October is National Pit bull Awareness Month!
In light of recent events where Montreal has imposed a ban on all sheltered and new pit bulls and restrictions on existing ones, we would like to remind everyone that this month is National Pit bull Awareness Month. It saddens us that people are still unaware of how sweet a pit bull can really be, especially if properly trained. Every year, in addition to having an entire month to appreciate the love of pit bulls, there is National Pit bull Awareness Day (NPBAD) in October as well.
National Pit bull Awareness Day was created in 2007 by Jodi Preis, the founder of Bless the Bullys, a rescue organization. They wanted to gather together with people to show love for “America’s Dog” and to educate and bring positive media attention to pit bulls across the country. “The ultimate goal of NPBAD is to promote the truth about pit bulls.”, as noted in their website.
There are three types of lies in this world. Lies, damn lies and statistics.
Pit bulls are unfortunately targeted by Breed-Specific Legislation (BSL), where they are banned or restricted based on their appearance. BSL may have people constantly muzzle their dog, keep the dog on a short leash, wear a tag noting that it is a vicious dog or even buy liability insurance. BSL is not really breed-specific at all, it can include “any dog with an appearance or physical characteristics that are substantially similar to the aforementioned breeds.” Dogs commonly targeted are Rottweilers, Bull Mastiffs, Cane Corso, American Bulldogs, Doberman Pinschers, and even Chow Chows! There are many listed breeds, but guess what? Your dog may be targeted too simply because it looks like one of the breeds.
If you have ever noticed, pit bulls (and not specifically American Pit Bull Terriers) are just about the only dog reported on the news that relate to dog attacks. What people may not realize is that pit bulls are often misidentified when an attack happens, so statistics related to this, are also not reliable. Pit bulls and mixes can be confused because of their color, their ear shape, the size of their head and more. Here are some things to help identify a pit bull.
- Very short, hard, glossy coat of any color or markings
- Ears that are either cropped or medium-sized and folded
- Broad, blocky back skull and jaws Wide mouth that gives the appearance of grinning when opened
- Stocky, well-muscled body with a broad chest or sometimes a little gangly with a leaner, more wiry form
- Adult weight of 30-80 lbs., occasionally heavier males
- High activity level, engages in lots of jumping and tugging action
- Bonds quickly and deeply
- Quick reactivity, may be very aroused around other dogs
List from petfinder.com
Their temperament consists of being friendly, clownish, affectionate, loyal and courageous. If you ever watch a pitbull, you’ll notice they like to sprint and jump around a lot! That may scare some people because they’re so fast, but they simply like to feel the wind in their ears. If the dog doesn’t have any of these characteristics, he might not be a pit bull!
Take the test! Pick the Pit is a website that tests whether you know what a pit is or not. There are many variations in look, but only one is the actual pit bull.
Children are often not taught not to tease a dog, and a dog is often not taught to bite. In addition to awareness of how awesome of a dog a pit bull is, it is important to be aware that any dog can be dangerous to anyone, if it isn’t properly trained. It is important to teach your dog “come” or “sit” and “no” so that it knows to stop or leave the situation immediately. It is also important to teach children the way to play with a dog, or to leave it alone if you don’t know the dog well. Teach them not to tease them with food or hit a dog. Always avoid a dog’s mouth as with many of them, it activates a need to play with something thats near their mouth. If you ever notice a dog tied up in the back yard, take notice of that too. Any dog tied up for long terms in their back yard are apt to be bored or even aggressive since their interaction with people is limited and so is their ability to defend themselves from perceived threats. Find out if your town has regulations on tethering.
Kano, my pit bull, loves tug of war and playing with crinkly things that sound like water bottles. I also have a puggle, who is very active during most of the day while at home, while Kano is sleeping in the kitchen where is warm and he has his own corner. When at the dog park, Kano is the most chased after dog because of his speed and playfulness. Many dog owners with very large dogs have been surprised to find that their dog loves to play with tiny Kano because he spins and dashes so much. Lastly, Kano is pretty shy around humans, but he’s great with kids and will lick your face (and from head to toe) if he really likes you! Behind all of this, Kano is a dog that was once abused and then abandoned. He was constantly turned down in the shelters because of his breed, and because he was very ”mouthy”, meaning he chewed on everything, including fingers! Now better trained, Kano plays only with his toys and everyone wants to adopt him!
So for National Pit bull Awareness Month and Day, take the time to get to know one of your neighborhood pit bulls! Ask the owner about the dog first. Take note of how they hold the pit, especially whether they hold it away from you or happily lets it walk around. The happier a pit, or any dog for that matter, the more friendly and silly they may be! Original pit bulls were supposed to bait bulls, not fight. Dogs will do as they are trained to do, or can do things wrong if constantly unhappy. So next time there’s an animal attack, know that there is a reason behind the animal’s behavior. The owner should be the one charged, not the dog. Montreal shouldn’t target all poor pit bulls, but target those who train their dog improperly or abandon it.
National Pit bull Awareness Day is
October 22, 2016
Need more information on this amazing day? Visit the National Pit bull Awareness Day website.