glanced at the parents, then replied, "that is only if bad people own them" and left it at that. Obviously that is not an entirely true statement, but it seemed like the best way to get a point across to a young child without offending the parents.

And who knows, maybe, when he gets older and really can understand more, he might remember meeting a very sweet dog who loved getting pets and wanted to give him kisses. I can hope, at least.

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