Living with a Pit Bull
Being a responsible Pit Bull Parent starts before your
Pit Bull comes to live with you.
so your adopting a bully breed
You will not be just be giving a dog a home, you will be adopting your most loyal family companion. All dogs have individual personalities, but most Pit Bulls are people dogs and LOVE being with and around their people. Pit Bulls are devoted dogs that tend to be intune with your emotions. Research and learn as much as you can about these dynamic dogs, as they have a long and unique history, that is well worth investigating and that can help you understand them better.
first days home
We know your excited about bringing home your new family member, your family is excited, but the first days, dogs, all dogs need time to decompress and adjust to their new people, homes, surroundings and schedules.
Many people do not realize how crucial decompression is and how this will make or break your dogs introduction to their new life. It is also imperative that if there are resident dogs, that they have time to adjust to a new dog in the home. Many people do not realize that this takes time and cannot be rushed. Please set your dog up for success. Puppies acclimate quicker than adult dogs do. Allow a couple weeks of calm living, for dogs to decompress, become comfortable in the new home and learn their routines. Try not to add in too much stimulus for a couple of weeks, leave meeting new people or animals to after the dog has had the opportunity to adjust to his new life.
don't let your dog be a lost dog
Have your dog licensed and microchipped, make sure you register and keep your microchip updated with the chip company. Should your dog get lost, this is the easiest possible way to have them returned home. Unlike a collar or tags, that can easily break, fall off, or be removed, a microchip is a reliable way for shelters or vets to get your contact information and increase the odds that if found, your dog will be returned to you. Most shelters, rescues and veterinarians have chip scanners.
spay and neuter
By having your dog sterilized, you will do your part to help an already overpopulated breed of dog. Pit Bulls are the number one dog euthanized today. Spaying and neutering prevents unwanted litters, it helps to protect against some serious costly health problems, and may help reduce behavioral problems.
Bully breeds can do "ok" in an apartment dwellings and urban settings, as long as they get plenty of exercise and outdoor activity on a daily basis. It can be difficult to find secured (fenced in areas) to allow your dog to run off leash. Tennis courts, ball fields or a friends fenced back yard are a couple of options. We do not suggest dog parks, as dogs can learn bad behavior from other dogs, it is an unstable environment and if anything happens, it will be the Pit Bulls fault.
***Be sure your condo association or landlord allows bully breed dogs in the complex, be dedicated that if you should have to move you will find a place that your dog can move with you. Too many times dogs are relinquished due to renters not knowing the rules of their complex, new landlords purchasing the properties with new rules, or having to move and not finding a new place that will accept bully breed dogs.
keep em' busy
Pit Bulls are high-energy dogs that need exercise every day. Even a short 15 - 30 minute walk, game of fetch, frisbee, or biking with your dog will help burn off energy. When you walk your dog LET them sniff! to them it's like reading a newspaper, and also gives them mental stimulation through their olfactory nerves. The mental enrichment your dog gets on a slow walk with lots of time for sniffing is much greater than they would get on a fast-paced walk. This means a shorter sniffy walk can tire them out and they will generally be more relaxed and less likely to exhibit destructive or mischievous behavior when at home.
Remember a tired Pit Bull is a HAPPY Pit Bull!
keeping your dog safe
Pit Bulls are known to be great escape artists. Never leave your dog unattended in a yard. Bored dogs find ways to entertain themselves and this typically means, getting themselves into trouble. Keep your dog properly confined. Typically a 6-8 foot fence should be adequate, provided your dog is not a fence jumper, once they learn they can jump a fence, they most likely will continue to do so. We do not suggest electric fencing, it does not prevent other animals from entering your yard, and if dogs really want to go through it, they will. A physical fence can act as a visible barrier.
Socialize your dog. Puppy socialization is extremely important, as a very young dog they need to be socialized around people, other dogs, other animals and as many things as you can possibly think of. You have a small window of time during their first year that can help them be fear free and comfortable during their entire life with everything they will encounter. Take your dog to as many places as you possibly can, to experience as many different things as they can, meet as many people as they can, and while they are young meet as many other dogs as possible. Puppy playgroups are typically offered by many training facilities. A training facility will be much more structured play with people who are knowledgeable about dog body language and people knowledgeable about play styles.
Training at a facility also helps with socialization. At home do short homework training sessions of 5 or 10 minutes throughout the day for mental stimulation and dogs tend to learn better and quicker with multiple short sessions. You can find trainers by your locality by visiting The Association of Professional Dog Trainers website. Becoming familiar with canine behavior will prove to be a big help so that you can enjoy a great success with your dog.
say no to dog parks
Stay away from dog parks. Pit Bulls may not start a fight, but they will finish it. There is instability in dog parks, most owners do not recognize dog body language, or are not even paying attention. If a scuffle starts you can bet that your Pit Bull will be to blame, regardless of who started the fight.
food for thought
Most veterinarians suggest a scheduled feeding. Typically twice a day splitting the total day's intake into two meals. Some people free feed, meaning food is available all day at anytime of day. In multiple pet households especially Pit Bull households this is a big no no. Scheduled feeding provides structure, feeding is more sanitary, it allows you to easily track your companion’s food intake which can help alert you to possible sickness, it offers a bonding opportunity, and it allows you to estimate when your dog will need to relieve himself.
when to supervise
Never leave Pit Bulls unsupervised with other dogs or animals. Many Pit Bulls get along well with other pets and may live happily with other dogs without incident their entire lives. But, you can’t assume that this will always be the case. Unfortunately, those of us involved in rescue and Pit Bull circles have heard too many stories about dogs who’d been best friends for years, until the day something triggered a fight. Therefore, it’s up to you to make good decisions to manage your dogs and to keep them safe when you’re not present. You can use gates (provided your dogs respect gates), crates or different rooms to separate animals when no one is there to supervise them.
a little on leashes
Obey leash laws and ordinances in your area, and always have your dog on a leash unless you are in an enclosed private area. There is nothing worse than coming upon an unleashed dog while out walking your own dog. We do not suggest retractable leashes, for many reasons, however, when out hiking or for for extra range to play, you could potentially use a long line leash which is a non-retractable longer leash, that is great tool for distance training or for extra freedom, still maintaining control from the handler.
Pit Bulls and Canine Babesia
Recently I read a post where it stated that Babesia or Babesiosis is a "dogfighting disease" and since I had never heard that referenced before, I figured I'd learn a bit more about it. I started by asking a trusted source and then I moved on to reading numerous websites with focus on Babesiosis. I have luckily never had any personal experience with it and I have only known of it as a transmitted "tick" disease. What I learned and did not know is it can be transmitted dog to dog through bites, dirty needles or surgical instruments and from mom to pups. It is also a disease that has a high prevalence in Pit Bull Terriers and racing Greyhounds. However, I am not so sure I would call it a "dogfighting disease" as that gives it a connotation of being related only to Pit Bulls and dog fighting and that is not the case. Any dog can get this, and dog owners need to be aware of it. This is an informational post, Pit Bull Hill does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. If you think your dog is sick, please seek a veterinarians assistance.
what is babesia?
Babesia microti, is a microscopic (teeny tiny, can not be seen without a microscope) parasite that infects red blood cells. Babesia infections occur in dogs and other species and are transmitted primarily by ticks. There are many species of Babesia, but those most concerning to dog owners are Babesia canis and Babesia gibsoni. While any dog can become infected with Babesia, Greyhounds and Pit Bulls seem to be more prone to getting it.
The Babesia species that infect dogs in North America are:
how babesia infection happens
An infected tick must feed on a dog for 2-3 days to transfer the babesia organism. If the babesia manages to reach the bloodstream, it rapidly reproduces. This, in turn, affects the red blood cells and their macrophages.The hematozoa then attaches to the lung and liver tissues, where it can cause irreversible damage and even sometime death.Once this transfer occurs, the babesia organism continues to develop as it moves from the bloodstream into the red blood cells. Although Babesia is considered a tick borne disease it can also be transmitted by dog bites, blood transfusions, contaminated needles, surgical instruments, and from dogs that are pregnant to their unborn puppies.
what happens once infected
There is an incubation period that usually lasts between 2 and 4 weeks. However, the symptoms may only become noticeable up to 2 months after the bite. Babesia organisms continue to develop as they move from the bloodstream into the red blood cells. When the organisms mature in the cells, that cell will rupture and release the organism into the bloodstream to infect additional cells. The body’s own immune system will detect the infected red blood cells and destroy them and often the host’s immune system will begin destroying the uninfected red cells as well. This causes anemia or lack of red blood cells. Babesia infections have a wide range of severity, they can be very mild to fatal. That mainly depends on the strain of Babesia.
symptoms of babesia
Babesia is treatable but not necessarily curable (meaning treatment can reduce eliminate symptoms), but dogs may still test positive and should always be considered a permanent Babesia carrier (meaning they still can pass it on).
prevention is key
Preventing Babesia in a normal dog setting is simple by provided good quality flea and tick preventative and also doing tick checks during warmer weather when ticks are prevalent. Babesia species are found worldwide, although in North America, most canine cases of babesiosis occur in the southern United States.
Welcome to PitBullary a new blog with subjects for those with Pit Bull Dogs!
We have started a new blog and our first topic will be what our website is primarily about. Break Sticks or "Parting Sticks" we started making them as a safe and trusted alternative for purchasing. I hope people will never need them, but I will always recommend a break stick to bully breed owners, this tool can absolutely be a life saving instrument. There are many people, including those involved directly with the dogs through rescue or shelters who play ignorant or who forget that these dogs have been bred to be other dog aggressive. Although there are MANY that do not show dog aggression, or have a better tolerance levels for other dogs, there are those who do not. Today we are gonna talk about what they are, what they are used for and how to use them.
have I ever had a fight?
I have. I had a dog fight years ago amongst my personal dogs, unexpected, unprovoked and found out the hard way why having a breaking stick handy would have been helpful. It was a terrifying experience, I could not get them to stop, I could not pull them apart, one dog had the other dog's ear, if I pulled he would have lost an ear. I literally had to drag both dogs to a sliding glass door, it was the only thing I could think of at the time and closed the door between them and that made the gripper break the bite. Luckily with little damage to either dog. Other than that terrifying moment, I have had a few skirmishes here and there, but nothing that was as scary as that day. I credit that to knowledge, observance and management.
what exactly is a breaking stick / parting stick?
A break stick or "parting stick" is a wedged device, that is inserted behind a dogs molars and twisted gently like a motorcycle handle, it opens the dogs jaw enough that the dog will adjust his bite, at that moment you can "break" the dog away from whatever they may be gripping on to.
where do they orginate from?
The nasty world of dog fighters, that's where. It's the tool they use to separate dogs in a fighting pit. Although there are many other things that are not necessary for your average Pit Bull owner, this particular tool is a must have for any responsible bully breed owner to keep on hand.
are they illegal?
A single break stick or two in a home with a Pit Bull or two, owned by a responsible person would not pose a threat of being "illegal". However, coupled with sketchy, suspicious, illegal behaviour, or other items that attest to dog fighting, they would be used as evidence in a court of law.
Break sticks are not illegal in and of themselves, but they are considered "dog fighting paraphernalia" in certain states and/or with certain law enforcement agents.
why would you ever need one?
Hopefully you will never need one. BUT, if you are a bully breed owner, rescuer, trainer, or have the potential to encounter strange or loose dogs, it's a piece of equipment that may come in handy in an emergency situation. A Pit Bulls unique heritage and instinct is to bite and hold, and not let go, which by the way, is a typical trait of the terrier breeds. Whether that be a toy, a tug, a spring pole or another dog, if they want to hold on to it, they will do their best to do so.
Most dog breeds bite erratically and blindly - snapping, biting and releasing. If a dog is biting and releasing a break-stick will not be of any use, but if a dog has a hold "grip" on another dog and won’t let go a break-stick can facilitate a break quickly and with the least amount of damage to either dog. A break-stick helps give you the leverage to open a determined dogs jaw. Typical ways of breaking a dog fight don't typically work with Pit Bulls, and pulling dogs apart that have a "grip" can do a lot of damage to the dog that is being gripped.(For this reason and for your own safety you should not use a break stick on any other breed of dog).
how do you use a breaking stick?
With Pit Bull breeds, the break stick is one of the quickest and safest ways to break up a fight. Keep calm, straddle your dog, grab the collar with one hand, and insert the break stick in the opening behind the molars and twist gently like a motorcycle throttle. The leverage will cause them to adjust their bite onto the stick allowing you to pull them away so that you can regain control. This is of course much easier with two people, but one person can accomplish this by tying one of the dogs to a stable object if need be. For more on this please visit Break a Fight
Prevention is always best. With Pit Bull type dogs there is always a chance of an unexpected fight. Be prepared, remain calm, use the break stick. And break the stereotype about owning a break stick, they don't make you a bad owner, in my opinion they make you a responsible owner.