‘Bully breed’ dogs are sometimes the subject of legislation which limits or even bans ownership of these dogs. Pit Bulls, Rottweilers & Mastiffs are often targeted because of their allegedly aggressive nature.
I’ll admit my experience with Pit Bulls is limited. We found a stray Pit, thin as a rail, running loose in August of 2013. She had a piece of clothesline that’d been chewed through as a collar and lead. We caught her & put her in the back yard, and were going to put up some ‘found’ signs around the neighborhood. The next day though, one of our neighbors stopped by & asked how long we’d had her, and told us they’d planned on putting her up on Craigslist for $20. Naturally we took her in.
I’ll admit, I was a little concerned at first about having this ‘vicious’ Pit Bull around. They do have a reputation of being ready to rip your arm off at the drop of a hat, so I kept an eye on her.
But Houlie’s about as far from that stereotype as you can get. She’s a goofy dog who rolls on her back, wiggling back & forth for belly rubs, and will plant her foot on your hand so she can lick you.
We took her to an obedience class last year. Sure, at 9 she’s got some bad habits, and we’re too easy on correcting some things. But the trainer was very happy with how well she did. Houlie might be a bit dog-aggressive with some dogs, but she’s pretty easily distracted from real issues. While we were in class one day, a family came by who had a little boy who was afraid of dogs. The instructor had us distract Houlie, and then had the boy pet her. She had him on ‘ignore’ while taking the attention from us.
We’ve had people come over, too. Neighbors, a plumber, and others are fine as long as we’re there with her. But I don’t doubt she’d have a different attitude if someone came in uninvited. When we went out of town for dad’s funeral last year, we put her in a kennel instead of chancing anything with our pet sitter.
We did try to adopt her out to a co-worker. She had a dog of her own, and there were some issues there. Houlie didn’t hurt the other dog, but she did have him pinned, with her jaws around his throat. The behavior specialist at the Humane Society said that she understood the concern, but also knew that it showed Houlie was restraining because the dog was never hurt. Houlie’s been very good with the cats- the only time she’s snapped is when one of them’s swatted her first.
Any dog can be aggressive, and the more powerful breeds like Pit Bulls certainly can cause more damage than, say a chihuahua or a terrier. But to outright ban a dog that can be so gentle, and which historically was a protector of the family, is silly.