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How to Raise a Pit Bull Properly (9 Critical Mistakes Owners Make)

The Pitbull Terrier is without question, the most controversial and polarizing dog breed ever. Accounting for over 65% of the deadly dog bites in America, the Pitbull has rightfully earned a reputation as being a dangerous and aggressive dog.

But is it really because all Pitbulls are bad and violent dogs? I mean – there are plenty of “good” Pitbulls that live their entire lives without ever hurting a single fly. So…why is this the case? And why are there such extremes with Pitbulls?

Well, the controversial truth is that not everyone should be allowed to own a Pitbull. Most people can’t handle, are responsible enough, or even capable of properly raising a Pitbull. They aren’t easy dogs that you can just casually own without putting in a ton of work, dedication, and attention.

But if you can…you’re going to own one of the most loyal and sweetest dogs in the world. So with that said, here are some of the critical mistakes that most owners make with their Pitbulls. Ignoring these can potentially lead to fatal consequences.

RECOMMENDED: The 4 Types of Pit Bulls

1. You need to be able to physically control your Pit Bull when out in public. 

These terriers are powerful, large dogs with a potential to do damage. So letting your 13 year old son or daughter take your Pitbull out for a walk around the neighborhood is never a good idea. If you’re unable to control your dog, you’re putting everyone, including your Pitbull, at risk.

Here’s a viral clip (I must warn you – it’s disturbing) of a cat just lounging in his family’s driveway. At the very start of the video, you can already tell the owner can’t seem to control her two Pitbulls. As soon as the dogs spotted the cat, well, instincts took over and they sprinted for it.

And the owner? Unsurprisingly, she got dragged to the floor. The sad and scary reality is that situations like these happen all the time. If your dog is suddenly triggered by something during a walk, it’s up to you to physically prevent any dangerous situations from happening.

And if you can’t physically control them in such an event, then you probably shouldn’t be walking around with your Pit. 

2. You must know that it’s possible for a Pitbull to snap at any time.

If you’ve raised your Pit Bull since puppyhood and you’ve experienced nothing but a sweet, kind and gentle dog – it’s easy to let your guard down. After all, you have no reason to believe that they’ll show any kind of aggression.

But you need to know that no matter how well you think you know your dog, it’s still possible for even the most ordinary things to cause them to snap, especially once they’ve reached maturity.

In fact, so many owners involved in a fatal attack reported that they’ve never seen a single aggressive tendency in their dog prior to the attack. It just happened out of nowhere.

These dogs were bred for blood sports in the past. So it’s possible that aggressive tendencies still linger deep within their DNA. You’ll always need to be cautious when your dog is interacting with other animals or people. Never let your guard down and always remain cautious. 

I’ve seen so many Pit Bull owners that just let their dog run freely at dog parks while not paying a single bit of attention to their dog. This just isn’t responsible.

3. Never buy your Pitbull from a “backyard breeder.”

Have you ever seen those ads for cheap Pitbulls on craigslist? Chances are, they’re from backyard breeders, and you never want to purchase one from them.

To put things into perspective, these breeders have added hundreds of thousands of Pit bulls to the US dog population in a couple short years. Pitbulls make up just 6% of the dogs in America, but over 50% of all dogs in the shelter.

Over one third of them end up euthanized every single year. So because of this, supporting the backyard breeders is actually cruel to the breed.

And most of the dogs that come from these backyard breeders are unethically bred, meaning they may have a higher chance of developing sudden aggression.

Instead, you can check out AKC’s “breeder of merit program,” where they recognize and reward all the responsible breeders in the country. If you love your family, your community…heck, if you love Pitbulls, avoid these unprofessional breeders. 

4. Early socialization training is required for all Pitbulls.

Socializing has never been more important for any other breed. Most Pit Bulls that aggressively attack other pets and people were never or rarely socialized as a pup. So why is socialization training so crucial and important for your Pit?

Socializing your Pit Bull ensures they can react to the world in a healthy way, without any fear, anxiety or aggression. This allows your dog to learn that not everything is a threat, in addition to how to properly behave around others.

And the best time to do this is between 3 to 14 weeks old. During this time, you’ll want your Pit Bull to meet as many other dogs, cats, children and adults as possible. If possible, let them socialize for a few hours every single day during this period.

Consistency is key when socializing a Pitbull. And the more they’re able to socialize with, the less likely they’ll suddenly snap on an unsuspecting person or dog in the future.

5. Obedience training is also a must for Pitbulls.

When you own such a powerful dog with the potential to do a lot of damage, having more control over them makes a lot of sense. And obedience training is one surefire way to have better control. At the very least, you’ll need to nail down the basics of obedience with your dog. 

If your Pitbull doesn’t understand commands such as “down,” “stay,” or “come here,” how do you even expect to communicate with them when they’re starting to get out of hand? These commands let them understand what behaviors you allow and don’t allow. 

Without them, they’re pretty much wild dogs. With all the negative stories, headlines, and public perception about the breed, the best way to combat the stereotypes is to own a well-behaved and responsive Pitbull. 

That said, if you’re too lazy to spend 20 minutes a day to hone in on their obedience training, I’m sorry to say, the Pitbull shouldn’t be for you.

6. Don’t be lazy with your Pitbull (you’ll need to exercise them).

The worst type of Pitbull owners are the lazy ones. Not just because they don’t bother with obedience training and socialization, but because they don’t properly exercise these dogs.

I mean, they are terriers. And if you know terrier dogs, you know they’re highly energetic and active. But what’s the worst that can happen, right?

When a dog has too much pent up energy without a means to release it, destructive behaviors that subsequently follow can be dangerous – especially with Pitbulls!

More often than not, an under-exercised dog may chew up your favorite pair of shoes, tear up your couch, dig up a few holes in your backyard, or even show aggression. Your Pitbull is no exception.

If you can spend 1 to 2 hours a day with high-intensive activities, then it should be enough to tire them out. A fully exercised Pitbull has a much lower probability of showing sudden aggression. 

So what are the best ways to exercise a Pitbull? The first is probably using a flirt pole, which can be a great outlet for your dog. Just make sure that if your Pitbull starts getting too amped, have him calm down before resuming again.

Another fantastic activity is playing catch with tennis balls. Some Pitbulls will run themselves into the ground and happily exhaust their boundless energy.

7. Parental supervision is always needed with small and young children.

It doesn’t matter how sweet your Pitbull has been with your small child in the past, parental supervision is always required. The scary reality is that Pitbulls are number one for dog bite fatalities of kids. In fact, the Pitbull accounts for over half of the maulings.

But don’t be so quick to place the blame. The thing is, the blame shouldn’t fall entirely on the dog. All parents need to understand that you’re entrusting a large and strong wild animal with the safety of your child. Does that sound safe?

Plus, you also have to trust that your child doesn’t do anything to trigger the dog. And it’s not just with Pitbulls, I don’t suggest leaving any big and energetic dog with a small kid. This is how some of the most devastating accidents happen. 

8. You need to make sure your Pitbull’s enclosure is very secured.

And when I say secure, I mean really secure. Don’t just tie them on a leash like we’ve seen with so many irresponsible owners. If a leash and a flimsy wire fence is the only thing stopping your Pitbull from getting out and escaping, you can bet they will eventually.

And when they do get out, they can potentially wreck havoc, leading to some seriously dangerous and fatal situations. You’ll also need to keep in mind that many Pitbulls have a high prey drive.

If they can hear or see a squirrel, child or neighboring pet through your fence, some Pitbulls will kick it up a notch with their attempt to escape. They may claw or chew through wooden fences, or even scale and climb over the fence to get after them.

Some owners even report that their Pitbulls jump 6 foot fences or straight up run through glass windows or screen doors. And jumping off second floor balconies isn’t out of the question with these dogs. Most Pitbulls are insanely athletic, so nothing is really out of the question. 

The most important thing is to try your best to keep them secured, while also paying attention to your dog at all times.

9. You need to really understand and learn about the Pitbull breed.

Raleigh Link, an animal activist with a lot of experience interacting with Pitbulls, explains this best. Pitbulls are unlike any other dog breed.

If you want to successfully own and raise a sweet, gentle and well-behaved Pitbull, you’ll really need to understand these dogs. Take some time to dive into the breed and its history.

Read forums to learn the behaviors and situations of other Pitbull owners. Try to understand the common behaviors and body languages of these dogs.

And of course, spend as much time as you can with your dog because not every Pitbull will be the same. Learn their specific needs, triggers, and tendencies. By doing this, you have the best shot at properly raising a good dog.

So, did I make any critical mistakes that Pitbull owners maker? Let me know in the comments section below!

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