Deb VE foto 1

Deb Van Engelenhoven

Recently my husband and I adopted a dog from Stephen Memorial Animal Shelter. The dog is a mixed breed that includes lab and pit bull.

I know that many of you will read this and ask why in the world would we even consider adopting a pit bull. Well, the dog had been passed over for adoption many times due to the pit bull in her breeding. Something that did not bother my husband and I, as we know that pit bull is a characteristic, not a breed of dog.

This past Sunday was National Pit Bull Awareness Day and I hope that many people paid attention to the information that was provided and raised their awareness about pit bulls.

So many people think that pit bulls are terrifying, but they don’t know anything about them. Pit bulls can be very gentle and sweet just like any other dog.

No matter the dog all it takes is training and socialization to make them good family dogs. They have to be the most misunderstood dog in the world.

As I said, pit bull is not a breed of dog. It refers to a type or combination of breeds such as Bulldog and Terrier.

Pit bulls do not have a locking jaw as people often claim. However, they do have a bite force that is stronger than other dogs.

Pit bulls perform very well in temperament tests; normally passing better than other breeds.

Training is going very well with our dog. She sits, stays, downs and responds well to learning new things through rewards and positive reinforcement.

Our pit bull is very loving and docile and has become a wonderful addition to our family. She has responded to every visitor, including rowdy grandchildren, in a loving and respectful way.

She has not made any kind of motion that would give us a reason to think that she would ever respond in an aggressive way. Any dog can respond badly out of fear and when they are cornered or being abused.

I learned a great lesson from raising paint horses most of my adult life about how animals respond to things. Even a horse can become mean and aggressive when the conditions are right. But they can also become calm and submissive with the right training and care.

I think the one thing that surprises most people is that the American Pit Bull Terrier became nanny dogs. This is because they were so gentle around children and were so well known for their playful temperament and friendly nature and their strong desire to please people.

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